Monday, December 12, 2011

Final Grades and Blog

I hope your finals week is going well...well enough for finals week that is. I am posting to wrap up a few things for everyone.

Final Grades

I have approximately a week to post final grades. Not only do I have to post your grades, but I also have to post grades for my other 1010 class and grade research projects for an upper-level communication class. In addition, I have to complete my own work for my graduate classes. What this means is that I cannot personally let you know when I will post grades or what your final grades are. That will be your job. Check Blackboard throughout the week for grade updates. All that is left to input is your final participation grade and deductions for absences. Have patience, your grades will be posted.


The blog is closed for participation comments. I appreciate your participation in this new project and providing your feedback on it. Many of your comments were very helpful and will definitely help me in my future teaching endeavors. Your blog participation is a factor in your final participation grade though it doesn't make up your entire participation grade. I have made the blog a part of your participation grade because while it does not have a huge impact on your grade, making it a part of your grade actually encourages participation. While I am sure some of you would participate if this wasn't part of your grade, I imagine many or most of you would not, hence why I have to factor it into your grade in some way.


The results are in and one section will be getting 10 extra points. The question is which section...(insert dramatic pause)...section 027, or the Tuesday/Thursday class, will receive 10 extra points on their overall grade for 90% of the class taking the SETE. To my other section, I am sorry that y'all didn't make the 90% as I know many of you did take it. I wish I could give y'all individual credit, but unfortunately the SETE is not set up that way.

Final Thoughts

I have thoroughly enjoyed my 1010 classes this semester. Both sections have contained a wonderful group of smart, motivated, and engaging students. I haven't had this much fun with 1010 classes before and y'all were great. I just hope my next classes can live up to y'all!

Best of luck on finals and in your future endeavors. Enjoy your holidays - relax and watch copious amounts of Netflix - at least that's my plan. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Class Blog: Yay or Nay?

So as a new experiment, this blog has gone fairly well in my opinion for its first semester. However, deciding to continue this project depends upon some of your responses. Some changes I intend to make next year if I continue:

  • Don't use blogger. I would probably switch to something like wordpress where everyone can comment on other people's comments.
  • I would plan all my weekly posts before the semester begins so I would be able to guarantee a post per week even during times when I have conferences and holidays. That being said, I will give everyone another freebie since I've been a slacker the past two weeks. This means in order to get your full credit, you need to have commented 5 times. Some of you are already there and I greatly appreciate that.

Some things I have enjoyed about the blog:

  • Hearing from students who don't speak up a lot in class. I know some of you are uncomfortable doing this, and the blog has given me a chance to hear your voices.
  • Your perspectives shared on this blog outside of the classroom have really influenced my approach to teaching. I have learned a lot from y'all that makes me better at teaching.

1. What do you think about the blog? Is it something I should try next semester?
2. What improvements do you think could be made to the blog if I continue it next semester? Should the topics remain on issues that specifically concern you as college students or should I use it more for class stuff? Or both?
3. Do class assignments/projects like these really help transcend the boundaries of the classroom or are they just one more thing to do? Or somewhere in between?

Final Exam Location

The exam will be located in Wooten Hall 222 at 8:30am THIS Saturday (12/10).

I will see y'all there with bells on. As in I am seriously trying to find annoying Christmas bells to wear.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Final Extra Credit Opportunity

The SETE exam is finally up. The SETE (Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness) is a chance for you the student to evaluate the class content, structure, and your instructor. Yes, we do read these, so this really is a chance for you to share your perspective and comment on what works and could be changed in the 1010 classroom. Now, if 90% of the class takes the SETE, then EVERYONE gets 10 extra points on their final grade. So what does that mean? You need to nag your fellow classmates to take it. :) I don't need any proof that you took it. At the end of the semester, our staff looks up the statistics on the SETE website. You can find the SETE evaluations through

