Small Group and Team Communications – COMS 524

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

An analysis of theories, research, and practice of small group communication in various contexts.




The objective of this course is to teach effective small group communication and problem solving. This course requires the student to study group communication processes and to practice small group decision making as a team. The student will be taught theory and learn how to participate in small groups in application of that theory. This is a required course in the graduate program for an MA in Communication. It may also be used in some business curriculums that give instruction on decision making using the group process.

Using Google Hangout, a group of 5–7 students will solve problems related to presented case studies. Students will have a meeting time and interact together as a group. In the event that students are unable to attend the group session (lasting from 1–4 hours over the course of 2 modules/weeks), they may use the Group Discussion Board option in Blackboard to communicate with group members.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Summarize small group and team communication theories.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and vocabulary associated with specific theories.
  3. Analyze professional and popular literature relevant to small group and team communication.
  4. Assume a variety of leadership and other roles in activities involving group decision making and problem solving.
  5. Create and present professional papers and group projects.
  6. Evaluate the communication and overall contribution of self and fellow members’ contributions to groups.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Article Reviews (4)

The student will review 4 articles. For each review, the student will find and read a journal article from the university’s online library. The article must be reflective of the topic of discussion for that module/week. The student will write a review of at least 400 words that contains an abstract of the content of the article. The review must reflect the student’s personal knowledge of small group theory.

Journal Responses (8)

The student will write 8 responses in a journal format. These responses will be submitted for assessment halfway through the course and at the end of the course. Generally, the responses will be made up of short answers to questions assigned at the end of the chapter(s) from the textbook.

Group Project - Case Studies (2)

The student will be placed in a group in order to collaborate on the group’s project and to use a prescriptive problem-solving strategy to solve the problem presented in each case study. For each group project, the student will create a 5–8-page outline that presents the contents of the group’s analysis and discussion, utilizing the case study and the textbook for references.

Case Study Peer Reviews (2)

The student will be given an opportunity to rate each of the members of his or her group after each group project, noting the role each member had (supporting or non-supporting), the level of contributions made, how committed to the goal each member was, etc. Anything presented in discussion or in the textbook on group performance may be referred to and evaluated. The instructor will award points based on the comments of members in the student’s group about his or her performance.

Reflection Paper

The student will compose a paper of no more than 1,000 words responding to various prompts provided by the instructor. The goal of this paper is to identify and evaluate the non-decision-making elements of the participants within the small group the student will have participated in during this course.

Exams (2)

Each exam will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned modules/weeks. Each exam will be open-book/open-notes, contain 50 multiple-choice and/or true/false questions, and have a time limit of 1 hour and 30 minutes.