COMM 1231 SEC02 Office hours
TU/FR 1:35 pm - 3:15 pm FR 3:30 PM and by appointment
Forsyth 235 Comm Studies, 215 Holmes Hall
Tip: Enter at 41A Leon St.

Course objectives

Communication is inherent to human organization; good interpersonal and group communication is essential to its success. Successful completion of this course enables one to:

  1. recall, compare, and give examples of key concepts and theories of organizational communication;
  2. comprehend and critically evaluate how communication influences the overall function of an organization;
  3. analyze and make recommendations on case studies about about interpersonal conflict and group decision making;
  4. successfully practice communication skills via experience through group activities, course assignments, and in-class presentations.


Active learning and the Web

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius

This is an active learning course meaning that you will be engaged with activities such as class and group discussion, participating in and designing class exercises, collaborative note-taking, and peer assessment. An implication of this is, for example, if you do not volunteer at least one good comment or question during a class, I might “cold call” you myself.

I also make much use of the Web. For instance, this syllabus is a Web page and I expect you to follow links.

Academic policies

In short, come to class on time and with the readings and assignments completed; be respectful and willing to collaborate. There are no provisions for missed exams or late assignments. If I notice you texting, then you are doing it too much. If I think your use of a computer is distracting you and others, I will put you on the spot (e.g., ask you to immediately send me your notes). Such deviations from classroom professionalism and respect may result in dismissal from class and demerits against your grade. See full course policies for more detail.

In general, if you have an issue, such as needing an accommodation for a religious obligation or learning disability, speak with me before it affects your performance; afterward it is too late. Do not ask for favors; instead, offer proposals that show initiative and a willingness to work.

Academic Integrity : “The promotion of independent and original scholarship ensures that students derive the most from their educational experience and their pursuit of knowledge.” Violations include cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and participating in or encouraging dishonesty. I will, and have, report violators to the Office of Student Conduct.


Writing assignment requirements (greater than 400 words)

Written assignments must be double-spaced, 12 point font, 1-inch margins. One page should contain approximately 250 words. Pages must be numbered and stapled together. Citations must be in the APA style.

On the last page, include your final word count (excluding references) and (if appropriate) the names and assessments of the students who gave you feedback (e.g., engagement: A, understanding: B, writing: B, scholarly-support: Yes).

So as to avoid bias, I read assignments “blind” without knowing the author. Hence, your name should only appear on the back side of the final page; you may write this in ink. (That is, I should only know your name by turning the assignment over.)

On the due date, print copies must be submitted in class and the electronic version must be submitted to BlackBoard Turnitin.

Grading Rubric

“A” students have all of the following attributes, they:

  1. show mastery in assignments. Their work demonstrates impressive understanding of readings, discussions, themes and ideas. It is fluid, clear, analytical, well-organized and grammatically polished. Reasoning and logic are well-grounded and examples precise.
  2. have virtually perfect attendance . Their commitment to the class resembles that of the teacher.
  3. are prepared for class. They always read assignments and participate fully. Their attention to detail is such that they occasionally catch the teacher in a mistake.
  4. show interest in the class. They look up or dig out what they don’t understand. They often ask interesting questions or make thoughtful comments.
  5. have retentive minds. They are able to connect past learning with the present.
  6. have a winning attitude . They have the determination, initiative and self-discipline to succeed.

Please see the complete rubric for other performance levels and for writing and participation.


Being a good student is a learned skill and craft. “Best practices” are guides to help you learn those skills and include: The Craft of Reading; Making Sense of Concepts; Achieving Balance in Discussion; Some Thoughts on Presenting; Writing Class Essays; and Feedback on Writing: Rubric and Writing.

I provide partial handouts for some of my classes. These classes will often contain active class exercises

Northeastern resources


A reading calendar is available.


Like other skills, bibliography is something you learn to do well. Technology can make it easier. NU makes both RefWorks and EndNote available to students; you can also use the freely available browser-based Zotero . You can then import the bibTeX file of this class’s readings into those applications.