Communication 201: Introduction to Communication

Office hours
Dineh Davis,
Monday: 12:00-1:00
Tuesday: 10:00-12:00
Wednesday: 1:00-2:00
Thursday: 10:00-12:00
& by Appointment
(Except on Fridays)
Crawford 307
Tel: 956-3332
Graduate Assistants
Hanae Kurihara
Tuesday: 10:45-12:00
Thursday: 10:45-12:00
& by Appointment
Crawford 310
Tel: 956-3337
Sean Ibara Monday: 1:30-2:30,
Wednesday: 1:00-2:00,
& by Appointment.
Crawford 310
Tel: 956-3337
Marc Le Pape Monday: 1:30-2:30
Wednesday: 1:00-2:00
& by Appointment.
Crawford 311
Tel: 956-86 47

Class meetings

Class Meets On
Mondays & 10:30-11:45
Small Sections Bus. Ad. ----, ---- & Kuykendal. 209
Wednesdays 10:30-11:45

Lecture Kuykendal 209

Catalog Description

Survey of the theories, research, and programs of communication to explain major communication principles in interpersonal, mass, and telecommunication (and its applications in journalism).

Communication 201 is the foundation course in the Department of Communication. It is a pre-requisite for all other communication courses. Successful completion of the course is one of the basic requirements for declaring a major in communication.

Note for Academic Year 2004: This is the first time we are implementing a new format for this course. In addition, we are in the process of reviewing our entire undergraduate curriculum and recommending changes to our admissions policy which may later affect your decision to declare your major in communication. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this time of readjustment and, in the case of this course, a bit of experimentation! This syllabus is our contract for the semester and provides the basic information you will need to succeed in the course. However, we reserve the right to make adjustments to the topic areas noted below because of the obvious fact that we will have many guest presenters, some of whom may choose to change their presentation topics or dates of presentation due to unforeseen circumstances.


Expanding on the catalog description above, this course will:

(1) examine the fields of communication and journalism from historical, scientific, and social perspectives;

(2) provide experience in small and large group dynamics by involving students in classroom and network activities;

(3) provide opportunities to explore telecommunication network services offered by and through the University of Hawaii; and

(4) build - or enhance - research, analysis, synthesis, writing, and presentation skills.

(5) introduce the faculty of the School of Communications and their wide array of research interests;

Learning Strategies: Lectures, guest speakers, text readings, video, multimedia presentations, and student activities will all play a part in your learning process this semester. Because we are trying to provide the widest possible base for your introduction to the discipline, text material will not necessarily be repeated in class lectures. Consider all materials complementary and some conflicting views and interpretations by experts as inherent in the field. You may need to adjust your perceptions to accommodate such pluralities. Do keep alert to controversies and bring your questions to class, to the instructor(s), or to our electronic site (WebCT) for discussion. Such options will allow for various degrees of privacy and contact, providing each student the opportunity to participate in a suitable manner.

Each of you has a personal learning style. In a large classroom setting - and with many guest speakers - it will be difficult to consistently match the presentation and evaluation style to each student’s needs. Since this is a course about communication, however, we are lucky that we can study the process of communication as a part of the content for the course. Course format requires that all students take an active role in contributing intelligently to class discussions and computer-based information exchange opportunities. Each student is individually responsible for keeping up with current events related to the field of communication. There will be regular opportunities for direct class participation. Such sharing will take the form of oral and computer-mediated presentations, experiential exercises, group projects, and response to in-class assignments. You may have your own special skills or talents for communicating as well. If so, feel free to use those talents and learning strategies in this class. Talk to me about creating appropriate opportunities to test out and share your communication skills.

Evaluation Methods

No single evaluation event will determine a significant portion of your grade (in other words, if you miss a single event because of unavoidable absence, you will be able to recover from it without a make-up opportunity). What matters most is enduring, consistent focus and presence that is reflected throughout the semester. You must participate in a variety of activities to gain a passing grade, but just a passing grade may not be sufficient to make you a good candidate for becoming a communication major. Because I build in safety cushions in my evaluation criteria, I will not administer any make-up assignments. In those rare instances that valid documentation justifies major absences, an alternative evaluation method may be chosen at the instructor’s discretion. Approved extra credit work (8% max) is not intended to (and will not) replace any required assignments; it is granted at the instructor’s discretion, and will only apply if the student is up to date in meeting all basic course requirements.

