University of Wisconsin–Madison


The University’s criteria, objectives, and guidelines for Communication-B courses. as updated by the Communications Implementation Committee, 1997-2000, and revised by the General Education Subcommittee, 2002-2003.

Purpose: The second Communication course will be a low-enrollment course involving substantial instruction in the four modes of literacy [that is, speaking, reading, writing, and listening], with emphasis on speaking and writing, either in the conventions of specific fields or in more advanced courses in communication.


Objectives: Specific objectives will vary with each discipline, but each course is expected to develop advanced skills in

· critical reading, logical thinking, and the use of evidence

·  the use of appropriate style and disciplinary conventions in writing and speaking

·  the productive use of core library resources specific to the discipline.


Requirements: Specific requirements will vary, but each course is expected to include:

· numerous assignments [six to eight would be ideal], spaced through the semester, that culminate in oral or written presentations. The balance between oral and written presentations may vary, as appropriate to the discipline, so long as the total amount of graded communication remains reasonably consistent from course to course. In a course with a 50/50 balance, students should submit at least 20 pages of writing (in multiple assignments) and give 2 or more formal oral presentations totaling at least 10 minutes. In a course with the maximum emphasis on writing (75%), students should submit at least 30 pages of writing and give two or more formal oral presentations totaling at least 5 minutes. Drafts count in the total number of pages.

·  at least two opportunities for each student to be graded for oral communication as well as two or more opportunities to be graded for writing. Comm-B courses should also include informal, ungraded oral communication activities that give students further opportunities to develop and receive feedback on their speaking skills.


Requirements (continued):

· at least two assignments that require students to submit a draft or give a practice speech, assimilate feedback on it, and then revise it. Additional opportunities for feedback and revision would be better yet.

· at least one individual conference with each student, preferably early in the semester, to discuss the student’s writing and/or speaking.

· an information-gathering component beyond a beginning level, normally involving two hours of instructional time in one of the campus libraries. Such activities should be planned in consultation with appropriate members of the library staff; contact the Campus Library & Information Literacy Instruction Coordinator (262-4308 or, for help in getting started.



Prerequisites: Successful completion of or exemption from first communication course. Courses designated as satisfying Part A of the requirement may not be used to satisfy Part B.

Class size: Recommended 20 or fewer students. Those departments or individuals requesting approval for courses with larger class size must clearly demonstrate how the objectives and requirements of the course can be satisfied within the larger format.

Instructors: Faculty or other qualified instructional staff.

Assessment: There will be normal evaluations of student work by individual instructors. In addition, each course proposal shall include an assessment plan designed to demonstrate that the course meets the objectives and requirements stated above.