Listening and Nonverbal Communication – COMS 558

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 08/30/2021

Course Description

An analysis of theories and research of 1) listening and factors that influence competence and 2) various modes of nonverbal communication. Emphasis on skill development in both areas.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Effective listening is an area of communication that is more difficult to evaluate than other areas—such as public speaking or writing—and thus is often neglected, despite its obvious and documented importance in both personal and professional life. Similarly, nonverbal communication is often treated in a light, frivolous manner by lay persons, but its ubiquitous manifestation reveals its significance.

This course will take a critical look at how listening and nonverbal communication are treated in popular mediums (print and online magazines, newspapers, television and movies, social networks, etc.) in order for the student to intelligently and maturely discern the strengths and weaknesses of both scholarly and popular approaches to these aspects of communication.

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 the Course Overview. 

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words. Sources must be cited in current APA format.

Journal Response Assignments (2)

For each Journal Response, the student will write at least 1,000 words in current APA style on his/her personal reflections regarding his/her understanding of listening and nonverbals. The student must include at least 5 references comprised of the course readings, the Bible, and pertinent outside sources.

Film Assessment Assignments (2)

The student will choose a film (not previously viewed) from the approved list and view the film without sound. The student will attempt to generate the storyline, complete with character description and analysis, and thematic content (all based on nonverbal appraisal). The student will later view the same film with sound and compose a reflective evaluation on his/her previous work. The assignment must follow current APA format.

Project: The Artist Assignment

The student will look for functions of nonverbal communication and listening throughout the film in definition, action, and behavior. The student will synthesize the course material with the film in order to create a practical, hands-on approach for praxis learning. The assignment must follow current APA format.