Comm 200: Principles of Communication. TuTh 8: 00-9: 50 nh341 Dr. David Ritchie

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Comm 200 Ritchie Fall 2014 4/17/2016 p.

COMM 200: Principles of Communication. TuTh 8:00-9:50 NH341
Dr. David Ritchie, UCB 440B.; e-mail:

Office: UCB440b; Office Hours: TuTh 10:00-11:30 or by appointment.

TAs: Jamie McIntire,

KatyAnn Powers

Required Readings:

Hard copies of most journal articles are available in the PSU library; you can also find them on-line through the PSU Library web page; Resources; Find journals; Find It @ PSU. Please download all of them at the beginning of the quarter.

American Psychological Association (APA): Manual of Style (6th Ed).

Other readings will be found on d2l.

All students new to PSU should take a library tour. Tours begin at the first-floor Circulation Desk and are offered twice a week: Tuesday 11:30 am & Wednesday at 4:00 pm.

It is also strongly recommended that you own and regularly consult a dictionary and a good grammatical reference; I recommend Strunk & White, Elements of Style.

Course Objectives: From the course description in the PSU bulletin:

“Introduces the skills and concepts students need for literacy in communication and provides a broad introduction to the perspectives on communication that will be encountered in upper-division Communication courses. Prerequisite for Comm 311, Comm 316 and Comm 326.”

  • Identify and explain basic research approaches and paradigms.

  • Formulate and identify research topics suitable to the Communication discipline.

  • Read, summarize, analyze, and synthesize peer reviewed journal articles.

  • Write extended essays using clear, coherent, grammatically correct English.

Course Format. This course combines lectures with in-class discussion. Attendance, full attention, and active participation are required. Students are expected to be in their seats and ready to participate fully at the beginning of the class period. Arriving late or leaving early will be treated as an absence and you will receive no credit for that day’s in-class discussions. Absences may be excused only for religious holidays, illness, or genuine emergencies. You must notify us as soon as possible. If you miss class it is your responsibility to get class notes from a class-mate. I will not respond to questions that take the form “did I miss anything important?” Everything we do in class is important!

Reading notes: 1 point per week; they must be completed prior to class on the due date. A TA will check them during the first 20 minutes. You will write reading notes for every assigned reading (except the course syllabus, APA Manual, and description of assignments): see the recommended format and examples on d2l. You may e-mail reading notes to your TA prior to class, but they will not receive credit after the due date unless you have an unanticipated excused absence. You may use reading notes for the mid-term and final exam.

On-line quizzes: on d2l; 1% each, multiple choice, due prior to beginning of class on Thurs. Oct 2 and every subsequent Tuesday morning. Missed quizzes may not be made up.

Class discussion exercises, paper copy turned in at the end of each class, one point (1%) per class meeting. Discussions will be in groups of no more than four; each group member must write your full name at the top of the paper to be counted as present and participating. During class discussion, I will call on students at random. There is no penalty for guessing wrong, but you must make a good faith effort. If you are unable to do so, you will lose the point for that day. If you have an excused absence, complete the discussion questions (in the PowerPoint slides on d2l) and give them to your assigned TA within one week after the missed meeting. Credit will not be given for more than four make-up assignments.

E-mail: You may submit assignments by e-mail only if you have an excused absence on the dates they are due. They must be attached as Word-compatible documents with your last name and the course number in the document name. Do not use d2l mail. Be sure that your name is in the document name!
Written assignments. Library assignment, due Oct. 9; partial literature review, due Oct. 28; Outline due Nov. 11; Literature review paper due Nov. 20; revised literature review due Dec 2. Detailed instructions are posted on d2l; each assignment will be discussed in class before it is due.

Writing. Writing style matters on all assignments; to receive a passing grade, written work must be in grammatically correct English with few misspellings and no fragmentary or incomplete sentences. Use your own words. For details see the writing rubric on d2l.
Final exam. 15%, comprehensive, short answer & essay.

Note: You will be responsible for all assigned readings whether or not we have discussed them in class. You will also be responsible for all class discussions and lectures.
Classroom Demeanor. Distracting or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.

  • Laptops may be used for note-taking and classroom exercises only (no e-mail or other distractions); other electronic devices must be off.

  • No side conversations. If you have a question, please ask it publicly.

  • A dictionary may be used at any time, including during exams.

  • Course materials, including lectures and class discussion, are implicitly protected under copyright, and may not be posted on-line or otherwise distributed to persons not enrolled in the class without the instructor’s explicit written permission.

Late assignments, extensions and incompletes. All work is due no later than the beginning of class on the date due; assignments may always be submitted early. Written assignments will be accepted no later than two days after the initial due date, with a penalty of one full grade. I do not give extensions or incompletes except in the case of a genuine emergency, when the student has been making satisfactory progress on all assignments to date. I will not give an extension or an incomplete that involves more than three assignments; if you miss more than four classes I recommend that you withdraw from the course.
Disabilities: If you require special accommodation for any reason you must be registered with the Disability Resource Center Then tell me about your needs by e-mail, or make an appointment to talk with me outside of class.

Other issues: If you are having difficulties with assignments for this class, discuss it with me or with a TA before you fall so far behind you can’t catch up. The 8th or 9th week of class is too late! If personal problems not related to this class are interfering with your school work, please visit the SHAC counseling center, Ask for help as soon as you realize you are having difficulties - don’t wait until you are failing half of your classes.

