CA501 Human Communication Perspectives

for S2P 2010

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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


S2P 2010 MCX


McDonald, Michael


Adjunct Faculty


University of Missouri Kansas City BA
University of MIssouri Kansas City MA
University of Kansas PhD

Office Location

Univeristy of Missouri Kansas City Maniheim 104D

Office Hours

3-4 pm Central Time

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

January 11-March 7

Class Days


Class Time


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).  Concise Rules of APA Style.  American Psychological Association: Washington, D.C.  (ISBN 1591472520

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.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
CA 501 Human Communication Perspectives: 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.

Educational Philosophy:
Instructor’s 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. 

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. 1.  Develop a theory-based personal definition of communication and defend that definition.
  2. 2.  Explain the basic elements of a theory.
  3. 3.  Evaluate theories based on the standards developed in class.
  4. 4.  Contrast the seven traditions of communication theory.
  5. 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. 6.  Demonstrate ability to use library resources for research.
  7. 7.  Synthesize information from a variety of sources.
  8. 8.  Develop and justify a research problem.
  9. 9.  Differentiate between the types of research and research methods discussed in class.
  10. 9.  Differentiate between the types of research and research methods discussed in class.
  11. 10.  Explain the functions of different sections of an academic article.
  12. 11.  Demonstrate correct APA style.
  13. 12.  Evaluate their own and others' writing..
  14. 13.  Demonstrate the ability to successfully work with peers.
  15. 14.  Write an organized, insightful, literature review focused on a research question.
  16. 15.  Demonstrate the ability to use PowerPoint to create effective presentations.
  17. 16.  Make ethical choices in research and communication.
  18. 17.  Demonstrate basic knowledge of Park history.
  19. 18.  Understand characteristics of effective graduate students.
Class Assessment:

Course assessment: You will demonstrate that you have mastered the learner outcomes through: oral presentations, discussion, homework, examinations, and writing.  You will collect your work and turn in a portfolio of much of the original work for the core assessment of the class.


Grading plan:

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%)

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late Work: I expect all course work to be done on time.  If you know you will be absent a particular class period, come talk to.  Illness, sudden or otherwise, is no excuse for missing a due date.  You must contact me and make arrangements 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 5:00pm on the date due.  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:

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

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Schedule




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 final paper

Week eight

Communication competence and wrap up of semester

Foss, Chap. 12

Dainton & Zelley Chap. 10

Final paper

Final exam


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.

© Michael McDonald 2010

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31


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 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31-32

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 for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 35

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:3/17/2010 10:08:34 AM