Rhetorical Presentations and Exam Review

So, I am trying to figure out a way for us to fit in all the final presentations and have an exam review day. I have some evenings free this week for an exam review, but in order to assure that everyone can go, it would probably be best to do the review in class. So, I am thinking about arranging alternative times for rhetorical presentations. For those of you who are still left, you can either a) present in class or b) arrange an alternative time to come by my office (GAB 322) and present to me in my office. Now, if classtime is the best time for you to present, then you definitely need to present during class. However, if we can work out to have about half the people left present in class and half present in my office, then we can fit in an exam review on Wed/Thurs. I will list my schedule and you will need to book a time during a ten minute interval. So, Monday I am available from 11:00am to 4:00pm. You will need to tell me via email or the blog that you will present at 12:10pm. I will confirm with you and let you know if that time is still available. So here's my schedule:

Monday (12/5): 11:00am-4:00pm
Wednesday (12/7): 10:30am-10:40am; 11:30am-12:00pm; 2:20pm-4:00pm.
Thursday (12/8): 10:30am-12:00pm
Friday (12/9): 8:00am-12:00pm

Keep in mind, if you decide to present this way then you must show up on time and prepared. Consider this like showing up for class. Unless you have an excused absence, you will be expected to present on the day and time you commit to and if you do not, then you will receive a 0 on the assignment.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Help out a fellow classmate!

On Thursday, December 1st the women of UNT's Kappa Delta Sorority are having a fundraising event to raise money for a sister who found out that her mother, without health insurance, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. From 9pm to 3am at the Kappa Delta House, they will be making quesadillas for anyone who comes. For only $5 you can eat UNLIMITED quesadillas. ALL profits are going to her family to help pay for the extremely pricy cancer treatments. This event is open to all and Kappa Delta would love for you to bring as many friends as you would like. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's in a Name? Colleg

One of your classmates sent me a compelling article regarding publications ranking colleges. Here is the link: The article raises some good questions about what makes a college good, which brings me to...

1. How did you go about picking a college? What particular features and characteristics were you looking for? Did you consult any sources like the Newsweek rankings?
2. Did "name" and status (by that I mean elite schools like the Ivies or well known schools) affect your choice of college? Why or why not?
3. For those of you who have worked or who are working in a particular field where degrees are significant, have you noticed a bias towards the "name" of a college? Do you think the name of a college holds much sway in the job hiring process?
4. How do you think colleges should be ranked?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Housekeeping and Holidays

Just some reminders for y'all:

Day 1 of next week (Nov. 28th-Dec. 2): Peer evaluations for the COMMunity Fair project are due. If you don't turn it in, you will not receive credit for the peer evaluation portion of your group grade.
Day 2 of next week (Nov. 28th-Dec. 2): Service learning paper is due (check Blackboard for Word document regarding this assignment)
Next two weeks: Rhetorical criticism presentations
Nov. 29th: Gender Fair extra credit (check Blackboard for more info)
Dec. 3rd: Debate-a-polooza extra credit (check Blackboard for more info)
Dec. 5th: Next Generation survey extra credit due (check Blackboard for more info)

BTW, I am giving everyone blog participation credit last week since I was away at the conference.

Also, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and gets some fun time in!

Wrapping up COMMunity Fair

COMMunity Fair was quite the success, and we, the instructors and director, were nervous going in implementing a new project for 900 students (that would be the amount of students in COMM 1010). I heard good things about both class' booths from visitors and other instructors. Great job to everyone! Now though is the chance for you to share your input. As a new project, COMMunity Fair certainly needs fine-tuning because you simply can't account for everything that will arise the first time you implement such a large scale project. We have several changes in mind for next semester, but as an evolving project, input particularly from 1010 students, is much appreciated. So here are some questions:

  1. Should the COMMunity Fair be centered around a social issue and organization or something else?
  2. How could COMMunity Fair be better organized? (I am going to remind you that I did handout a list of each group's requirements at the beginning of the semester)
  3. Does staying in the same group as your intercultural presentation groups help or do you think the groups should change?
  4. What sort of impact did the project have on you?
  5. What is something in particular that you liked about the project? What is something that you disliked?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Visual Literacy

