COM 120 Interpersonal Communication                                                                           Spring 2007

Office: S-200D, D’town, N317 North                              Hrs: M 11-12, 1-3pm, W 11-12, TH 10:45-11:45

Instructor, Karen Brown                                                                       Phone: (910) 362-7236                




Course Description: This course introduces the practices and principles of interpersonal communication in both dyadic and group settings.  Emphasis is placed on the communication process, perception, listening, self-disclosure, speech apprehension, ethics, nonverbal communication, conflict, power, and dysfunctional communication relationships.  Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate interpersonal communication skills, apply basic principles of group discussion, and manage conflict in interpersonal communication situations.


Course Objectives: The subject matter of the course consists of four areas: Communication about the self and others, Communication spoken and unspoken, Communication in context, and Communication through service learning. 


Communication about the self and others: 

            After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

·        understand the characteristics of the process of interpersonal communication in both dyadic and group settings

·        have a clearer understanding of your self-concept

·        understand the perception process

·        listen more effectively

Communication spoken and unspoken:

            After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

·        understand why we form relationships and the role of self-disclosure in interpersonal relationships

·        demonstrate speech apprehension and critical thinking skills

·        demonstrate the ability to address the ethical and moral dimension of communication

·        understand the power of nonverbal communication

Communication in context: 

            After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

·        manage conflict constructively and use language with greater precision

·        understand the nature of power in relationships

·        demonstrate an understanding of dysfunctional communication relationships

·        demonstrate and use guidelines for appropriate expression of emotion

·        demonstrate understanding of supportive and defensive behaviors

Communication through Service Learning:

·        Learn through reflective activities

·        Enhance understanding of course content

·        Use critical thinking skills

·        Enhance self-awareness and self monitoring skills

·        Establish/Maintain commitment to the community




Course credit and contact hours:  3 credit hours, 3 contact hours weekly


Required texts: 


Required text with authors and publisher:  Adler, Ronald B., Proctor, Russell F. and Towne, Neil, Looking Out Looking In, 11th edition, Fort Worth, Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 2005.


Materials required:  One #2 pencil, one PC formatted 3½ inch diskette


Specific course requirements:  In addition to doing various assignments, which will be explained by your instructor, and the final exam, all students are required to participate in class activities.


Tests and other assigned material: One major project , two additional projects, 20 service learning hours, and some movie reviews are required for the course.  A comprehensive final exam will be given.  These grades along with attendance and participation make up the final grade.


Course meeting schedule: 

Week              Assignments and Activities

Week 1           Class orientation,      Ch. 1 - A First Look at Interpersonal Relationships

Week 2           Partners/Groups decide on topic to present to class

Week 3           Ch. 2 - Communication and Identity:  The Self and Messages

Week 4            Project 1 presentations

Week 5            Ch. 3  - Perception: What you See is What you Get

Week 6           Ch. 4 – Emotions – Thinking, Feeling, and Communicating

Week 7           Ch. 5 - Language:  Barrier and Bridge  -- 1st ½  of Portfolio’s Due

Week 8           Portfolio Listening Sessions

Week 9           Ch. 6 - Nonverbal Communication:  Messages Without Words

Week 10        Ch. 7- Listening

Week 11        Ch. 8 - Communication and Relational Dynamics

Week  12       9 - Improving Communication Climates

Week 13        Ch. 10 - Managing Interpersonal Conflict

Week 14/15   Portfolio Listening Sessions

Week 16        Power

Week 17/18   Review for final, reports/service learning projects presented//Final Exam


Grading Scale :  A=92-100           D=68-75         WP=Withdrawal Passing

                               B=84-91              F=0-67           WF=Withdrawal Failing

                               C=76-83              I=Incomplete NC=No Credit


Attendance is mandatory on the day of speeches/presentations.  If you are absent on the day another person/group presents, your grade for that project will be lowered one letter grade.  In addition, your attendance will be averaged as a grade worth 100 pts.


Plagiarism statement: Plagiarism is using as your own the words or ideas of another, whether written or oral.  When you use material from a source, you must quote or paraphrase accurately and properly cite the information.  Failure to do so is is considered plagiarism.  Examples of plagiarism include word-for-word copying without correctly indicating that you are quoting, inaccurate quoting and paraphrasing and incomplete or missing documentation.  Purchasing a paper or copying someone else’s work and submitting it as your own is also plagiarism.  Any misrepresentation of the source in your writing or speaking would constitute a form of plagiarism. 


            Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is not acceptable.  The Humanities and Fine Arts Department adheres to the CFCC policy on cheating as stated in the Catalog and Student Handbook which states that a student is going to receive an "F" on an assignment if a student is found guilty of  such misconduct.   A "written report of the incident stating the facts and the action” will be taken to my department chair or immediate supervisor and to the Vice President of Student Development (Carol Cullum in Room A220).  Note the time frame:  ". . . within three (3) weekdays from the time the incident occurred."  If a student appeals a grade, the student should remain in the class while the appeal is being addressed.  In general, a student remains a member of a class as long as the student does not receive a grade of "W,"  "WF," or "WP."











