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Course Descriptions

Communication Course Listings - Spring 2013

COMM 190  Public Speaking
4 credits
Broz, Stefne

Prerequisite: None
This course addresses basic theoretical principles of effective public speaking necessary for pluralistic audiences, concentrating on content, organization, audience analysis, ethics, language, and delivery. Students apply these principles to several oral presentations, some videotaped and requiring the use of PowerPoint.

COMM 200 Introduction to Communication Studies  
4 credits

Cunningham, Sheryl

Prerequisite: ENGL 101
This course provides an introduction to the field of human communication studies and a foundation for future study within the communication discipline. The course introduces the core concepts, essential skills, and perennial issues found in several relevant contexts of human interaction, including interpersonal relationships, organizations, and cross-cultural interaction. It also examines these contexts from a theoretical perspective, suggesting how scholars have sought to formulate generalized explanations for the processes of human meaning making. Writing intensive.

COMM 270S Interpersonal Communication
4 credits
Warber, Katie

Prerequisite:  None
This course offers an introduction to message production and interpretation in face-to-face and other interpersonal settings.  The focus of the course is to illustrate how choices in interpersonal communication behaviors are basic to our character as human beings and the nature of our interpersonal relationships.  Students will complete the course having learned about basic interpersonal communication principles related to, for example, self-presentation, self-disclosure, gender, culture, effective listening, relationship development, relational maintenance, relationship dissolution, power, compliance gaining, emotion, and conflict management.     

COMM 280  Reasoning and Communication
4 credits
Cunningham, Sheryl

Prerequisite: ENGL 101E
Are you excited about discussing “hot topics” such as immigration, smoking bans, same-sex marriage, health care reform, and use of torture in the fight against terrorism?  Or do such topics intimidate you, even as you want to make your case persuasively?  This course provides extensive training in critical thinking, listening, reading, practical reasoning, deliberation, and oral and written advocacy. As part of a deliberative process, participants prepare oral and written arguments on contemporary issues for critical, well-informed audiences.  Emphasis is placed on the ability to anticipate and address the wide variety of alternative perspectives represented by such audiences.  Required assignments include:  a personal essay regarding attitudes toward argumentation, a deliberation log, a roundtable performance of oral arguments with question and answer sessions, and an argumentative position paper. Writing intensive.

COMM 290S Media Literacy
4 credits

Smith, Matthew

Prerequisite: ENGL 101E
This course provides a broad foundation for examining the form, content, and consequences of mediated communication (including the Internet, recording, radio, television, cable, film, newspaper, and other publishing industries). The course introduces media industries from both an historical and contemporary perspective, covers the prominent theories that characterize mass media functions and effects, and addresses controversial issues in mediated communication. Students are introduced to intellectual tools that will enable them to be more critical consumers of media and given opportunities to practice applying those tools in both structured classroom discussions and formal writing assignments.

COMM 300Z Social Scientific Methods
4 credits
Broz, Stefne

Prerequisites: COMM 200; COMM 270S, 280 or 290S; Math Placement score 22
This course introduces students to the process of conducting quantitative communication research, including how to 1) formulate a research question, 2) conduct library research for a literature review, 3) select a method (e.g., participant/observation, in-depth interviewing, focus groups, experiment, content analysis, or survey research), 4) adhere to standards for scholarly writing, and 5) critically evaluate others’ research studies.  Writing intensive.  Mathematical-reasoning intensive.

COMM 301  Critical Methods
(4 semester hours)
Waggoner, Catherine

Prerequisite:  COMM 290S or permission of instructor
This course is designed to foster critical analysis skills necessary for understanding a wide variety of messages, including those found in speeches, advertisements, news reports, television programs, films, and songs. In particular, students will learn and practice several methods for systematically describing, interpreting, and assessing aspects of messages. The course attends to both the theory and praxis of communication criticism; as students learn of the assumptions and approaches that undergird each method of analysis, they will have the opportunity to apply those methods in the analysis of a variety of discourses.  In doing so, they will be encouraged to engage critically with issues of culture and power in the context of communication criticism. Students will demonstrate their comprehension and apply their understanding of methods of communication criticism in exams, several written essays, and participation. Writing intensive. 

COMM 324  Family Communication
4 credits
Warber, Katie

Prerequisites: COMM 200 and COMM 270S; or permission of instructor
This advanced course examines topics related to 1) family communication and basic family processes, 2) communication in family subsystems, 3) communication during family stress, and 4) family interaction, health and well-being.  Research and theories from communication, sociology and psychology will be used to explain issues related to the family.  Discussion topics include, for example, marital, parent-child, sibling, and intergenerational interactions in the family.  Research pertaining to marital satisfaction, divorce, courtship, and the impact of the family on its children (and vice-versa) will also be examined.

COMM 351  Media Law  
4 Hours
Smith, Matthew

Prerequisites:  COMM 290S or permission of instructor
This course examines how the law helps shape the activities of mass media industries in the United States.  Students have the opportunity to develop a basic understanding of the American legal system, its institutions, and some of its terminology, as well as a broad understanding of First Amendment principles as they relate to mass communication.    Readings provide a working knowledge of the laws that directly restrict or enhance information gathering and message dissemination in the mass media, and an understanding of the rationales behind those laws.  Projects encourage the development of skills to identify and interpret the law, particularly as it develops beyond its present shape.  An additional evening meeting will focus on filmic representations of issues in media law.

COMM 361 Gender and Communication
4 credits
Waggoner, Catherine

Prerequisites: COMM 200 and 270S, 280, or 290S; or permission of instructor.
This course considers public understandings of gender and sexuality in America and the way in which they are represented in popular discourse. In particular, the focus is on cases of “gender trouble” or gender ambiguity, in which dominant cultural assumptions of gender and sexuality are challenged (e.g., drag performances, female masculinity, metrosexuality). Our goal is to discover how those challenges to gender norms are rhetorically configured, and if/how they are disciplined or realigned in the support of dominant gender norms, or if/how they constitute acts of resistance to such norms.  Experience in rhetorical criticism (i.e., COMM 301) is preferred, but not required. While the course is not writing intensive in that there will not be instruction in writing per se, there is an assumption that students are skilled in writing analyses. Assignments include exams, discussion leadership, and a final project. 

COMM 403 Communication Senior Seminar
4 credits
Smith, Matthew and Waggoner, Catherine

Prerequisites: COMM 200, COMM 300, and senior status   
This course is the capstone experience in the Communication program. Through their work on independent and group projects, students will practice research, writing, and critical thinking skills that are part of the process of conducting communication research, culminating in both written and oral presentations of results. Writing intensive.

COMM 495 Practicum:  Communication Leaders
2 credits
Warber, Katie

Prerequisites:  BY PERMISSION ONLY

COMM 499 Senior Honors Thesis/Project
0-4credits
Staff

Prerequisites: 


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