Speech Communication 102
Introduction to Speech Communication
Spring 2004


Professor:    Daniel O'Keefe
                          Office:  123 Lincoln Hall
                          Office hours:  10 W and by appt.
                          Office telephone:  244-1599
                          Messages:  333-2683
                          Mailbox:  244 Lincoln Hall
                          Email:  dokeefe@uiuc.edu

Assistants:    Joshua Barbour                                       Michelle Hals
                           Office:  8-O Lincoln Hall                        Office:  8-O Lincoln Hall
                           Office hours:  TBA                                 Office hours:  TBA
                           Office telephone: 333-9107                    Office telephone: 333-9107
                           Messages:  333-2683                              Messages:  333-2683
                           Mailbox:  244 Lincoln Hall                     Mailbox:  244 Lincoln Hall
                           Email:  barbour@uiuc.edu                      Email:  hals@uiuc.edu

General course description:

This course provides a general overview of theory and research on human communication.  It surveys basic structures and processes of communication (such as language and nonverbal communication), important functions and effects of messages (such as persuasion and identity management), and various media and contexts of communication (e.g., conversation, mass communication media, and organizational settings).  The course serves as a broad introduction to basic concepts, principles, findings, and methods in the behavioral-scientific study of communication.  For a detailed course outline, click here.

Roles of lectures, readings, and quiz sections:

Course materials consist of lectures, readings, and quiz-section material.  The readings can be found in a packet of photocopied articles, available at Dup-It Copy Shop, 808 S. Sixth St., Champaign (337-7000).  For a list of readings, click here .

Lectures present detailed reviews and analyses of research bearing on each topic treated in the course, with particular attention to the relationship between claims (e.g., hypotheses or explanations) and the available research evidence.  Lectures supplement but do not duplicate the readings; readings supplement but do not duplicate the lectures.  Most of the content of the course is available only in lectures, and students are responsible for learning the detailed content of each lecture.  Readings consist primarily of representative studies (exemplifying major research questions and approaches), but also include research reviews and theoretical treatments (which summarize and analyze a body of research).

Because the lectures present a substantial body of detailed information and analyses, students are encouraged to use the quiz sections as opportunities to ask questions and seek any needed clarification of lectures and readings.  Additional supplementary material for topics covered in the course is also presented in the quiz sections.

Following each lecture, a study guide is posted online here. The study guides can be useful not only in preparing for the hourly exams, but also as a check on the adequacy of one's note-taking.

Graded assignments:

One's course grade is based on three hourly examinations and a final examination.  The examinations cover lectures, readings, and material discussed in quiz sections.

The three hourly examinations are multiple-choice exams.  Each hourly exam counts for 25% of the course grade.

The final examination is an essay exam, written at the scheduled final exam period.  The questions on the final examination are drawn from a pool of questions made available during the last week of class.  The final examination counts for 25% of the course grade.

It is assumed that examinations will be completed when required.  No make-up examinations will be administered, except in cases of documented medical or family emergency.  When such problems are encountered, notify your teaching assistant (or, failing that, Professor O'Keefe) at the earliest possible time; appropriate documentation will be needed.  Without an acceptable excuse, a missed examination will receive a failing grade (F).

Course grading:

One's course grade will be determined by the (weighted) average of the grades on the individual assignments.  Each assignment will receive a letter grade, with numerical equivalents as follows:

                           A  = 4.0      A- = 3.667
   B+ = 3.333      B  = 3.0      B- = 2.667
   C+ = 2.333      C  = 2.0      C- = 1.667
   D+ = 1.333      D  = 1.0      D- = 0.667
                            F  = 0.0

So, for example, a student who receives a B- on the first hourly, a C on the second hourly, an A- on the third hourly, and a B on the final exam would have a course average of 2.8335.  (2.667 + 2.0 + 3.667 + 3.0 = 11.334; 11.334/4 = 2.8335.)

To convert the course average into a course grade, the following scale will apply:

    course average     course grade

     4.0000                        A+
     3.8335 and up            A
     3.5000 and up            A-
     3.1665 and up            B+
     2.8335 and up            B
     2.5000 and up            B-
     2.1665 and up            C+
     1.8335 and up            C
     1.5000 and up            C-
     1.1665 and up            D+
     0.8335 and up            D
     0.3335 and up            D-
     below 0.3335             F

So, for example, a student with a course average of 2.8335 would receive a course grade of B.

However, in no case is one's course grade determined by a single multiple-choice exam question.  At the end of the semester, the raw scores on the hourly exams are reviewed.  If the circumstance is such that having answered correctly one additional question (that is, just one additional question on just one hourly exam) would have yielded a higher course grade, then the student receives the higher course grade.

General course outline:   ( For a more detailed course outline, click here. )

      I.  Foundational structures and processes of communication
          A.  Language structures
          B.  Language and thought
          C.  Expression and meaning
          D.  Language acquisition
          E.  Nonverbal behavior and communication
          F.  Speech acts
          G.  Inference in communication
          H.  Perspective-taking
          I.  Coda:  concepts of communication

     II.  Functions and effects of communication
          A.  Identities and identity management
          B.  Argument and argument structure
          C.  Persuasion and social influence
          D.  Social support
          E.  Mass media news/information
          F.  Mass media entertainment

    III.  Forms and contexts of communication
          A.  Conversation
          B.  Writing and print
          C.  Electronic media
          D.  Culture and communication
          E.  Organizational communication

Some dates of interest:

    Hourly exam #1:  Friday 20 February
    Hourly exam #2:  Friday 2 April
    Hourly exam #3:  Friday 30 April
    Final exam questions available:  Monday 3 May
    Final examination period:  8-11 a.m., Friday 14 May

SpCom 102 course home page

Daniel J. O'Keefe home page