Introduction to Communication – Textbook


This textbook covers a study of basic communication theory and history, focusing on theory and application of appropriate communication techniques.

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Introduction to Communication

This textbook covers a study of basic communication theory and history, focusing on theory and application of appropriate communication techniques.

This text contains 12 modules, each with multiple lessons that support varied approaches to help a student learn and engage with the topic, including readings, video, and a knowledge-check quiz.

Course Outcomes

This course focuses on the following learning outcomes. By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Define, identify, and analyze the essential focus of communication study and theory; including the communication cycle, verbal and nonverbal communication, and the differences in spoken versus written communication.
  • Define, identify, and analyze the different disciplines within mass communication studies and the personal and global impacts and obligations when considering these disciplines.
  • Define, identify, and analyze the integral aspects of international and intercultural communication as they apply to global and local organizations and individuals working within these organizations.
  • Define, identify, and analyze the tenets of intrapersonal and interpersonal communication as they apply to working relationships in organizations as well as other aspects of daily life.
  • Demonstrate and apply the essential aspects of organizational and small group communication as they apply to work relationships, leadership, project management, team motivation, and online collaboration.
  • Evaluate and apply the fundamentals of professional writing and public speaking to create a business proposal and presentation.
  • Identify and apply communication theory to adapting to your audience.
  • Create an informative and a persuasive speech.
  • Analyze the trends and issues in modern society that impact how you communicate and how communication influences you.

Technology Requirements

This course is delivered fully online and you will be required to have access to a computer, laptop, or web-capable mobile device – along with consistent access to the internet – to access course material and complete assignments.

Review the information below to ensure your system meets the minimum requirements necessary to complete a course for credit.  

PC Requirements


  • Intel Core 2 Duo (or AMD 64×2 Dual-Core) processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 80 GB hard drive
  • 1024×768 resolution monitor
  • Soundcard with microphone and speakers
  • Built-in or external webcam
  • Broadband internet connection with speeds of  at least 2 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. Hot spots are not recommended. Test internet speed at:
  • Browser with pop-up blocker disabled


  • Windows 7 or above

Macintosh Requirements


  • Intel Core 2 Duo (or AMD 64×2 Dual-Core) processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 80 GB hard drive
  • 1024×768 resolution monitor
  • Soundcard with microphone and speakers
  • Built-in or external webcam
  • Broadband internet connection with speeds of  at least 2 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. Hot spots are not recommended. Test internet speed at:
  • Browser with pop-up blocker disabled


  • Mac OS 10.6 “Snow Leopard” or above

Tablet or Smartphone

NOTICE:  Though you can view and interact with all of the available course content on a tablet or smartphone, you MUST USE A DESKTOP OR LAPTOP computer to complete the proctored midterm and final examinations.


  • 2 GHz process or faster
  • 1 GB RAM or greater
  • 80 GB hard drive
  • Microphone and speakers
  • Wireless internet connection

Course Outline

Module 1 – Foundations of Communication

Defining Communication

  • What is communication?
  • Communication Models
  • Approaches to communication
  • What is Communication Studies

Verbal Communication

  • What is verbal communication?
  • What makes up verbal communication?
  • What complicates verbal communication?
  • How to overcome verbal communication barriers

Nonverbal Communication

  • What is nonverbal communication?
  • What makes up nonverbal communication?
  • How does nonverbal communication impact verbal communication?
  • How to control your nonverbal messages

Spoken versus Written Communication

  • What is the difference between spoken and written communication?
  • How does written communication influence spoken communication?
  • What is effective written communication?
  • The impact of written communication

Module 2 – The Evolution and Impact of Mass Communication

What is Mass Communication?

  • What is mass communication?
  • What are the uses of mass communication?
  • What are the benefits of mass communication?
  • What are the downsides of mass communication?