We hear a lot about media literacy, and as technology proliferates the images and information we see and experience, we hear more and more about "visual literacy." Visual literacy is the critical interpretation of visual media. Visual literacy is especially important during a time where photo doctoring is common practice (remember the photoshopped images of various celebrities from class). Even without photoshopping, photographers make strategic moves to manipulate the pictures they take whether it's through posing, cropping, and etc. Here is a link to get you thinking about visual literacy and I have borrowed my questions directly from these sources:

1. What does it mean to be critical of an image?
2. Does this knowledge (that the "Migrant Mother" picture was staged in various ways) change our experience of the photo? Its circulation in our culture? The responses we and others have to it and the cultural memory it shapes of Dust Bowl America? 

Another link on visual literacy and photo parody via photoshop:

1. What are some of the dangers and powers of photo parody in a "viral" world -- that is, in a world where an image can become popular, downloaded, and reproduced on thousands of web sites within minutes? 
2. What are some of the dangers and powers of photo parody in making political statements? 

These questions are something to keep in mind while you work on your rhetorical analyses.

Reminder: Final Exam

I announced this at the beginning of the semester, but your final 1010 exam is on a SATURDAY, Dec. 10th at 8:30am. If you haven't already, you need to make arrangements in your schedule for this NOW.

This Week and Next

Remember we will not meet this week. This week is the COMMunity Fair, and the rest of the week is yours to work on your COMMunity Fair paper (also called "service learning reflection paper assignment" on your syllabus) and rhetorical analyses. I have posted a word document regarding the paper for the COMMunity Fair to Blackboard under "Course Content."

COMMunity Fair
Tues, Nov. 15th from 8am-4pm in the 1 o' clock lounge. Unless you are staffing you do not need to be here, but I do encourage you to swing by and check out the product of all your work! Some other reminders/notes for specific groups:

  • Booth Design groups have your materials in my office (GAB 322) by Monday. If this doesn't happen, your group will not receive credit for the assignment. If for any reason my office is closed, then bring the materials by GAB 301 or the Department of Communication Studies main office. Also, if you have designed an interactive activity, you need to create the directions for it, so I can pass it on to the staffing  group. Email that to me by Monday.
  • Staffing make sure you know your material - as I have mentioned in class, Blackboard has a folder with the research from the Social Issue Group and Organization Group. Review this information. People will stop by (including other instructors from the Communication Studies department) and want to know what your table is all about. You need to be able to answer their questions. This will be a part of your grade.
  • Advertising make sure you are getting the word out. I saw the flyers around the GAB Friday - way to go! I then bragged to the other 1010 instructors that my students were advertising. :)
Next week (Nov. 21-Nov. 25):
We will be meeting the first day of the week to discuss the COMMunity Fair and the paper for the fair. Monday/Wednesday class, my course director approved a cyber class for us, so we do not actually have to show up for class Wednesday. I will give y'all the details on this Monday (11/21).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rhetorical Analysis Resource

One of your fellow classmates emailed me this link, which does a good job of briefly addressing rhetorical criticism. Be sure to check out the links with examples of analyses - those will really help you with your presentation. Here is the link:

Also, I have posted a model outline to Blackboard under Course Content. Use this as a template for your own outline and fill in the information for your presentation as needed. Keep in mind this isn't exactly how you have to do your presentation, and in some cases, your presentation may not fit as easily into the outline template. However, it does provide a solid basic structure for how to approach your presentation.