 1st Day Handout for Com. 120:  Interpersonal Communication         




COURSE PHILOSOPHY: This course is designed to help you increase your understanding of the processes through which interpersonal relationships are established, maintained and terminated.  The course is also aimed at helping students improve their own communicative competence.  The course shows that successful communication does not come from learning a collection of  “techniques” that can be used “on” others, but advocates gaining competence through developing a repertoire of skills and then learning to choose the ones that are most appropriate and effective in a given situation.



This course provides opportunities for students to utilize knowledge gained from text and class discussion to participate in related activities that are designed to help students learn more about the topic.



Prompt and regular attendance is important.  Save absences for emergencies.  Cape Fear Community College has a published attendance policy, which states that students must attend 80 percent of the class time in order to receive credit for the course.  Absences totaling 20 percent of class time is the maximum we can miss and still receive credit for the course.  This rule is enforced.  It is your responsibility to keep a record of your own absenteeism.  Please arrive on time to class.  If you are tardy 3 times, it counts as an absence.  If you arrive late, please see me at the end of the hour to makes sure you are counted present.  If, however, according to the clock in the room or the instructor’s watch you are 25 or more minutes late, you will be counted absent for a 50-minute class.  If you must leave early, please inform the instructor ahead of time.  You must be in class 25 minutes for a 50-minute class. 


If you “over cut” or miss more than 20%, you will receive a grade of “F”.  Therefore, if you find you must “over cut” a class, I suggest that you officially withdraw from the class, especially if you have a passing average; a “WP” (withdrawal passing) does not affect the grade-point average.  You must withdraw before you over cut in order to receive a “WP.”  You cannot receive a “WP” after midterm.


If you are absent, you are responsible for catching up; call the instructor or a dependable classmate so that you can be prepared when you return to class.










Tests, projects, and papers are due on assigned dates.  If you have a conflict with a due date or a set schedule, contact the instructor as soon as possible before the due date to see if rescheduling is possible. 


If an emergency occurs which prevents your meeting a deadline, contact the instructor before you return to class to see if rescheduling is possible.  No late work will be accepted. 

Assignments may be taken early but may not be made up unless you have a verifiable emergency.  Presentations must be given on the due date and may not be made up unless you have a legitimate, verifiable emergency, such as being hospitalized, or a death in the family.   This is a Communication Departmental guideline that all communication instructors adhere to.  We have a tight schedule to maintain, and in real life, presentations must be given when the audience is present in a specific place, on a specific date, and at a specific time. 


Students choose 1 project from the 4 listed below.  (100 pts. Each)  Due:  MWF 1/29 TTH 1/30.  You are encouraged to present this aloud in front of the class.



1.      Write 1 book report (oral or written).  Provide 2-pages typed relating 6 concepts from the text.  Please hi-light the concepts in your paper. 

2.      3 journal article reports. Provide 2-pages typed relating 6 concepts from the text.  Please hi-light the concepts in your paper.

3.      1 creative project (will be described in class).

4.  Come up with your own activity.

































Required by all students:


1.                  Classroom participation and attendance in all communication/classroom activities.  Occasionally, there will be assignments completed and collected during class.  If you are absent on a day when an activity is done, you cannot make that up.   If you have perfect attendance, yet don’t listen and get involved in the class, you may not get a “100” for this grade. (100+points-attendance/participation.)

2.                  An interpersonal multi-media presentation project is required by all students (100 pts.).  There is no paper to write with this assignment.  Each dyadic/group (2, 3, or 4 people) will choose a chapter from the text and select 3 of the following to use in their presentation: 

·        Find   2-3 movie/tv clips appropriate for classroom use illustrating 2-3 concepts from your chapter.  (There are movie suggestions at the end of each chapter).

·        Play a song or songs relating to your chapter.

·        Show a cartoon relating to your chapter.

·        Have the class do 2 activities related to your topic from the Portfolio Packet (this is required).

·        Give a Power Point presentation about the chapter theory given out

·        Do a drama/skit or a role play related to some aspect of your chapter.

·        Devise a short game//quiz show related to topics from your chapter.

·        Share a poem or excerpt from a book related to topics from your chapter.

·        Discuss your chapter theory (will be given out)

Due dates will be according to class schedule.  You will present when the chapter related to your project is being covered.  We will have a sign-up sheet for these after the first few weeks of class.  This must be an interesting hi-energy presentation! 

3. There will be a “Stages of Relationship Development” activity done during the chapter about Relationships (Ch. 8).  This assignment will be discussed and executed during thre relationship chapter.  A writtten assignment is due MWF 3/26 TTH 3/27.

4.  A Personal Self-Examination Portfolio (notebook) will be created from various assignments, activities, and projects done in and outside of class.  The portfolio should contain a minimum of 10 entries (100 pts.).  Grades are based on creativity (25 pts.), neatness (25pts.), and ability to relate activities to class topic in a on-one meeting with the instructor( 75 pts.) (see further description at end of handout).   This is one of the major projects for this class.  The final product should exhibit excellence (50pts).  (250 points total).  Due: 1st ½ week of MWF 2/26 TTH 2/27, 2nd ½ week of  MWF 4/16_TTH 4/17 (This must be turned in during your scheduled meeting time and date.  to receive credit for this project.!!)  See page attached. 