Traditional Media

  • What is traditional media?
  • The evolution of traditional media
  • Ethical obligations of the traditional media
  • Arguments against traditional media

Public Relations

  • What is public relations?
  • How does it differ from marketing?
  • Who is the ‘public’?
  • What are public relations best practices?
  • Ethical obligations in public relations

Marketing and Advertising

  • What is marketing?
  • Is there a difference between marketing and advertising?
  • Ethical obligations in marketing
  • How to identify your audience for advertising

Ethics and Mass Communication

  • How to identify the target audience of mass communication.
  • How does a mass communicator reach their target audience?
  • What ethical obligations does a mass communicator have toward their audience?
  • What ethical obligations does a mass communicator have toward individuals outside of their audience?

Module 3 – International and Intercultural Communication

What is Intercultural Communication?

  • What is intercultural communication?
  • What is culture?
  • Ethical responsibilities of intercultural communication
  • How to adapt a message for an international audience

International Communication and The Global Marketplace

  • How to navigate a globalized communication market.
  • International written communication practices
  • What impact does culture have marketing?
  • Globalism and culture

The Impact of International Organizational Styles

  • Cultural organizations
  • Collectivist versus individualistic group work
  • Cultural influence on criticism
  • Cultural understanding in group work

Module 4 – Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Communication

Self-Reflection and Self-Disclosure

  • What is intrapersonal communication?
  • What is self-reflection?
  • What is interpersonal communication?
  • What is self-disclosure?

Developing Personal Relationships and Conflict Management

  • What are the different types of communication in personal relationships?
  • How do the two styles of communication handle conflict?
  • Conflict management best practices
  • Stages of relationship building

Building Work Communities and Professional Networks

  • What is small group communication?
  • What is professional networking?
  • What are benefits of workplace networks?
  • Ethical responsibilities of networking

Module 5 – Organizational Communication

What is Organizational Communication?

  • What is organizational communication?
  • Types of organizational structures
  • What is groupthink?
  • How to make the most out of being in an organization

Giving Directions

  • How to set effective goals
  • How to communicate goals and benchmarks
  • How to motivate team members
  • Pitfalls of instruction-giving

Equal Contribution and Timelines

  • How to avoid being a control freak
  • Avoiding procrastination
  • Reasonable goal setting
  • Incentives and reaching your goals

Asking Questions and Giving Feedback

  • What is active listening?
  • What is in a good question?
  • How to give constructive feedback
  • How to receive feedback constructively

Module 6 – Working in a Small Group

Groups: Roles, Organization, and Leadership

  • What is effective leadership?
  • How to assign roles and responsibilities
  • Ethical responsibilities of leadership
  • Best practices of team leadership

Groups: Teamwork and Projects

  • How to Be a Team Player
  • Knowing Your Role in a Group
  • Teamwork and Cooperation
  • Seeking Help and Swapping Roles When Needed

Groups: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

  • Steps to addressing problems
  • Interpersonal tensions and how to diffuse them
  • How to get a group consensus
  • When and how to hold your ground

Trends and Technology for Group Communication

  • What is online collaboration?
  • Conference call etiquette
  • How to interview online
  • Familiarizing yourself with online communication software options

Module 7 – Professional Writing

Organizing and Brainstorming

  • How to select a topic
  • What is a thesis?
  • What is brain mapping?
  • How to structure your writing
  • Find your own style

Business Writing in Action: Text, Emails, and Netiquette

  • What is the difference between conversational and business writing?
  • Constructing a professional email
  • Texting etiquette: appropriate practice at work
  • Professional writing best practices

Business Writing in Action: Business Proposals and Reports

  • What goes into a business proposal?
  • How to write a business proposal
  • How to write a business report
  • When to write a proposal or report

Practice Business Writing

  • The Beginning of a proposal
  • Knowing what drives a decision
  • What Comes Next
  • Ethical Considerations

Module 8 – Preparing a Public Speech

Ethics in Written and Spoken Communication

  • What ethical obligations do speakers have
  • What ethical obligations does an audience have
  • What is plagiarism
  • Best ethical practices

Developing and Preparing Your Speech

  • What kinds of public speaking exist
  • How to select a topic
  • What kind of outline should be used
  • How to prepare speaking notes

Speech Anxiety

  • What is speech anxiety?
  • Coping not conquering
  • Ways to reduce speech anxiety
  • Helping others cope with their fear

Using Psychology for Recall and Understanding

  • What parts of a speech need to be memorable?
  • What is chunking?
  • What is an effective transition?
  • How much is too much information?