Assessment Criteria

In-class assignments (1-4 pts each) 30%

Midterm exams: 2@ 10 pts. each 20%

Communication project(s) MUST BE PREAPPROVED 25%

(group work; individual online & hard copy outcome)

Final exam 10%

Instructor & self evaluation 15%

(typically matches course grade)


Wood, J. T. (2004) Communication Theories in Action: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Bring your textbook to class each time as you may wish to refer to it for in-class assignments & exams. Additional sources & resources will be distributed in class. It is the student's responsibility to obtain and keep up with readings, videos, or any other projects assigned in any class session.

Also Required: A packet of 3X5 cards for in-class assignments (have at least two per session with you at all times). Your UH active e-mail account is required for participation in WebCT. You must note that your Monday classes may be in a different location from your Wednesday sessions. It is YOUR responsibility to attend the appropriate class sections EACH time! It is also your responsibility to have prepared for each class session; including having at least one significant question related to communication (preferably relevant to the day's topic!) each time we meet.

Date/Week of: Topic/Activity Highlights

8/23 First Day of Instruction: Introduction to the School of Communications and its programs; as well as its constraints & what it is not. Necessity for mediated communication. [For some, this will be your only course with me, so I will provide an introduction to others.] Introduction to the professors, course, process, and the established culture of the course – which will continue to evolve with its population. Reminder: you MUST bring with you 3X5 cards at each session for the remainder of this semester. Ways of seeing, knowing, and communicating; an exercise & discussion
Assignment for the 25th: read the syllabus in its entirety and be prepared to raise questions; "read" the text (Wood) to become familiar with its layout and content. Bring at least ONE question to class on the 25th (on whatever topic you like – no restrictions are imposed. Put your name on a 3X5 card, add your question, and be prepared to turn in the card at the beginning of the session on the 25th). One chapter per week will "get you through the course" but I recommend two passes through the book; one for general familiarity and language and breadths, and the second reading with more time and care for depth. One chapter may raise questions that may be answered down the road – or it may be a question no one has ever asked before or one that people tried to answer without success. Keep track of your questions! Share with us. Begin anywhere, but aim for more focus and direction as we move forward in the course.

W8/25 Introduction continues: Debriefing on the syllabus & text. Demo of WebCT – currently under construction. Note: In-class assignments begin on 8/30 and will continue throughout the semester. No make-ups for in-class assignments for absentees, late arrivals, early departures, etc. (with or without excuse - no exceptions).

M8/30 Intro to small sections & how they will behave: joint agreements & options for dividing lines among instructors. Starting September 13th, we will meet in small groups on Mondays. Wed. Sept 15 we will regroup to assess our communication and group structure progress.

W9/1 Whose life is it anyway? Communication and personal responsibility. Intrapersonal and interpersonal communication.

M9/6 Labor Day Holiday

W9/8 Health Communication: A participatory research project from Japan with Satoko Hirai

M9/13 - Introduction to small group sessions.

W9/15 – Assessing first round of small group meetings; Attendance required for all who wish to receive full credit for group work. Be prepared with several topic areas that you find intriguing and find your groupmates today.

W9/22 – Mass communication; mass media with Dr. Britos

M9/27 – Midterm #1 (Be sure to report to your assigned small section – NO make-ups!!)

W9/29 – Critical Thinking; Clear Writing with McNeill & Le Pape

W10/6 – Film & film-making with Prof. Moody

W10/13 – Interpersonal Communication and Health Communication with Dr. Kunimoto

W10/20 – New media with Dr. Wedemeyer

M10/25 – Midterm #2 (Be sure to report to your assigned small section – NO make-ups!!)

W10/27 – Multimedia with Dr. Macdonald

W11/3 – Human-Computer Interaction: focus on emerging communication technologies with Dr. Huard

W11/10 – Intercultural Communication with Hanae Kurihara

W11/17 – Persuasion and its role in leadership – with Sean Ibara

W11/24 – What is journalism? Impact of New Technologies & Research with Prof. Auman & Lillie

W12/1 – International / global Communication with Marc Le Pape

W12/8 - Envisioning alternative futures in communication; Wrap-up & final connections & evaluations

First order of action: final exam for 201 and road to majordom.