1. What does it mean to ask how something as communicated as opposed to what is communicated?
2. Do you have any other questions or concerns regarding the assignment? I will address these in class as I see fit, however this is also a chance for you to help out your fellow classmates.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Student-Mentor Relationships

Studies indicate that college students who have mentors tend to perform better in college. Mentor-student relationships help students better utilize campus resources, feel less isolated, learn effective study habits, to name just a few of the positive outcomes of these relationships. Programs like UNT's Emerald Eagle Scholars (a program for first-generation college students) employs this idea in order to help first-generation college students get the most out of their college experience. This is particularly significant considering that statistically speaking first-generation college students have a lower completion rate than students who come from families with college graduates. I know as an undergraduate that my relationships with my instructors helped me learn the college ropes and provided encouragement for me to pursue graduate studies. As an instructor myself, I want to ask y'all:

1. Do you have any mentors? If so, did you meet your mentor through a particular program or was it more random than that? Is your mentor an instructor, staff member, upper-classman?
2. Do you find it easy or difficult to develop relationships with your instructors? Why or why not? Is it even worth it to you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

COMMunity Fair is Coming Up!!!

I know the COMMunity Fair project has been somewhat confusing for everyone (including your instructor). Anytime you introduce a new, large project to a course more often than not confusion ensues. We, the 1010 instructors and course designers, are learning as we go and making changes for next year. On the flip side of that though, I do want to share something from another 1010 class. This section's social issue is racism and one of their groups put this video together:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reminder: Artifacts

Remember on the second day of class this week you need to bring some artifacts to class. Artifacts are the objects of analysis of your rhetorical presentation, and they need to be related to a particular social issue. Now some of you may start with a social issue and find artifacts from there, while others may select an artifact first and  find the social issue from there. Either way is fine. Things to keep in mind:

  • Remember some of the examples of artifacts we discussed in class were: political cartoons, advertisements, commercials, speeches, political ads, op-eds, songs, and etc. 
  • If you fail to bring something to class (whether its an actual advertisement or a specific idea such as a speech), you will receive a deduction of your final rhetorical presentation grade. I need to approve your artifact. 
  • You do not have to limit yourself to a single artifact, but you want to make sure there is a unifying theme among your artifacts. For example, you could focus on a particular ad campaign as opposed to a single ad from the campaign.


  1. Can you think of other examples of artifacts that would work for this assignment?
  2. Do you have a particular social issue in mind, but aren't sure of an artifact? If so, why not ask the class via the blog and see what they have to say. 
  3. Are you still unsure as to how to a select an artifact? Ask your classmates via the blog. Also, I can address common concerns in class.

Creating Thesis Statements

A well-crafted thesis statement is central to your rhetorical presentations. You need to make an argument about your particular artifact (object of rhetorical analysis) and support it with a Neo-Aristotelian critique. Here are some links for writing thesis statements:

If you have any tips, resources, or suggestions for writing a thesis statement, please share!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rhetoric and Symbols

As we discovered in class during the bug, vegetable, mom activity (you know the one where I told you to write or draw these things on a piece of paper and most everyone refused to step on "Mom"), symbols have power beyond being merely well symbols (a symbol is something that represents an idea, actual thing or process, but is not the idea, thing, or process itself). We ascribe meaning to symbolic things and sometimes come to see those symbols as representing the thing in itself (e.g. responses such as "I'm not stepping on my mom!"). One of the definitions of rhetoric that I offered was the study of human symbolic activity. Rhetoric is interested in symbolic activity for this exact reason - symbols come to stand in for real things and we go to a lot of effort to preserve symbols. In their blog No Caption Needed, Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites analyze visual rhetoric and how it relates to democracy and citizenship. In this brief post, they discuss the use of symbols in protest and how they come to stand in for something else. Here is the link:

Questions to consider:
1. Can you think of some other examples of symbols and what they represent and what happens when these symbols are threatened/distorted/changed? (For example, in class I mentioned how burning the American flag is a symbolic act that evokes very strong responses from people because its seen as unpatriotic.)
2. What do you think is Hariman and Lucaites' criticism(s) of the broom protest in Brazil? What is the broom protest standing in for?
3. Why do symbols matter?
4. What happens when symbols come to stand in for social protest/change/revolution?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Register Early; Register Often!

