CA501 Human Communication Perspectives

for S1P 2007

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.


CA 501 Human Communication Perspectives


S1P 2007 DL


Cohn, Lora


Assistant Professor of Communication Arts


B.S. Ed. Mass Communication, Truman State 1982
M.A. Communication Studies, University of Kansas 1995
Ph.D. Communication Studies, University of Kansas 2005

Office Location

9N Copley Hall

Office Hours

Tu 1-2 pm and 4:30-5:30 pm, T-F 10-11 am, and by appointment

Daytime Phone

816-584-6311 (fax 816-741-4371)

Other Phone

Home 816-741-8443


Semester Dates

Monday Jan. 15 through Sunday, March 11

Class Days

Assignments due Sunday of each week by midnight



Credit Hours



Required texts:  Dainton, M. & Zelley, E. D. (2005).  Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life: A Practical Introduction.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (ISBN 0761929142)

Littlejohn, S. W. & Foss, K. A. (2005).  Theories of Human Communication (8th Edition).  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.  (ISBN 0534638732)


Rubin, Rubin and Piele (2005).  Communication Research: Strategies and Sources (6th Edition).  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.  (ISBN 0534564860)


Recommended: American Psychological Association (2005). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. (ISBN 1557987912)

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
This course is a survey of communication theories from the interpersonal, small-group, and organizational contexts. It also serves as an introduction to graduate study. 3 cr.

Educational Philosophy:

When I went to graduate school, we read books and articles, discussed them in class, and wrote papers.  Through my teaching I have discovered that not everyone learns all they can in that type of system.  I believe even graduate education must address different learning styles and intelligences.  To that end, my class features activities, presentations, discussion, reflection, reading, and writing—I will try to balance activities meeting the needs of different learners with old graduate school standbys like reading and writing.  Writing is the most visible product of graduate education and the ability to clearly communicate via writing is a key skill for graduate students.  This course, therefore, will focus on writing skill.  Discussion and debate helps refine and justify ideas as well as enhancing critical thinking and communication skills which are also key outcomes of graduate education.  In this class, expect to defend your ideas and interpretations to develop these skills.  I will grade based on a balance of participation, writing, and testing so that all students have a chance to succeed. 


I am guided by this quote from Ayn Rand:  The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life - by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort--  Ayn Rand, "The Anti-Industrial Revolution"

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop a theory-based personal definition of communication and defend that definition.
  2. Explain the basic elements of a theory.
  3. Evaluate theories based on the standards developed in class.
  4. Contrast the seven traditions of communication theory.
  5. Identify, explain, and give a real-world example of the key theories from the following communication contexts/areas of study: intrapersonal communication, interpersonal communication, group communication, organizational communication, intercultural communication, mass communication, persuasion, and leadership.
  6. Demonstrate ability to use library resources for research.
  7. Synthesize information from a variety of sources.
  8. Develop and justify a research problem and develop a research question to guide future work.
  9. Differentiate between the types of research and research methods discussed in class.
  10. Explain the functions of different sections of an academic article.
  11. Demonstrate correct APA style.
  12. Evaluate their own and others
  13. Demonstrate the ability to successfully work with peers.
  14. Understand characteristics of effective graduate students.
  15. Write an organized, insightful, literature review focused on a research question.
  16. Demonstrate the ability to use PowerPoint and Demo Builder to create effective presentations.
  17. Make ethical choices in research and communication.
  18. Demonstrate basic knowledge of Park history.
Class Assessment:
Your grade will be based on the cumulative scores from tests and quizzes, papers and presentations, participation and homework, and the core assessment portfolio.



500 points roughly divided into the following areas:


Tests/Quizzes 130 points (roughly 25%)

Weekly tests over reading or APA style 8 @10 points each for 80 points.

Final exam 50 points


Papers/Presentations  120 points (roughly 25%)

Theory presentation 60 points

Literature review  60 points


Participation/Homework  150 points (roughly 30%)

Weekly assignments worth 10 points each, discussions worth 10 points each.


Core Assessment 100 points (roughly 20%)

Portfolio designed to illustrate mastery of all learning objectives.

