COMM 350 Syllabus
“Appoint yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesman at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.” ~D&C 88:122
Course Objectives and Information
Through experiential teaching and learning, this course provides opportunities to practice the basic facets of group communication. Active participation of small group opportunities will give the student chances to discover more about the principles and processes of communication in small groups.
Textbooks and Required Material
There is no textbook. There is no charge for course materials.
- Students will be able to identify individual roles needed for effective groups.
- Students will fill various individual group roles and cope with potential barriers and breakdowns in the small group process.
- Students will analyze, synthesize, and apply academic research to real-life groups.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to complete complex tasks as a group.
- Students will apply course material for future group settings and leadership roles
Learning Model Architecture
As with all of your other courses at BYU–Idaho, you will have the opportunity to prepare intellectually and spiritually throughout this course. This course follows the BYU–Idaho Learning Model and will give you several opportunities to share those learning/teaching moments with others. You will also be given opportunities to reflect on what you are learning and to report on your weekly activities. Please remember that you will need to be able to devote 3–4 hours of time for every course credit, or 9–12 hours weekly.
Each week runs from Saturday to Saturday of the next week. You will be required to participate in one class small group where you will discuss and participate in an organized simulation activity. You will also organize several outside small group projects with people familiar to you. Each week you will have reading material such as case studies or manage mentors to study. All quizzes are open book.
No late work, no excuses. The class schedule is consistent; you will be aware of all of your assignments early. This class will reflect professional situations you will find yourself in the future and now is the time to practice professional behavior.
You will work in an environment of constant deadlines; we will do the same. Work handed in after deadline will not be graded. Excuses for late work will not be accepted. Do not ask for exception to this policy.
“Brigham Young University-Idaho students should seek to be totally honest in all their dealings. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.” (BYU-Idaho Honor Code, 2007)
It is your responsibility as students to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty as stated in the BYU-Idaho Honor Code. In this class, it can include not doing your fair share of work in groups or allowing other students to receive credit for a project, which they did not work on. If you are not sure if an action is ethical or if what you are doing is wrong, please ask your instructor.
Violation of University Policy will result in failing the class.
Academic Honesty Definitions
Intentional Plagiarism- the deliberate act of representing the words, ideas, or data of another as one’s own without providing proper attribution to the author through quotation, reference or footnote.
Fabrication or Falsification- a form of dishonesty where a student invents or distorts the origin or content of information used as authority.
Cheating- a form of dishonesty where a student attempts to give the appearance of a level of knowledge or skill that has not been obtained. Other Academic Misconduct includes other academically dishonest, deceitful, or inappropriate acts which are intentionally committed” (BYU-Idaho Honor Code.)
Consequences- Students involved in such activities will fail the class and will be referred to the Honor Code Office for appropriate disciplinary actions.
If you have a learning disability or other condition that makes it difficult for you to complete some of the assignments we have discussed in the syllabus, please disclose these conditions to your instructor within the first week of class. Your instructor will make reasonable accommodations to help you learn and succeed in class.
Each assignment will have a specific grading rubric.
93 – 100% A
90 – 92% A-
87 – 89% B+
83 – 86% B
80 – 82% B-
77 – 79% C+
73 – 76% C
70 – 72% C-
67 – 69% D+
63 – 66% D
60 – 62% D- less than 60% F
Earning an A
In the American education system there is a growing sense of entitlement about grades. This is college. Simply showing up to class and handing in work doesn’t qualify you to receive an above average rating. Often at the end of the semester students will seek mercy but forget the laws of justice. Fear of losing scholarships, receiving your first B, or really needing an A to avoid academic sanctions are not valid reasons for earning a grade reserved for individuals whose academic performance is above average.
With that said, everyone could earn an A in this class. The only requirement is to consistently perform at the A level, which means turning in excellent work, excelling in your group performance, and maintaining the highest academic standards.
Homework, Assignments, and Assessments
One Time Assignments
During Lesson 1, complete a welcome introduction. We will be working with each other all semester; we invite you to introduce yourself to the class. In your post, please tell us a little about yourself: what you like to do, something that is unique about you, and where you are living. Also, feel free to post a picture so we can put a face with a name. This is a great opportunity to make this course a learning community. Your Intro Blog must be updated before Saturday at 11:59 p.m. of Lesson 1.
During Lesson 1, read the syllabus and take the syllabus test. You can use your syllabus as you complete the test.
Primer on Plagiarism
Often students will use the excuse, “I did not know that was plagiarism or that was unethical.” This assignment will build your knowledge of what constitutes plagiarism and unethical behavior. This assignment can be found in the “Lesson 1” folder on I-Learn. You must complete the assignment before the Saturday at 11:59 p.m. of Lesson 1.
