SPEC 1103:  Techniques of Communication
BROOKLYN COLLEGE, Department of Speech Communication
Winter 2015, M-F, 1:00-3:30PM
Section JAN (Course Code 66293), 3420 Boylan
Dr. Foulger


Course Description

Techniques of Communication is a practical introduction to Human Communication. During the course we will explore the the structure and practice of the process of human communication, including the art of presentation, listening skills, the nature of language including nonverbal communication, the impact of the communication of others in shaping who we are, the dynamics of group interaction, and the ways in which we can build and maintain better relationships. That's a lot of ground, but this is an introductory course and we won't go too deeply into any of these areas. You will have the opportunity, as you complete your college education, to take entire courses dedicated to these individual subjects.  Our approach here will be very hands on. You will give speeches, interview and be interviewed by people, participate in group projects, attempt to distinguish truth from lies, and explore your personal relationships. You will have some sort of assignment due almost every day and will need to be in class for exercises as well.


Adler, R. and Rodman, G., and Du Pre, A. Understanding Human Communication, 12th Edition. Oxford University Press, 2013.

This is a very short course (3 weeks).  You don’t have time to wait for the bookstore to get hard copies.  Unless you order today and spring for one day delivery you really need to go electronic.  The only source for the electronic edition of Adler, Elmhorst, and Du Pre text is right now is  vitalsource.com.  They charge about $50.  Their e-reader runs on iPads, Android devices, and on widely used browsers across a range of operating systems.  I only picked up this course a week and a half ago and have not had time to provide the bookstore with information about this text, so online really is your best option. The only option you don't have is to NOT read the assigned chapters in the text.

Additional Materials

Outcomes Assessment

  1. 6% Participation in Class Discussions.
  2. 8% Submission of Questions based on the course readings. Each student should submit two questions based on each set of readings before noon on the day of the class at which those readings are due.
  3. 6% Submission of Think Assignments assigned over the course of the semester. Each student should respond to any think assignment provided before noon on the day of the class at which it is due.
  4. 10% Informative Speech
  5. 10% Group Presentation
  6. 20% Persuasive Speech
  7. 10% Exam 1
  8. 10% Exam 2
  9. 20% Final Exam

Instructions for Accessing the Moodle Discussion/Learning Space

  1. Point your web browser at http://messageecologies.com/ed
  2. Click on "Login" at the bottom of the screen.
  3. If you haven't accessed this Moodle before.
  1. Press the "Create New Account" button in the right column of the login screen.
  2. You'll be asked to fill in a series of fields that include your user ID, password, e-mail address, location, etc. Fill them in as accurately as you can. Remember your userid and password. You will need them to log in again.
  3. When processing of this page completes you will be sent an e-mail at the address you specify. Open that e-mail and confirm your registration by pressing the confirmation link in the e--mail.
  4. When you submit this page you will enter the moodle environment. If you see a button marked courses, press it. You will see this course ("Techniques of CommunicationWinter 2016".
  1. If you are already registered for this Moodle, enter your user id and Password and then select "Techniques of CommunicationWinter 2016".
  2. You will be asked for a key. It is "sp66293”. All letters must be written in lower case.

Course Rules

  1. Attendance is required for all classes, including all exercises and exams. Punctuality is much desired.
  2. Complete reading assignments, questions, and think assignments prior to coming to class. Be prepared to discuss readings.
  3. Write in your own words. Reference the ideas you use to the original sources. Plagiarism and cheating will are unacceptable.
  4. Unexcused late papers will be penalized 1/2 of a letter grade if one period late and one full grade thereafter.
  5. Like many of you, I come to Brooklyn College on the Subway. I endeavor to arrive on campus at least an hour before class every week, but I don't control the Subways. If I am late for class and you have not heard directly from me that class is cancelled, do not leave. Instead, form groups to discuss your questions from the reading assignments. I'll will ask you about those discussions WHEN I arrive.
  6. We have a lot to do during the semester. If I seek to end a discussion (often by saying "let's discuss this after class). I have a good reason for doing so. Please respect the rest of the class by deferring such discussion when I ask you to do so. If you are afraid you'll forget, write down a few words about the issue on a piece of paper. That's usually all you'll need.

Good Advice

  1. The reading and writing load for this course is moderate, but needs to be done. If you can't keep up with the readings, papers, or other assignments, you may want to drop the course early on and try again in another semester.
  2. Keep a copy of anything you submit, just in case the original gets lost.  It's good practice to write your questions and think assignments in a memo tool or text editor (but not a word processor) and doing a cut and paste from the original to the moodle.
  3. Write your name on the front of any assignment you submit on paper.
  4. Assuming you work on a computer, maintain backups of your paper in a reliable and convenient format. USB flash drives work on just about all computers now, can be readily obtained for less than $20.00, and are much less likely to fail than disks. Assume the worst. Maintain two backups. A virtual backup using Google Drive, Dropbox, or some similar service is a good idea.
  5. If at any time you find yourself confused or have questions, especially in terms of the writing assignments, please ask me (either in class or in private) for help. One person's question may help countless others in class. If you can't meet me during my office hours, we can probably find another time.
  6. Please speak with me confidentially if you have a disabling condition that may require some accommodation in class. I'm here to help.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory. The Brooklyn College Bulletin states that "Students are expected to attend all scheduled sessions of every class for which they register. Students late for class may be excluded from the room. An instructor may consider attendance and class participation in determining course grade." While I am unlikely to lock the door, I will take account of missed class time in computing grades. You should not, as a general note, ask me for "permission" to miss class. While I will try to be understanding of documented emergencies, the basic reality (which has more to do with your ability to learn when you aren't in class than anything else) is that absences make your grade grow smaller.