Just a little FYI, seniors begin registration on October 25th at 7am; Juniors on October 31st at 7am, Sophomores on November 4th at 7 am; and Freshmen on November 10th at 7am.  

Prototypes vs. Stereotypes

In class, I used the example of the old white dude with a tweed jacket with suede elbow pads as a prototypical example of a professor. One of my students made the apt point that this sounded more like a stereotype. After pondering this, well this student was correct. This would be an example of a stereotype. Stereotypes may inform our prototypes, however prototypes are based on personal preferences (thanks to Sam for putting it this way) and experiences. So for example, your example of the perfect instructor results from your personal experiences of past instructors, your learning style, and etc, but your notion of the perfect professor may still be informed by cultural icons such as Robin Williams' character in Dead Poet's Society (is that cultural reference too outdated?).

(also, thanks to Suzanne for pointing this out in the first place!)

Choosing a Major

Some of you may be at that point in your college careers where you have already chosen a major, while some of you may not. Regardless, we often feel pressure to select a major that will determine the rest of our lives. Okay, I am being a little dramatic, but only a little. As an undergraduate, my advisers tended to emphasize my major as directly tangible to my future career prospects (this really isn't the case). The Study Hacks blog, who I have cited several times before, provides an intriguing approach to deciding on a major. You can check out the post here:

Questions to consider:
1. What do you think of Study Hacks approach to selecting a major?
2. I know I said a major isn't determinate, but it very well may be for some majors. What do you think? Does your major determine your future career prospects?
3. For those of you who have selected a major, what has been your experience in doing so? What do you recommend to your fellow classmates who are currently or about to go through this process?
4. Why the huge emphasis on major after all?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

In lieu of Steve Jobs' recent passing, one of your fellow classmates suggested that I post his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, and as this student mentioned in their email to me "its applicable since many of the students in Comm 1010 seem to just be starting their college careers." I completely agree.  Jobs has an interesting and relevant take on the role of higher education (college/university) in our lives. While I certainly do not encourage you to drop out of college after hearing this speech, I do encourage you to take in Jobs' perspective and your own perspective and consider the similarities and dissimilarities you may have. In order to make it through your college years, I find it particularly important to have an idea of what that diploma means to you and your life. 

Here is the link:

Questions to consider:
1. What is Jobs' take on the role of higher education in our lives? Does Jobs' perspective on higher education seem relevant to your life?
2. What is your take on the role of higher education in our lives? Our society emphasizes high school, then college, then find a job. Is this realistic?

By the way, I apologize for not posting sooner, but this past week was hectic for me due to my wedding. Consequently, everyone gets a freebie for the week that will count towards their participation grade.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Exam Review

The exam review is available on Blackboard. I encourage you to use the blog to discuss the review: ask questions, discuss concepts, provide examples, and try to put these things in your own words. For example, perhaps the notion of chronemics doesn't entirely make sense to you. You could explain your understanding of it, and then pose questions to your classmates about what confuses you. Consider this equivalent to an online study group.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Forming a Study Group

If you don't know it yet, you have a midterm coming up in two weeks (Oct. 17th for MW class and Oct. 18th for TTh). It seems like most college students do not take advantage of study groups as we too often see learning as a solitary activity, but studies show that students who use study groups perform better than those who don't. Study groups are based on the notion that learning is a social activity as in we construct knowledge collectively. In 1010, we utilize this notion in the groups in your collaborative learning groups, which is the fancy phrase for the groups I assigned you to at the beginning of the semester. The idea behind these groups is the same as a study group - learning occurs socially or collaboratively or at the very least can be enhanced by engaging with one's peers. This article provides some helpful tips on how to form a study group: How to Form a Study Group.

