Communication Pedagogy, Fall 2013

COMM 8035, Thursdays 4:30-7:00, 25 Park Place #1113


Ted Friedman

Office: 25 Park Place #1017




Office hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12-2 and by appointment


Course Description

This is a course on methods and practices of teaching communication area courses.  It is designed to introduce you to some of the philosophies behind different ways of teaching, as well as to assist you in your teaching experience at Georgia State.  We will thus be discussing both practical teaching strategies and theoretical debates in pedagogy.  The goals of the course are to make you more comfortable in the classroom, to better your pedagogical skills, and to improve your understanding of your own teaching. Some class time will be reserved every week for the discussion of issues, problems, and positive experiences in your individual classrooms.


The assigned articles will be distributed via CD-ROM. The two assigned books, The Craft of Teaching by Kenneth Eble and Now You See It by Cathy Davidson are available for purchase online at,, and other sources.




8/29     Introduction


9/5       First Days of Class

Read articles labeled “1” on CD


9/12     Becoming a Teacher

Read articles labeled “2” on CD; Eble Chapters 1-3

First course syllabus due                            


9/19     Goals and Student Engagement

Read articles labeled “3” on CD; Eble Chapters 4-7


9/26     Teaching in Your Disciplines

Read articles labeled 4 on CD (focus on those in your area); Eble Chapters 8-10

Second course syllabus due


10/3     Learning Methods and Grading

Read articles labeled 5 on CD; Eble Chapters 11-13

10/10   Critical Pedagogy

Read articles labeled 6 on CD; Eble Chapters 15-17

            Research paper proposal due


10/17   Teaching to Transgress

Read articles labeled 10 on CD


10/24   Academic Honesty, Difficult Students, and Other Problems

Read articles labeled 9 on CD; Eble Chapter 14

            Professor paper due


10/31   Teaching with Technology

Read articles labeled 7 on CD; Davidson Introduction, Chapters 1-2

11/7     Futures of Learning

Davidson Chapters 3-8, Conclusion

            Teaching philosophy due


11/14   Research presentations 1


11/21   No class – many people gone to NCA


11/28   No class – Thanksgiving Break

12/5     Research presentations 2/party at Ted’s house


Reasearch Paper due December 12






The class assignments add up to a total of 100 possible points. Your final grade for the class is determined by adding up your grades for each assignment, adjusting for attendance, then applying the final number to the following scale:


A         100-93             B+        89-88               C+        79-78               D         70-65

A-        92-90               B          87-83               C          77-73               F          64-0

B-        82-80               C-        72-70



Syllabi – First 5 points, Second 10 points

The first syllabus will be a revision of the course you are currently teaching. Make sure that it has all the required GSU information. Incorporate at least two or three ideas from our readings on “promising” or upgraded syllabi and innovative in-class work or student assignments. Due September 12.


The second syllabus will be a special course you could teach at GSU if you were given an upper-level special topics course on the topic of your choice. What would your dream course be? It will be a significant addition to your teaching portfolio. Due September 26.


Many area-specific listservs and organizations offer syllabi banks.  It is not “cheating” to use such initial sources for your syllabus; teaching and learning are collaborative processes and you are strongly encouraged to learn from the experiences, examples, and ideas of others.  For the purposes of this assignment, you simply need to acknowledge them as sources, and include copies, notes, or citations when relevant.


The second syllabus will include a cover memo with the following:

  • A statement describing the course
  • A statement about the course objectives
  • A statement connecting the class work that you have included with the goals of the course
  • A statement about why you have chosen to organize the course in the way that you have
  • A statement explaining why you have chosen these particular readings
  • A statement explaining the course format
  • A summary statement that includes anything else you want understood about this particular class


Teaching Presentation – 15 points

You will sign up to present a 20-30 minute example of your teaching, drawn from what you are teaching this semester. You may choose to present a class you have already taught, or to prepare for an upcoming topic. Your presentation should incorporate both lecture and discussion; you may also include a short media clip if useful. Teaching presentations will be scheduled from September 19 – November 7.


Professor Paper – 20 points

You will write a 3-5 page paper describing the teaching style and philosophy of one of your GSU professors. You will begin by choosing a willing professor and “shadowing” them as they teach. You must attend at least one class. You must also have a conversation with the professor about teaching: relevant topics include teaching style, approach to teaching, good and bad experiences in the classroom, special problems or issues related to course material, gender, age, etc. Due October 24.


Research Paper – 40 points

In this 10-15 page paper, you may select any topic that interests you, provided that it has clear relevance to the topic of communication pedagogy.  I expect a coherent, organized, thoughtfully written essay that clearly conveys both an argument and a conclusion. As with all graduate-level assignments, you will be graded on your ability to do the following: articulate a clear and coherent argument; defend that argument with available evidence; embed that argument in an ongoing conversation in the field; and demonstrate the significance of your contribution to that conversation.  You may rely on either qualitative or quantitative evidence.


  • A 2-3 page proposal, including a preliminary bibliography, will be due October 10. I will schedule individual meetings with you to discuss the proposal.
  • You will give a short (15 minute) presentation of your work in progress on either November 14 or December 5.
  • The final paper is due December 12.



Your texts offer a good source for ideas; you should also look at back issues of journals such as Communication Educator.  Some possible general topics include:


  • Feminist pedagogy
  • Competence-based learning and teaching
  • The pedagogy of Paulo Friere
  • Diversity in the classroom
  • Writing across the curriculum
  • Debate across the curriculum
  • Distance education
  • Teaching and technology
  • Race/ class/ gender/ sexual orientation/ etc. in the classroom
  • Assessing teaching/ learning
  • Use of narrative in teaching
  • Teaching methodologies


Teaching Philosophy – 10 points

You will develop a statement of teaching philosophy which articulates in 1-3 pages your core pedagogical values and ideals, and how you work to put them into practice. Due November 7.


Attendance Adjustment

As Woody Allen put it, “80 percent of success is showing up.” It’s less than that in this formula, but the bottom line is that you can’t contribute to the class if you’re not there. You’re allowed one unexcused absence for the semester. After that, each unexcused absence subtracts one point from your grade total. Excused absences include medical and family emergencies. You will be expected to schedule any employment responsibilities around this class, or accept the consequences of missed classes for your grade. If you do need to miss a class, please contact me ahead of time, and make arrangements to catch up on missed material.





Late Assignments

Late assignments will be marked off by ½ point for every day overdue unless an extension is agreed upon before the due date. No work can be accepted after the deadline for the final project. Any unsubmitted work will receive a 0.



Students withdrawing on or before the midsemester point will receive a W provided they are passing the course. Students who withdraw after the midsemester point will not be eligible for a W except in cases of hardship. If you withdraw after the midsemester point, you will be assigned a WF, except in those cases in which (1) hardship status is determined by the Office of the Dean of Students because of emergency, employment, or health reasons, and (2) you are passing the course.



Incompletes may be given only in special hardship cases. Incompletes will not be used merely for extending the time for completion of course requirements.


Changes to the Syllabus

This syllabus provides a general plan for the course. Deviations may be necessary.



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