Davis A. Foulger, Ph. D.

Fall, 2005-Spring, 2006
and Fall 2001-Spring 2003

COM 212: Interpersonal Communication

Davis Foulger

Class Schedule and Assignments - Fall, 2001

Date Class Focus/Activity Assignments Due Module

Aug. 27

(1 of 40)

First Day of Class
  • Course Overview.
  • A Course Dialectic: You and your communication
  • Interpersonal Communication in Context.
  • Introductions.
None. Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Aug. 29

(2 of 40)

Why we communicate.
  • The Intersection of Language, Media, and Intention.
  • Personal needs and interpersonal communication.
  • Participating in community and society.
  • The variety of communication media.
  • Interpersonal media

Wood; p.1-20.

Index Card Assignment 1: Who is the most important person in your life? Why?

Aug. 31

(3 of 40)

How we communicate interpersonally.
  • Models of the Communication Process.
  • Spheres of Mediation.
  • Principles of Interpersonal Communication.
Wood; p. 20-42.
Sept. 3 Labor Day: No class  
Sept. 5

(4 of 40)

Communicating Competently.
  • Your Interpersonal Toolbox.
  • Knowing the rules of the interpersonal medium.
  • Negotiation of Rules in Everyday Conversation.
  • Formal Ettiquettes in on-line interpersonal spaces.

Section Quiz: Introduction to Interpersonal

Wood; p. 43-51.

Index Card Assignment 2: Think about the biggest argument you ever had. Then write down:

  • Who was it with?
  • What was it about?
  • What did they think it was about?
Sept. 7

(5 of 40)

The Nature of Self-Esteem.
  • Tools for Examining the Self.
  • Analysis of Self and Other. The Role of Professionals.
  • Identifying distortions and refuting the critic.
  • Therapy as a Communication Process.
  • Communication as Therapy.
McKay and Fanning; p. 1-19. Communication and Self
Sept. 10

(6 of 40)

The Process of Self.
  • The Communication Origins of Self.
  • Family, Friends, Community, Society and Self.
  • The Social Construction of Self.

Wood; p. 52-65.

Index Card Assignment 3: Think about your future. List three things that you would like to become or would like to acheive.

Communication Journal 1: Create a heading: "The most important person in my life". Use your first Index Card Assignment as a basis for describing how that person has helped to make you who you are.

Sept. 12

(7 of 40)

A day of reflection. Due to the tragic events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, there is no class today. I will be in Mahar 107 at the class meeting times and will observe my normal office hours in Lanigan 38C. If you feel a need to talk, please come by.

Sept. 14

(8 of 40)

The Critic in all of us.
  • Our harshest critic.
  • The intrapersonal communication process.
  • Disarming the critic in all of us.

McKay and Fanning; p. 20-56.

Sept. 17

(9 of 40)

Labeling, Language, and Self.
  • Living with Societies Labels
  • Transcending Labels
  • Improving Self-Concept

Wood; p. 65-87.

Index Card Assignment 4: Identify three things you don't like about yourself.

Sept. 19

(10 of 40)

Knowing yourself.
  • The Intersection of the Phenomonal and the Semiotic.
  • The Process of Self-Assessment.

Section Quiz: Communication and Self

McKay and Fanning; p. 57-75.
Sept. 21

(11 of 40)

The Process of Perception.
  • Selection, Organization, and Interpretation.
  • Physiology, Age, Culture, and Perception.
  • Social Roles
  • Cognitive Abilities.

Wood; p. 88-109.

Index Card Assignment 5: Write a one card self-description.

Communication and Other
Sept. 24

(12 of 40)

Cognitive Distortion.
  • A Range of Distortions.
  • Combating Distortions.
McKay and Fanning p. 76-111
Sept. 26

(13 of 40)

Improving Perception and Communication.
  • Subjectivity.
  • Facts, Inferences, and Mindreading
  • Bias and Attribution Errors.

Wood; p. 110-121.

Index Card Assignment 6: Read through this entire syllabus, paying particular attention to the sub-bullets in column 2 ("Class Focus/ Activity"). Pick three sub-bullets that seem particularly interesting to you and write them on your index card. (Note: this is a first step toward picking a term paper topic, so try to pick things that really do seem like they might be interesting.)