1. Have you ever tried a study group for an exam? How did it go?
2. What are the positive and negatives associated with a study group? How do you mediate the negatives?
3. Do you have any other exam studying tips that you would like to share?
4. What is your take on learning? How does it occur? Is it solitary, collaborative? What is the role of traditional schooling (grade school, high school, college) in the learning process?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Exams, Presentations, Midterms

We are getting close to mid-term and as mid-term approaches stress often goes WAY UP. While it is obviously important to take care of your work, it is just as important to take care of yourself. One of your fellow 1010 students emailed me this link 50 Ways to Destress in College. One thing to keep in mind with these activities is to limit or spread out your personal time. While this may sound counter-intuitive to what I am advocating, it is easy to get sucked into Facebook and use up 4 hours on it. Limit yourself to small doses of fun time - weave it in with your work time. For example, if you study for 3 hours (which research supports as the maximum amount of time for studying without breaks before you lose cognitive retention), then reward yourself with at least 30 minutes of fun time, but no more than 1 hour. This has really worked for me especially as a graduate student where I am juggling a multitude of different things ranging from my own classes to teaching to professionalization.

Does anyone else have any tips for integrating play with work?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cultural Value Dimensions

If you are having trouble identifying the cultural value dimensions of your culture, this website breaks down MANY countries by their value dimensions. Once you figure out your culture's value dimensions, be sure to consider how this impacts your culture's communication behaviors and patterns. Here is the link:

Questions to consider:
What are some specific communicative behaviors that reflect different cultural values? For example, in class I mentioned how the American phrase "What do you mean?" and the Anakalang translation of this phrase "Where does it strike?" reflect different cultural values (individualist vs. collectivist) because one phrase is concerned with the intent of the speaker ("what do you mean?"), while the other phrase ("where does it strike?") is concerned with the effect of the speaker's words upon an audience. The Anakalang as a collectivist culture are concerned with group cohesion and functioning, while America as an individualist culture is concerned with individual independence and autonomy. Can you think of other communicative behaviors and/or phrases that demonstrate the different cultural values we discussed in class?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Citing Sources in Your Speech

As you know, you need at least 6 sources for your intercultural presentations. When you are pulling ideas directly from a source, you need to acknowledge where you got that idea. This article provides some great examples and wordings for how to do this in your speeches: Citing Sources in Your Speech.

Defining Culture

“As a result of the class you are born into and raised in, class is your understanding of the world and where you fit in; it’s composed of ideas, behavior, attitudes, values, and language; class is how you think, feel, act, look, dress, talk, move, walk; class is what stores you shop at, restaurants you eat in; class is the schools you attend, the education you attain; class is the very jobs you will work at throughout your adult life. Class even determines when we marry and become mothers.” (Donna Langston regarding class as a culture in “Tired of Playing Monopoly”)

1. How does class (socioeconomic status) impact the various things listed in the quote? Give specific examples.
2. What if I substitute class for religion? How does religion impact these things? What about race?
3. What about when these cultures overlap (race, class, etc)? How does this complicate this quote?

By the way, these are just questions to get you going. You do not have to answer these. If a different question comes to mind, then feel free to address that. If this quote stimulates a certain though or notion, then go with that.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where the Hell is Matt?

Have you heard about Matt? Maybe not? Well, Matt gets paid to travel to different parts of the world and dance with people. Sound pretty awesome, right? So basically, this is what Matt does:

If this doesn't work for you, here is the link:

You can read about how he gets paid to do that here: About Matt

Also, watch this video on how Matt gets all those people to dance to him:

We are talking about intercultural communication and cultural values this week, and I think this is a great example of what happens when we use communication as a bridge to connecting with people (see page 145 in your textbook for more on communication as a bridge).

Matt says on his website "Matt thinks Americans need to travel abroad more." What do you think this means?
How is Matt using communication to connect with people from other cultures?
Can you think of any other internet memes, bad dances, or other things that can help us communicate across cultures?

