CA348 Theories of Communication

for U1T 2011

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CA 348 Theories of Communication


U1T 2011 DL


Dr. J. E. Aitken


Professor, Communication, Park University


Doctorate in Higher Education and Communication
Two Master's.

Office Location

229 Copley, 8700 NW River Park Drive, Park University, Parkville, MO 64152

Office Hours

By appointment.

Daytime Phone

See course announcements, "Contact Information"


Class Days


Class Time



None, although students are typically juniors pursuing a communication arts major or minor, or leadership minor.

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:

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:

WELCOME TO THIS COURSE! You will gain knowledge, skills, and values about communication theories. The course is designed to help you understand research and theory development in the field of communication studies.  Our intention is to provide the foundation of communication theory and research to enhance your education and career.  You will learn how to answer your own questions about communication by using high quality databases, specifically, Ebsco Host's Communication and Mass Media Complete.  In addition, this course will be the first step in completing the Organizational Communication senior project for majors. 

The Department guidelines state:  "We are committed, as professionals and scholars, to the importance of a liberal arts education for communicators. We have seen this value in practice, and we know it makes an important difference in the profession."

Class Assessment:


           35% Discussion Board weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 (50 points each for 350 points) POSTS DUE WED, FRI, SUN.  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.

·         10% chapter quizzes for 100 points DUE SUNDAY

           5% Midterm Test for 50 points DUE SUNDAY, WEEK 4.

           20% Final Exam (200 points) DUE FRIDAY, WEEK 8.

           5% Core Assessment Planning, including Abstract, Outline, & Reference List (50 points)   DUE SUNDAY, WEEK 3.

           25% Core Assessment RESEARCH PAPER (250 points) DUE SUNDAY, WEEK 6. 
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:


In class activities and minor assignments cannot be made up because they happen in class each week as we go along. 

A late core assessment or presentation is due one week from the original date along with a brief research paper on the meaning of time as communication in the US culture.  The grade for an assignment more than one week late is typically severely docked (cut 50%). 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Individual professors may have different expectations.  If you have questions, please talk to your professor.

Be respectful in all aspects of the course. 


DROPBOX Please go to In eCollege, the Dropbox is a good place for private communication.

You will see information about grades and feedback on assignments inside eCollege through the Gradebook, Dropbox, or Discussion Board (whichever fits the assignment). 

EMAIL Email is fine for questions about course content. I answer emails promptly, so if you don’t receive a response from me in a day or so, contact me again! Make sure you send your email via your so it isn’t blocked by Park’s email security. 

Because of the lack of security, EMAIL IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR DISCUSSING GRADES OR SUBMITTING ASSIGNMENTS. Assignments submitted by email will not be accepted.

If there is a question about your grade, please talk to me directly by phone or inside the eCollege dropbox.


Students can submit in the appropriate dropbox or Discussion board in eCollege. All assignments are due by 11:59 PM Parkville, MO time on Sunday weeks 1-7 and Friday week 8.

In the past, a few students have tried to use unreadable files to stall for additional time to complete an assignment. Don’t do it. Submitting an unreadable file is at best unfair to other students who do their assignments correctly or at worst an attempt to cheat in the course. Again, unreadable assignments will receive an automatic zero without the ability to revise (for example, no Word Perfect, no LPI, no Zip).

NAME For an assignment in an electronic file, put your last name first as part of the file name, such as this kind of information:


Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


DUE Reading & Assignments

Concepts in Wood Text

Learning Anchor



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

2.    Discussion Board. Participate multiple days (by Wed., Fri., & Sun.)

3.    Skim APA Manual by Friday

4.    Skim course materials and assignments (including senior project & core assessment)

5.    Complete Chapter 1 & 2 quiz


Ch 1. Communication as a Field of Study. 

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


Ch 2. Understanding Communication Theories.

Fortune Telling because theorists predict the future.



1.    Read Chapter 3 & 4 in Wood text by Tuesday.

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

4.    Discussion Board.

5.    Complete Chapter 3 & 4 quiz

Ch 3. Building and Testing Theory.

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

2 Additional

4. An Early Communication Theory.

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



1.    Read Chapter 5 & 6 by Tuesday.

2.    Finish reading APA manual.

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

4.    Discussion Board.

5.    Complete Chapter 5  quiz and APA quiz

5. Theories about Symbolic Activity.

Mardi Gras

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

3 Additional

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.



1.    Read Chapter 7 & 8 by Tuesday

2.    Discussion Board.

3.    DUE Sunday: Midterm test on chapters 1-8 and APA manual

7. Theories about How People Construct Meaning.

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

4 Additional

8. Theories of Interpersonal Dynamics.

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



1.    Read Chapter 9 & 10 by Tuesday

2.    Discussion Board

3.    Complete Chapter 9 & 10 quiz

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.

