Hundreds of students, all with different majors and interests, file into lecture halls during the week to attend The Process of Communication (COMM 1000). For some students this class is their first step into a career in the field of communication, and for others it is a course where they learn the skills they need to succeed in business, engineering, and any other career path they may choose to pursue.
The objective of this course is to show students the role of human communication and its influence in everyday life while familiarizing them with both verbal and nonverbal communication across interpersonal, media, and new technology formats. The course is unique because it allows students to learn through creative projects such as a photography project, as well as the creation of a 15 second short film. For the photography project he asks students to take pictures that represent their experience as a UConn student. The 15 second film project allows students that are accustomed to a large lecture hall to get in small groups and create a narrative in a 15 second video. The projects allow students to apply what they have learned about communication through storytelling.
The intro course is designed for students of every major. Course supervisor Stephen Stifano P.h.D. stated that, “If there’s one skill that will improve your prospects in any other field, it is being able to communicate effectively with a variety of people in a variety of contexts”. Although only an introductory course, the COMM 1000 curriculum goes above and beyond the base information of the subject. It teaches people how to apply communication to their lives and allows them to see where effective communication will bring them in the future. Humans are constantly communicating, and the basis to succeeding in any job is effective communication skills. Professor Stifano combines theory with tasks that students need to do every day, whether it be properly writing emails, or how to present yourself in a positive light online. So much of what is studied in communication applies to the everyday actions of a college student. Stifano strives to have every student realize that there is more to their day to day interactions than it seems on the surface, and he hopes that the students will be more mindful of the messages that people provide them with, which is critical to the everyday world.
This course is not only recognized in the department as an inspiring and important course, during the 2016-2017 school year, COMM 1000 won the NCA Basic Course Program of Distinction award. This award is given to courses that serve as best practice models for other departments when designing their basic courses. In the future, Stifano stated that the course will be adapted to allow students to continue to be challenged as the course gets increasingly focused on media and technology as they infiltrate our everyday interactions.
Below are video projects that were created by COMM 1000 students: