Basic Course: COMM 100/101

The Importance of Communication

The classes offered within the Basic Course include Public Speaking and Fundamentals of Communication. These courses are designed to teach students oral communication, interpersonal communication, and professional communication skills. Not only do these courses fulfill students’ Mason Core Oral Communication requirement, but also equip them with the tools they need to be successful in both academic and professional situations. Students will learn to conduct research, organize and deliver speeches, and think critically. These strategies will set students up for success in other classes. Additionally, students enrolled in the Basic Course will learn problem-solving and teamwork with other students from different cultures or backgrounds, which have been marked as two of the five most desirable traits in new employees.1

 

Information about the course

All students (except students in Honors College and the School of Integrated Studies) are required to take COMM 100 or COMM 101 as part of the Mason Core and should take the course during the first year.  Ideally, students should take either their COMM 101 or ENGL 101 during the fall, and should take the other course during the spring. 

 

 

COMM 100: Public Speaking

COMM 101: Fundamentals of Communication

 

COMM 100 gives students the opportunity to perform a series of speeches using effective delivery techniques, presentation aids (including PowerPoint), and ethical communication practices. Students will be challenged to explain complex ideas to non-expert audiences and advocate for significant causes using appropriate deductive and inductive reasoning. In addition to public speaking, COMM 100 teaches students about the communication process and the ways that culture and diverse experiences impact the sharing of meaning. Students will analyze the audience and situation and learn to adapt speeches to specific cultural and social contexts. Students will conduct their own research and gain the skills to evaluate source quality.

COMM 101 offers students a broad skill set that they will use in their future courses, careers, and communities. In this course, students learn how to prepare and deliver speeches individually, with a partner, and in a group. During speech preparation, students will conduct their own research and evaluate the quality of support materials and their appropriateness for use when explaining complex ideas to non-expert audiences. Additionally, COMM 101 students learn about verbal and nonverbal communication practices, and gain understanding of the role culture and perception play in interactions. Students participate in class activities that teach them how interpersonal relationships develop and are maintained, and are challenged to analyze and manage interpersonal conflict situations. They will see first-hand how concepts from their textbook come to life while accomplishing a team-based problem-solving task which prompts them to analyze and utilize the most appropriate leadership styles, task roles, and maintenance roles for that specific small group situation.

Who should take it?

Computer Science majors, others can also take this course

All students who are not Computer Science majors

Formats Offered

Face to face OR fully online

May access Communication Center

Hybrid course with an online lecture, face to face lab, and individual coaching in the Communication Center

 

Time Commitment

9-12 hours/week total

Meets in classroom for 3 hours/week

9-12 hours/week total

Meets in classroom for 2 hours/week at designated time, 1 classroom hour is delivered online asychronously

 

Skills taught

Research Skills

Public Speaking

Intercultural Communication

Research Skills

Public Speaking

Intercultural Communication

Interpersonal Communication

Small Group Communication

Major Speaking Assignments

Introductory Speech: individual online presentation introducing yourself to your classmates

Cultural Artifact Speech: individual speech about an artifact important to one’s culture

Annotated Bibliography and Explanatory Speech: explain a complex idea related to your major or career to a non-expert audience

Persuasive Speech: advocate for an organization that is making a positive impact in solving a significant problem

Introductory Speech: individual in-class presentation introducing yourself to your classmates

Annotated Bibliography and Explanatory Speech: explain a complex idea related to your major or career to a non-expert audience 

Culture & Perception Interview and Presentation: interview a classmate to practice interviewing skills and to learn about your partner’s culture, then deliver a team presentation

Deliberative Dialogue Group Project and Team Persuasive Presentation: work with a team to identify, research, and propose a solution to a campus problem.  Write a formal business letter and deliver a group presentation to propose your solution.

 

Teaching Opportunities

There are often teaching opportunities for graduate student and adjunct instructors in COMM 100 and COMM 101.  If you are a graduate student in communication or a closely related field, or if you have a graduate degree in communication, you are welcome to apply to teach these courses.  Teaching within the Basic Course is a great way to gain experience working with students and build your teaching and professional portfolio. As a member of the Basic Course team, you will receive training on classroom instruction, grading, and communicating with students prior to your first semester teaching with us. Most of our instructors teach two sections of either COMM 100 or COMM 101 depending on section availability.

Students who have been admitted to the Communication MA program, graduate students in communication or closely related fields, and part-time instructors who have a graduate degree in communication are welcome to apply to teach in the Basic Course.  To apply, please submit the following materials as a single PDF file to the Basic Course Director, Dr. Melissa Broeckelman-Post, at bcd@gmu.edu:

  • Cover letter that discusses your interest in teaching, along with any relevant experiences that have helped to prepare you for this role
  • Current CV or resume
  • A copy of your transcripts for your most recent degree and the degree that you are currently pursuing, if applicable (unofficial transcripts are fine)
  • Contact information (email and phone) for three references

 

Communication Center Coaching Opportunities

Beginning in Fall 2018, we will be expanding our current volunteer-run Speech Lab into a full Communication Center.  In our expanded Communication Center, trained undergraduate peer coaches will provide individualized communication skills coaching for every student who is enrolled in our Mason Core communication courses (COMM 100 and COMM 101). Coaches will help students strengthen their public speaking, interpersonal, and small group communication skills.  Coaching opportunities are for advanced undergraduate communication students or advanced undergraduate students who have demonstrated success with oral communication skills. If you are interested in working as a coach in our Communication Center please submit the following materials as a single PDF file to the Communication Center Coordinator, Andie Malterud, at bca@gmu.edu:

  • Cover letter that discusses your interest in working in the Communication Skills Center, along with any relevant experiences that have helped to prepare you for this role
  • Current CV or resume
  • A copy of your transcripts for your most recent degree and the degree that you are currently pursuing, if applicable (unofficial transcripts are fine)
  • Contact information (email and phone) for three references

 

  1. National Association of Colleges and Employers. (2016). Job Outlook 2016. Retrieved from http://www.naceweb.org/career-development/trends-and- predictions/job-outlook-2016-attributes-employers-want-to-see-on-new-college- graduates-resumes/
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