  1. There will be a service learning project (20 hrs. depending which time your class is scheduled).  This will be further explained in class.   See attached sheet.  Due:  _________.
  2. Final Exam (100 pts.)  A comprehensive exam will be given over all material covered in class.   People with perfect attendance are exempt from the final exam.  

      You are not allowed to make up a class unless:

·        You talk to me before you plan to be absent

·        You contact me personally via phone/email  before or during your scheduled class & stay the entire class period

Failure to comply with these rules will result in non-exemption from the exam. 

7.  There will be some short movie reviews worth 25 points each.
















































 Note:  Please, no eating, drinking in class; it’s CFCC’s policy.  Please! 


INSTRUCTIONAL APPROACHES: Reading, Writing, and ACTIVITIES--Students should be continuously and actively involved in each of these activities.  Reading activities can be used in a variety of ways to stimulate critical thinking skills and raise conscious levels regarding topics covered in class.  Writing and activities (games, role-play, informal group work) will be in a variety of forms.   Not all assignments need to be “graded” activities.   Some are for purposes of interaction.   Classroom participation and discussion is vital in this course.


                        Assignments                       Pt. Values


                        Bumper Sticker                                 10

                        Group Project                                  100

                        Project 1                                           100

                        20 hours of Service

                                    Learning                               100    

                        Relationship Paper                          50

                        Movie Reviews                                  25 (each)

                        Portfolio                                            250

                        Attendance/Participation             100

                        Final Exam                                       100



PERSONAL COMMENT: If you want it to, this course can change every area of your life: personally, educationally, physically, and professionally!  Go for it!!!!   

Interpersonal  Presentation Topics


                                    Chapter 2______________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 3______________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 4 ______________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 5______________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 6 _____________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 7 _____________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 8 _____________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 9_____________________________________________________


                                    Chapter 10 ____________________________________________________




Portfolio explained further:


You will have an individual one-on-one meeting with the instructor for her to evaluate your portfolio.  At that time, I will do what is called an “authentic assessment” on what you have learned on each chapter.  The first ½ of the chapters will be due on the week of MWF Feb. 26 TTH Feb. 27.  I will have a 5 min. meeting.  It will be first come, first serve basis on the day of the sign up for meeting times.  There assessment time will be approximately 5 minutes per person. 


The 2nd half of the portfolios will be due April 16 for MWF  and April 17 for TTH classes.  It will be first come, first serve basis on the day of the sign up for meeting times. 



·         10 entries - Each chapter should be represented created from various assignments, projects, activities (from portfolio packet), textbook (Invitation to Insight from each chapter in text), internet,/magazines tests or exercises (100 pt.)


·        In the individual meeting with me, this is what I will be looking for:  explanation/comments showing what you got from this assignment that someone that hasn’t ever been in this class wouldn’t know? (75 pts.)

o       relating the activity to something from a specific chapter from the text –  (you will state which chapter by name on your page)

o       tell specifically what you learned from this chapter, text and class discussion

o       what will help you in life from this chapter

o       use terminology from the text


·        creativity/neatness (25pts.)  colorfulexhibits excellence (50pts)  - A project to save and always keep!


·         (250 points total).  __________________.





Service Learning explained further:  See handout to be given out in class




1.  COM 120 will incorporate some or all of the following General Education Competencies:


Written Communication

Understanding Social Structure

Oral Communication

Problem Solving

Critical Thinking

Understanding Scientific Concepts & Application

Basic Computer Usage



2. Contingency Plan:  If there is an emergency and the instructor or an appropriate substitute does not meet with the class, wait fifteen minutes.  If no instructor shows, the class should sign a roll sheet and designate someone to take it to the Humanities/Fine Arts Department Secretary or Chair. 


3. Accommodation of Special Needs: Any student who requests classroom accommodations because of a disability must present documentation to verify his/her disability.  This documentation must be furnished to the Disabilities Service Coordinator.  On a confidential basis, the student, disabilities services and the instructor will determine the appropriate accommodations following documentation.  These accommodations will be provided in a manner that is consistent with the objectives, outcomes, and academic standards of the course. Absences must not exceed class attendance policy.


4. Campus Cruiser:  Every student has an official CFCC-provided email account which is to be used for all email correspondence with your instructors and with the CFCC staff.  Some information (such as TRAC registration info) from CFCC will ONLY be emailed to this address, and not sent through postal mail as in the past, so it is very important that you check this account periodically.  To access this account, please visit the CFCC website and click on the CampusCruiser link at the very top of the page, then follow the directions on the CampusCruiser website to log in.  You will use your log in ID as part of your email address (  This email account is provided to you as long as you are enrolled in classes (summer will not count), and may be used for personal email as well as academic email.


5.  Disclaimer on First-Day Handouts:  The instructor reserves the right, acting within the policies and procedures of Cape Fear Community College, to make changes in course content or instructional techniques without notice or obligations.