Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal Communication


Spring 2012
01/17/2012 - 05/13/2012

Course Information

Section 700
TTh 13:30 - 14:50
NRG4 4250
Cassandra Knobloch

Office Hours

No office hours have been entered for this term

Course Requirements


Note:  This section of Speech 1318 is an HONORS course.

Written Assignments

  • Each student will write a Reaction Paper to three of the films shown in class.  There are eight films on the viewing schedule.

1.   The minimum length of each Reaction Paper is 3.5  –  4 pages, double spaced; you may write more.

2.  Titles of films are italicized, as in Cast Away or Nell.

3.  Begin the paper with a brief plot synopsis of one paragraph.  Describe the type of relationship(s) and communication context(s) shown in the film.

4.  Describe how the film demonstrates interpersonal communication concepts.  Refer to relevant assigned readings from the textbook; you may also refer to additional readings from the text.  For references, use standard MLA format, that is,  (Scott 55) or (Wood 181).

5.  State the overall theme of the film, and quote key lines of dialogue or describe scenes that express it.

6.  Describe one character who is an effective communicator, and one who is an ineffective communicator.  Tell why for each, and offer a suggestion for improvement for the ineffective communicator.

7.  Follow the Requirements for Written Work on this syllabus.

8.  Reaction Papers are due on the due dates on the Assignment Schedule of this Syllabus.  Ideally, write the paper as soon as possible after the class viewing.

  • Each student will prepare and present one Film Analysis, in two parts. 

Part A – Written Report

1.   Film titles are reviewed in advance by the professor. 

2.  The minimum length of thewritten report is 7 – 8 pages, double-spaced; you may write more.

3.  The written report will include a research review and discussion of relevant communication concepts from the film.

4.  A minimum of four outside sources are required in the bibliography for the paper.

5.  Follow the Requirements for Written Work on page 3 of this syllabus.

Part B – Oral Report

1.  For the oral report, summarize three- four ideas from the written report.  Time limit for the oral reports is 8 -10 minutes. 

2. For the oral report, show one-two clips from the film to illustrate the concepts discussed.  The clips should be 10 - 15 minutes in length.

3.   Each student will receive an individual written evaluation form for the film report.  There will also be general class discussion of reports. 

4.   Students who do not present reports on the assigned day will have their grade for the assignment lowered by ten (10) points.  If time permits, and at the discretion of the instructor, reports may be presented late, according to the Calendar on pages  6 - 8 of this syllabus.

5.   Students who are absent on the day(s) that other students’ film reports are due will have their grade for the report lowered by ten (10) points.

  • Requirements for Written Work

All written work must be computer-generated; Use MLA or a comparable style manual.

  • Class Discussion

For each unit of concepts and ideas, and each film on the viewing schedule, students participate in class each week by asking pertinent questions or offering relevant comments.  The first comment of the week is worth two points, and the second one is worth one point, for a total of three points weekly, beginning Tuesday, January 24.  Five bonus points may be awarded during the semester for one especially thoughtful or insightful comment.

  • The point total for each assignment is as follows:

              Reaction Papers – 30 + 35 + 35                             100

              Class Discussion - 3 x 15 + 5                                   50

              Term Report – 75, paper, + 50, report                  125

                                                       TOTAL                            275

  • The final course grade is determined as follows:

250 – 275                       A

220 – 249                       B

195 – 224                       C

165 – 194                       D

Below 165                      F

  • Since Speech 1318 is taught from a Master Syllabus, there are no "extra credit" assignments.
  • I do not assign grades of Incomplete (I).



Required Textbook:   

Bridges Not Walls:  A Book About Interpersonal Communication, 10th edition 

John Stewart, Editor

Course Subjects



Interpersonal Communication is the study of theory and practice in verbal and nonverbal communication with a focus on interpersonal relationships.   Emphasis is on improving interpersonal skills and helping increase communication competence in everyday social exchanges.

In the Honors course, film is the primary teaching methodology.  Students view and analyze modern American films to discover how interpersonal communication concepts are portrayed at home, at school, and in the workplace.  The films focus on interpersonal relationship with friends, family members, and romantic partners.  Students also read from a variety of primary contemporary writings on the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships.


I.  Foundations of Interpersonal Communication                        Chapters 1, 2, 3, 11

A.  interpersonal communication process

B. communication and the self

C. identity

D. culture, gender, and communication 

II.  Making Meaning Together                                              Chapters 4, 5, 6

A.  language

B.  nonverbal communication

C.  listening

D.  emotions

III.  Relationships and Bridges                                     Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 12

A.  dynamics of interpersonal relationships

B.  intimacy and distance in relationships

C.  communication climate

D.  managing conflict

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives




1.  To understand the theories that explain interpersonal interactions.

2.  To recognize characteristics of competent communication in interpersonal interactions.

3.   To understand the role of the self in interpersonal communication.

4.  To understand how perception affects communication.

5.  To discover the roles of culture and gender in interpersonal communication.

6.  To send and interpret verbal and nonverbal messages accurately and effectively.

7.  To evaluate listening habits and practice effective listening skills.

8.  To recognize the ethical dimensions of interpersonal communication.

9.  To practice effective conflict management techniques.