Com 251-10: Interpersonal Communications

Sage College Communications Department

Spring 2004 TTH 11:20-12:50 Albany campus

Terrell Neuage


Course Description: 1

Text 2

Course Goals/Objectives: 2

Course Requirements. 2

oral communication skill work. 2

written work. 2

reading. 3

Exams and Projects. 3

Grading Criteria. 5

Contact 5


Course Description:

The focus for this class is on human interaction. We will investigate the principles of communication concentrating on how as individuals we use verbal and nonverbal language in different situations. As well as language we will look at how we listen and how we are affected by other’s communication. An important theme of this course will be group dynamics and our roles in them.


Interpersonal Communication (COM 251) is designed to increase your understanding and implementation of effective interpersonal communication behaviors and skills. Throughout the semester we will examine basic verbal and nonverbal elements affecting communication between individuals in family, peer group, and work contexts. This course requires you to participate in activities designed to develop interpersonal communication skills.


We will take a scholarly approach to communication at the same time allowing you to explore your own notions about the subject. We will look at our own lives as communication platforms but always in context of the material we are covering.




Verderber, R. F., & Verderber, K. S. (2004). Inter-Act: Interpersonal Communication Concepts, Skills, and Contexts (10th ed). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  ISBN #0-19-516847-X


Companion Web site to Inter-Act: Interpersonal Communication Concepts, Skills, and Contexts,

Course Goals/Objectives:


After completing this course, you will be able to:

·        describe the process of communication and its various components,

·        distinguish among various types of communication situations (intrapersonal, interpersonal, group and public)

·        explain the role communication plays in personal and professional relationships

·        display appropriate communications skills depending on various interpersonal situations.

·        define the basic elements and roles involved in group communication

·        explain ways in which conflict can be managed and identify strategies for resolving conflict

·        demonstrate effective public speaking skills

·        listen effectively to other’s messages, make critical evaluations of the content and respond appropriately given the situation


Course Requirements

oral communication skill work

Since this is an oral communication skills course, we want to provide you with many opportunities to develop these skills. Aside from general class participation such opportunities may include the preparation for and performance and evaluation of role-playing activities, in-class presentations, and briefing sessions and discussion, analysis and critique of dyadic communication case studies, etc.

written work

You will be expected to use correct spelling in all written work. Use of appropriate grammatical skills in oral and written communication is also very important. Throughout the course you will expand your personal vocabulary through the study of terms related to the course. Your written work will be evaluated on both content and mechanics. Good writing should be reasonably free of mistakes and without composition errors that are called gross errors (sentence fragments, run-on sentences, subject-verb disagreement, misspelled words, and typographical errors which result in such errors). All of your work MUST BE TYPED (using no more than 12 point type with margins not exceeding 1 inch on the top, right, and bottom, nor 1.5 inches on the left) and double-spaced--unless otherwise indicated by me.


Your reading assignments are included in the course calendar. In addition to the textbook, I may, from time to time, require you to read other material that will be put on reserve or which will be available on the Internet.


Exams and Projects


There will be several short true-false/multiple choice quizzes given during the course (approximately one at the beginning of each chapter). In addition, you will be expected to take a comprehensive final, design a group workshop which applies interpersonal communication theory and research to an interpersonal communication topic, participate in several interpersonal simulations–some of which will involve interpersonal assessments, keep an individual journal of specific questions to consider and develop five communication improvement plans and a summary document for future implementation of communication skills. Miscellaneous activity points may be awarded at the discretion of the instructor. This sounds like a lot of work but it is a matter of organisation and we will go through what is expected each class.


QUIZZES (200 points)

You will be given several quizzes designed to assess your preparation for lecture and class discussion. Each quiz will consist of several multiple-choice questions addressing the reading for the assigned chapter.


APPLICATION JOURNALS (5 X 20 points; 100 points total)

You will be given five journal questions during the semester that are simply short, typed reflections/application opportunities to relate course material to your own experiences. I will expect you to ‘react’ to class activities, videos, stories, simulations, lectures and readings by integrating your knowledge of the concepts learned with your interpersonal relationships. These journal responses will be reviewed only by me and will be held in confidence between you and me. The journal entries will be graded on completeness, clarity, introspection and conceptual foundations. Journal questions will be provided in class on the dates noted on your course schedule.

