Communication can be studied at all levels of academia, but most courses are offered as part of associate's or bachelor's degree programs. These programs may be specifically in communication; however, communication courses may be found in several other academic programs as well, such as public relations, journalism and media studies. Communication topics may also be elaborated on in postgraduate programs for individuals interested in continuing their education in communication further.
The following list highlights a few common concepts found in communications courses:
- Research methods
- Social use of language
- Situational management
- Communication law
- Listening skills
- Non-verbal codes
List of Common Courses
Public Speaking Course
The core course of most communication programs is public speaking, which covers the basic principles of oral communication while preparing students to develop topics, create an organized speech and deliver it to an audience. Participants gain practical experience in performing audience analysis to understand current opinions, using visual aids to illustrate important points, developing associated ideas and critically evaluating current topics. Upon completion, students are better prepared to speak confidently to different audiences.
Interpersonal Communication Course
Most people engage in one-on-one interactions on a daily basis, but communication may be improved as well as being more effective if key elements are better understood. Common interpersonal communication theories are examined first, followed by a discussion of the concepts of self-disclosure, active listening and perception. Students also learn how non-verbal communication and various communication barriers can cause confusion or conflict.
Mass Media Course
This introductory course in mass communication focuses on the history of popular forms of mass media, including television, newspaper, radio, film and magazine. Participants learn to analyze media messages and explore the potential effects on society. Emphasis is also placed on new trends in the media.
Group Communication Course
Working in teams or small groups is more complicated than working with a partner one-on-one due to several factors. Participants in this course learn to define groups based on social or task orientation, member roles and size. The topics of productivity, synergy, problem solving, conflict management and leadership are covered through small group projects, allowing students to plan and participate in group meetings.
Organizational Communication Course
Communication within organizations or the workplace differs from interpersonal or group communication in other settings. In many programs, the course gives students hands-on training through small group projects that focus on communication-related issues within an organization. This course covers systems theory, organizational structure and other work-related issues, including:
- Corporate communication flow
- Effective communication through organizational networks
- Formal and informal communication channels
- Communication barriers in the workplace
- Effects of computer-mediated communication
Persuasion is a communication tactic that is used in everyday life, and this course focuses on theories of effective persuasion in a variety of settings, including interpersonal, group and public. Because persuasion can cause a change in attitude and beliefs, the ethics of persuasion are also covered. Practical experience is gained through in-class projects that focus on sources and credibility, critical analysis of persuasive materials and utilizing effective techniques.