Grading Scale:  450-500 points = A; 400-449 points = B; 350-399 points = C; 300- 349 points D; below 300 points = failing

Late Submission of Course Materials:
I expect all course work to be done on time.  If you know you will be out of contact for an extended time, please let me know.  You must contact me and make arrangements to turn work in late BEFORE the due date.   All late work will be penalized 10%.  All late work must be completed within two weeks of the original assignment unless special permission is granted.  Work is considered late if it is not in my possession by midnight on Sunday of the week beginning on Monday.  Plan ahead and start early.  It has been my experience that the night before an assignment is due, all the books in the library on the topic have been checked out and the computer systems will be down.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Writing: All work must be typed or word-processed.  Make sure all written work has been proofed and checked for spelling.  Spelling and grammatical errors hurt your credibility and reduce the possibility of effective communication.  I believe that writing is a means to learning; that there is a correlation between reading and writing; and that writing helps one discover, clarify, examine, and synthesize information.  Writing is, therefore, integral to this course and will be evaluated on its form as well as its content.  All papers should be typed, double-spaced, left justified, and use a 10-12 pt font.  Margins should be no larger than one inch.  If you are using a word processing program other than Word, please save the paper as an rtf file before submitting it to me.  NOTE: While computers make writing easier, you must realize that technology can cause problems.  Keep hard copies of papers you have submitted and save work in multiple places should we experience computer failure.


The 24-hour Rule:  Anytime you need to schedule an alternative day to turn in an assignment, you must contact me 24 hours prior to the assignment deadline you are trying to avoid.  Additionally, if you are dissatisfied with a grade on an assignment, you must wait 24 hours to talk to me about it.  There are no exceptions


Office Hours:  Please feel free to come to my office, email, or call to discuss papers, presentations, and any problems you are having.  If my office hours conflict with your schedule, we can arrange another time to meet.


Student/Teacher Responsibilities: As a graduate student you must accept responsibility for your own actions.  Reading for class, preparing for tests, completing assignments on time, and contributing to class discussions are the major responsibilities I expect from you as your part of the learning process.  My responsibility is to give you my best teaching effort, to create a positive learning climate, and to challenge you.  It takes work from both of us to make this a worthwhile experience.  Additionally, at times we will discuss controversial topics and have people who disagree with each other.  You and I both must remember that while each of us has a right to our own opinion, we must respect the right of others to have differing opinions.  Calling someone or some idea "stupid" creates a defensive communication climate and hampers the ability of all of us to learn.  Think before you criticize.   If anyone in class makes a comment you are uncomfortable with, please contact me immediately and first.  Apologies and policy changes are best handled in the classroom. Finally, come talk to me when you have questions, concerns, or suggestions about the class.  It is less frustrating for both of us if you ask questions before the assignment is due, rather than after it has affected your performance. 



Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:





Week one

Intro to course


Rubin, Rubin, & Piele, Chaps. 1-2, Appendix A
Littlejohn & Foss, Chap. 1
Scavenger hunts

How to read a journal article

APA style quick-sheet

Week two

Foundations of communication theory

Littlejohn & Foss Chaps. 2-3,

Dainton & Zelley Chap. 1,

Rubin, Rubin, & Piele Chaps. 3-5

Style quiz,

Defend definitions

Week three

The communicator and the message

Littlejohn & Foss Chaps. 4-5,

Dainton & Zelley Chap. 2,

Rubin, Rubin, & Piele Chaps. 6-8

Style quiz

Defining a research problem

Week four

The conversation and the relationship

Littlejohn & Foss Chaps. 6-7,

Dainton & Zelley Chap. 3,

Rubin, Rubin, & Piele Chap.10

Annotated bibliography 1,
Exploring com journals

Week five

Group and organizational theory

Littlejohn & Foss Chaps.  8-9,

Dainton & Zelley Chaps. 7-8,

Rubin, Rubin, & Piele Chap. 9, 11-12

Annotated bibliography 2

Week six

Media, culture, and society

Littlejohn & Foss Chaps. 10-11,

Dainton & Zelley Chaps. 4, 9

Study design

Week seven

Persuasion and leadership

Dainton & Zelley Chaps. 5-6

Draft of lit review
Week eight Communication competence and wrap up of semester Foss, Chap. 12
Dainton & Zelley, Chap. 10
Lit Review  Due

Final Exam Due

Portfolio Due

This does not represent a contract.  I reserve the right to make alterations in the syllabus during the semester.
This material is copyright and cannot be reused without author permission.

© Lora Cohn, 2006

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 23-24


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct. Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 23-24

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences in excess of four (4) class periods, in a 16-week semester (or 2, in an 8-week term) will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Dean, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified by mail that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 27

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:12/21/2006 2:52:42 PM