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Communication Studies - Tips for Success

Standards for Student Success in Communication Studies Courses


To Our Students:

Welcome to the Communication Studies Department! Your instructor may share these expectations with you. These norms for success address attitudes beyond the good practices you may have acquired. Some of these are routine but sometimes unstated premises that operate in healthy classrooms. Noting expectations early in the quarter will help you to be a successful learner, provide benefits for other students in the class, save time, and assist your instructor in conducting effective class sessions that offer every student the opportunity to be acknowledged as a productive course participant.

Your instructor will discuss variances in the expectations with you. We hope you will talk to your instructor about your expectations as well. The most constructive classroom environment will be one that encompasses the best that everyone - instructor and students alike - can offer to produce a positive learning experience, and that is what Spokane Community College is all about.

The Communication Studies Faculty
at Spokane Community College

Ten Ways to Help Yourself
Adapted from Ron Adler, Santa Barbara City College

  1. Attend classes regularly, be on time, and stay for the entire class period. In most courses, students receive attendance credit/points, but the points are less important on a day-to-day basis than what you will miss when absent and what your classmates will lose in not having your discussion contributions. Late-comers are a distraction to everyone. Anticipate challenges and try to plan for them.
  2. Participate in class discussion. Some courses have participation points and others do not. Your discussion contributions are important in either case. Be a positive force in your classroom interaction. Ask questions, express your opinions, and make yourself known as someone who is actively involved.
  3. Use the instructor's office hours. This time is set aside explicitly for you to talk with your teachers. You don't have to come with a monumental issue or problem (although these are good times to drop by). Students often use office hours to:
    1. introduce themselves to the instructor
    2. provide important information about unique challenges such as learning disabilities, child care issues, and potential conflicts with work responsibilities outside the college; a casual visit may produce positive results on both sides
    3. ask questions about course material and/or discuss individual problems
      In many cases, the instructor will never know your concerns unless you speak up.
  4. Try to avoid speaking with your instructor about significant issues immediately before and after class as (s)he is trying to either get everything ready for one class or prepare for the one starting in 10 minutes. Use office hours, email, or telephone messages to contact the instructor on important items. The SCC voicemail system allows you 24-hour access. We will return calls promptly if we are not in when you call. (Leave your name and phone number.)
  5. Understand that instructional memory is not flawless. Many of us have 75 students or more per quarter. It is hard to recall all the details of your class performance without help. If you want to discuss, for example, your progress from one assignment to the next, bring along instructor critiques and any other helpful notes to the meeting with your instructor. Be prepared to explain your issue or complaint. If you have questions about a grade, write out your reasons so your teacher can see the specifics.
  6. Take notes in class. Informed discussion is far more likely to arise from documented notes than hazy recall. Notes will also aid study for exams.
  7. Read assignments in the text and comply with homework expectations on the dates assigned. Bring materials required (Scantron answer sheets, pencils, etc.) when needed. Don't expect others to bail you out.
  8. Review the syllabus periodically. Ask questions if you have them. Know what is expected. If you don't know, ask.
  9. Participate in class activity appropriately. This involves such behaviors as listening to others and acknowledging opposing viewpoints, choosing language that avoids antagonizing others (obscenity, personal attacks, hostile or sarcastic comments, etc.), blatantly reading the newspaper or some other non-course-related text while class matters are in progress, talking with other students while someone else is trying to speak, and avoiding taking a nap during class. Most of the courses in the Communication Department are relatively small. One person's distracting behavior can have a larger impact than you might imagine. For those trying to present a speech or a group project, audience members who appear to be dozing or paying no attention whatever present an extremely bothersome problem. Your responsibility as a student of Communication Studies includes being an open, alert, courteous, and receptive listener, as well as being a competent presenter.
  10. Take responsibility for your education. Excuses should be eliminated from your academic repertoire. Know that we are human and predisposed to trust rather than doubt you. If you get away with a faked illness or fabricated emergency, you may find that the inevitable result hurts you more than anyone else. Learning is an opportunity to prepare for life, professional requirements, and individual success - both as a singular human being and a contributing member of society. You are attending Spokane Community College in the interest of your own professional advancement and the enhancement of the society in which you live. We are here to help you give both of these aims your best shot. Help us, and we will do our best to help you.

For more information....

For more information:

Rob Vogel
(509) 533-7348 or 1-800-248-5644 ext. 7348


Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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