Sept. 28

(14 of 40)

The Listening Process.
  • Hearing, Listening, and Remembering
  • Selection, Organization, Interpretation
  • Mindful Listening and Appropriate Feedback
  • Obstacles to Effective Listening
  • Forms of Non-Listening

Wood; p. 193-214.

Index Card Assignment 7: Select a topic for your term paper. Write, on an index card, a tentative paper title and a one paragraph overview of what you plan to do in the paper.

Term Paper Subject Due

Oct. 1

(15 of 40)

Compassion for self and other.
  • Compassion Defined.
  • Compassion for Others
  • Active Listening

McKay and Fanning; p. 112-135.

Index Card Assignment 8: In some one of your interactions this weekend:

  1. try to use the principles of mindful/active listening.
  2. After that conversation, write, on an index card, what that conversation was about.
  3. Put the card down, upside down, in a place where you'll see it the next day.
  4. When you see it the next day, once again write down what you thought the conversation was about.
Oct. 3

(16 of 40)

Adapting Listening to Communication Goals.
  • Listening for Pleasure, Information, and SupportGuidelines for Effective Listening

Section Quiz: Communication and Other

Wood; p. 214-226.
Oct. 5

(17 of 40)

The Nature of Language.
  • Signs, Symbols, and Language
  • The Nature of Symbols
  • Principles of Verbal Communication
  • Language Rules
  • Punctuation and Meaning
Labeling, Language, and Other.
  • What Symbols Enable.
  • Speech Communities
Wood; p. 122-148. Language
Oct. 8

(18 of 40)

  • How Symbols Shape Us.
  • Abstract Language and Abstract Values.
  • Discovering Your "Shoulds".

McKay and Fanning; p. 136-168.

Index Card Assignment 9: You'll have to think about this. Think about something that you feel or have experienced or have seen that you don't have a name for. Describe that feeling or experience or place or thing as best you can on one side of a 3x5 card.

Oct. 10

(19 of 40)

Harnessing the Power of Language.
  • Learning from and Reframing Mistakes.
  • The Habit of Awareness.
  • Dual Perspective.
  • Owning and Respecting Feelings and Thoughts

Wood; p. 148-158.

McKay and Fanning; p. 169-186.

Oct. 12

(20 of 40)

Mid-Term Exam None Mid-Term
Oct. 15

(21 of 40)

Non-Verbal Communication: The "hidden" message.
  • Defining Non-Verbal Communication.
  • Principles of Non-Verbal Communication.
  • Interfaces, Translators, and Modalities.
Wood; p. 159-169. Expression
Oct. 17

(22 of 40)

A Non-Verbal Communication Inventory.
  • Gesture and Touch.
  • Physical Appearance, Artifacts and Environment.
  • Proxemics and Personal Space.
  • Paralanguage and Silence.

Wood; p. 169-186.

Index Card Assignment 10: Imagine yourself at an event (e.g. a wedding, a date at a night club, a job interview, a test, a funeral, ... you have lots of options to choose from. Think about the event. List the kinds of non-verbal communication that are associated with the event.

Oct. 19

(23 of 40)

Improving Non-Verbal Communication.
  • Caution: Real but not always controlled or intended.
  • Non-Verbal Communication and Lying.
  • Non-Verbal Communication and Attraction.
  • Dressing for Success.
  • The Hidden Message in Mass Media.
Wood; p. 186-192.
Oct. 22

(24 of 40)

Emotion and Communication.
  • Emotional Intelligence.
  • The Nature of Emotions.

Wood; p. 228-245.

Index Card Assignment 11: Divide your life up into four stages (e.g. 1-5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-now or preschool, elementary school, high school, and now). Name your best friend during each of these four stages (for most of you it will change from stage to stage). For each best freind, name the most intense emotion you felt with or relative to that friend.

Oct. 24

(25 of 40)

Responding to Criticism.
  • The Distorted Nature of Criticism.
  • Effective Response Styles.

Section Quiz: Non-Verbal Communication

McKay and Fanning; p. 187 - 219.
Oct. 26

(26 of 40)

Communicating Emotion.
  • Obstacles to Effective Communication of Emotion.
  • Guidelines to Communicating Emotions Effectively.
Wood; p. 245-262. Communication Styles and Climates
Oct. 29

(27 of 40)

Communication and Relationships.
  • Elements of Satisfying Personal Relationships.
  • Relational Dialectics.