12/17 Final Exam: Friday December 17 at 9:45-11:45

Policy on Written Assignments

All out-of-class written assignments should be typed double-spaced, with one-inch margins using 10 or 12 pitch/point type. All papers should be carefully proofread, as grammatical and typographical errors will affect our perception of the seriousness of your efforts. Additional evaluation criteria for projects will be provided in class. On-line entries will be graded for content only unless they are the final posting of your hard-copy submissions, in which case we will evaluate for use of English as well as content. Late papers will be penalized (one point deduction per day) while early papers may be revised as needed if resubmitted at least one week before the deadline. However, all assignments MUST be submitted for goodwill if you wish to qualify for extra credit opportunities.

Electronically-Mediated assignments: Each student is required to check into WebCT and become minimally familiar with this site as last minute announcements may appear on the homepage regarding the course. Also, your grades will be posted via WebCT as time goes on. Though these records will NOT be up to date until such time that you are all informed of a mid-semester update, it is ultimately your definitive source for grades you have received or are missing. Please do not expect an immediate WebCT reflection of grades from that week, but we will announce on a regular basis when all grades have been posted to the site so you will have ample time to check and confirm these records. Once grades are posted it is the student's responsibility to confirm accuracy and raise any concerns regarding the posting within two weeks of each posting and under no circumstances later than the last day of the class (the week of December 6th).

Late assignments: There will be no make-up, revision, or resubmission of in-class assignments. I will, however, provide enough extra opportunities for such assignments that an occasional absence or late arrival will not adversely affect your grade. For out-of-class work, there will be a one point deduction per day for late assignments and you will lose the option of working on revisions.

In-class assignments & Attendance record: Please have at least two 3X5 cards with you for each class session for this purpose. Unannounced assignments begin or end a class session and will typically take 5 minutes. They may range from simply recording your name and stating an observation or opinion or question as requested, to responding to objective/short answer questions, or writing a very short essay in response to a question posed in class. The topics may be based on (but are not limited to) in-class group work, previous lectures, a hand-out, or a specific reading or research assignment due by that day. In other words, if you have been keeping up with class readings and requirements, no additional preparation will be necessary.

No single in-class assignment will have a point value greater than 4% of your total grade for the course. In most instances, your in-class submission doubles as your attendance record for that day. On occasion, if we run out of class time, we may post your assignment on WebCT. In such cases you will receive specific instructions and a firm deadline for each assignment. As noted, there will be no late submissions or make-ups.

Group Project

All projects must be pre-approved by one of the instructors (especially when you must change your topic mid-stream after initial approval).

Your group project (5 points) culminates in your “individual” paper assignment for the course (10 points). In this way you will reap the benefits of group support & brainstorming combined with the reassurance of individual accountability! These projects will be based on researching a communication process of your own choosing, modified in the group setting, with presentation deadlines spread across the semester. Group results must be presented both in-class and on-line, with an individually submitted 4-page (minimum length, excluding bibliography!) paper as its final required outcome. The individual papers must also be submitted online by the end of the semester (December 1, 2004, midnight). Those volunteering for early presentations and paper submissions will find greater flexibility in the assessment process and the subtle advantages of spreading goodwill!

Please keep in mind that NO group may have more than five registered participants! Each group member’s task(s) should be clearly defined and documented for the “group” portion of the work (this includes brainstorming for ideas, choosing a method for result presentation, research and data/information collection, actual class presentation, and response collection method). The paper itself is NOT a group effort: you are each individually responsible for writing your own project paper which will be due within two weeks after your class or on-line demonstration or presentation. Your paper may be based on the process as well as the outcome of your communication project. Use of E-mail to communicate with your group members is encouraged (or use WebCT Chat, if you wish). You may choose to post your paper electronically in addition to submitting a hard copy by the deadline noted.

Class attendance on presentation dates is mandatory for those who wish to receive full credit for the group portion of this project. A few topics chosen in the past include: dress habits; effects of music on communication; colors & moods; ads on the Web; gender & careers; long-distance interpersonal relationship.

Browsing through your text should give you ample ideas, but you are welcome to suggest items that you are unable to locate there. “Birds of a feather” groups will be formed in your assigned small section early in the semester. After interviewing others you will join a group, hold your first consensus-building meeting and submit your tentative topic idea by the end of that session. Additional guidelines will be given in class on that day, but for those of you who want some advance knowledge for paper requirements, here are a few pointers:

Documentation for your observations of a communication process MUST include direct references to lectures or text material as well as external academic references. For example:

(1) You must identify various segments of your observations within the framework of some of the subdisciplines in communication you have read about or heard in class lectures (e.g., kinesics, proxemics, intercultural, organizational, mass media, telecommunication, interpersonal, etc.)

(2) You must take a certain communication focus (e.g., public opinion or agenda setting, entertainment, persuasion) and fit the elements of your observation into patterns already identified by theoreticians and scholars in the field.

If you are planning on writing an "extra credit" paper of the same nature (max. 5 points credit), be sure to clear the topic with your instructor.

Tips For (Our Joint) Survival

Every "ground rule" for this course is in this syllabus, except for what is already printed in the University's current General Catalog and The Student Conduct Code. Please pay close attention to grounds for dismissal noted in the latter document.

On attendance: As a courtesy to all of us, please come to class on time and do not leave until the session is over, unless you have checked with the instructor in advance. I consider private conversations and random entrances and exits mid-class as "negative" contributions toward our learning goals. This may lead to substantial grade reductions, beyond the 10% reserved for instructor evaluation. Up to three absences are automatically excused (and you simply miss whatever points were allocated for that date). Each additional absence beyond three will severely affect your “in-class” grade which cannot be made up. This typically translates into failing or a below average grade with 5 or more absences. Please note that if you intend to pursue a “major” in communication, you will need to rise above this level.

On class "contribution": I depend on you to be intellectually present and to have informed contributions to make in class and in your papers, e-mail, WebCT, or whatever other mode(s) of communication you choose. "Contributions" are not necessarily limited to "answers" to questions - they can be other relevant questions, comments, or humor. An appropriate mixture of all of these ingredients helps all of us gain the most from the process as well as the outcome of this course. Remember that you are minimally required to bring at least one communication-related question to each class you attend. This does not mean that your question will necessarily be answered – just that your mind and spirit need to be prepared at all times!

If you've read this far in our document and send me an e-mail ( by the morning of August 25, 2004 (before class) to acknowledge your understanding of the syllabus, you'll receive your “extra” extra credit point for this course!

On exams: I don't provide written study guides. You are ALWAYS welcome to ask questions in the classroom or on our web site (on WebCT) or during office hours. Your exams will be quite similar to the in-class assignments that you will have experienced throughout the semester. All exams and assignments will be conducted with “open” books and notes. However, you must work alone during exams and keep in mind that you will not have enough time to finish your work in the allotted timeframe if you are seeing your text(s) (or, heaven-forbid, someone else's notes!) for the first time!

On grades: I grade by points, not curves; give "A"s as well as "F"s. Feel free to talk to me about your grade if you have a real concern, but don't expect miracles at the end of the term. Extra credit work is a privilege reserved for those who are entirely up-to-date on all class work. Credit for such work will not exceed 8% of the total course grade, yet ample opportunity exists for improving on finished required assignments if you have met our deadlines. The “On Attendance” section may be worth a second glance!

On dropping the class: You are welcome to withdraw from this class as long (and as late) as it is permissible by the College and the University regulations. I understand that your priorities at any given time may preclude participation in my course. There's no problem in your dropping the course and trying at a later date. If you have private concerns that are affecting your performance in class which you would rather not share in class, feel free to stop by and talk to me about them or send me e-mail, if you prefer.

On using the Department of Communication’s Media Lab: If you plan to borrow equipment from the Media Lab or use its editing facilities you must be “currently” certified. Keep in mind that videography is not a requirement for this course and thus our class does not receive priority service from the lab or its staff. Please check with the Media Lab staff about the current Lab regulations and don’t be disappointed if your requests cannot be accommodated.