COMM 2020: Interpersonal Communication

Department of Communication Studies
Spring 2016
As we examine the academic discipline of Communication Studies, we will…
Review degree plans and courses in the TCU Department of Communication Studies.
Discuss communication competence as a unifying paradigm for this diverse discipline.
Compare the scientific and interpretive approaches to the study of communication.
Examine dominant theory and research in each of several areas of human communication.
Draw on communication theory to analyze and interpret everyday interactions.
Em Griffin. A First Look at Communication Theory, 9th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2015). Study aids
are available at
Moudy South 328
Home Page
Office hours 11-12 daily or by appointment
Examinations – Four substantial exams (20% each) will include several types of objective,
essay, and application questions. A comprehensive final exam (20%) will involve using the
theories we have studied to analyze interpersonal communication in a classic movie.
Grading Scale
A = 99–90
B = 89–80
C = 79–70
D = 69–60
F = Below 60
Major/Minor Credit – Students must finish this course with at least a C for it to be applied
toward a major or minor in Communication Studies. In addition, this is one of two courses
required to declare Communication Studies as your major (combined GPA of 2.5 or higher).
Attendance – One way to demonstrate that you are serious about this course is to be in
class and attentive every time we meet. Except for one free miss, you must provide written
documentation of any absence due to a medical or personal emergency. Otherwise your
course grade will be reduced as follows: miss 2 classes (total), lose 3 points; miss 3 classes
lose 6 points; miss 4 classes lose 10 points.
Electronic Devices – One way I can help you succeed in this important class is to prohibit
the use of electronic devices in the classroom. This may seem inconvenient at first, but I am
asking you to trust me on this. Research has shown that texting and social networking
interfere with your focus on learning and distract your classmates. Therefore, please do not
use computers, pads, or phones during class.
Changes will be announced in class.
January 12 – January 28
How do we know what we know about human communication?
What academic areas are included in the field of Communication Studies? Ch. 1
How is our study guided by the paradigm of communication competence?
How are knowledge and new understanding acquired in the social sciences? Ch. 2
How do scholars typically organize what we know about communication? Ch. 4
Exam One Thur. Jan. 28
February 2 – February 18
What do we know about the process of communication?
How do we assess communication theories? Ch. 3
Transmissive: Shannon & Weaver’s information theory -
Constitutive: Pearce & Cronen’s coordinated management of meaning - Ch. 6
Influential: Aristotle’s theory of rhetoric – Ch. 22
Relational: Wheeless’ taxonomy of relationship development
Exam Two Thur. Feb. 18
February 23 – March 22
What do we know about interpersonal and small group communication?
Bormann’s symbolic convergence theory – Ch. 18
Theories of self-disclosure including Altman & Taylor’s social penetration theory - Ch. 8
Berger’s uncertainty reduction theory - Ch. 9
Walther’s social information processing theory – Ch. 10
Exam Three Tues. Mar. 22
March 24 – April 12
What do we know about communication in other contexts?
Theories of organizational communication including Geertz & Pacanowsky’s cultural
approach to organizations – Ch. 19
Theories of intercultural communication including Ting-Toomey’s face-negotiation theory Ch. 32
Theories of mass communication including Gerbner’s cultivation theory - Ch. 29
Theories of gender communication including Tannen’s genderlect styles - Ch. 34
Exam Four Tues. Apr. 12
April 14 – April 26
How does communication theory help us understand everyday interaction?
Theory and competence: Preparation for the final exam
Applying communication theory to interpersonal communication in the classic movie
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Final Exam Thurs. May 5, 11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
This portion is the official TCU syllabus for all sections of the course.
COMMUNICATION STUDIES 20223: Communication Theory
Master Syllabus, Spring Semester 2016
Note: This “Master Syllabus” contains (a) information that must be made available for all TCU courses and (b) information that applies across all
sections of communication theory. You are expected to be familiar with these policies. The syllabus addendum contains additional policies and
items specific to your section of communication theory. Please make sure to familiarize yourself with that syllabus as well.
TCU Mission
To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community
Course Description
Degree Requirements Met by the Course: This course is one of several required for declaring a major or a minor in Communication
Studies. This course does not fulfill any TCU Core requirements.
Credit Hours: You will earn 3 undergraduate credit hours for successfully completing this course.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for enrolling in COMM 20223.
Learning Outcomes: This course fulfills the following TCU Institutional Priorities
Applying theoretical and practical knowledge to novel situations.
Drawing reasoned conclusions using complex information from a variety of sources.
Appreciating the interconnectedness of society, culture, and individual identity.
Course Policies
Grading: Every faculty member has the option of using the plus/minus grading method or traditional letter grades. The faculty definition
of grades, and the point system designed to indicate quality of work, is as follows:
4.00 – Excellent
3.00 – Good
2.00 – Satisfactory
1.00 – Poor
0.00 – Failing
Passed the course.
