Course Exam—COMM 243

COMM 243 (Interpersonal Communication) is a three-credit business and administrative studies course that teaches students all about strengthening their interpersonal communication skills.  These skills can improve social relations at home with your family, with your friends, in the office with coworkers, or at social functions.  This course has no prerequisites and has a challenge for credit option if that is of interest to you.

Interpersonal Communication is made up of ten lessons, two assignments weighing twenty-five percent, one collaborative learning activity (an online forum) worth ten percent, lesson quizzes weighing ten percent, and a final examination worth thirty percent.  The ten lessons within this course cover topics such as perception, emotions, listening, communication, identity, nonverbal communication, and managing interpersonal conflicts.

To receive credit for COMM 243 students must complete two written assignments and two online commentaries, achieve a minimum grade of fifty percent on the final examination, and achieve an overall grade of at least fifty percent in the entire course.  Students should note that quizzes that are not submitted for evaluation will receive a grade of zero percent.  Completing all ten lesson quizzes will ensure that you receive the highest possible overall grade.  Also, all examinations for this course are taken online and must be taken at an invigilated location.

Dr. Pierre Wilhelm joined Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business in 2001 after completing a PhD program in Mass Communication at the University of Alabama.  He states, “I am a course coordinator at the Faculty of Business, Athabasca University where I have taught the undergraduate business communication course in this institution for seventeen years.  During this period of time, I have come to appreciate the many challenges that Athabasca University students face as they complete this course.  Learning at a distance can be a trying experience because it requires that a student follow a self-paced schedule and manage their course time.  They must complete demanding course readings and learning activities while balancing other responsibilities such as working full-time and looking after family members.”

He continues, “I oversee four communication courses that a number of instructors teach online under my direction.  Students in this course are regrouped into ‘blocks’ or units of students overseen by an academic expert.  Like these instructors, I too teach to a particular group of students and communicate with them on a continuous basis while I grade their papers and exams over their six-month long course term.  My administrative responsibilities extend to supervising AU students registered in four communication courses under my watch: COMM 243 – Interpersonal Communication; COMM 277 (Group Communication), COMM 329 (Mediated Interpersonal Communication), and ADMN 233 (Writing in Organizations).”

If you are interested in learning more about ADMN 233, read my Course Exam Article!

Dr. Wilhelm states that COMM 243 “introduces students to the challenges and rewards of interacting with others.  After completing this course, these course participants should be able to think as astute observers of communication problems.  They should act as effective communicators and be able to provide sound advice about ways to improve communication outcomes.  Course readings and learning activities provide them a broad critical context from which to learn to evaluate communication problems.”

He continues, “COMM 243 lessons and assignments are video-based to help students situate communication problems in various social contexts, notably in the workplace.  Video scenarios generally demonstrate how people often misunderstand each other and how they practice poor communication skills leading them to experience misunderstandings and situations of conflict.  Students are asked to assess these communication problems by referring to particular communication skills, concepts and examples taught in course lesson.  They are required to evaluate the problems they view from a critical perspective and to provide others insight into these problems.”

“COMM 243 offers students a chance to practice assessing video characters’ poor communication skills in order to learn how to relate to course teachings to communication problems they experience on a relation level with family members, in the office with colleagues, or at social functions among people with whom they may not necessarily be familiar.  Students taking COMM 243 must learn to provide advice in writing about ways to avoid interpersonal differences, and they must also learn to prescribe ways to resolve differences in a way that is satisfactory to others.  Students must learn to practice this type of evidence-based, reflective writing in order to become effective communication observers, practitioners and advisers.  This skill takes time and effort to practice and learn.  Students should set aside the time necessary to complete course readings and assignments as well as to prepare to write a final exam.”

Dr. Wilhelm notes that COMM 243 is well-suited for “students of communication, psychology, health and nursing, and organizational behaviour who are interested in acquiring a better understanding about resolving interpersonal misunderstandings, misperceptions and disputes.  The insight that communication students gain in this course by practicing lesson and assignment activities should transfer well to the workplace and to other social settings.  They may encounter similar ‘real-world’ communication problems outside of the course where they may need to defuse or resolve them effectively.”

As for which aspects of COMM 243 are the most difficult to comprehend, he states “One of the hardest skills to acquire in this course is that of progressing from writing descriptively about communication problems to writing analytically and reflectively.  Many students focus their attention on interpersonal problems they see playing out onscreen.  Yet, they also need to spend time observing, pondering and writing about the poor communication skills that the movie characters exemplify in a particular movie scenario.  In their written analyses about communication problems, they should learn to explain how these characters’ lack of effective communication skills or their poor attitudes toward one another in a particular movie scene helps shape and determine a particular poor communication outcome.”

He concludes, “Furthermore, to effectively address communication issues raised in this course, a COMM 243 student must not only demonstrate how the problems depicted in videos not only exemplify the concepts, skills and other knowledge students acquire in this course.  In their written discussions about a particular communication problem, students should be ready to explain how this relates to their own experience in a way that helps make sense of a particularly difficult relational problem a student has experienced in the past.”

Whether COMM 243 is a degree requirement of yours or if the topics above are of interest to you, this course will have students learning valuable interpersonal communication skills!

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