CA348 Theories of Communication

for SP 2009

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CA 348 Theories of Communication


SP 2009 HO


Vasquez, Ashley


Assistant Professor of Communication Arts/Adjunct Faculty


Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Park University
Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership/Park University

Office Location

By Appointment

Office Hours

By Appointment

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

Jan. 12-May 8

Class Days


Class Time

9:00 - 9:50 AM

Credit Hours


Littlejohn, S. and Foss, K. Theories of Human Communication. Ninth Edition. ISBN: 9780495095873

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:
CA348 Theories of Communication - The study of communication theories with emphasis on peoples interactions with the media and one another. The course focuses on how communication affects human attitudes and behavior. Includes a review of media influence in the individual, social and political arenas. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
The instructor's educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, exams, group projects, writing and more. I will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.

Class Assessment:
Class assessment will be based on quizzes, exams, written work, a group project presentation, participation and a research project.


Exams (mid-term and final): 250 points; 25 percent of total grade
Group Project presentation: 150 points: 15 percent of total grade
Research paper (core assessment): 250 points: 25 percent of total grade
Short reaction papers: 130 points: 13 percent of total grade
Exercises and other written work: 100 points: 10 percent of total grade
Participation: 120 points: 12 percent of total grade

Late Submission of Course Materials:
All course work is expected to be completed on time. If you know you will not be able to complete an assignment before the assignment due date during particular class period, talk to me or email me with at least 24 hours notice and you will be allowed to turn the assignment in late. The instructor must receive all authorized late assignments before the beginning of the next class period to avoid a 10% grade deduction. No assignments will be accepted after two weeks of being late unless arranged with instructor under very special circumstances.

The 24-hour Rule
As mentioned above, 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. In case of sudden illness on a day a major assignment is due, you must contact me, or at least leave a message, before the class meets, not the next class period.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Group Work
Often during the semester we will be working in groups. Get your group members’ phone numbers and call them when you are absent to get notes, assignments, etc. When an activity or assignment is designated as a group activity, collaboration is expected. When an activity is not specifically designated as a group activity you are to be the only individual to work on that assignment. If you collaborate on an activity not designated as a group activity and there is enough evidence of that collaboration to catch my attention you and your collaborators will receive a 0 for that assignment. I will neither ask for, nor accept, any explanations.

Communication Devices
All communication devices must be turned off, or set on silent, during the class session. No phone calls or text messages are to be sent or received without the instructor’s permission. If you are expecting an important message, notify the instructor in advance. You must have permission from the instructor to answer messages during class.

Word Processing
All assignments must be word processed (typed) unless otherwise instructed by professor.

Class Cancellations
If class is canceled for any reason, the class period following the canceled class will cover the material that should have been covered on the canceled day. Be sure to check your Park University email for any canceled class information and what to expect when you return after a canceled class.

Instructor Availability
Please feel free to discuss papers, presentations, and any problems you are having. I am available by email at least once per day and often more. Also, I will provide students with a cell phone number to reach me in case of emergencies since I do not have a permanent office. However, abuse of this privilege – forcing me to change my number – will result in limited email contact only in the future.
Extra Credit
At various times during the semester, extra credit opportunities will be given. You must have at least a C grade at the time the extra credit is recorded to be able to attempt the extra credit assignment. No extra credit will be allowed during the last two weeks of class.

Student/Teacher Responsibilities
• As a college 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. I vow to do my very best for you and if you have any suggestions for improvement, those are welcome in a private setting.
• 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. 
• 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. Additionally, if someone in the class or I make a comment you are uncomfortable with, please contact me immediately and first. Apologies and policy changes are best handled as soon as possible.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:




Assignment Due

Week 1

Jan. 12, 14, 16

Introduction to Communication Theory

Chapters 1

Written Assessment  1 – F

Week 2

Jan. 21, 23


Communication theory traditions

Chapter 2 and 3

Reaction Paper 1 – W

Week 3

Jan. 26, 28, 30

The Communicator

Chapter 4

Written Assessment 2 – F

Week 4

Feb. 2, 4, 6

The Message

Chapter 5

Reaction Paper 2 – F

Week 5

Feb. 9, 11, 13

The Conversation

Chapter 6

Written Assessment 3 – F

Week 6

Feb. 18, 20


The Relationship

Chapter 7

Reaction Paper 3 – W

Group Project Outline - F

Week 7

Feb. 23, 25, 27

The Media

Chapter 10

Quiz 4 – F

Week 8

March 2, 4, 6

The Media

Chapter 10

Midterm Exam – F





Week 9

March 16, 18, 20

Culture and Society

Chapter 11

Research topic proposal – M

Week 10

March 22, 24, 26



Written Assessment  5 – F

Group Projects – M, W

Week 11

March 30, April 1, 3

The Group

Chapter 8

Reaction Paper 4 – F

Week 12

April 6, 8


The Group, cont.

Chapter 8

Research fact sheet - W

Week 13

April 13, 15, 17

The Organization

Chapter 9

Research draft one – F

Week 14

April 20, 22, 24

The Organization

Chapter 9

Written Assessment 6 – F

Final research draft – F

Week 15

April 27, 29, May 1

Final Review, Research proposals

Final Review,

Research proposals

Final research paper due - F

Week 16


Class date to be announced



In-class FINAL

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 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
If you have a question about whether you may or may not be plagiarizing, just ask! There are some significant gray areas in plagiarism and there are no “stupid” questions. It is always safe to side with caution.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
In communication classes, regular attendance is a necessity if the student expects to master the course content. Participation in class exercises, listening, contributing to discussion and analyzing the communication efforts of other students are primary means of learning. Absence from class has a direct bearing on performance quality and final grade. Further, when you are absent it is your responsibility to get the assignments and notes you missed. It is not the responsibility of the instructor to see that you are caught up. If you anticipate missing any classes, let me know as soon as possible.

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: .



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Last Updated:12/16/2008 9:29:01 AM