Download New COMS 520 – Communication Theory and Practices


Download New COMS 520-Communication Theory and Practices

Course Description

Intensive study of current theories, research, and trends in communication.

For information regarding the prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Understanding communication theories is essential to understanding the discipline of communication studies. As Littlejohn states, “Theories provide explanations that help us understand the phenomenon we call communication” (2). This course will provide an overview of communication theories across the major areas within the discipline of communication studies.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Summarize communication theories from all disciplines within the field of communication studies.
  2. Compare differences in theories used in organizations and theories used in small groups.
  3. Outline the need for theories in the study of communication.
  4. Support the application of a particular theory to a real communication situation.
  5. Give examples of how theories have been used in communication research.
  6. Discriminate between theories that apply to multiple communication contexts or fields and those theories which are limited to one particular area of communication.
  7. Complete scholarly research that applies to a particular communication theory.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (5)

Students will complete discussions.  Threads should be at least 600 words and should include references to the textbook or other scholarly sources to substantiate the students’ arguments. Students will reply to their classmates’ threads. All replies should be at least 450 words and should be posted intermittently throughout the week. All posts should follow the proper APA style.

Definition of Communication Essay Assignment

Students will submit a 500-word essay describing their definitions of communication. Opinions should be supported by rational arguments. This brief essay should be formatted in APA style.

Journal Article Review Assignment

Analyze one communication journal article. Make sure the article is from a communication journal.  In this brief paper, you will choose one article and discuss the elements of that article.  The paper should be at least 500 words and follow APA style.

Research Project Assignments

Throughout this course, students will be completing a research project regarding one theory of communication. The final product of this research project will be a 15–20-page research paper and a 10-minute multimedia presentation of the paper. For this project, students need to collect 15 relevant sources, which must be cited in the paper. All portions of this project must be correctly formatted in APA style. This project will be submitted in the following stages:

Title Page

Students will choose one of the theories discussed in the textbook to serve as the topic for the research project. Using the chosen theory as the title of the paper, students should create an APA-formatted title page to submit for approval. If the APA format is incorrect, students will receive comments from the instructor and resubmit a corrected title page. As soon as students receive the instructor’s approval, they should begin research for their project.


Students will use their research to create an introduction paragraph with their thesis statement as the last sentence of the paragraph. These paragraphs may vary in length depending on the complexity of the paper topic; however, all paragraphs should define relevant terms and contextualize the research for this project.

Literature Review

Students will submit the body of the paper, which should be a review of the 15 sources found during the research process. This review should be written in paragraph format with appropriate topic sentences for each paragraph. Furthermore, through this literature review, students should compare/contrast, analyze, and apply the scholarly perspectives presented in the research. Since the review will serve as the body of the paper, students should aim to have between 15–20 pages of text.

Paper Submission

Students should submit their final research papers. Final papers should be between 15–20 pages with the additional title page, abstract, works cited page, and appendix (if necessary). At least 15 sources should be listed on the works cited page and all sources should be used within the paper. This final draft of the paper should demonstrate flawless APA format.

Presentation (Discussion) 

Students will create a multimedia presentation of their theory that includes a video. The video should be between 9–10 minutes and uploaded to YouTube for viewing.

Quizzes (2)

Students will complete an essay midterm exam and an essay final exam. Each exam has a 2-hour and 45-minute time limit and is open-book/open-notes.

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