Communication 360: Listening in Communication
Required text: Wood, Julia T. But I Thought You Meant... Mayfield Publishing Company,
Mountain View, CA.
Course Description: This course is designed to help students gain a thorough understanding of
the listening process and to improve their listening behaviors. While there are several
physiological aspects of the listening process the primary focus of the course is within
interpersonal theories that differentiate hearing and listening. By focusing on the interpersonal
process of listening students will be introduced to a multitude of concepts that are essential to
listening. In particular this course will focus on issues within the following theories, Standpoint,
Communication Accommodation, Self Disclosure and Boundary Management, Nonverbal, and
Power and Compliance. A combination of theory, discussion, group exercises, and self-
reflection will be employed.
Course Philosophy: Listening is an interactive process that not only requires knowledge of
basic communication principles, but also an understanding of how it is we impose our personal
biases within our interactions. Being an effective listener can offer great meaning in our
relationships with others, no matter what the setting may be. We were all born with two ears and
one mouth, rarely do we use these in the same proportion. Truly understanding the complex act
of listening requires more than just a “good ear” or simply being quiet will the other person talks.
Course Objectives: After completing this course, students will be able to:
1. Understand the difference between hearing and listening.
2. Recognize the theoretical underpinnings of interpersonal dynamics that pertain to the
3. Critically evaluate their perceptual biases that interfere with listening.
4. Identify and use different listening styles appropriate for diverse types and purposes of
General Course Policies
• Please notify me at once if you have special needs that require special arrangements for
taking test or participating in other course activities. I am more than willing to provide
accommodation for learning or other types of disabilities, and I would much rather know
about these issues in advance.
• I respect the faith and religious observances of all students. However, should you need
to miss an exam, please notify me in advance--failure to provide advance notification,
will limit my ability and also my willingness to accommodate you. However, I expect
that papers whose due dates conflict with such event be turned in early, by email on the
assigned day, or occasionally (and only by prior arrangement) on the following class day.
• Incompletes are rarely given, and only in the case of extreme circumstance. In order for
an incomplete to be granted, you will need to have completed at least 75% of the
evaluated work. Final grades cannot be posted or e-mailed, according to university
• The syllabus is a contract between student and instructor. I reserve the right to make
changes in the scheduling, but I will do so only if necessary, and only in a manner that is
designed to help the class.
Course Cancellation Policies
• Should the university cancel class due to snow, severe weather, etc., assume that
anything scheduled on the canceled class day (readings, assignments, tests, etc.) will be
held on the following class day. Don’t worry--I will revise the assignment and lecture
schedule based on the cancellation in a way that does not overly disadvantage you. You
do not need to check with me--I will simply expect you to come prepared as if it was the
missed class session and we will discuss any changes to the schedule on that day.
• If, due to an illness or unforeseen circumstances, I am absent at the beginning of class,
you should wait no more than 15 minutes for me before leaving and assume the class
was cancelled. As with a university cancellation, you can assume that any assignments
or activities planned for that day will be held on the following class day. However, I will
try to make every effort to notify you by email or a note on the classroom door in the
event of such an absence.
I grade on a “contract” basis rather than on a curve. I do not feel that it’s appropriate to dictate
ahead of time that some students will do better than others--hypothetically, everyone should be
allowed to earn an” A” if they’ve done the work and done it well enough to earn the
corresponding points. However, you and you alone are responsible for your grade in the class--
just because you complete an assignment doesn’t mean that it will be of sufficient quality to
meet class standards. There are a total of 100 pts. you may earn in the class. All points are
averaged together to produce your final score (& therefore your final grade).
Evaluation: Students will be evaluated as follows:
1. Written assignments 20pts.
2. Attendance and Participation 40pts.
3. Final Paper 40pts.
Written Assignments and Participation
In order to facilitate class discussions you will be asked to complete a variety of written
assignments outside of class. These assignments will closely pertain to the reading from the
book and are designed to facilitate classroom discussion and to appraise your understanding of
the material read. Assignments must be typed and turned in at the end of each class time in order
to receive credit. I do not accept late assignments and will only accept e-mail assignments if
Attendance: Due to the format of this class, your regular attendance and participation in class
are essential. Therefore your presence is expected in every class, any class missed will result in
the deduction of your final grade.
lf you miss three classes, you will need to make an appointment with me to discuss continuing
this course. Four is the maximum number of absences allowable to receive credit for the course.
Late arrivals: If you will be late for class, your consideration of the class in progress is expected.
Therefore, upon your arrival slip a note under the door announcing your arrival and be patient as
the class waits for an opportune time for you to enter. It will be expected that you will be
prepared to give an impromptu speech on a subject chosen by the instructor or class members.
(Chronic tardiness will affect your final grade)