Comm 210 Group Communication Welcome Letter

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Instructor: John Patrick, Ed.D.

Text with me any time over zoom during normal business hours, I prefer it to email! Send chat requests via the Zoom app to 

Virtual Office:***
Physical Office: 6228
Text response time is usually within 10 mins-2 hours.
Email response time is usually within 24-48 hours.

Hi All, 

My name is Dr. John Patrick, and I'm going to be evaluating your work and directing your studies in this course. Most of my students simply call me JP, but Dr. Patrick is fine if you like formalities.  

This is a weird and dangerous time to live through, and online learning can be a strange and scary experience, which can increase the stress in our lives. My philosophy as a teacher is that I'm here to help you succeed, not act as weird artificial gate keeper. I want you to feel like you can reach out to me if you're frustrated or scared or confused. If we stick together, we can all be successful through this difficult and trying time. 

My doctorate is in organizational leadership and my primary job is coaching the debate team at Cal Poly. I keep Cuesta as a side gig because I was a community college student, and orienting myself to collegiate studies through my associates studies made a huge difference to my ability to succeed in university and graduate studies. I also know that the most significant class barrier in our country is a college education. That means with my skill and knowledge set the most important work I can do  to help people is to assist them in getting a high quality education. This class has historically been my favorite class to teach here because it's a great opportunity to teach students worthwhile skills instead of just doing a bunch of academic naval gazing.

Things that might be interesting about me: 

  1. After high school I promptly failed out of community college after one sad semester and began working at Disneyland for four years, where I was a World Famous Jungle Cruise Skipper. If you don't know why you're in community college, if you don't have a clear mission, if that leads you to some failures, that's ok. Get out in the world, make responsible decisions, take care of yourself and just keep trying until you find your path. I hope I help you along this journey in some small way. 
  2. My first college degree that I successfully completed was an associate's degree in culinary arts. It remains the best decision I ever made, and now that we're on home quarantine I between my culinary art's degree and my partner having had a long term career in fine dining, we're eating and drinking well. We have a culinary arts program here a Cuesta. If you like cooking, you might think about taking a look at those classes as a way to ground your studies (it worked for me)
  3. I am a fairly accomplished bonfire guitarist. 
  4. I live on a compound in Atascadero with my partner Shane and her son, Oren (who is my step son), my mom and grandma have homes on our property too. It's kind of wild having four generations on one acre, but we're making it work. 

Also, I just want to acknowledge that online learning can be weird and stressful, but with kindness and a bit of  humor we can all connect to each other and help each other get through this thing. If you need to speak with me, don't hesitate to reach out.

Well that's enough about me; you probably have questions about class. I've organized this class into weekly modules to guide your learning. Each module has weekly instructions for successfully completing that week's tasks and activities. Start by reading the instructions, and following up by texting any questions to me, as texting is the absolute best way to ensure I respond to your needs quickly. Any time you need clarity, or just feel like you don't know how to get started, please reach out. I'm here to help. 

Course Description and Objectives

This is an introductory course in Group Communication designed to provide the opportunity for improvement in both theoretical understanding and practical performance of human communication. This class satisfies the general education requirement in oral communication and is acceptable for UC and CSU transfer credit. (Student Learning Outcomes on page 6.)

Your objectives for this course are:

  1. To learn the basic principles of human communication.
  2. To become a more effective communicator. This involves an analysis of your communication situation, audience, occasion, and purpose; selection of subject matter; research, analysis, and organization of material; presentation of the message, and evaluation of the effectiveness of your communication.
  3. To become a more careful and critical thinker and communicator, both as a speaker and a listener.
  4. To understand your relationship and ethical responsibilities to others involved in the communication transaction.
  5. To understand the necessity of working in a variety of groups and how those groups develop, deal with conflict, leadership, participation and presentation. 

This course moves quickly and assumes you have a collegiate level of reading comprehension. In lieu of lectures, you are expected to keep up with reading and approach the instructor with questions you have about concepts you are struggling with. Through the completion of study guides the instructor will assess your comprehension of course materials and redirect your understandings where they seem inaccurate and/or incomplete. 

Required Textbooks and Materials:

Rothwell, D.J. (2019). In Mixed Company: Communicating in Small Groups and Teams. Oxford University Press. 

A computer with internet access. 

Zoom Web conferencing software (should be free for Cuesta students through the school). 

Make Up Work, Internet Content, Attendance, and Communication Policies:

I do not accept late work without a verifiable reason (illness, computer repair, traveling on college business, etc.).

As you know, things move quickly during the semester, and thus you are highly encouraged to be vigilant about staying on top of your readings and assignments. Keep in regular contact with the classmates in your group as your primary resource for understanding group projects and when they are due. Your instructor is happy to make himself available by text, phone and zoom to help you and your peers achieve clarity about course materials and assignments. Feel free to text or call from 9 am to 6 pm Monday - Thursday. Texts are generally replied to within the hour, missed phone calls will be returned within 24 hours. Emails are a terrible way to contact the instructor because the college administration sends about a million emails a day and yours might get lost in the shuffle. When possible emails answered within 24-48 hours in the order they appear in your instructor’s inbox except on Fridays and weekends. All questions about assignments received more than 72 hours prior to the due date will be answered in a timely manner. If a question about an assignment is received within 72 hours of it’s due date, it will be responded to if possible and at the instructor’s convenience.Procrastination in general is not encouraged, and waiting to email your instructor for clarification just days before an assignment is due is not advised. 

If for any reason you are struggling to complete assignments on time, contact your instructor ASAP. There is much that can be done prior to a due date to accommodate students who regularly demonstrate responsibility. Should you be unable to turn work in on time, and you’ve not contacted the instructor in a timely fashion, your grade may suffer (your instructor is a reasonable person who will consider specific circumstances on their own merit).

Grading Policy:

Canvas' grading algorithm will be used to calculate your grades. Grades will be kept up to date an available on Canvas as assignments are completed and as time for grading allows. 

Plagiarism and Academic Honesty: 

The college considers cases of academic misconduct in the manner described as follows. Plagiarism and cheating include, but may not be limited to:

  • presenting the ideas of others without credit (VERBAL or WRITTEN) to the source;
  • using direct quotations without quotation marks and/or without credit to the source;
  • paraphrasing without giving credit to the source;
  • participating in a group project that presents plagiarized materials;
  • failing to provide adequate citations for material obtained through electronic (web OR multimedia) research;
  • downloading and submitting work from electronic databases without citation;
  • submitting material created or written by someone else as one's own, including purchased term or research papers or verbal presentations;
  • copying from someone else's exam, homework, or laboratory work;
  • allowing someone to copy or submit one's own work as his or her own;
  • accepting credit for a group project without doing one's share;
  • submitting the same paper, presenting the same speech in more than one course without the knowledge and approval of both of the instructors;
  • using notes or other materials during a test or exam without authorization, and;
  • not following the guidelines specified by the instructor for a "take-home" test or exam.

Students who have questions about the proper use and citation of sources, or the details and guidelines for any assignment, should discuss their questions with the me ASAP. 

Students With Disabilities: 

If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible. It is College policy to provide, on a flexible and individualized basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact their instructor to discuss their individual needs for accommodation. (Links to an external site.)

Tech Support:

Your instructor can answer very limited technological support questions that may come up during the semester. Your best best is to contact the Information Technology Department (Links to an external site.) ( (Links to an external site.)). Their phone number is 805.546.3248.

Course Summary:

Date Details
Wed Jun 17, 2020
Wed Jun 24, 2020
Fri Jun 26, 2020
Mon Jun 29, 2020
Fri Jul 3, 2020
Mon Jul 6, 2020
Fri Jul 10, 2020
Mon Jul 13, 2020
Fri Jul 17, 2020
Fri Jul 24, 2020
Tue Jul 28, 2020
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