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Subject Guide

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Evelyn Angry-Smith
MCC Library
Great Path PO Box 1046
MS #15
Manchester CT 06045
Subjects: English

Communication: An Overview



Communication Department

According to the National Communication Association, “The discipline of communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The discipline promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication.”

In studying communication, students learn about the way humans talk, cooperate and resolve conflict. Whether verbal or nonverbal, the way we create, send and receive messages is essential to how people are distinct among animals. Our use of media, from pencils to cell phones, drums to drones, is based in our meaningful (and occasional seeming meaningless) message making, sending and receiving.

COM* 100: Introduction to Communication

Communication is fundamental to human social life. In this introductory course to the discipline, students will learn about a broad range of theories and processes of communication, examining communication as a cultural practice that shapes meaning of peoples’ beliefs, attitudes, values, and practices across situations.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

COM* 101: Introduction to Mass Communication

3 Credits
(Formerly COMM 208)
This course is a survey of the American mass media and communication. Lectures and discussions will focus on the various print and electronic mass media industries, and the impact of mass communication on our society. The course is designed as an introductory course for those students who plan to major in communication and for those who want to be informed about the development of the influence of modern mass media.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101 

COM* 113: Social Media in Contemporary Society

3 Credits
Interpersonal relationships and community have traditionally been conceptualized as created through face-to-face interaction.  However, with the advent and proliferation of new communication technologies, interpersonal relationships and communities have taken on a new face and form, transcending space and time, challenging our definitions and perceptions of what “relationships” and “community” are and can be.  In this course, we will examine theories and concepts pertaining to interpersonal relationships and community, literature that applies these to new technologies, as well as literature that offers new findings and theories on the interfaces between them.  We will also critically examine the role that new technologies are having on our thought processes, education, civic and social life.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

COM* 172: Interpersonal Communication

3 Credits
(Formerly COMM 220)
The focus of this course is on the theory and process of communication in both professional and personal interpersonal relationships. The course examines the theoretical and practical application of communication as it relates to family, friends, work and intimate relationships.
Prerequisites: ENG* 101 

COM* 173: Public Speaking

3 Credits
(Formerly COMM 213)
This course is designed to encourage students to develop their speaking and listening skills in order to become more confident communicators. The course introduces students to communication as an interactive process and emphasizes developing effective public presentation skills. Instruction stresses organization, research, writing, delivery and audience adaptation.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

COM* 173H: Honors Public Speaking

3 Credits
This course in public speaking will involve the development of individual oral communication skills through persuasive, informative and epideictic (ceremonial) speeches, and will also emphasize the importance of public speaking in a democratic society. Since ancient Greek and Roman times, public speaking has been taught both as the foundation of a liberal education and as an essential skill of democratic leadership. While standard sections of COM* 173 focus on general public speaking skills, in this Honors section of COM* 173 students will be asked to also analyze the speeches of historical and contemporary speakers in order to develop a greater appreciation of the importance of public speaking in professional, personal and civic life. Students taking this course should have at least some familiarity with public speaking, but extensive experience is not required. Students who are eligible for ENG* 101 and who welcome an increased level of challenge should sign up for this Honors section.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

COM* 201: Introduction to Public Relations

3 Credits
(Formerly COMM 201)
A comprehensive survey of public relations principles and practices: fact-finding, planning and programming, action and communication, evaluation. This course covers relationships between organizations and their publics, and the effective use of media. Students will plan a complete public relations program.
Prerequisites: ENG* 101

COM* 202: Intercultural Communication

3 Credits
An introduction to the field of intercultural communication. This course studies how culture and communication interact. This course is designed to increase awareness of the cultural self and to help develop greater competence in communicating across cultural lines. Cultural privilege and power will be explored, as well as processes for mediating intercultural conflict. Finally, the course will examine models of how people learn cultural identity and develop intercultural sensitivity. Throughout the course, examples will be drawn from cultures of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas to help the student gain a global understanding of the issues involved in intercultural communication.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

COM* 206: Family Communication I

3 Credits
Communication as it functions in family systems. Students will focus on identifying, describing and analyzing patterns of communication, the development of communication norms, the role the family system plays in the organization of society.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

COM* 209: Gender and Communication

3 Credits
(Formerly COMM 222)
Gender and Communication is a course dealing with issues of language, speech and perception as they relate to gender. Students become familiar with the various theoretical approaches to gender and their implications for the study of communication. They explore how women and men approach same and opposite sex interactions and relationships in personal, social and professional contexts.
Prerequisites: ENG* 101

COM* 210: Environmental Communication

3 Credits
While many of us think of the “environment” as something physical in the world around us, and somehow related to “nature”, our understanding of the environment is to some extent mediated by the way we communicate about it. In this course we will explore questions like, “how does the way we communicate about the environment influence the way we act in that environment? What is the role of communication in creating a better place to live? How is communication involved in our sense of place, our sense of home, and the wilderness ‘out there’?” We’ll look at pop culture representations of the environment and ask about the consequences of those messages. We’ll also explore some big ideas like communicating about climate change, and look at some more local issues like how groups make decisions about the use of local environmental resources.
Prerequisites: Eligibility for ENG* 101

COM* 255: Topics in Film

3 Credits
This course will examine a specific topic in film and film making from an historical and artistic perspective. Topics that may be covered include examining the work of an influential director or a specific film genre or artistic movement.
Prerequisites: Completion of ENG* 101 

COM* 278: Group Communication

3 Credits
Students will learn about the theory and process of small group communication. The course will examine the creation, development, and functions of small groups. Students will gain experience leading group discussions and analyzing patterns of communication in community-based small group settings.
Prerequisites: ENG* 093 or eligibility for ENG* 093 

COM* 295: Internship I

3 Credits
(Formerly COMM 270)
This course provides students the opportunity to apply classroom theory in an actual work setting. Students may be placed in a variety of work settings as related to their program of study including TV, radio, and newspaper.
Prerequisites: Completed 12 credit hours in any Communication courses.


