CA501 Human Communication Perspectives

for S1P 2011

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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 2011 DL


Cohn, Lora


Assistant Professor of Communication


B.S. Ed. Mass Communication, Truman State
M.A. Communication Studies, KU
Ph.D. Communication Studies, KU

Office Location

9N Copley Hall

Office Hours

1:30-3:30pm M; 2-5pm T; 9:00-10:00 am W; 1:30-3:30pm W; and by appointment

Daytime Phone

816-584-6311 (fax 816-505-5454)

Other Phone



Semester Dates

Monday Jan. 10 through Sunday, March 6

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours


Littlejohn, S. W. & Foss, K. A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication (10th Edition). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. (ISBN 1577667069)

 American Psychological Association (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).  Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. (ISBN 978-1-4338-0562-2)

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

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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. 3:0:3

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.
  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' writing.
  13. Demonstrate the ability to successfully work with peers.
  14. Develop a research question to guide future work.
  15. Write an organized, insightful, literature review focused on a research question.
  16. Demonstrate the ability to use PowerPoint or Demo Builder to create effective presentations.
  17. Make ethical choices in research and communication.
Class Assessment:
You will demonstrate that you have mastered the learner outcomes through: oral presentations, discussion, homework, examinations, and writing. 


500 points:

Exams/quizzes 120 points
APA style quiz 20 pts; Final exam 100 pts

Theory Presentation 100 points
Discussion 80 points

Literature Review and Writing Process 160 points
Literature review worth 100 points; list of sources 10 points; map of literature review 10 points;
peer review 20 points;  draft 20 points

Misc. Writing 40 points
10 points each for:
Defining Communication; Research Problem; Article Review; Ann Landers letter/response


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 computer contact for an extended period of time, please warn me. You must contact me and make arrangements to turn work in late--before the due date--- not after the due date.  All late work will be penalized 10%. All late work must be completed within one week of the original assignment unless special permission is granted. Work is considered late if it is not in my possession by midnight on Sunday. 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 is proof read and spell checked. 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. NOTE: While computers make writing easier, you must realize that technology can cause problems. Do not assume you can print the document off a disk two minutes before class. Bring copies of papers you have printed well in advance of the due date. It is wise to save work in multiple places and to keep paper copies as backups.


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. 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. Be sure to have a doctor's note or receipt to substantiate your illness.

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. This means if we do not have class on the Monday on which you were supposed to give a presentation, be ready to give it the next Monday! There will be no exceptions. If class is cancelled, we will schedule a date to meet to replace the missed class.

Office Hours: Please feel free to come to my office 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
Littlejohn & Foss, chapter. 1
Due: Article Review
Due: Discussion
Week two
Foundations of communication theory
Littlejohn & Foss chapters 2-3
Due: Defining Communication
Due: Discussion
Week three
The communicator and the message
Littlejohn & Foss chapters 4-5
Due: Defining a research problem
Due: Discussion
Week four
The conversation and the relationship
Littlejohn & Foss chapters 6-7
Due: Ann Landers letter and response
Due: Discussion
Week five
Group and organizational theory
Littlejohn & Foss chapters 8-9
Due: List of sources for lit review
Due: Discussion
Week six
Media, culture, and society
Littlejohn & Foss Chaps. 10-11
Due: Map of lit review 
Due: Style Quiz
Due: Discussion
Week seven
Persuasion and leadership
Handouts in Doc Sharing
Due: Draft of lit review
Due: Peer edits
Due: Discussion
Week eight
Communication competence and wrap up of semester
Handouts in Doc Sharing
Due: Discussion
Due: Final Draft Lit Review
Due: Final Exam
NOTE:  Theory Presentations are due during weeks five, six, and seven, depending on your topic.  Your instructor will give the group a due date for the presentation.

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 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20


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 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 20

Attendance Policy:

Instructors 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 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog Page 24
Note: Graduate students do not miss class.  Anyone missing class for any reason should expect to do significant work to make up the learning experiences missed.

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:12/27/2010 6:03:44 PM