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Department of Communication Studies

Communication Fundamentals

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News & Events

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Implementation of Online Courseware Management System

We are pleased to announce our partnership with Cengage to implement an interactive and online course management system in all sections of Communication Fundamentals that provides students and instructors with a digital and interactive version of our book, and allows them access to personalized learning plans, pre- and post-test assessments, video and audio clips interspersed in the text to complement the readings, and a host of other features to better enable student learning and the uptake and retention of course material. Analytics from our courseware allow us to track the progress of students throughout the semester擁n all sections預nd to help determine the effectiveness of our teaching and to discover better ways to deliver the curriculum in the future.

Summary of Courseware Implementation
In an effort to challenge and engage students in a manner and context that is consistent with their upbringing and experiences in a technologically advanced society, to ensure the consistency and standardization of our curriculum across all sections, and to capture data from online assessments and student use of online course technology, we have partnered with Cengage publishers to develop and implement an interactive and online Course Management System that synchronizes with our university's WebCT learning management system. The online "courseware" supplements the recent addition of a customized textbook for our program, one that has a cover unique to Communication Fundamentals with the University's new logo, and that includes printed material and text that we have provided.

New, online courseware management systems offer an alternative approach to traditional teaching and learning by supplementing printed book material with interactive, online readings, assessments, study plans, quizzes, and many other features that benefit student learning and instructor pedagogy.

Our online courseware system is delivered in a zipped "shell" which is replicated in the WebCT sites of all of our instructors and students. In addition to the shell containing and automatically updating the instructor's basic WebCT tools, including the gradebook, quiz bank, chat, discussion, course schedule and more, the shell contains Communication Fundamental's generic syllabus, a welcome letter from the Chair of Communication Studies, a link to the course website, and most importantly, a link to all of the text from the book that has been digitized, made interactive, and interspersed with video and audio clips. These "interactive readings" also provide students with the opportunity熔nline through WebCT葉o highlight, save notes, add internet links, take pre- and post-chapter quizzes, utilize a glossary, develop a personalized study plan, and access course readings from any location that has internet access.

Undergraduate Writing Tutors to Assist in Writing Instruction

The Basic Course Program has partnered with the College Writing Program to place undergraduate writing tutors in sections of Communication Fundamentals. Writing tutors will attend class and work with the instructor to hold writing workshops for students that will better enable them to complete writing assignments and papers for class.


Dr. Kathleen Torrens to teach Honors Communication Fundamentals

Dr. Kathleen Torrens is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and one of the best teachers we have. In the Spring 2009, she will teach two, special topics, Honors sections of Communication Fundamentals (Poverty's Rhetoric).


Dr. Rachel DiCioccio embarks on another teaching practicum

Dr. Rachel DiCioccio is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Director of Graduate Student Instructors. She is an award-winning instructor with years of experience in teaching and pedagogical training. Each semester, Dr. DiCioccio teaches a graduate student practicum that prepares graduate students to effectively deliver the Communication Fundamentals curriculum and teaches them how to navigate the dialectical tension between graduate instructor and graduate student.

Welcome back to our former graduate instructors and congratulations to the following new ones: Josh Fishlock, Julia Skwar, Anna Macgregor Robin, Corey Fernandez, Wyston Wilson, and John Lee.

URI Speaking Center Grant Approved

The University of Rhode Island Foundation has approved a large grant to develop a speaking center at the University. The goals of the URI Speaking Center will be to provide assistance for students (and possibly faculty) who need or want to improve their public speaking skills, or manage issues regarding speech apprehension and anxiety. The Center will be staffed by exceptional undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty. The Center will ensure that students are adequately trained to prepare, develop, and deliver oral presentations providing supplemental support for classroom instruction. To facilitate the mission of the Center, the staff will use digital video technology to record and edit student speeches for playback and critique預 critical tool proven effective for developing students' public speaking skills.

The primary clientele for the center will come from students enrolled in Communication Fundamentals. Other users will include Communication Studies majors in general, and undergraduate and graduate students預cross the University謡ho feel the need to either work on oral communication fundamentals or polish their respective skills. The Department of Communication Studies is home to the largest, undergraduate population on campus, with over 800 majors to date. Many of the courses we offer emphasize public presentations in front of small and large groups. Courses in other disciplines similarly require public presentations in undergraduate and graduate programs.

The URI Speaking Center will also serve to prepare students for the inevitable expectation of effective public speaking in their careers. According to the 2008 Job Outlook Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), communication skills were ranked, for the ninth consecutive year, at the top of the list of qualities employers find most important in job candidates. In that regard, we have an obligation to prepare students for the communication skills they will need to enter and succeed in the workforce.

Students who visit the center will be tutored by appointment, with certain, walk-in hours available too. Tutors in the Center will help students start and complete their oral assignments, working with them on speech preparation, outlining, and delivery. Tutors may also work with students who experience what is commonly referred to as "speech anxiety" to manage their symptoms and encourage confident speaking.

"Seed" money from the URI Foundation is being used to supply much needed support technology and other resources for recording, editing, and storing the oral presentations of our students, as well as stocking and housing a speech library and database online. Additional funding from the Department of Communication Studies and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will help staff and maintain the lab, with undergraduate and graduate student tutors. Undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional public speaking skills will work in the lab by enrolling in a two credit course, "Peer Tutoring in a Speaking Center." Faculty may donate an hour or two of their office hours every month to work in the Center.

Approval of COM110: Communication Fundamentals

The Curriculum Affairs Committee and the University College and General Education Committee have approved a course proposal to offer a large lecture version of Communication Fundamentals to students with 45+ earned credits (Junior and Senior standing). The course will be offered for the first time in the Fall of 2008 and taught by Dr. Adam D. Roth, Basic Course Director.