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ComS 207  Dyadic Communication

Spring 2012

Syllabus (Word doc)


Instructor: Dr. Mark Stoner

Office: MND 5034

E-Mail: (best way to contact me)


Office Hours:

Monday 3-4 PM  in office and via Skype (mark.stoner)

Tues. 4-5 PM      in office and via Skype (mark.stoner)

Wed 9-10 AM     in office and via Skype (mark.stoner)

Main Topics:  Syllabus, Assignments, Policies, Course Calendar, Resources, Optional Assignments: Week 5; Weeks 6, 7, 8; Weeks 9, 10, 11

Course Description

Dyadic Communication. Various theoretical approaches to interpersonal or face-to-face communication. 3 units.


Position in the curriculum

Dyadic communication is relevant all programs of study. Dyadic communication serves a the foundation of social symbolic interaction. Therefore, dyadic communication theory can illuminate the dynamics of communication in all contexts. Methods of study span the methodological spectrum which provides good knowledge about dyadic communication.  As an interdisciplinary study, dyadic communication is important for anyone interested in human social behavior.



Required Textbook

Linell, Per. (2001)  Approaching Dialogue. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co


Books on Reserve in Library (click here for short descriptions)

Buber, M. (1970). I and Thou. New York: Scribner.


Berger, P. L. and Luckmann, T. (1967). The social construction of reality: A treatise in

            the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.


Burkitt, I. (1991). Social selves: Theories of social formation of personality. London:

            SAGE Publications.


Davidson, D. (2001). Subjective, intersubjective, objective. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Goffman, E. (1971). Relations in public. New York: Harper Colophon Books.


Saville-Troike, M. (1982). The ethnography of communication. Baltimore: University

            Park Press.


Required and Collateral Readings for ComS 207 available as download via SacCT.


Saclink account required.  If you don't have an account, please get one immediately. SacCT does not recognize anything but saclink accounts. If you need an account go to:


Course objectives

1. To articulate a well-grounded theoretical approach to dyadic communication as human symbolic action

2. To conduct research in the area of dyadic communication

3. To analyze relevant research literature

4. To synthesize relevant research literature


Your personal objectives for the course:








Conceptual outline of the course

Unit 1  Foundational concepts and definitions

Unit 2  Language as action

Unit 3 The dynamics of dialogue

Unit 4  Disentangling contexts


Methods of instruction

Teaching methods in this class will include lecture, discussion, individual and group activities.  Also, I am expecting that you will take initiative in setting the direction of the work we are doing in the course by bringing to bear material you’ve discovered, and generating ideas for your own research and practice through your active participation in discussion.  We are in this together; I have some perspectives to share with you and you have to share with me and each other.  Ultimately, I see the methods of instruction converging in the metaphor of "learning collaborative" (rather than "dispensary").


Course assignments and their values

Different students have different approaches to learning; different content and methodological preferences and needs; different motives and purposes for taking the course. To reflect that, the course is built around some core assignments and optional assignments.





Reading Presentation                            10 pts

Glossary              30 entries = 10; 50 entries = 20 pts

Mid-term exam                                       10 pts

Analysis of top three IPC textbooks                    10pts

Final exam                                              15 pts

Insights from Conversation + presentation

(Repeatable X 1)                                                  10 pts

Term project                                           25 pts

     Proposal                                        5 pts

     progress report                             5 pts

     rough draft                                     5 pts

     Final presentation of project

Reading Presentation                                          10 pts

                                         Sub total: 75 pts

Extending Concepts                                                10 pts

Choose assignments from the list to reach your target grade

(Use the course contract form to organize your choices)

   Click here to get Contract form

Final Grades will be assigned as follows:

            A  94‑100     A‑ 90‑93     B+ 88‑89     B  84‑87    B‑ 80‑83  C+ 78‑79   C  74‑77 

            C‑ 70‑73      D+ 68‑69    D   64‑67     D‑ 60‑63    F < 60


Course policies:
cell phone use, laptop use, grade discussions, attendance, class presentations, due dates, grade of "incomplete", plagiarism, dropping course


Cell phone use
Please turn off your cell phones while class is in session. If you must be available for a call or expect to receive a text message, please put your phone on vibrate and sit near the classroom door so you can discretely exit and take your call or text. I expect this will be a rare event.


Laptop use
If you wish to bring a laptop, please keep it closed until there is “tops up” time for writing a few notes to yourself or there is a need to do some research online. I find it hard to connect with students who are focused on a laptop display; some students find the key clicks and monitor images distracting as well. If you have a disability verified by the Services to Students With Disabilities (SSWD) office and you wish to discuss academic accommodations relative to laptop use in class, please talk with me immediately.


I will not discuss any grade for any assignment on the day I hand back to you. I've found it is helpful if you take the feedback, look it over, consider it in light of the relevant rubric before initiating a discussion that can become tense. If you wish to discuss a grade, just call or visit me in office hours or make an appointment.  I you wish to contest a grade, I'd like you to write out your argument clearly, concisely and completely and bring it with you to the meeting.

As a community of learners, we are responsible to each other to come prepared and contribute ideas to the class discussions.  I assume everyone has a commitment to coming to every class session.  However, as adults, sometimes emergencies occur and our presence is required elsewhere. My experience has been that such circumstances rarely happen more than once a semester.  If you miss more than once, we will need discuss the situation and your standing in the course. (If you know of a class you will not be able to attend, please let me know ahead of time.)
Class presentations

Due to the lack of free time in the class schedule, it will not be possible to make up missed presentations. Plan on doing your presentation even if you are not feeling well. In a case like that, you can do your presentation early in the session and will be excused to go home. If your doctor orders you to stay at home and consequently you miss your presentation, you will be excused, of course.  If your doctor orders you to stay home, please let me know prior to class, if possible.


Due dates

All assignments are due at class time on the date announced.  As responsible adults, I assume you will make a commitment to meeting assignment due dates. If you are prevented from meeting the date, I'd like to discuss the situation with you.
Grade of “incomplete”

I don't assign a grade of incomplete unless the requirements and conditions stipulated by the university for that grade are met. If you believe you qualify for an incomplete, I'll be happy to hear your case. That proposal will serve as a starting point from which we will negotiate a jointly satisfactory plan for completing the course.


I will follow the departmental policy on plagiarism. Never give into the temptation. If you face a situation that tempts you to do so (overloaded; dealing with problems that are overwhelming, etc.) please talk to me so we can find a legitimate solution. 

Dropping the course

I will follow the departmental policy on dropping; that is, you may drop without permission, until the second week. 




Books on Reserve

On-line Writing Assistance:

APA (American Psychological Association) style guide.

APA Crib Sheet, 6th ed

Here are two on-line APA style guides to get you started:

University of Wisconsin link:

Purdue University link:


For a quick overview of APA and tutorial go to: 

I especially recommend slides 13-26.

International Encyclopedia of Communication

Encyclopedia of Communication and Information

Standford Encylopedia of Philosophy

Public Journal of Semiotics (Click "current issues" and "past issues" buttons on left side of screen)

On-line Research Assistance:

To get to communication studies journals: