CMNS 1161: Introduction to Communications

Students think critically about a range of communication theories tied to examples from popular culture and address how we transmit information, how we create meaning, and how we persuade others, with a focus on many communication contexts, including interpersonal communication, group and organizational communication, public space, mass media, and culture and diversity. Students explore what it means to communicate in these various contexts, and appreciate the contribution of theory to helping us understand what we do when we communicate and why it sometimes goes wrong


After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the key terms and assumptions from a range of communication theories in multiple contests, including organizational, interpersonal, mass media, and culture and diversity.
  • Apply communication theories to interpret and illuminate particular communication scenarios and challenges.
  • Assess critically and compare the potential and limitations of particular communication theories.

Course outline

CMNS 1161 includes the following 12 modules and associated topics:

  • Module 1: Introduction to Communication
  • Module 2: Introduction to Communication Theories
  • Module 3: Intrapersonal Communication
  • Module 4: Interpersonal Communication
  • Module 5: Group and Team Communication
  • Module 6: Organizational Communication
  • Module 7: Public Discourse
  • Module 8: Intercultural Communication
  • Module 9: Mass Media Communication
  • Module 10: Critical and Cultural Studies in Communication
  • Module 11: Postmodern Theorizing in Communication
  • Module 12: Communication Theories in Practice

Required text and materials

Students will receive all course materials including the textbook in their course package.

Wood, J.T., Communication theories in action: An introduction, 2004, 3e, Cengage Learning. Type: Textbook – Custom Reprint: ISBN: 978-0-534-56639-5


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, you must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher in the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam. The following table illustrates how your final grade will be determined for this course:


Quiz 1 20%
Quiz 2 20%
Quiz 3 20%
Online Postings 10%
Final Exam* 30%



* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication through the Learning Environment’s “Mail” tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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