A Guide to Preparing a Speech

  • Selecting a topic
  • Outline components
  • Works Cited
  • Qualified Sources

Module 9 – Delivering a Public Speech

Grabbing Attention

  • Why does your audience need to pay attention?
  • What is an effective attention getter?
  • Should humor be your first choice?
  • Ways to grab attention

Delivering Your Speech

  • Should I practice before the real delivery?
  • How to preview your speech
  • Stay on target: using your thesis statement as a guide for your speech
  • Concluding with style

Asking and Answering Questions

  • What is an effective question?
  • How to compose an answer
  • Preparing answers before the speech
  • Preparing answers on the fly

Effective Critical Listening and Providing Feedback

  • What is active listening?
  • What is constructive feedback?
  • Sensitivity in presenting feedback
  • How to incorporate feedback into future presentations

A Guide to Delivering Your First Speech

  • Practice Makes Perfect
  • Know Your Audience
  • Imagine Success
  • Give Yourself Grace

Module 10 – Adapting to Your Audience

Adapting Before the Speech

  • Who is your audience?
  • How to get and use demographic information
  • Preparing for an interview
  • What can change for your audience?

Adapting During the Speech

  • Audience nonverbal reactions
  • Pausing to refocus
  • Assessing your environment
  • Rolling with the punches

Adapting After the Speech

  • Survey your audience
  • Reevaluate your presentation
  • Self-reflection
  • Offer follow-up information

Module 11 – Speaking with Purpose: Information or Persuasion

Making Arguments

  • What is an argument?
  • Common types of arguments
  • Making and supporting claims
  • Using appropriate appeals

Persuasive Speaking

  • What is persuasive speaking?
  • What are persuasive topics?
  • Persuasion techniques: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
  • Identifying persuasion as an audience member

Informative Speaking

  • What is informative speaking?
  • What are informative topics?
  • Information overload: how much is too much?
  • Presenting factual information and identifying bias in research

Professional Speaking in Daily Life

  • How to compose a toast
  • Mastering the elevator speech
  • How to introduce yourself or others
  • Impromptu speaking in a professional manner

Interviews, Reviews, and Other Business Conversations

  • How to prepare for an interview
  • How to write a business review
  • How to receive feedback from a business review
  • Watercooler talk

Practice Informative and Persuasive Presentations

  • The difference between Informative and Persuasive Speaking
  • Narrowing Down a Speaking Topic
  • Using Arguments to Inform and Persuade
  • Three Stages of Practice

Module 12 – Media Literacy, Technology, and Issues in Communication

What is Media Literacy?

  • What is media literacy?
  • What is media bias?
  • What is cognitive dissonance?
  • Impacts of media literacy

Internet, Social Media, and Technology

  • What impact does technology have on communication?
  • Ethical obligations of online communications.
  • What is mediated communication?
  • What is mass communication?

Gender, Racial, and Cultural Sensitivity in Communication

  • What is gender sensitivity?
  • What is cultural sensitivity?
  • What is the importance of sensitivity in communication?
  • How does a communicator tailor their message for sensitivity?
  • Stereotypes and microaggressions

Democratization of Communication

  • How does audience relation impact online communication?
  • What is new media?
  • How do governments engage in mass communication?
  • What is propaganda?
  • Free Speech

Comparative Advantage Speaking

  • Comparative Advantage
  • Comparing Sources
  • Comparing Warrants
  • Comparing Impacts

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