5 Additional

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 6

No new reading

No required discussion board.

1.    DUE in Dropbox Sunday: Core Assessment

No new reading No new reading

Week 7

1.    Read Chapter 11 & 12 by Tuesday

2.    Discussion Board.
Complete quiz for chapter 11 & 12

11. Theories of Mass Communication.

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



12. Critical Communication Theories.

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

Week 8

1.    Read chapter 13 & 14

2.    Discussion Board.

3.    DUE Friday: Final Exam

 13. Frontiers

14. Final Look

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

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 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

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 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

Work needs to be original for this course. Cite and reference the source of information in speeches and papers, whether a direct quote or paraphrased in your own words.  

US society values private ownership, including ownership of ideas. Cite and reference all sources of information and ideas according to APA style.  Academic integrity is crucial to this course. You will see basic expectations in your Park University catalog and in your APA manual.

USE YOUR OWN WORDS in everything you write or present in this course.  


BE RESPONSIBLE.  When conducting research and preparing assignments, take precise, correct, and careful notes.  Use your own words by paraphrasing, but remember to record a reference listing of the source you will use.  Any notes where you copy the words of others need to be indicated by quotation marks and referenced so you remember the source.  If you are unsure, go back and look it up.

Plagiarism in this course is failure to use APA style by crediting the source of ideas or information.

Some examples of plagiarism include the following:
1. Using words from a journal article without using quotation marks.
2. Using a review of literature information from a journal article without indicating that you are citing the secondary source.  You should look it up in the original source--primary source--if you plan to use the information.
3. Failing to use quotation marks when providing a direct quotation.
4. Failing to cite and reference the source of paraphrased ideas.
5. Using part or all of an assignment turned in previously in another course.
6. Using part or all of an assignment written by another student or someone else.
7.  Coping cited text without using quotation marks for the real author's words.
8.  Using a “service” that provides student assignments.
9.  Using material taken from the Internet.

Academic dishonesty includes unethical behavior, such as falsification of data.
Some examples of unethical research or writing include the following:
1. Taking any material—even a sentence—directly from another source without using quotation marks.
2. Quoting more than 200 words from a single source, even when using quotation marks, a citation, and reference listing.
3.  Quoting an author's abstract or other published words in a review of literature.

Under Park University policy, academic dishonesty can result in a failing grade for the assignment, course, or expulsion. Previously in some communication courses, students have earned an "F" for assignments that appear to be plagiarized or an "F" in the course when a section of the major course assignment (core assessment) appears to be plagiarized.

Faculty may use plagiarism detection software to determine whether the content can be found through the Internet, published sources, or in an assignment submitted by another student at another university.  Any student who duplicates content--as identified by Turnitin software--without direct quotation marks and proper citation should expect a course grade of "F."

The Style Manual for the Communication Studies is  APA (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

READ and KNOW American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Requirements for this program:

Expectations of ethical behaviors pp. 11-20.
Compliance checklist p. 20.
Complying With Ethical, Legal, and Policy Requirements, p. 231-236.
Crediting Sources pp. 169-174.
Self-plagiarism, pp. 16, 29, 170.

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.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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: .

Additional Information:


Dr. Joan E. Aitken is Professor, Arts and Communication, Park University. She joined the Park faculty in 2005 after teaching at the University of Missouri, University of Louisiana, and University of Arkansas. Dr. Aitken also taught in the People’s Republic of China and Jamaica.

Dr. Aitken is a nationally recognized scholar. Recently, she
received Park University's "Distinguished Faculty Scholar" for the year, President's Award. Dr. Aitken has published eight books. In addition, she has authored five instructor’s manuals (three in the second edition or later), provided Web development for four publishers, and published 50 articles and reports. Dr. Aitken was editor of the National Communication Association’s The Communication Teacher and served on the editorial board of NCA’s Communication Education. She has obtained $3.5 million in competitive grant funding, including $1.5 million as the primary grant writer and others as a collaborative team member.

Regarding her education, Dr. Aitken received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Theory, a Master’s in Speech, a second Master’s in Curriculum and Leadership, and a doctorate in Higher Education and Communication. She was educated at Michigan State University, University of Arkansas, and University of Missouri. To improve her online instructional skills, she has taken more than 30 post-graduate hours online through three different universities. Dr. Aitken is currently studying Spanish at Park University in preparation for her acceptance to the Fulbright Scholars program abroad.




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Last Updated:5/13/2011 9:59:34 AM