Topic outline

  • Course Introduction

    In the 1960's, H. Marshall McLuhan, media theorist, critic, and visionary, asserted that societies are changed by the advances of technology, especially communication technologies. He is well known for his prophecy that communication technology would one day make us one great "global village.” In the end, the processes and theories regarding communication in our daily lives to exchange information, create meaning, and share understanding remain a critical component of human relationships. Whether we are chatting with a stranger while waiting for a bus, solving a problem with a group of coworkers, or sharing our dreams and goals with our best friend, principles and practices of human communication are at the foundation of each of these human transactions.

    This course provides an introduction to the human communication concentration in the communications major. This course will introduce you to communication principles, common communication practices, and a selection of theories to better understand the communication transactions that you experience in your daily life. The principles and practices that you study in this course will provide the foundation for further advanced studies and skills required in the communications major.

    Your studies in this course will begin with an overview of communication as a process along with basic principles and theories. Subsequent units in the course examine specific applications of human communication in your personal and professional life. These include interpersonal communication, small group communication and decision making, and organizational communication or human communication in the workplace.

    By the end of this course, you will be able to identify the process of human communication in a number of settings that affect your daily activities. Additionally, you will be able to use the principles and theories to improve communication transactions in your life and understand how communication adds to the success of professional and personal relationships.

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  • Unit 1: Foundations Of Human Communication

    This first unit will provide an overview of human communication, its components, practices, and theories. At the heart of this unit is the process of human communication and appreciating the nature of the communication transaction between individuals. You will investigate forms of human communication, the communication process, as well as principles and theories that are used to assess and explain communication practices. The components that you study in this unit provide building blocks for the applied units that follow.

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  • Unit 2: Interpersonal Communication

    You engage in interpersonal communication every day, for example with strangers at the grocery store, with friends and family at home, or with peers at work. This second unit will define interpersonal communication and will provide an application of the basic elements addressed in Unit 1. You will investigate interpersonal communication in its formal and informal settings. This unit will also include a discussion of conflict management. Conflicts arise in all relationships - with family and friends as well as with colleagues in the work or service environment. Understanding and applying human communication principles to these situations can often help to diffuse conflicts and even prevent conflict. In the units to follow, you will explore additional applications of interpersonal communication.

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  • Unit 3: Group Communication

    You apply the principles of interpersonal communication in many settings in your daily life. A common setting is while working in small groups or teams. This type of communication happens casually as you interact with family and friends as well as more formally when you attempt to solve a challenge at work, at school, or while volunteering for a service activity. This unit will focus on the principles of small group communication. A more thorough discussion of formal organizational communication will be addressed in Unit 4.

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  • Unit 4: Organizational Communication

    In this unit, you will explore the application of interpersonal communication in the organizational (work) setting. This unit will apply principles studied in the previous units to workplace communication transactions. While scholars refer to this as organizational communication, it is also commonly known as corporate communication.

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  • Unit 5: Mass Communication

    In this unit, you will explore the concept and theories of mass communication. This unit will explore the application of mass communication and the impact of mass communication on human communication and behavior. Mass communication and mass media have a great influence on our daily behavior and our relationship communications. We develop our understanding of other people by the media reports and entertainment programs we watch. In this way, the mass media have an affect on our potential relationships with other people - those like us and those different from us. This course focuses on human communication specifically, understanding mass communication is an interesting artifact of our global society that affects all human communication. Additionally, a number of mass communication applications are used by organizations to communicate to their members as well as constituencies outside their organizations.

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  • Optional Course Evaluation Survey

    Please take a few moments to provide some feedback about this course at the link below. Consider completing the survey whether you have completed the course, you are nearly at that point, or you have just come to study one unit or a few units of this course.

    Link: Optional Course Evaluation Survey (HTML)

    Your feedback will focus our efforts to continually improve our course design, content, technology, and general ease-of-use. Additionally, your input will be considered alongside our consulting professors' evaluation of the course during its next round of peer review. As always, please report urgent course experience concerns to and/or our Discourse forums.

  • Final Exam

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