Department of Communication Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

The syllabus in my class is not like the syllabus in my friend's class. Why is that?

While we aim for a certain amount of consistency in the coverage of Oral Communication, we need to sequence the assignments so that not all 1,200 students each semester are in the library looking for information for their speeches and presentations at the same time. Also, each instructor has the freedom to cover the materials that s/he wishes, in the order, and in the way that works best for the instructional staff and students. For those reasons, the syllabi and schedules vary somewhat. Each student, however, is expected to make at least two formal presentations (speeches) and numerous informal presentations, participate in at least one group project, and write several papers including full sentence outlines, and reaction or synthesis papers.

Why do we have to write in this class? Isn't this a "speech" class?

Actually, this is an oral communication class which fits into the general education category of "communication essentials." All students in all classes at UNI are expected to write-that's a given at the college/university level. In addition, however, since we are a communication essentials class, we expect students to demonstrate their abilities to communicate verbally, nonverbally, orally, in writing, and in statistical reasoning. We expect students to be able to synthesize ideas and explain why they think as they do.

Why must I go to Library Orientation?

Library orientation is required because the library staff and oral communication staff have worked closely together to try to provide the optimum experience in knowing where to locate collections and materials in the library, how to use UNISTAR and the CD Rom bases and generally where you can find rooms, collections and materials as you search for information for your speeches, group projects, and papers in this class and in other classes. The library staff have chosen to work with oral communication as a way of meeting their requirements of providing information about the library, about successful searches, etc., in the library orientation provided during class time. If you think you are already familiar with Rod Library and where things are, call Dr. Beall (Basic Course Director) and make your case.

Why does my teacher grade differently from my friend's teacher?--the assignments don't even weigh the same--why is that?

Each instructor has his or her own perspective of the importance and weighting of assignments. Each instructor is free to make to determinations, based upon their won backgrounds and upon their knowledge of student needs and societal needs. Because each instructor, like each student, views the world through a different perspective, each master teacher sets up the course and assignments in slightly differing ways. For example, while everyone has to complete both an informative and persuasive speech, some weigh them more heavily than others, some have differing requirements for length, types of supporting materials, types of outlines, etc. The individual instructor must have some individual discretion, and this is often seen in the way the assignments are sequenced, the requirements of the assignments, and the length of time for presentation, among other variables. So, in essence, each instructor, will have a slightly different perspective on grades and requirements as well as how those requirements are met.