Apply major theories to leadership communication artifacts.

December 5, 2014| Papers Haven

Apply major theories to leadership communication artifacts.

3. Understand how to write in the Communication discipline.

4. Articulate a theoretically-informed personal philosophy of leadership and communication.


Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2013). Leadership: A communication perspective (6th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. (ISBN-13: 9781478602590)

Note on Syllabus: Yes, I know the syllabus is lengthy, detailed, and intimidating at first. But I believe it best (and ultimately less frustrating) to be well organized and spell out requirements and expectations rather than make it up as we go along. So take heart! The detail is meant to make things easier for you.

Course Perspective: Ours is not a course on “How to Become a Better Leader.” For that you can take any number of one-day seminars aimed at businesspeople or buy a self-help book at the local store. Instead, ours is a course in Leadership Communication or, in other words, about leadership as a specific type of communication activity. (Nevertheless, a spinoff benefit of the course may be an increase in your lead-ership effectiveness as you learn to think more critically about how you communicate). This distinction has important ramifications for our class:

 Because we will be learning about leadership from a communication perspective, our class will focus on communication theories and processes as they relate to the dynamics between leaders and followers. Your projects will explore real-world applications but the emphasis is on identifying and understanding the theories and processes behind them.



Instructor Information

Course Information

 Given our communication focus, please keep in mind that our class is an upper-division course designed for Communication majors who have taken or are currently taken COMM 3310 Introduction to Communication Theory, and is offered through UHV’s Communication Program and taught by a Communication professor.

If you are not a major but decided to enroll in an upper-division Communication course—or if you are a major but have not completed COMM 3310—then it is incumbent on you to work on your own and familiarize yourself with basic concepts and theories in the Communication discipline. Toward that end, during our first week I have assigned you to read “Some Basic Communication Theory” which is posted to our Course Homepage. Further, I have posted “A First Look at Communication Theory” which pro-vides concise outlines of more than 30 major theories. The first is mandatory and the second optional.

Educational Philosophy: By definition, education is change. Learners must encounter, assimilate, and apply new information. This requires going beyond what you already know, which is change. But change, because it takes you outside your comfort zone, is stressful. Yet without change, without going beyond what you already know, education does not take place.

Instructors who let students get by on restating and rephrasing what they already know, rather than challenge them to stretch and grow beyond their comfort zones, have failed their students. How will students grow if growth is not demanded? An instructor can show respect and caring for students by believing them capable of growth rather than practicing what has been called “the soft discrimination of low expectations.” So this course will take you outside your comfort zone.

Online Education: Some students mistakenly believe that online classes are easier than traditional classes because you can do the work on your own time. Actually, this facet of online education means that our “classroom” never ends. In a traditional class you can manage your time by attending meetings at certain days and hours. With online classes, however, time management is all your own responsibility.

Students can also make the mistake of thinking that online classes are like correspondence courses; you simply do the work, post it, and get your grade. I assure you, this is not a correspondence course. Yes, some online professors just do the classic model of “four quizzes, a paper, and a final.” But if that is all we do, we might as well shut down Blackboard and simply have you mail in your tests and papers. In-stead, the distinctive aspect of online education, and the one which makes it effective, is the element of online interaction and discussion.

Intellectual Rigor: Grades are ultimately based not just on meeting minimum requirements or even on effort. Rather, grades are based on how well you have mastered the concepts being taught. I choose not to gauge mastery through online quizzes and tests; to me, that is just memorization. Instead, I gauge your mastery of concepts by the quality of your interaction, discussion, and arguments. Seen another way, you have a “test” every week as I evaluate your online “essays” in response to questions from me and your discussion group about that week’s chapter reading.

Your discussion participation is evaluated according to the well-known Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. At the “C” level, can you recall concepts and understand their meaning? At the “B” level, can you critic-ally analyze or break down a concept and apply it to solve a problem? At the “A” level, can you evaluate multiple concepts and synthesize them to create an original idea of your own?

Thus, in class discussions are you just chatting, just writing off the top of your head, just saying “That’s great” or “I agree with you”? Or are you making specific reference (with page citations) in your discus-sion posts (and papers) to concepts being taught in required readings? Are you just regurgitating some key terms or phrases from our readings? Or are you applying the concepts to situations under dis-cussion? Are you showing originality of thought in extending those applications and making new connections?

In my view, engaging in intellectually rigorous discussion through your posts and papers is taking true advantage of the interactive aspect in online education. So I will not let you get by with intellectually lazy practices: chit-chatting without reference to our required readings, referring to readings in only a vaguely general sense (and without page citations), or regurgitating key terms with no applications.

Time Commitment: You are allowed (as will be explained below) to be “absent” from discussions for two weeks without any penalty so that you can deal with personal issues. In fact, I can excuse more absences if you communicate with me about a special situation. But how many unexcused absences should I allow without consequences? Three? Five? Eight? Then it becomes a matter in which students’ frequent absences from weekly discussions lowers the quality of learning and affects the ability of other students to meet their own weekly posting requirements.

When you enroll in any online class, you should know that weekly participation in online discussions is an aspect of the course. If you cannot commit to regular weekly participation then you must consider that perhaps you are at a point in life where it may not be feasible to take so many credit-hours. Do not make the mistake of believing that an online course is somehow less time-consuming than a traditional face-to-face course. Though you have the advantage of not needing to attend class meetings and can instead work at home on your own schedule, the tradeoffs are that it takes more time to do discussions in writing than to simply speak them in person, and class “never ends” because you are expected to check the Discussion Board and participate throughout the week.

Following Instructions: Detailed guidelines are provided in the syllabus and in grading rubrics for each assignment. Guidelines are detailed to make it easier, not harder, for you to meet the requirements. In particular, let me strongly suggest that, when you write a paper, copy and paste the grading rubric into your Word document and then make sure you cover all the requirements.


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