Syllabus for COM-330



In Interpersonal Communication we examine the process of interpersonal communication from various perspectives, including dyadic interactions, how we perceive others, listening skills, emotions, language, and nonverbal communications. By applying and mastering the concepts of interpersonal communication, you can improve your listening and interaction with others, handle conflict and human differences more positively and productively, and form more tractable and supportive relationships in a variety of contexts.



After completing this course, you should be able to: 

  1. Explain interpersonal communication as it compares to communication in general and in other settings (small group, one to many, etc.).
  2. Describe ways in which interpersonal communication depends in large measure on human perception and particularly person perception.
  3. Explain how human emotions arise, impinge on, and affect interpersonal communication, and specify ways in which they can be managed for greater personal effectiveness in interpersonal communication.
  4. Outline and describe ways in which language can either facilitate or inhibit success in interpersonal communication.
  5. Demonstrate the significance of nonverbal communication, including such usually less-noticed factors as tone of voice, the use of space, etc.
  6. Demonstrate how listening is critical to interpersonal success and how listening skill goes beyond hearing to an active strategy in conversation with others.
  7. Categorize the varieties of human relationships and specify how and why they vary and where the various sorts most often appear.
  8. Contrast different communication climates (e.g., defensive vs. supportive), and specify how those climates arise, are diagnosed, and can be made more positive.
  9. Assess the varieties of conflicts that arise in human intercourse, and discriminate which approach to a conflict may be most successful and appropriate, given its essential cause and nature.


You will need the following textbook to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.


Interpersonal Communication is a three-credit online course, consisting of nine (9) modules. Modules include an overview, list of topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below along with their respective course objectives and topics.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, to submit  written assignments, to take a proctored online midterm examination, and to complete a final project in the form of a written paper. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Interpersonal Communication requires you to participate in nine (9) graded discussion forums worth 18 percent of your course grade. There is also an ungraded but required introduction forum in Module 1.

Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Deadlines for posting discussion threads on the class Discussion Board are given in the course Calendar.

Click the link below for an evaluation rubric that will aid in the grading of online discussion forums.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete nine (9) written assignments worth 30 percent of your course grade. Your answers to assignment questions should be well developed and should show evidence of thought, organization, effective writing, and of course responsiveness to the question! Please make sure you edit and proofread your work before submitting it. Gross errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation distract from what you are writing and compromise the credibility of your work.

Click the link below for an evaluation rubric that will aid in the grading of written assignments.

Midterm Examination

You are required to take a proctored online midterm examination.

The midterm exam is two hours long and covers all topics and material from modules 1–5 of the course. It consists of five (5) essay questions based on the textbook reading.

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

Interpersonal Communication is designed to help you develop insights into your own interpersonal behavior and communication and that of others. An essential part of this exercise will be your final project, which is worth 22 percent of your course grade.

Your final project should be in the form of a written paper in which you develop a framework demonstrating your understanding of the major elements affecting interpersonal behavior as examined in the course.

You will complete your work on the final project in two steps: (1) a proposal (worth 2 percent of your

course grade) in which you present the question you are trying to answer, indicate your research methods and approach, and state your informal hypothesis; and (2) a final paper (worth 20 percent of your course grade) in which you present your research findings and conclusions.

Please see the Final Project area of the course Web site for further details about the project and the course Calendar for the due dates of each step.

Click the links below for evaluation rubrics that will aid in the grading of the final project proposal (step 1) and final paper (step 2).


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.


Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at




Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin


Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Edison State College. All rights reserved.