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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PS 311"
COURSE NAME: "Human Communication"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Bruno Galantucci
EMAIL: bgalantucci@johncabot.edu
HOURS: TTH 3:00-4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course familiarizes students with a set of diverse scientific perspectives on human communication. These perspectives cover psychological and social aspects of human communication, providing opportunities for students to acquire a critical appreciation of this multifaceted phenomenon.
The course covers a number of key topics such as (a) introductory notions about spoken language, signed language, and non-verbal communication; (b) referential communication; (c) the process of grounding; (d) egocentrism and miscommunication; (e) language as a social action. Considering the deep ramifications communication has for the human experience, this course provides valuable insights for students from a wide range of disciplines.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

After a brief exposure to general background material, students will interact with a diverse sample of the scientific literature on human communication. The sample will include the following topics:

a) Turn-taking and repair
b) Grounding
c) Egocentrism and miscommunication
d) Speech act theory
e) Politeness theory
f) Other perspectives on human communication

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

- Know the major concepts, theories, and issues relevant to the study of human communication

- Demonstrate information literacy by accurately interpreting, summarizing and presenting information from primary sources

- Exhibit effective presentation skills within appropriate constraints (e.g., time limit, audience)

TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
ExamsThere will be two midterms (the dates will be announced on the first day of class) and a final. Each midterm will be non-cumulative and will cover approximately a third of the course material. The final will be cumulative. Exams will include questions connecting the readings to one another and to real life experiences. Your grade for the course will be based on your best two scores, and the lowest score will be dropped. If you miss any of the exams, that will be your dropped score. Thus, NO MAKE UP EXAMS will be allowed for any reasons.70
Class PresentationsStudents will present the contents of the assigned readings which will be discussed by the class. The presentations are to be delivered through the help of PowerPoint slides. More information on this assignment will be provided before the class presentations begin. 25
AttendanceAttendance is very important for this class and will be monitored. At the beginning of the semester every student is automatically awarded five points toward the final grade for the attendance. After the third absence, each absence will lead to a penalty of two points toward the final grade, which will be subtracted from the attendance grade. For example, if you cumulate six absences over the semester, you will lose one point toward the final grade whereas, if you miss less than four classes, you will be awarded five points. In other words, a six points net difference. Students who miss class are encouraged to acquire all of the missed information from fellow students in the class.5
Extra creditOne point toward the final grade will be awarded to any student who wins the “Best cartoon of the week” contest. The cartoon must be directly relevant to a point discussed in class the week before and contain a caption describing why it is relevant (max length 50 words). In order to be considered for that week’s contest, the cartoons and the captions must be submitted via e-mail (using the template slide posted on Moodle) by Sunday 1pm. Late submissions or submissions which do not comply with the requirements will be ignored. The last “Best cartoon of the week” contest will take place on Sunday, November 24. The maximum amount of extra credit that a student can earn is two.  

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course. 93-100:A 90-92.99:A-
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments. 86-89.99:B+ 83-85.99:B 80-82.99:B-
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings. 75-79.99:C+ 70-74.99:C 65-69.99:C-
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail. 60-64.99:D+ 55-59.99:D 50-54.99:D-
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant. Below 50:F

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Attendance policy. Attendance is very important for this class and will be monitored. At the beginning of the semester every student is automatically awarded five points toward the final grade for the attendance. After the third absence, each absence will lead to a penalty of two points toward the final grade, which will be subtracted from the attendance grade. For example, if you cumulate six absences over the semester, you will lose one point toward the final grade whereas, if you miss less than four classes, you will be awarded five points. In other words, a six points net difference. Students who miss class are encouraged to acquire all of the missed information from fellow students in the class.

Classroom policy. Please be aware that the use of laptops, tablets, smartphones—or any other device that engages your attention during class time—is not allowed.

Textbook. There is no textbook for this class. The reading for the class will be a mix of chapters from academic textbooks and primary scientific sources such as scientific reports and literature reviews.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

(TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Class Theme Topic Readings
1-9 Background knowledge Intro on language Chapter 1 from: O'Grady, W., Archibald, J., Aronoff, M., & Rees-Miller, J. (2009). Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction (6th edition). Boston (MA): Bedford/St. Martin's.
Spoken and signed language Chapters 27, 35-36 from: Crystal, D. (2010). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (3rd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nonverbal communication Chapter 5 from: DeVito, J. A. (2016). Essentials of Human Communication (9th edition). London: Pearson Education.
Human and animal communication Hockett, C. F. (1960). The origin of speech. Scientific American, 203(3), 88-96.
TBD
Theoretical frameworks Krauss, R. M. (2002). The psychology of verbal communication. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. London: Elsevier, 16161-16165.
10-17 The mechanisms of human communication Turn-taking and repair Levinson, S. C. (2016). Turn-taking in human communication–origins and implications for language processing. Trends in cognitive sciences, 20(1), 6-14.
Dingemanse, M., Roberts, S. G., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Drew, P., Floyd, S., ... & Rossi, G. (2015). Universal principles in the repair of communication problems. PloS one, 10(9), e0136100.
Grounding Krauss, R. M., & Weinheimer, S. (1964). Changes in reference phrases as a function of frequency of usage in social interaction: A preliminary study. Psychonomic Science, 1(1-12), 113-114.
Clark, H. H., & Brennan, S. E. (1991). Grounding in communication. Perspectives on socially shared cognition, 13, 127-149.
Schober, M. F., & Clark, H. H. (1989). Understanding by addressees and overhearers. Cognitive psychology, 21(2), 211-232.
Egocentrism and miscommunication Keysar, B. (2007). Communication and miscommunication: The role of egocentric processes. Intercultural Pragmatics, 4(1), 71-84.
Galantucci, B., Roberts, G., & Langstein, B. (2018). Content deafness: When coherent talk just doesn't matter. Language & Communication. doi: 10.1016/j.langcom.2018.01.001
Liberman, Z., Woodward, A. L., Keysar, B., & Kinzler, K. D. (2017). Exposure to multiple languages enhances communication skills in infancy. Developmental science, 20(1), e12420.
18-23 Language as a social action Speech act theory Chapters from: Holtgraves, T. M. (2013). Language as social action: Social psychology and language use. Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Politeness theory Chapters from: Holtgraves, T. M. (2013). Language as social action: Social psychology and language use. Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Voigt, R., Camp, N. P., Prabhakaran, V., Hamilton, W. L., Hetey, R. C., Griffiths, C. M., ... & Eberhardt, J. L. (2017). Language from police body camera footage shows racial disparities in officer respect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(25), 6521-6526.
24-28 Other perspectives Sociolinguistics Labov, W. (1997). The social stratification of (r) in New York City department stores. In Sociolinguistics (pp. 168-178). Macmillan Education UK.
Interstellar communication Vakoch, D. A. (1998). Signs of life beyond Earth: a semiotic analysis of interstellar messages. Leonardo, 31(4), 313-319.
TBD
TBD
Review for FINAL
Finals week FINAL