Also, I think it's really important to note how Matt recognized that not all cultures have equal access to the internet, and in order to incorporate these other cultural venues Matt adapted his methods. We tend to see the internet as a great equalizer, but even the internet is limited in terms of access. Matt really took on a dual perspective by not assuming that everyone would have access to his internet meme.

Reminder: COMMunity Fair Presentations

On Day 2 of this week (Wednesday or Thursday depending on your section), the Social Issue Research groups and Organization Research groups need to present for 4-5 minutes on where their research currently stands. I expect this to be a brief, but organized presentation with key points that gives the class a general guiding point for where the research is going and what they should expect from you as a group. You are welcome to use a little time to ask the class for suggestions (for example: you could ask the class what they think may be the best way to organize the information for when you pass it off to the other groups). Additionally, the other groups will have time to ask the presenting group any questions they may have.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Helpful College Tip - Speedreading?

One of your classmates sent me this link on speed reading. When you click on it, you will get a download notification for a powerpoint. The powerpoint covers speed reading. Check it out here: Speed Reading Powerpoint

Now I don't really like the name speed reading because speed reading is more about getting you to read more effectively and efficiently. It seems surprising that we have to learn how to read, but in our current culture where most of us have an inordinate amount of things on our plate learning to speed read can highly benefit some of us.

Things to consider:
Have you tried speed reading before? What has been your experience with it?
Do you think speed reading is a good studying strategy? Why or why not?

Principles for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety

I found a webpage on public speaking anxiety that I think really covers a lot of the fears we feel when speaking in front of people whether or not we have higher or lower public speaking anxiety. Now this model does not entirely fit the context of a required assignment, but the stuff about audience is particularly helpful. Principle #9 may seem to contradict a lot of what I said which is to prepare, prepare, prepare. In this case, you are presenting on something that you more than likely do not have a lot of knowledge on, thus you do need to prepare more, but the author does not an important point about what motivates you to prepare. Here is the link:

We have already talked about public speaking anxiety quite a bit, but as you read over this consider some of the principles. Do they seem counterintuitive or right on the money? Do you think one can overprepare for a speech? How does context (where you are speaking and what about) change some of these principles?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Public Speaking

During the first part of class this week, we will cover public speaking in order to get you ready for your intercultural GROUP presentations. Here is a link to get you mulling over the do's and dont's of public speaking: Never Ask Does That Make Sense

The author makes some excellent points about how certain words or phrases impact your audience's perception of you and your knowledge of the topic. Now the author does mention how these sorts of words can vary across context and be used as rhetorical strategies. However, it may not be best for you to try that at this point. As we start talking about public communication here are some things to ponder:

1. Do you have public speaking anxiety? Do you know causes this anxiety? What are some tactics, if any, you have used to overcome this anxiety?
2. What are some other public speaking blunders that detract from the speaker's message?
3. What are some effective public speaking techniques that draw you into a presentation or speaker's message?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 Tips for College Students

One of y'all sent this article to me and I think it is worth posting because it is truly written from a student's view. This is significant because as an instructor there are certainly things about this article that make me cringe. After all, no instructor likes to think that their class may not be a students' number one priority, but c'mon we all have different interest, priorities, and demands in our lives. Here is the link:

Questions to consider (though you certainly can comment on anything that you got out of the article):
1. What in this article do you find particularly helpful and why?
2. What in this article do you find potentially unhelpful and why?
3. What does the college experience mean to you?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning Styles

Some of you may have done this before, but I am listing a really good link for discovering your learning style. Learning styles are the ways in which individuals prefer to learn. For example, a kinesthetic learner, one who prefers learning through bodily movement, may remember a phone number by the sequence of keys they hit in their phone as opposed to remembering the actual number.

I encourage you to take this learning style inventory in particular because it rather than giving you an either/or answer, it provides your two strongest areas with tips on how to best utilize your learning style. Here is the link:

I am rather even across the various learning styles, but always learn towards visual/verbal. What this means is that students who have the same learning style as me are more likely to fair better in my class - studies show that students with the same learning style as their instructor perform better in the classroom. Additionally, higher education more often favors auditory, verbal, and visual styles, however lab classes are often better for kinesthetic learners because you are actually "doing" something.

