University of Wisconsin–Madison

CRITERIA FOR COMMUNICATION-B COURSES

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.

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Purpose: The second Communication course is intended to enable learners to communicate clearly within the context of an academic discipline. Each Communication Part B course will be a low-enrollment course involving substantial instruction in writing and at least one other form of communication, 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 other forms of communication
  • the productive use of core library resources specific to the discipline
  • communication to diverse audiences in ways attentive to differences in backgrounds, values, viewpoints, and experiences.

Learning Outcomes: In Comm B courses, students learn information and skills appropriate to the course topic and discipline. In addition, students learn to use specific skills associated with effective communication. They are able to:

•     identify and make skillful use of relevant, reliable, and high-quality research sources appropriate to the course subject and discipline;

make productive use of the writing process, including brainstorming, outlining, drafting, incorporating feedback, and revising, to develop a fledgling idea into a formal paper, presentation, and/or project;

  • make use of expressive conventions and protocols (e.g., organization, content, presentation, formatting) consistent with genres of communication relevant to the course subject or discipline;
  • share research, course content, or creative activity in writing and at least one other mode of communication relevant to the discipline. Other modes of communication might include presentations using one or more media, debate, discussion, poster presentations, and other forms of expression that convey course content.

 

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

  • numerous assignments [including both shorter and longer assignments; 6 – 8 would be ideal], spaced through the semester, that culminate in products that share the results of research in writing and at least one other mode of communication. The balance among modes of communication may vary, as appropriate to the discipline, so long as the total amount of graded communication remains reasonably consistent from course to course. Students should submit at least 20 pages of writing (in multiple assignments, including drafts) and present findings or share their work at least twice in ways commonly used in the discipline.
  • at least two opportunities for each student to be graded for presenting research findings, creative work, or other coursework, in modes other than writing common to the discipline as well as two or more opportunities to be graded for writing. Comm-B courses should also include activities that give students further opportunities to develop and receive feedback on their communication skills in writing and at least one other mode of communication in informal settings such as discussion or brainstorming.
  • at least two assignments that require students to submit drafts, receive and incorporate feedback, and revise. Additional opportunities for feedback and revision would be better yet.
  • at least one individual conference with a course instructor, preferably early in the semester, to discuss the student’s communication skills in the context of course assignments.
  • an information-gathering component beyond a beginning level, normally involving two hours of instructional time with a campus librarian. Such activities should be planned in consultation  with appropriate members of the library staff; contact Sheila Stoeckel (sheila.stoeckel@wisc.edu), 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.