COMM 277 (Group Communication) is a three-credit introductory Business and Administrative Studies course that focuses on building stronger group interpersonal communications skills by observing teams and groups at work. It challenges students to think critically about group communication problems and their effects, as well as the effectiveness of the course of action you choose to implement. Students will also learn to use the concepts and principles of interpersonal communication to plan ahead to solve potential communication problems. COMM 277 has no prerequisites, however, COMM 243 (Interpersonal Communication) is recommended. There is also a challenge for credit option if students are interested.
Students should note that COMM 277 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for COMM 377 or ADMN 348. COMM 377 (Communication and Problem Solving in Groups) permanently closed April 8th, 2009.
Group Communication is made up of ten lessons, three assignments weighing twenty percent each, ten quizzes worth one percent each for a total of ten percent, and a final examination weighing thirty percent. Throughout this course students will learn how to communicate effectively, focussing on group and team communication, group formation, intercultural communication, decision making and problem solving, leadership, and conflict management. In order to receive credit in COMM 277, students must achieve a composite grade of at least a “D” or fifty percent and a grade of at least fifty percent on the final examination.
Abhay Raghuram enrolled at Athabasca University in September of 2018. He is currently in the Bachelor of Management program with a major in Marketing and has recently completed COMM 277. Abhay provides us a brief introduction, stating “I’m currently living in Edmonton where I work and study full-time. I was originally born in India but I grew up in Ontario.”
When asked to explain the course to students, he states “COMM 277 is a communications course that helps you gain good communication skills. You learn interpersonal communications in a group setting, how to facilitate group meetings and navigate conflict. It also teaches you a little bit about how you can deal with difficult people, whether it is in a group setting, individually, or in a workplace setting. It teaches you how to communicate effectively and gives you the skills and tools to be successful in group and team settings.”
Abhay continues, “Communicating effectively takes practice, many skills, team effort, and most importantly, teaches you the difference between a competent and effective leader and one who is not. Most of the information seemed relevant and the textbook has good theories and explanations. Along with the textbook you also have alternative sources which will really help you gain an understanding of the core concepts. It challenges you to think critically about groups, their communication problems, and what effects the problems have on group members. You will also learn valuable principles that you can use to be proactive in solving potential communication problems.”
As for the structure of the course, he explains that “There are ten lessons in total and each lesson has a Part A and Part B component. The key to the structure of this course is go by lesson numbers because the chapters in the textbook will not be in chronological order with the lessons. For example, Lesson 8 is Chapter 9, lesson 9 is chapter 11 and lesson 10 is chapter 12 and appendix A.”
He continues “The structure of each assignment and lesson is in the form of “3X2” thinking process. Concepts and objectives of each lesson are divided into three stages. At each stage you perform a specific activity through which you practice and evaluate two sets of communication skills. Stage one is group and team skills, as well as individual skills. Stage two is assessing the ability of the groups and teams to achieve their goals. Stage three is thinking through the communication options available to the group and actively working towards improving the group’s communication skills to find outcomes that will be agreeable to all group members involved.
Furthermore, Abhay explains the breakdown of each of the three assignments and the ten quizzes, stating that “There are three assignments, each worth twenty percent, for a total of sixty percent of your final grade. Each assignment is structured in the three-stage process and worth one hundred marks. Assignment one and two have twenty-six short-answer questions worth between three marks and five marks each. Assignment three has nineteen questions: Eighteen short-answer questions and one long answer question. Seventeen of the questions are worth five marks, one question was worth six marks, and one question was worth nine marks. There are also then quizzes each worth one percent that need to be completed after each lesson.”
As for the final examination, he explains that “The final exam is written online and worth thirty percent of your final grade. There are ten multiple-choice questions worth a total of twenty percent, thirty true-or-false questions worth a total of thirty percent, and ten short-answer questions worth a total of fifty percent. The textbook helped with the multiple-choice and true—or-false questions. The short answer questions are based on applying theories to different scenarios. The exam is not difficult if you do the course work and quizzes. Your quizzes and assignments will prepare you for the final exam.”
When asked if he would recommend this course to other students, he states “I would recommend this course to other students. Students will learn valuable tools of communications and it also helps you understand what kind of leader you are and how you can improve. I would especially recommend those going into management careers to take this course.”
As for any tips or tricks to completing this course, he stresses “Do all of your quizzes!” noting that “ It is an easy ten percent and they will help you ace the multiple-choice and true-or-false answer sections on the exam. When you study for the final exam use the Mastering Management and Mastering Business Communication websites to learn core concepts. Watching those videos will help you formulate answers to hypothetical questions that are on the final exam. Do not leave your quizzes and assignments for last minute because they are time consuming and you want to avoid system crashes like I experienced. Follow the objectives and instructions on navigating the course in the syllabus! It will really save you a lot of time and help you focus on the core concepts.”
As for communicating with his tutor, Abhay explains that “The tutor was awesome and marked my assignments really quickly. My tutor also provided valuable feedback which helped me narrow my focus on what to study and how my next assignment needed to be structured.”
When asked if he felt the course content was up to date or if he felt the structure was confusing, Abhay concludes “I felt that the lessons could have been structured like modules and I found it a little frustrating in the beginning trying to navigate the course website. The videos and case studies within the course are outdated but it will not really affect your learning because you still gain understanding of the core concepts.”
Whether COMM 277 is a degree or program requirement of yours or the topics discussed above are of interest to you, this course will have you learning a lot of interesting concepts surrounding the topic of group communication.