COM 100

Final Paper (25% of final grade)

7-10 pages, double spaced, 12pt times new roman


This paper is a written report of original research you will conduct on a research question(s) of your own choosing.  The function of the research report is to share the findings of your investigation with others, in this case me, your professor. Since I was not with you doing your research, the report will be written so as to inform me, the audience, about what you did, why you did it, what you discovered, and why anyone should care.


  • Demonstrate understanding of two or more theories/research topics from the course.
  • Demonstrate ability to design a research project.
  • Demonstrate ability to collect and analyze data relevant to that project.
  • Demonstrate ability to write a report on the findings of this project.


Sections of the paper

  • Introduction: that describes the research question and your interest in investigating that topic.  Think about the question, “why is this interesting?” “why is this something people might want to better understand?”  Essentially what is the reason for doing this research? (< 1 page, 3 pts)
  • Literature review: that discusses any literature we reviewed in the class that is relevant to your research question. You should try to include a review of at least 2 readings from the course that your research will respond to, or is based on. You may include a review of other relevant studies that we did not cover in the course as well. In either case you should summarize the major ideas/findings of the literature and how that informs your research. (1 - 2 pages, 7 pts)
  • Methodology: that details the steps you took to execute your research. This should be an in-depth report about what you did, and why you chose to do it that way, rather than some other alternative. Describe in detail if you did observations somewhere, where you went, who you observed, what time of day it was, how long you were there, etc.  If you did interviews, what questions did you ask, how many people, for how long, of what genders and ages, etc. (2 pages, 3 pts)
  • Analysis: where you analyze the data you collected. This is where you tell me what people said in those interviews, what you saw when you did your observations and what you think that means given the research question you are investigating. Answer the question “how does what you found help you answer the research question you posed?”  Do NOT simply report your conclusion, rather, walk me through the steps you took to get to your conclusion. Since I was not there doing the analysis with you, you need to clearly show your thinking process that leads to your conclusion. (2 – 3 pages, 7 pts)
  • Discussion: where you tell me what use the research was. Does the research you did tell us something that is relevant to the other literature in the field. This is where you look back at your literature review and tell me whether your findings support, reject, or modify the conclusions of other research or theory.  Are their practical implications for your research? Should we be making changes in the way we talk/behave as a result of your research?  Answer the question “of what relevance was your research, either to existing research/theory, or in the practical/real world?” (1 – 2 pages, 3 pts)
  • References: where you reference, in APA style ( the literature that you reviewed for the project. (< 1 page, 2 pts)


COM 100

Research Questions Due 11/26


For this assignment you will develop a primary research question that you plan to investigate and answer in your final paper.  Be sure to post your research questions to the Discussion Board titled "Research Questions" by 11/26. How to develop research questions is covered in Packet 20, but generally, they should make us of the following format:


“(How or what) is the _________ (“story for”; “meaning of”; “theory that explains the process of”; “culture-sharing pattern”; “issue” in the “case”) of_________ (central phenomenon) for _________ (participants) at _________ (research site).”


So for example: "What are the" ___"meanings of"____ "messages about femininity"___ in ____"female college students"____ on ___"Facebook profile photos".


You should post no more than one research question, though your question may include up to three sub-questions like:

"Do these images tell a common story about what it means to be a female college student?

"Do men and women interpret these images in the same way?"


If you are having trouble coming up with research questions start by thinking about a topical area of the course you found interesting. Let's say the Culture section of the course were the most stimulating for you. Were there particular readings you liked? A particular theory you liked or disliked? An article you thought was a little dated?  Perhaps you believe that the rise of social media may have changed some of the researchers results? If so, you could ask that question, "Has the rise of social media changed the way people become acculturated before moving to a new culture?"  Here you would be researching whether Kim's ideas about Cross-cultural Adaptation are still accurate reflections of reality, or if social media has changed things?  In any case your question should either:


  • Attempt in some small measure to (re)investigate the conclusions of one of our course readings if you think they were wrong.
  • Attempt to answer a question one of our course readings failed to satisfactorily answer.
  • Attempt to update the conclusions of one of our course readings if you believe society has since changed somehow.
  • Attempt to propose a new question that blends the concerns of two or more readings to investigate something new.


COM 100

Presentation technology proposal Due 11/26


For this assignment you should consider a variety of methods that you might employ to record and present your research to the rest of the class. Consider whether you will use PowerPoint and record a voice over, whether you will record yourself sitting behind a desk news-anchor style, record yourself standing in front of a whiteboard you can draw on, record your screen as you present your data and voice over that? Will you use a phone or a hand camera?

Then consider these questions:


  1. How will you get access to the hardware/software you plan to use? Do you own it already, is it freely available online, will you borrow it from a friend or the college, will you download a trial of the software?
  2. Why have you chose to do it this way? What advantages do you think your plan has for presenting your work to the class? What disadvantages? If you choose to use a PowerPoint why are you using it? Because that's what people do, or do you have a real reason you believe this will assist your speech?
  3. What alternatives did you consider? Why did you decide not to do the alternative? Why is your current plan better than the alternative?


Essentially, you need to demonstrate that you have carefully consider the available technology, and made a reasoned determination on what you will use and have a plan in place to accomplish this.