COM 201, Introduction to Communication
Fall 2009

Class Meeting Times and Place Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
HIG 110
Professor Tom Kelleher, Ph.D.
Crawford Hall 314
Professor's Office Hours

Monday, 9-noon
Tuesday, 1:30-3 p.m.
Thursday, 12:30-2 p.m.

By appointment.


Arlen McCluskey
Crawford Hall 310
Office hours TBA

Course Overview
COM 201 is an overview of communication emphasizing interpersonal, intercultural, organizational and international communication, with management, multimedia, mass media, and telecommunication perspectives. Some of the broad topics that we'll cover include the following.

Success in this course means you will:

  1. identify different types of communication
  2. analyze communication processes
  3. locate, read and understand relevant online resources
  4. interpret personal experiences in terms of communication concepts
  5. interpret local and global events in terms of communication concepts
  6. evaluate media uses and effects
  7. explore your scholarly and career options in communications
Primary Objectives Covered
Response papers
Online module
Other participation activities (see activity points page)

COM 201 is the introductory course in the School of Communications. It is a pre-requisite for all other COM courses. Successful completion of the course with a grade of B or better is one of the basic requirements for declaring a major in communication.

Earning a grade of B or above requires a commitment to:

Your final grade will be based on exams, written assignments, an online module, presentations, in-class participation and attendance. Readings and activities will be assigned from the Web, library resources and reserve materials throughout the semester. Finding online resources is one of the course objectives. In some cases, this may require logging in to subscription services via the UH Libraries Web site and searching databases for full-text readings. This type of online information retrieval is very much part of how you will demonstrate competence with online media. Therefore, you are expected to attain these resources independently.

Exams (2 @ 35% each)
Primary objectives: 1-3
Two major exams (35 points each) will cover material from class lectures, class discussion, guest speakers and assigned readings. Exams may include true-false, multiple-choice, matching and short-answer questions. THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO MAKE-UP EXAMS without proper documentation for your absence, which must be provided before the absence if at all possible. A missed exam will count as a zero.

Response Papers (2 @ 5% each)
Primary objectives: 4-7
Based on any of our class lectures or discussions or assigned readings, each student must choose two topics and submit a response paper on each. One paper (of your choosing) is due by 10:15 a.m. on October 27; the second paper is due by 10:15 a.m. on December 8. Papers must be uploaded to Laulima in the "Assignments" section. These papers should be no more than 500 words long and must include your reactions or responses (contradictory and supportive are both fine) related to the topic or the process. All papers should be carefully proofread, as grammatical and typographical errors will affect our perception of the seriousness of your efforts. Papers that are uploaded to Laulima on time and in the proper format will be graded with the response paper rubric. Late or incorrectly formatted papers will be returned ungraded or for half-credit at the instructor's or TA's discretion. No papers will be accepted after December 10.

Social Media Module (10%)
Primary objectives: 1, 4, 5, 6
Students are expected to complete one online module this semester before the Thanksgiving break (deadline: Wed., Nov 25 at 5 p.m.). Details will be discussed in class and online.

Other Participation & Attendance (10%)
Primary objectives: 1,2,5,6,7
You may earn up to, but not exceeding, 10 points toward your final grade by participating in certain activities by the given deadline. There is no extra credit, but you should be able to factor in an easy 10/10 (100%) participation score to your overall grade if you always attend class on time and prepared (i.e., you've read the assigned readings before class).

These activities include oral presentations on current events, mini-quizzes on readings, and participation in research studies. By the end of the semester, many more than 10 points of credit will have been offered, so no single activity will be absolutely required. However, failure to attend class will result in a zero for any participation opportunities offered that day. Many opportunities for participation will be unannounced. The idea is to reward regular reading, promptness and participation with easy opportunities for credit. See the activity points page for point details.