No credit awarded for the course.
In all cases where academic policy requires a grade of “C” or better, a “C-”will not meet those criteria. The same applies for “B” and “B-”.
Academic Misconduct (Sec. 3.4 from the Student Handbook) – Any act that violates the academic integrity of the institution is considered
academic misconduct. The procedures used to resolve suspected acts of academic misconduct are available in the offices of Academic Deans
and the Office of Campus Life and are listed in detail in the Undergraduate Catalog (Student Policies>Academic Conduct Policy Details; Specific examples include, but are not limited to:
Cheating: Copying from another student’s test paper, laboratory report, other report, or computer files and listings; using, during any
academic exercise, material and/or devices not authorized by the person in charge of the test; collaborating with or seeking aid from
another student during a test or laboratory without permission; knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting in its
entirety or in part, the contents of a test or other assignment unauthorized for release; substituting for another student or permitting
another student to substitute for oneself.
Plagiarism: The appropriation, theft, purchase or obtaining by any means another’s work, and the unacknowledged submission or
incorporation of that work as one’s own offered for credit. Appropriation includes the quoting or paraphrasing of another’s work without
giving credit therefore. (If you are using Turnitin, place information about your course ID and password or
LearningStudio dropbox reporting. If you only want to use Turnitin as a spot check, please indicate in your syllabus that you may use
Turnitin for plagiarism detection.)
Collusion: The unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing work offered for credit.
Statement of Disability Services at TCU: Texas Christian University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding students with disabilities. Eligible students seeking accommodations
should contact the Coordinator of Student Disabilities Services in the Center for Academic Services located in Sadler Hall, 1010.
Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the Coordinator as soon as possible in the term for which
they are seeking accommodations. Further information can be obtained from the Center for Academic Services, TCU Box 297710,
Fort Worth, TX 76129, or at (817) 257-6567.
Adequate time must be allowed to arrange accommodations and accommodations are not retroactive; therefore, students should
contact the Coordinator as soon as possible in the academic term for which they are seeking accommodations. Each eligible
student is responsible for presenting relevant, verifiable, professional documentation and/or assessment reports to the Coordinator.
Guidelines for documentation may be found at
Students with emergency medical information or needing special arrangements in case a building must be evacuated should discuss
this information with their instructor/professor as soon as possible.
Netiquette: Communication Courtesy Code: All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all
email messages, threaded discussions and chats. If I deem any of them to be inappropriate or offensive, I will forward the message
to the Chair of the department and the online administrators and appropriate action will be taken, not excluding expulsion from the
course. The same rules apply online as they do in person. Be respectful of other students. Foul discourse will not be tolerated.
Please take a moment and read the following link concerning "netiquette".
Participating in the virtual realm, including social media sites and shared-access sites sometimes used for educational collaborations, should
be done with honor and integrity:
Getting Help with Pearson LearningStudio (eCollege): If you are enrolled in a Web-enhanced section of this course and have
not yet taken the Student Tutorial, please do so immediately. The Student tutorial is listed on your personal student homepage. To
access it, click on "Exit Course" at the bottom of this page. Then click on the "Student Tutorial" on your home page and follow the
If you experience any technical problems during when using an online course, please do not hesitate to contact the HELP DESK (at Pearson
LearningStudio (eCollege) ). They can be reached by phone or by email 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
email: phone: 1-800-826-1665
For questions about logging into Pearson LearningStudio (eCollege) visit the online video:
10. TCU Campus Resources for Students: Many resources exist on the TCU campus that may be helpful to students: Mary Couts
Burnett Library (257-7117); Center for Academic Services (257-7486, Sadler Hall. 1022); the William L. Adams Writing Center
(257-7221, Reed Hall 419); Student Development Services (257-7855, BLUU 2003); and Office of Religious & Spiritual Life
(257-7830, Jarvis Hall), Campus Life (257-7926, Sadler Hall 2006), and the Counseling, Testing, and Mental Health Center (2577863, Brown Lupton Health Center).
Only the official TCU student email address will be used for all course notification. It is your responsibility to check your TCU email on a
regular basis.
11. Department Research Requirement: All COMM undergraduate students are required to participate in research projects
conducted or sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies. Examples of typical research activities include completing
opinion surveys, observing the communicative behavior of others, or assessing one’s own speaking performance or other
experiences during the course. Identities of all students participating in departmental research will be kept strictly confidential. All
research conducted with the assistance of COMM students will conform to the University’s policy for research involving humans.
Alternative activities, such as tests over readings on communication research, are available for students who are unable or do not
wish to participate in the Department’s research program.