Wood; p. 263-275.

Term Paper References Due (Counts as Index Card Assignement 12)

Oct. 31

(28 of 40)

Asking for what you want.
  • Needs Versus Wants.
  • Wants Into Words
  • Rules For Requests
McKay and Fanning; p. 220 - 235.
Nov. 2


At National Communication Association in Atlanta. No Class.  
Nov. 5

(29 of 40)

Managing Communication Climate.
  • Confirming and Disconfirming Climates.
  • Creating and Sustaining Healthy Climates.
  • Appropriate Self-Disclosure.
  • Respecting Diversity.
Wood; p. 275-297.
Nov. 7

(30 of 40)

You are (or at least can be) who you think you are.
  • Harnessing Imagination in Service to Reality.
  • Visualizing Effectively.

Section Quiz: Communication Styles and Climates

McKay and Fanning; p. 236 - 284.
Nov. 9

(31 of 40)

Communication and Conflict.
  • What is Interpersonal Conflict?
  • Principles of Conflict.
  • Approaches to Conflict.
  • Social Influences on Conflict.
Wood; p. 298-319. Communication and Conflict
Nov. 12

(32 of 40)

I'm Still Not OK.
  • Protecting Against Inner Pain and its Consequences.
  • Facing the Pain.
McKay and Fanning; p. 285 - 308.
Nov. 14

(33 of 40)

Belief and Conflict.
  • Identifying Core Beliefs.
  • The Fractal Collision of Principles.
  • Learning Your Own Rules

McKay and Fanning; p. 309 - 326.

Index Card Assignment 13: Describe three things you believe are important.

Nov. 16 At Digital Divide Symposium in Austin. No Class. None.
Nov. 19

(34 of 40)

Managing Conflict through Communication.
  • Communication Patterns During Conflict.
  • Conflict Management Skills.
  • Effective Communication During Conflict.


Wood; p. 320-338.
Nov. 21

Day Before Thanksgiving. No Class. None.
Nov. 23

Day After Thanksgiving. No Class.

Beginning of Ski Season!

Nov. 26

(35 of 40)

Section Quiz: Communication and Conflict


  • The Nature of Friendship.
  • The Development and Rules of Friendship.
  • Pressures on Friendships.
  • Communication Between Friends.
Wood; p. 339-370. Interpersonal Communication Contexts
Nov. 28

(36 of 40)

  • Gender Differences and Communication.
  • Committed Romantic Relationships.
  • The Organization of Romantic Relationships.
  • Challenges to Sustaining Romantic Relationships.
  • Communication Between Romantic Partners.
Wood; p. 371-391, 398-415.
Nov. 30

(37 of 40)

Small Groups.
  • What is a small group?
  • The purposes of small groups.
  • The dynamics of small groups.
  • Competition, Cliques and Leadership in small groups
Term Paper Due
Dec. 3

(38 of 40)

Marraige and Families.
  • Economic Partnership and the Changing Family.
  • Pressures on Marraige and Family.
    The Family Life Cycle.
  • Building Self-Esteem in Children.

Wood; p. 391-398.

McKay and Fanning; p. 327-373.

Dec. 5

(39 of 40)

The Interpersonal Organization.
  • The Interview.
  • The Coffee Machine..
  • Talking one's way through a career or two.
  • Balancing the Demands of Career and Family.
Communication Journal Due
Dec. 7

(40 of 40)

Community, Ecology and The Global Village.
  • An Unending Study of Interpersonal Communication
  • We Cannot Not Communicate Interpersonally, so we might as well do it well.

Will pass out take home final exam, which can be returned to my mailbox in the Lanigan Hall Communication Studies office by December 12 or to either final exam session as specified below.

Wood; p. 416-418.

Index Card Assignment 14: What was the most important and/or interesting thing you learned:

  1. in writing your term paper
  2. in writing your interpersonal resume
Dec. 11

Final Exam period for Section 810 (10:20 AM Section). Exam runs from 10:30AM to 12:30 (2 hours). I will be here for the entire period. If you want to do the exam in class, members of either section can do so at this time.

Dec. 13

Final Exam period for Section 800 (9:10 AM Section). Exam runs from 8:00AM to 10:00AM (2 hours). I will be here for the entire period. If you want to do the exam in class, members of either section can do so at this time.