• Course Introduction

        • Time: 56 hours
        • Free Certificate
        In the 1960s, 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 critical components 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, the principles and practices of human communication are at the foundation of each of these human transactions.

        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 study in communications. This course begins 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, decision-making, and organizational communication. 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.

      • Course Syllabus

        First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

      • 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.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 19 hours.

      • Unit 2: Interpersonal Communication

        You engage in interpersonal communication everyday, 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.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 16 hours.

      • 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.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

      • 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.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

      • 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.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

      • Study Guide

        This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

      • Course Feedback Survey

        Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses. If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

      • Certificate Final Exam

        Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

        To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

      • Saylor Direct Credit

        Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.

        The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Credly Badge and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.

        We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!


        1. Desktop Computer
        2. Chrome (v74+)
        3. Webcam + Microphone
        4. 1mbps+ Internet Connection

        Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credly Badge and can request an official transcript.