Principles of communication

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Master Syllabus
Instructor: Section:

Phone: Office:

E-Mail: Office Hours:
NOTE: The following information is designed as an overview of general COMM 1113 policies. COMM 1113 instructors will choose to supplement and clarify this syllabus with individualized content for their classes. One syllabus does not replace the other; rather, the documents work in tandem. An individual instructor’s class policies will not violate departmental, college, or university policy.

A college education fosters a way and kind of learning that moves one beyond immediate interests and present knowledge into a larger world; it is an education that not only disciplines minds in the pursuit of knowledge, but develops whole persons who are resilient enough to confront, evaluate, and influence the changing society in which they live. It is only through the skillful use of symbols that we are able to build critical links between our ideas and the ideas of others, thereby understanding and affecting our relationships, our social systems, and our world.

For this reason, communication skills and theory are at the very center of the educational experience. It is here that you are required to think clearly and correctly, to speak responsibly, to adapt to the needs of others with sensitivity, to listen and to treat listeners ethically, and to express yourself with power and conviction.
This course is designed to combine the study of communication theory with practical applications of these ideas into your communication decisions. You will develop an understanding and appreciation of the study of human communication from a variety of perspectives and contexts and will apply these theories to your communication experiences. The course involves understanding diverse contexts of communication, practice in speaking and listening, critical thinking, decision making, and the logical and coherent construction and presentation of researched material.
Assignments in this course will require you to identify your information needs, locate information, analyze the credibility of information, and use information effectively in oral and written communication. This is an opportunity for you to develop skills in information literacy, and to rigorously use the resources that are available to you as a responsible scholar.

Tubbs, S. L., Moss, S., Hybels, S., & Weaver, R. L., II. (2009). Selected chapters from human communication (11th ed.) & communicating effectively (9th ed.). Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Custom Publishing.

Kelley, K. M. (Ed.). (2009). Student workbook for communication 1113 (3rd ed.). Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Custom Publishing.


Human Communication (11th ed.) Communicating Effectively (9th ed.)

If you have any questions about COMM 1113 policies contact your instructor.

Much of what you will learn in this course will come from classroom discussions, lectures, and activities. As a result, your attendance and participation in each class session is very important. Excessive absences, i.e., greater than one week of class, will negatively influence your grade. Following are the number of absences you are allowed for your discussion section:

MW and TR classes: Two (2) absences

Evening classes: One (1) absence
Additional absences beyond the allotted amount will result in a ten (10) point deduction from your overall point total for each occurrence.
Concerning emergencies / participation in university-sponsored events, the student is responsible for providing appropriate documentation as to the reason for the absence, i.e. through doctor’s notes, providing the instructor with wedding or funeral programs, and documentation regarding participation IN EACH INDIVIDUAL university-sponsored event. You are required to manage your time to meet obligations, and are responsible for material covered in your absence. Late work will not be accepted without prior consultation and is subject to a grade reduction (see next section).
Late Assignments:

In everyday life people must learn to cope with a variety of deadlines and plan their work and personal schedules around them. If you are unable to attend class because you are sick or involved in a university sanctioned activity, it is your responsibility to send any due assignments to class with another student by class time on the due date. A rigid policy is followed in all sections of COMM 1113 for the following reasons:

  1. to encourage and emphasize the importance of meeting deadlines

  2. to enable course time management

  3. to maximize consistent grading

  4. to schedule equal amounts of group and speech time for each student

  5. to avoid attempting to determine the validity or priority of one student’s excuse over another’s

  6. to ensure fair treatment for students who complete their work on time

  7. because a group performance assignment cannot be repeated.

If you hand in an assignment late (any time after the assignment has been collected), 20% will automatically be deducted from your grade on the assignment for each weekday the assignment is late, regardless of the reason for the late assignment. Anything over five (5) days late will receive a zero (0).
Speaking assignments and group projects are unique in that it is difficult, if not impossible, to make up these assignments with the same conditions present as were originally intended. Thus, speaking and group assignments must be done when scheduled or you will receive a grade of zero (0). Exceptions to this policy would be made only under extreme circumstances (e.g., extreme illness, hospitalization, funeral attendance, etc.).
If you have a serious or extended illness, you should speak with your instructor to make necessary arrangements well in advance of any complications you may face with the assignment schedule.

Education can be engaging! However, each individual in the class needs to be committed to involvement with the material in order for this course to be effective. Attendance is expected, but more than just your presence—your cooperation and willingness to share your observations and insights is essential. When a reading assignment is made, you are expected to come to class not only having read the material, but also prepared to discuss it in a meaningful way. Participation points will comprise 100 points of the total class points. If you miss a participation assignment, regardless of the reason, you will not be allowed to make-up the assignment or activity.

Each discussion section instructor has an allotment of 100 participation points to distribute at their discretion. Each chapter study outline, defining and understanding key terms exercise, journal entry, and activity in the workbook is worth five points. In order to receive full credit for each item, it must be clearly and critically completed.
A student can lose participation points for not correctly completing assigned portions of the workbook in a timely manner, as well as behaviors that are disruptive to the class. Such behaviors include (but are not limited to): reading newspapers, magazines or other materials; talking; sleeping; text messaging, etc.; and general unresponsiveness during class discussions and lectures.
Research Component:

A student must earn 20 research points to fulfill the research-participation component of this course. This is NOT an extra credit assignment.

Option 1: A student may elect to participate in an approved research project or projects in the Department of Communication. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the research is being conducted in the Department of Communication. A student will earn 20 points for one hour of participation in an approved Department of Communication research study. The COMM 1113 director will determine point allotment for each research opportunity and will inform each instructor.

Option 2: A student may elect to read two research articles relevant to course content and approved in advance by the instructor and then complete a written report summarizing and responding to the findings. A student will earn 10 points for each written summary report, and can earn up to 20 points total, 10 points for each article. Approval of articles must be secured before the following date, which is to be determined by your instructor:_______________.

Each exam will come from the material covered in the large lectures, the discussion sections, and the textbook in the form of multiple-choice, matching, and true/false questions.

You must be at all examinations at the scheduled time. No early examinations will be given unless you have a university-sanctioned excuse. If you miss an exam, you can make up the examination but an automatic fifty-percent (50%) deduction will be taken from the examination score.

Instructors will grade assignments using a point system. For each assignment there is an assignment description and evaluation form in the workbook, which explains the expectations. The point breakdown below represents the maximum credit allowed for each assignment. Every semester there is the possibility of up to 2% extra credit is available to each COMM 1113 student; however, this is no guarantee if and how much extra credit will be available each semester. The details regarding how to earn the extra credit will be provided by the instructors.

Assignment Possible Points Earned Points

Career Writing Assignment 35 ____________

Comm Research Project & Presentation

Information Retrieval 20 ____________

Information Processing 40 ____________

Presentation with Visual Aid 50 ____________

Outline & Reference Page 25 ____________

Peer Presentation Evaluation 10 ____________

Exam 1 150 ____________

Exam 2 150 ____________

Participation (Instructor) Points 100 ____________

Research Component 20 ____________

TOTAL POINTS 600 ____________
Grades will be earned according to the traditional A-F system. An “A” (90-100%) denotes work that is outstanding relative to the basic course requirements; a “B” (80-89%) denotes work significantly above the basic course requirements; a “C” (70-79%) denotes work that meets the basic course requirements in every respect; and a “D” (60-69%) denotes work that does not meet the basic course requirements, but is worthy of credit. Any work that fails to meet these standards will accordingly receive the grade of “F” (0-59%). Please note: All major assignments must be completed in order for you to receive credit for the course.

Students need to take responsibility for their own motivation and learning. Each assignment should be original and done completely by each student. Student dishonesty includes plagiarism, using someone else’s work as one’s own, removing an examination from the classroom, unauthorized communication with another student during or about tests, falsifying work, turning in another student’s name on an assignment when that student failed to contribute, looking at another student’s work during testing, and similar misconduct. Please carefully read the university policy on academic misconduct. Violating this code of conduct is a serious infraction. In most cases, the minimum penalty is a grade of F for the course; the maximum penalty is expulsion from the university. The academic misconduct code is included in the student code available at All instances of alleged academic misconduct will be thoroughly investigated and action will be taken according to the rights and responsibilities under the academic misconduct code described at For a straightforward introduction to plagiarism and how to avoid it, visit

As a rule, an instructor at the University of Oklahoma has the responsibility of enforcing the academic code.

This course entails three major components: 1) the mass lecture, 2) the discussion section, and 3) the text/workbook. Each component must be given equal credence in order to maximize the COMM 1113 course experience. To prepare for class participation and the three examinations in COMM 1113 you are strongly encouraged to complete the chapter outlines provided for you within this workbook. Outline headings and content directly correspond to the information presented in the course textbook. Completion of these chapter outlines in a timely and cumulative manner will significantly improve your ability to study efficiently for the exams. Moreover, the completed outlines and key terms pages constitute a comprehensive study guide for the standardized textbook portion of the COMM 1113 exams. Use of the outlines and/or key term workbook pages during the exams, however, is not permitted.


The Writing Center provides free, confidential writing assistance to students. If you would like help from the Writing Center with your pre-writing, organizing, revising, and/or documenting sources, make an appointment for a free, 30 minute conference with a Writing Center consultant by calling 405-325-2936. Call early—openings for appointments go quickly! You may also make an appointment on their web site at

You may also wish to consult the library’s staff for assistance with research questions you may encounter as you complete the course assignments. While library staff members in general are available to assist you with your questions, Cheryl McCain is the communication department’s specialized contact person. She may be reached via e-mail at:


It is the policy of the University to excuse the absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. Please inform your instructor in advance if you have any conflicts in this regard.


The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who require accommodations in this course are requested to speak with the instructor as early in the semester as possible. Students with disabilities must be registered with the Disability Resource Center prior to receiving accommodations in this course. The Disability Resource Center is located in Goddard Health Center, Suite 166. Phone: 405-325-3852 and Website:

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