COMS 100A - Syllabus
Survey of Communication Studies
Fall 1998

California State University, Sacramento

 COMS 100A course evaluation now online!  

Required Text

Course Goals

Course Assignments

Technological Requirements

Course Policies

Web CT

Catalog Description: A survey of various theories of communication. Attention will be given to such topics as verbal and nonverbal coding, information processing, interpersonal and small group communication, political and organizational communication, the structure and effects of mediated communication, rhetorical criticism, and research in communication. Note: majors and minors must commplete with a grade of "C-" or better. 3 units.

Required Texts

Required: The text for the course this semester are:

Tubbs, S. & Moss, S. (1994). Human Communication, 7th ed. New York: Random House, 1994.

A handbook, "Survey of Communication" by Sally Perkins.

The text and handbook may be purchased at the Hornet Bookstore.


Course Goals


  • Students will create new and know historical and contemporary models of communication.
  • Students will know the essential parts of all communication processes.
  • Students will know six contexts of communication.
  • Students will know major theories which support the existing knowledge of communication in each of the six contexts.


  • Students will analyze the impact of the various contexts on the communication process.
  • Students will analyze the impact of technology (online, video, audio, etc.) on the communication process.
  • Students will practice using communication technologies: video, audio, online, e-mail.
  • Students will practice observing human communication and drawing supportable inferences, using theory and precise observations.
  • Students will practice study, research, writing, and oral communication skills to be used in upper division courses.


  • Students will evaluate the merits of technology as it impacts the above contexts.
  • Students will value the complexity of the human communication process in all contexts.
  • Students will value the study of communication and desire to study in more depth in future courses.


Course Assignments

  • Refer to the course calendar for a quick overview of assignments, exams and events.



    Midterm Exam

    25 pts.

    Final Exam

    25 pts.

    Webform Assignments (5 @ 10 pts each)

    50 pts.

    * Class Participation

    10 pts.


    110 pts.

    Final Grade Weightings:

    A =


    A- =


    B+ =


    B =


    B- =


    C+ =


    C =


    C- =


    D+ =


    D =


    D- =


    F =

    65 or below

    Exams: Both the midterm and final will be essay exams which ask you to analyze the problems in a communication event using the theories and models from the textbook and class discussions. All students must come to the CSUS campus to take those exams. Please bring with you two small, empty blue books.

    Webform Assignments: You must complete the Webform Assignment for Week Nine plus four others of your choosing. Please note on the course calendar when Webform Assignments are offered. Webform Assignments are due one week after the class period in which we discuss the topic. So, for example, if you choose to do the Webform Assignment for Week 10 (November 6), it will be due by 5:00 p.m. on Week 11 (November 13).

    * Class participation consists of the following: completion of WebQuest assignment, weekly attendance, participation in groups (whether in the studio or by teleconference), participation in class discussion. Demonstration of your active participation is especially critical for off-site students.


    Technological Requirements for the Course

    • ALL STUDENTS who take this course must have access to a computer which will allow them to use the Web.
    • ALL STUDENTS who take this course will need an electronic mail account. CSUS students enrolled in one or more units are eligible to create a SacLink account for electronic mail and Internet services.
    • ALL STUDENTS need some familiarity using computers and browsing the Web. For tips on using the Internet see:
    • ALL STUDENTS need at least a Windows compatible 386 computer which will run Windows 3.1, Windows NT, Windows '95 or '97 OR a Macintosh compatible with System 7.1 or higher.
    • ALL STUDENTS need a computer with 32M RAM, a 19.6K or faster modem, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape 3.0 (or higher)
    • STUDENTS TAKING THE CLASS VIA CABLE need to be able to watch the course in real time. That is, you need to be able to watch the course on Fridays from 1:00-4:00 when it is aired live. You will be asked to interact with other class members and Dr. Perkins via telephone, fax (if possible) and perhaps by computer.



    The Web-based course management system, WebCT, is now available for online communication.

    Your class information is only accessible to registered students, the instructor, and the WebCT administrator. You have been assigned a login ID and an initial password. Once you have successfully logged into COMS 100A, Survey of Communication Studies, you should use the WebCT password tool and change your initial password.

    Your login ID is your last name in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Your initial password is the last four digits of your social security number.

    To access the CSUS WebCT environment, connect to the Internet using your Internet browser. The Web address is:

    Select Course Listing, Communication Studies, then COMS 100A, Survey of Communication Studies. You will be asked for a User Name and Password.

    Note: To navigate within WebCT you must use the internal navigation buttons and NOT the Web browser Back and Forward buttons.  



    Course Policies

    1. Attendance & Participation: Due to the size of the class and nature of distance education, I cannot take attendance. Nonetheless, your success in this course is highly dependent upon your attendance. If you are taking the class from a distant site, you need will be asked to participate in discussions and activities, even from your home. Thus, you need to watch in "real time." You will find that many of the writing assignments cannot be done unless you have attended class. Thus, your participation will be accounted for through those assignments.


    2. Promptness: Because the course is going out over cable, we must start right on time. If you are attending in the studio on campus, please make every effort to be in class before 1:00. If you are attending from off-campus, be sure to tune in right at 1:00 so you do not miss important announcements or information.


    3. Make-up work: As a general rule, no make-up exams will be offered. If you have a serious emergency for which you can provide proof, please contact me by phone or email as soon as possible. NO writing assignments will be accepted late.

    Page updated: December 15, 1998