Each week you will complete a learning assessment. The purpose of this assessment is to help you link what you learned during the week to applications for future groups. Do not simply provide a summary of activities and events.
Each week you will complete an assessment about your preparation, participation and performance for the week. You will be asked to reflect on specific tasks and assignments. As you take the assignment, remember you signed a statement of personal honor.
Sharpen the Saw Activity
During Lesson 1, you will read a section from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, about what it means to sharpen the saw. For this class you will spend at least 45 minutes each week engaged in a Sharpen the Saw Activity for each week of class. Balance between the four areas Covey describes in the book, meaning you will complete three sharpen the saw activities in each of the following areas: physical, mental, spiritual and social/emotional. You will report what you did and what you learned each week in your reflection essay.
A few guidelines about the assignment:
- Completing homework for any class will not count for a mental activity
- Doing Home or Visiting Teaching or attending church meetings will not count for spiritual or social
- You can complete the 45 minutes all at once or in segments during the week
- You can be creative and do things you have always wanted to do but never had time before
- If you have questions or an idea, feel free to ask if it would count
Small Group Project
During Lessons 4, 9, and 14, you will organize three small group projects in the areas of social, mental, spiritual, physical, or service. Participating in a small group as a leader is an important learning part of this course. You will select only three of the five groups described in the course. You will organize the group and turn in a write-up describing and analyzing the group dynamics.
While this course does not have a formal textbook, you will be studying materials from Manage Mentors and case studies as well as articles posted in class and that you find on Get Abstracts. Get Abstracts is a free tool to BYU-Idaho students with amazing summaries of books and articles. Movies will also be used as a resource throughout the semester. Students will use these resources to gain a foundation of what group dynamics is.
Quizzes will be given on course materials. All quizzes will be open book and untimed. They will not be “open neighbor.”
With this in-class group, you will be completing the Everest simulation. This simulation will help you apply principles learned from other groups on how to effectively work as a team. The simulation will be done three times virtually. This will give you experience in how to work with a group.
Standard Code of Conduct
Demand the Highest Ethical Standards from Yourself
The collaborative and team-oriented nature in this class means that there are many group projects both in and out of class. It is inevitable that you will have opportunities to hand in work that is not your own. Remember when these opportunities present themselves that you are being trusted and challenged to uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior. We want you to learn from your experiences in this class and at BYU-I in general, that you need to be able to trust each other and yourself to make the ethical decision. Accordingly, cheating, plagiarism, and other cases of intellectual dishonesty will not be tolerated, and your instructor will be responsible to decide what action to take place.
Take Pride in Your Work
Business leaders know that everything they present to the public reflects on them and their organization. Long-term success comes only to companies and individuals who produce the highest quality products and services, and deliver them in a timely fashion. Every paper, presentation, and project is an expression of the pride you take in yourself and your work. Make every effort to write well, meet deadlines, and take the time to make both the format and the content of your work of the highest quality. This may mean writing one more draft, double checking spelling and grammar, or reviewing and practicing your presentation one more time.
Demonstrate Respect for Yourself and Others
Managers make decisions and lead others to implement those directives. Thus, if you are going to be a manager, you must learn how to influence others to accept and respect you. You will need to show yourself to be worthy of their respect, and in turn, show that you respect them. Your professional demeanor sends messages about your leadership ability and level of dedication. You can earn a lot of credit by following some very basic guidelines:
- Be On Time - Professional behavior means being on time for class deadlines. Group work is important for this course, and your contributions are essential in order to ensure discussion flow.
- Be Prepared - Unprepared managers have very short careers (or end up in dead-end jobs). To succeed, you need to prepare for each class session. Nothing shows less respect for others than making them wait while you do something you were supposed to have done in advance. If you don’t come prepared and try instead, to “fake it,” you run the risk of looking foolish and wasting everyone’s time with irrelevant comments.
- Show Respect - Professionalism also means being civil to those with whom you disagree. In business, you will find that you must work with people with conflicting opinions or personal styles. Your ability to work with, tolerate, and effectively interact with these individuals is critical to your success. Finally, you demonstrate a lack of respect for your colleagues or professors when you engage in private discussions while course or business meetings are in progress.
- Get Involved - Professionalism means keeping up with the discussion. It means making a contribution. Not everything you say has to be serious, however. As long as it fits, it’s okay, even desirable, to inject a little humor once in a while. Just make sure you do it in a way that isn't mean and doesn't step on anybody’s toes.
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