Questions to consider:
1. What is your learning style and what are some ways you utilize your style when studying or in class?
2. What are some ways college classes can better incorporate your learning style into the classroom?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adjusting to College

The Counseling Center is having a free workshop titled "Adjustment to College."  Here is the information:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Student Counseling Center 311 Chestnut Hall
12:10 PM – 12:50 PM

College life is an adjustment no doubt about it. You have a lot of new things hitting you all at once and finding ways to help you deal with that is integral to getting through college. Take advantage of your campus resources aimed at helping you adjust to this new life.

Some questions:
1. Do you have any tips for coping with homesickness?
2. Do you know of any other resources that can help you cope with adjusting to college life?
3. If you aren't a new college student, what were your expectations of college and how did you deal with the reality of college life?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Time Management and Learning Skills

We often assume learning is somehow inherent, rather than an acquired skill (and I will say this time and time again this semester that it's not), but there are specific skills that can help you improve your collegiate performance. One of your fellow classmates emailed me a helpful link on time management tips:

Cassandra offers this tip for note taking: "...I have recently learned, checking blackboard for notes is something to do prior to class. It’s extremely helpful to print out these notes and write emphasized words made by the professor instead of writing for an hour and missing the lecture." She also would like to know what works for other people and what suggestions you may have. This is a great chance for y'all to help one another out and offer some advice.

Some things to consider:

1. What time management skills have worked best for you?
2. Which time management skills do you struggle with the most?
3. How do you take notes? Have you had to change your note taking style in college?

Also, the Learning Center is offering a series of study skills workshops on as time management, note-taking, learning styles, and test taking tips. These workshops are free, but you do need to reserve a spot ahead of time. You can view the calendar and book your spot here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What is the point of a Communication class? I talk just fine.

You may ask yourself why you have to take a communication class as you may already have great communication least in your humble opinion. Check out this article on why a communication class can benefit you:

Some things to think about:
1. Why do you think medical schools are starting to test applicants on communication skills?
2. The article makes a comment about misanthropic characters like Dr. House on the television show House M.D. How do you think shows and characters like this effect our perception of communication?
3. The article mentions business majors not knowing how to handshake or eat properly. Are notions like "proper etiquette" forms of communicative behavior? As in do they communicate something about us to ourselves and to other people?
4. Why is communicating so hard that some people (the article mentions engineers) want as little of it as possible in their jobs?
5. What purpose is there in engaging in communication with people on things you don't agree on?

These questions are designed to get your brains going and aren't designed for a right or wrong answer.

Reminder: "Like" us on Facebook

Don't forget to like the UNT Department of Communication Studies on Facebook:

Our department Facebook page will come in handy as we work on the COMMunity Fair together. More on that in class this week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Straight A-Method

Study Hacks is a website devoted to "decoding patterns of success." Study Hacks' basic philosophy is that you don't have to sleep 3-4 hours per night, take 17 hours of classes, double major/double minor, and be the president of 5,000 thousand clubs on campus in order to succeed in college. Seriously, you don't have to. However, there are certain things successful people do in order to be succeed in college that isn't about being book smart and always saying no to having fun. Check out this short post on "The Straight A-Method" for some tips on how to do that:

Knowing what is expected of you as a student is key, which is where a planner or some sort of system that involves knowing upcoming important dates comes in. The UNT Bookstore has some good planners, but rather than spend money I recommend finding a planner template online. Check out this link for free planner templates that you can print off from a computer (use one on campus so you don't waste your own printer ink and paper):

And your first most important key to success in any college class READ YOUR SYLLABUS! Those aren't just for covering teacher's asses and reminding students that they shouldn't be on Facebook while in class. They are for you the student!