Module required by PSU: If you have not done so already, please complete the Safe Campus Module in d2l. The module should take approximately 30 to 40 minutes to complete and contains important information and resources. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources on PSU’s Enrollment Management & Student Affairs: Sexual Prevention & Response website at PSU's Student Code of Conduct makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are strictly prohibited and offenses are subject to the full realm of sanctions, up to and including suspension and expulsion.
Grade disputes: I will not discuss grades in class. If you wish to challenge a grade, you must first provide a written explanation, with reference to the syllabus and other course materials, and attach a copy of the assignment and all documentation. Then make an appointment to discuss it in my office. Keep dated copies of all work. If you did not receive credit for an assignment that you turned in, write a note to your TA with a copy of the assignment attached. In either case, we must receive your request within two weeks after the assignments were returned and grades were entered.
Grade distribution:

(Please note that I grade on a scale of 100. Each point is 1% of your final grade; 10% is one full grade, e.g. the difference between a C and a D. Every point matters!)

In-class group discussions 15% Grade scale:

Reading notes 9% 90 / 93 = A- / A

Weekly quizzes 9% 80 / 83 / 88 = B- / B / B+

Library assignment part 1 (Oct 9) 5% 70 / 73* / 78 = C- / C* / C+

Part 2 Topic statement (Oct. 21) 5% 60% to 69.9% = D

Partial literature review (Oct. 28) 10% Below 60% = F

Midterm (Oct 30) 5% *C (73%) is the minimum to get credit

Literature review (Nov. 20) 5% toward the Communication major.

Peer review (Nov. 25) 5%

Revised literature review (Dec. 2) 17%

Final exam (Dec. 11) 15%

Total 100%

A note about plagiarism: I have a zero tolerance policy.

If you copy or paraphrase anything or use someone else’s words or ideas in any way you must provide a complete citation and enclose copied language within quotation marks. If you summarize or paraphrase you must cite. If in doubt, cite.

Allowing another student to copy your work or giving them credit for work they did not do is also plagiarism and will lead to a zero for both students.

Evidence of plagiarism will lead to a zero on the assignment with no make-up, no excuses, no discussion, and no negotiation. I will also refer the matter to the Student Conduct Office for further action. I will not approve a petition to drop a course when plagiarism has been involved.

If you are uncertain about the rules, ask! “I didn’t know” is not an excuse and I will not listen to it.

Class Schedule & Assignments




Tues, Sept. 30

Thurs, Oct. 2

Readings due:

Syllabus (d2l)

The Communication Discipline (d2l); reading notes and annotations assignments (d2l).

Assignments due:

Week 1 Reading notes

Week 1 Quiz (before class Thursday)


Tues, Oct. 7

Thurs, Oct. 9

Library part 1 due Thursday

Plester, B. A., & Sayers, J. (2007). “Taking the piss”: Functions of banter in the IT Industry. Humor, 20, 157-187.

APA Manual, Ch. 1 pp. 9-12 (1.01-1.07), Ch. 3 pp. 61-84, Ch. 6 pp. 169-189, & Ch. 7 pp. 198-205

Week 2 Reading notes

Week 2 Quiz (before class Tuesday).

Library assignment


Tues, Oct.14

Thurs, Oct. 16

Fine, G. A. & DeSoucey, M. 2005. Joking cultures: Humor themes as social regulation in group life. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 18, 1 – 21.

Week 3 Reading notes

Week 3 Quiz


Tues, Oct. 21

Thurs, Oct. 23

Library part 2 (topic) due Tuesday

Terrion, J. L., & Ashforth, B. E. (2002). From ‘I’ to ‘we’: The role of putdown humor and identity in the development of a temporary group. Human Relations, 55, 55-88.

-Writing for the social sciences (d2l)

-Partial literature review assignment (d2l)

Week 4 Reading notes

Week 4 Quiz

Topic statement


Tues, Oct. 28

Thurs, Oct 30


Moyer-Gusé, E. (2008). Toward a theory of entertainment persuasion: Explaining the persuasive effects of entertainment-education messages. Communication Theory, 18, 407-425.

Week 5 Reading notes

Week 5 Quiz


Tues, Nov. 4

Thurs, Nov. 6

Partial lit. rev. due Thursday

Fausey, C. M., & Boroditsky L. (2010) Subtle linguistic cues influence perceived blame and financial liability. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 644-650.

Week 6 Reading notes

Week 6 Quiz

Advising session


Tues, Nov. 11

Thurs, Nov. 13

Ramasubramanian, S. (2010). Television viewing, racial attitudes, and policy preferences: Exploring the role of social identity and intergroup emotions in influencing support for affirmative action. Communication Monographs, 77, 102-120.

Week 7 Reading notes

Week 7 Quiz

Outline Due


Tues, Nov. 18

Thurs, Nov. 20

Shugart, H. A. (2006). Ruling class: Disciplining class, race, and ethnicity in television reality court shows. Howard Journal of Communication, 17, 79-100.

Shifman, L. & Lemish, D. (2011). “Mars and Venus” in virtual space: Post-feminist humor and the internet. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 28, 253-273.

Week 8 reading notes

Week 8 Quiz

Literature review Polished Draft


Tues, Nov. 25

In-class peer review & revision session; Thanksgiving


Tues, Dec 2

Thurs, Dec 4

The Belmont Report, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

Review for final exam

Revised literature review

Revision reflection

Week 10 Reading notes

Week 10 Quiz


Thurs, Dec. 11

Final exam. (8:00 – 9:50)

Learning objectives and assignments (graphic)

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