Grading Weight
Midterm exam in class on Oct 15 35 points
(35 % of final grade)
Final exam at 9:45 a.m. on Dec 17 35 points
(35% of final grade)
Social media module due November 25 at 5 p.m. 10 points

Response paper #1 due Oct 27 at 10:15 a.m. (see rubric)

5 points

Response paper #2 due Dec 8 at 10:15 a.m. (see rubric)

5 points
Other participation activities (see activity points page) 10 points

Final Grade Requirements
90-100 80-89.9 70-79.9 60-69.9 59.9 and below

There will be absolutely no adjustment of grades on an individual basis (e.g., "I'm only one point away from a B, and I must get a B because I already plan to be a COM major.") Any requests for exceptions will be seen as an attempted breach of fairness to the rest of the class. I know the decimals look technical, but there must be a cutoff somewhere for each grade, and given the requirement that students must earn at least a "B" in COM 201 to become COM majors, this cutoff point is especially important.

Seeking Help
This course should provide a great learning experience for all of us. The success of the course depends largely on effective student-teacher interaction. Don't feel like you have to have a pressing problem to talk to me. I'll be available during my office hours unless announced otherwise. Of course, I'm often in and available at times not posted as office hours. Generally, I'll leave my office door open if I'm available. If my door is closed, that either means I'm out or that I'm in but working on deadline or getting ready for class. In any case, we can set an appointment if that works better.

Special Accommodations
Students requiring special accommodations must notify me and present appropriate supporting documentation by the end of the second week of class.

Academic Honesty
Academic dishonesty of any sort will not be tolerated. I take cheating issues very seriously, and I've had some unpleasant experiences dealing with cases of cheating in recent semesters. Please see me if you have any questions about academic honesty, and I'll be happy to discuss such issues in advance of you taking an exam or submitting your work.

Preliminary Class Timeline 
Please make a careful note of the exam dates. Make sure that you do not have any scheduling conflicts. The exam dates are very unlikely to change. Other topics and readings are subject to change, especially to accommodate current events and guest speaker schedules. Additional readings, speakers and assignments may be added as we go.
Class Days General Topics Required Reading Assignments Due & Scheduling Notes
August 25 & 27
  • Syllabus
  • Media literacy
  • Fassler, "Pricey textbooks" (on reserve -- Laulima resources) by Thurs
  • Thoman & Jolls, "Media literacy" (PDF) by Thurs
  • Read syllabus, assignments, rubrics and first two readings by Aug 27
Sept 1 &3
  • Types of communication
  • Conceptualizing communication
  • Miller, "The challenge of organizational communication" (PDF) by Tues
  • Announcements on COM major
Sept 8 & 10
  • Intercultural and cross-cultural communication
  • Global communication
  • Fontaine, "Teams in teleland" (Team Performance Management via UH Libraries) by Tues
  • Inoue, "Cultural fluency" (HTML) by Thurs
  • Professor Fontaine on Sept 8


Sept 15 & 17
  • Communication ethics
  • Organizations & culture
  • Griffin, "Communication ethics" (HTML) by Tues
  • Auman, "Survival in paradise" (Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly via UH Libraries) by Thurs
  • Professor Auman on Sept 17
Sept 22 & 24
  • Journalism
  • Pew Research Center, "Key news audiences now blend online and traditional sources" (HTML) by Tues
  • Pew Research Center, "Press accuracy rating hits two decade low" (HTML) cited by Kato in class on Tues
  • Watch News War (Part Three)
  • Professor Kato on Sept 22 (tentative)
Sept 29 & Oct 1
  • Media effects
  • Media uses
  • Cantor, "Violent television programming and its impact on children" (HTML) by Tues
  • Carr, "Is Google making us stupid?" (HTML) by Thurs
Oct 6 & 8
  • Diffusion
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Rogers, "Elements of Diffusion" (on reserve -- see Laulima resources) by Tues
  • Professor Kim on Oct 6
Oct 13 & 15
  • Review
  • Exam
  • Key concepts handout
  • MIDTERM EXAM, Thursday, 10/15
Oct 20 & 22
  • "Demassification"
  • Chaffee & Metzger, "End of Mass Communication?" (Mass Communication & Society via UH libraries) by Tues
  • Professor Kawamoto on October 22
Oct 27 & 29
  • Video and film
  • Greenblatt, "Television's future" (CQ Researcher via UH Libraries) by Thurs
  • Response paper #1 due on Lualima by 10:15 a.m. on Oct 27
  • Professor Moody on October 27
Nov 3 & 5
  • Multimedia & design
  • Nielsen, "Usability 101 " (HTML) by Tues
  • Lynch & Horton, "Multimedia" Chapter 12 (HTML) by Tues
Nov 10 & 12
  • Convergence (cultural, technical and other)
  • Social impact of communication technologies
  • Jenkins, "Convergence? I Diverge" (PDF) by Thurs
  • Professor Davis on Nov 10
Nov 17 & 19
  • Public relations
  • Interactivity
  • PRSA, "Official statement on public relations" (HTML) by Tues
  • Kelleher, "Interactive public relations" (PDF) by Tues
  • Begin social media module before weekend
  • Begin social media module
  • Start next week's readings
Nov 24
  • Social media
  • iCrossing, "What is Social Media?" (PDF)
  • Karjaluoto, "A Primer in Social Media" (PDF)
  • Online social media activity instead of normal class on Nov 24 (assignment complete by November 25 at 5 p.m. -- see "module" on Lualima)
  • Thanksgiving (no class) on Nov 26
Dec 1 & 3
  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and policy
  • Web 3.0 (Reading TBA)
  • Professor Winter on Dec 1
Dec 8 & 10
  • Media futures
  • Wrap-up & review
  • Professor Wedemeyer on Dec 8 (tentative)
  • Response paper #2 due on Lualima by 10:15 a.m. on Dec 8
Thursday, December 17
  • Final Exam at 9:45 a.m.
  • FINAL EXAM Thursday 12/17, 9:45 a.m.

Working Bibliography

Auman, A. (2007, Summer). Survival in paradise: How "local identity" helped save the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 84 (2). Available online in full text via UH Libraries online databases.

Cantor, J. (2004, September 15). Comments of Joanne Cantor in Response to FCC Notice of Inquiry in the Matter of Violent Television Programming and Its Impact on Children. Available from author in HTML.

Carr, N. (2008, July/August). Is Google making us stupid? The Atlantic. Available online in HTML.

Chaffee, S. H., & Metzger, M. J. (2001). The end of mass communication? Mass Communication & Society, 4, 365-379. Available online in full text via UH Libraries online databases.

Fassler, K. (2008, July 21). Hawaii college students on the lookout for deals on pricey textbooks. The Honolulu Advertiser. (On reserve on Laulima).

Fontaine, G. (2002). Teams in teleland: Working effectively in geographically dispersed teams in the Asia Pacific. Team Performance Management: An International Journal, 8 (5/6), 122-133. Available online in full text via UH Libraries online databases.

Greenblatt, A. (2007, Feb. 16). Television's future. CQ Researcher. Available online in full text via UH Libraries online databases.

Griffin, E. (1994). Communication ethics. In A First Look at Communication Theory. New York: McGraw Hill. Chapter available from author in HTML.

iCrossing (2007, November). What is Social Media? An e-book from iCrossing. Available online in PDF.

Inoue, Y. (2007, November). Cultural fluency as a guide to effective intercultural communication: The case of Japan and the U.S. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 15. Available online in HTML.

Jenkins, H. (2001, June). Convergence? I diverge. Technology Review. Available online from author in PDF.

Karjaluoto, E. (2008, March 1). A Primer for Social Media: Examining the Phenomenon, Its Relevance, Promise and Risks. A smashLAB white paper available online in PDF.

Kelleher, T. (2007). Interactive public relations. In Public Relations Online: Lasting Concepts for Changing Media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Sample chapter available in PDF from the publisher.

Lynch, P., & Horton, S. (2009). Chapter 12 - Multimedia. In Web Style Guide, 3rd ed. Chapter available from authors online in HTML.

Miller, K. (2009). The challenge of organizational communication. In Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes, 5th ed., Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Sample chapter available in PDF from the publisher.

Nielsen, J. (2003, August). Usability 101: Introduction to usability. Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox. Available online in HTML.

Pew Research Center (2008). Key News Audiences Now Blend Online and Traditional Sources. Available online in HTML.

Pew Research Center (2009, Sept. 13). Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low. Available online in HTML.

Public Relations Society of America (n.d.). Official statement on public relations. Available online in HTML.

Rogers, E.M. (2003). Elements of diffusion. In E.M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed., pp.1-38). New York: Simon & Schuster. (On reserve on Laulima).

Thoman, E., & Jolls, T. (2004, March). Media literacy: A national priority for a changing world. Available online in HTML and PDF from the Center for Media Literacy.