CA348 Theories of Communication

for FA 2011

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CA 348 Theories of Communication


FA 2011 HO


Dr. J. Aitken


Professor, Communication Arts


Doctorate in Administration and Communication
Two Master's degrees--One in Speech, one in Curriculum & Leadership
Bachelor's in Communication Theory

Office Location

229 Copley, Parkville campus

Office Hours

By appointed and before and after class.

Daytime Phone



Class Days


Class Time

11:00 - 11:50 AM

Credit Hours



Wood, J. T. (2004). Communication theories in action: An introduction (3rd or most recent ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

ISBN-10: 0534566391

ISBN-13: 978-0534566395


American Pscyhological Association (APA). (2010). Publication manual (6th ed.). American Psychological Association.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
Companion Site (Textbook)

Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style

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:
This course is designed to provide a foundation of communication theories for research in communication studies.

Class Assessment:


45% In-class activities and minor assignments.  Grading is based on posts indicating understanding of textbook readings, number of posts, participation on multiple days in multiple threads, interaction with peers, and quality of substance in posts.

5% Midterm Test for 50 points DUE SUNDAY, WEEK 8.

20% Final Exam (200 points) during scheduled period.

5% Core Assessment Planning, including Abstract, Outline, & Reference List (50 points) DUE SUNDAY, WEEK 6.

25% Core Assessment RESEARCH PAPER (250 points) DUE WEEK 12.
Submit an original research proposal for your senior project, with emphasis on writing the Review of Literature for your senior project. If you will not write a senior project in communication studies, write a research paper on a communication topic related to your area of interests. The Research or term paper (worth a minimum of 20% of the total grade). In other words, take a contemporary communication issue or question and predict a finding based on published research from Communication and Mass Media Complete database (Ebsco Host). Follow American Psychological Association (APA style) and content for a research proposal.


Typically, final grades are earned according to the following scale:

A = 900-1000

B = 800-899

C = 700-799

D = 600-699

F = 599 or below

1000 points = 100%

Late Submission of Course Materials:
BE ON TIME.  Please read this information

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Please see

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:



      DUE Reading & Assignments

Concepts in Wood Text

Learning Anchor

Week 1-2

1.Read Preface, Chapter 1 & 2 in Wood’s text by Friday

2.Class activities.

3.Skim APA Manual by Friday

4.Skim course materials in eCompanion



Ch 1. Communication as a Field of Study.

Penguins because they have to find their way, work with others, and face challenges.

Week 2

Ch 2. Understanding Communication Theories.

Fortune Telling because theorists predict the future.



1.Read Chapter 3 & 4 in Wood text

2.3.Learn how to use Ebsco Host Communication & Mass Media Complete Database


Ch 3. Building and Testing Theory.

Sherlock Holmes because he is an observer, investigator, and draws conclusions.


4. An Early Communication Theory.

Polar bears because researchers are seeking to use science to save the species.



1.Read Chapter 5 & 6

2.Finish reading APA manual.

3.DUE in Dropbox:Abstract, Outline, and Reference list due.


5. Theories about Symbolic Activity.

Mardi Gras& Drama because in our communication we often dress up and put on a show.


6. Theories about Performance.

Lady GaGa because communication is often about performance, taking risks, and showing both the front and back sides of the stage.


7 & 8

1.Read Chapter 7 & 8


3.Midterm Test

7. Theories about How People Construct Meaning.

Hiking because our communication carries us forward, can be hard work, and we have to discover meaning.


8. Theories of Interpersonal Dynamics.

Signs because communication gives us cues, directs us, and is sometimes confusing.


9 & 10

1.Read Chapter 9 & 10  


9. Communication and the Evolution of Relationships.

Basketball because relationships mean we play on a team, work for the other’s success, and need to feel equity.


10. Theories about Communication Communities.

Cycling is the anchor because like bikes, communication communities carry us forward, make our tasks easier, and often determine where we will go and the opportunities we have.

Week 11 & 12

Read Chapter 11


11. Theories of Mass Communication.

Movie director because mass communication often directs the direction of our life stories.

Week 12

Presentations about project

DUE in Dropbox, Core Assessment

Week 13 & 14

1.Read Chapter 11 & 12


12. Critical Communication Theories.

Softball and Baseball because they typify how men and women can be separated.

Week 14

1.Read chapter 13 & 14



13. Frontiers

14. Final Look

Park University Pirates because they represent the rebellion, risks, and adventure of moving forward in communication research.

     Final exam as scheduled.

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93
Note, you should expect that your paper will be checked by plagiarism detection software.

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96
This is an activity and application class with a heavy portion of your grade coming from in-class performance.

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:7/20/2011 3:01:17 PM