COMMUNICATION IMPROVEMENT PLANS (Goal Statements) (150 points)

As described in Chapter One of your textbook, Inter-Act (p. 24), the communication improvement goal statements are your opportunity to intentionally develop your communication skills. There will be five (5) plans (CIPs) which will reflect personal goals you will set based on material encountered in sections of the text as indicated on your course schedule (worth 15 points each; 75 points total) which will be submitted throughout the semester. I will expect a short (1 — 1 _ page) typed skill improvement plan based on the concepts learned in your textbook. See pages 24-25 to fine-tune your process. Your last part of the plan is a 3-5 page typed, double spaced summary of your skill development throughout the semester based on your goals. You should identify those areas in which you have made improvements and those areas still needing improvement. The summary is worth 75 points.



One of the most interesting components of this course is the incorporation of interpersonal assessments that allow students to determine "baseline" scores for several interpersonal behaviors. Students will assess their individual conflict management style, propensity to self-disclosure, temperament and communication apprehension.


GROUP WORKSHOPS (200 points)

The importance of developing your interpersonal communication skills when interacting with other students cannot be overstated. In order to give you practical experience in developing your interpersonal communication competencies, you will design and manage a group workshop on specific concepts related to one of the following five major topics:


Workshop #1 Communicating Through Nonverbal Behaviors - Chapter 5
Workshop #2 Holding Effective Conversations - Chapter 6
Workshop #3 Listening Effectively - Chapter 7
Workshop #4 Responding with Empathy and Understanding - Chapter 8
Workshop #5 Self-Disclosure and Feedback - Chapter 9


These workshops will include: 1) a one page synopsis of the major conceptual issues, 2) a demonstration of key concepts, 3) a brief annotated bibliography (of at least ten resources not included in the textbook) which must be integrated into the workshop, and 4) the opportunity for questions from the class and instructor. The grade for these presentations will be determined by an evaluation by the other groups and my evaluation. Grading criteria include research component (description of communication approach/perspective, literature review of theory, insight/interpretation related to chapter concepts), presentation style (attention to audience, introduction/conclusion, enthusiasm, delivery, use of materials), distribution of effort, quality of handouts, quality of activity, video usage, wrap-up/debriefing linking activities to concepts.


During the semester we will have several in-class discussions/debates and engage in activities designed to sharpen your interpersonal communication skills. The a) more intelligent your comments, b) the more prepared you are, and c) the more willing your are to help make this class a productive educational experience for all, the more you will be rewarded.


Grading Criteria

Scores in three major performance categories will determine the grades for this class: Writing, Individual Performance/Participation, and Tests. These will be assessed using several assignments, each of which must be completed to receive course credit. There are no optional assignments. Course completion is accomplished when all necessary assignments have been finished.


 Graded Assignments and Grade Calculation Updated Wednesday, February 04, 7.34 PM




Number of


Due Date



10 X 20 pts

200 pts


Application Journal


5 X 20 pts

100 pts

2/5, 2/19, 3/04, 3/25, 4/08

Communication Improvement Plans


5 x 30 pts

150 pts

2/10, 3/02, 3/23, 3/30, 4/06     

Group Workshop


5 X 40 pts

200 pts

2/24, 3/02, 3/09, 3/23, 3/30

Interpersonal Assessments


5 X 10 pts

50 pts

2/12, 3/11, 4/06, 4/15, 4/27

Interpersonal Communication Survey I


in class group survey (put in GW section)

5 pts


Interpersonal Communication Survey II


in class group survey (put in GW section)

5 pts


Temperament Style Assessment


online test (Put in skills test section of folder)

10 pts


Self-Disclosure Assessment (Johari Window)


Put in skills test section of folder 

10 pts


Conflict Style Assessment


(Put in skills test section of folder) 

10 pts



Communication Skills Test online test (Put in skills test section of folder)

5 pts



Communication Skills Test online test (Put in skills test section of folder)

5 pts


Comprehensive Final Exam


Chapters 1-14

100 pts


Journal / folder presentation 50 PTS x 2 100 pts 3/11, 4/29

Participation and In-class Exercises


25 classes X 2 pts

50 pts





1000 pts/10




A = 94 – 100 %

A- = 90 – 93.9 %

B+ = 88 – 89.9 %

B = 82 – 87.9 %

B- = 80 – 81.9 %

C+ = 78 – 79.9 %

C = 72 – 77.9 %

C- = 70 – 71.9 %

D+ = 68 – 69.9 %

D = 62 – 67.9 %

D- = 60 – 61.9 %

F = 0 – 59.9 %



Phone 442-2604 (SUNY) I am there MWF 10.30 – 3.30

E-mail: (must have SAGE/yourname  or I will not open the émail)