The Basic Communication Course at Illinois State University is entitled Communication as Critical Inquiry (COM 110). This course is an integral part of the general education program at ISU. It is one of two courses that all ISU students must take in their first-year experience. As such, we service over 3,400 students annually.
The first-year experience for ISU students is comprised of COM 110, Communication as Critical Inquiry, and ENG 101, Composition as Critical Inquiry (ENG 101). The third element of this important first year sequence is Milner Library where students progress from one course to the next in their information literacy skills.
The overall purpose of the Communication as Critical Inquiry course is to improve students' abilities to express themselves and to listen to others in a variety of communication settings. Effective oral communication is viewed as an essential life skill that every person must possess in order to function in today's society. The course emphasizes participation in a variety of communication processes in order to develop, reinforce, and evaluate communication skills appropriate for public, small group, and interpersonal settings. The course content and experiences will enable students to assume their responsibilities as speaker-listener-critic in a culturally diverse world. In short, the course is designed to make students competent, ethical, critical, confident, and information literate communicators.
Simonds, C.J., Hunt, S.K., & Simonds, B. K. (2012). Communication as critical inquiry (4th ed.). New York: Pearson.
COM 110 SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS PACKET (SPIRAL BOOK):You will need to purchase the student workbook at the Communication Resource Center. This contains activities and evaluation forms that you will need to complete COM 110. This book must be purchased during the first week of class. It is $25 (cash or check ONLY). Checks are made payable to the School of Communication and your check must have your name and address on the top. If you have just opened a new checking account then you must bring your driver’s license /student ID. For cash, exact change, please. Hours and location of the Communication Resource Center can be found on th third column of this page.
The portfolio is a collection of (1) the student's work in the course (including speech outlines, instructor evaluations, research, and videotapes of speeches, etc.), (2) the student's reflections on his or her work (e.g., observations as to what worked well in a speech, how a speech could have been better, etc.), (3) student papers on communication goals and course synthesis, and (4) other materials that the student collects over the semester that critically evaluate a concept or topic of the class.
An informative speech provides audience members with new information. This may be done by describing a process, procedure, phenomenon, event, place, person, object, or by explaining how something works or operates. The goal is to create awareness of the subject matter and to increase audience knowledge and understanding. Topics must be original, substantive, and relevant to the audience. Visual aids are required. Additional objectives include learning how to narrow a topic, research and select appropriate supporting materials, cite sources, organize content, and deliver the speech with poise and confidence.
This project will involve a unique presentational format in which a controversial issue is analyzed from multiple perspectives by a group of speakers (usually 5 to 6). One person typically serves as a moderator and assumes responsibility for introducing the topic, previewing the main issues, providing transitions between speakers, and leading the question-answer session that follows the presentations. Other members serve as "experts" representing each of the relevant perspectives. The group presentation provides an opportunity to explore an issue in much greater depth than is possible in an individual speech.
The goal of a persuasive speech is to encourage audience members to adopt a particular attitude or belief, or to perform an action or change a behavior. A persuasive speech cannot occur unless two or more points of view exist. Relevance and credibility are emphasized. In persuasion, personal conviction is extremely important. Topics must be timely, substantive, controversial, original, relevant to the audience, and based on one of the perspectives covered in the group presentation. Additional objectives include learning how to select and organize evidence, structure arguments, refute counterarguments, incorporate persuasive appeals, and deliver the speech with conviction and professionalism.
The Communication Resource Center provides students with access to various Communication course materials (student workbooks) as well as assistance with student’s speech preparation needs.
Students enrolled in Communication as Critical Inquiry who wish to improve their public speaking will find:
The information presented here regarding the purpose and goals of this course as well as the learning resources available outside of the classroom is adapted from the Communication as Critical Inquiry (Com 110) Supplementary Materials Packet.
The Communication Resource Center is located on the second floor of Fell Hall. Check in at room 276. Hours of operation are: