Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-9461350-7-0
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
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The text contains 16 chapters that cover all of the basic content typically included in most of the well-known hybrid introductory communication read more
The text contains 16 chapters that cover all of the basic content typically included in most of the well-known hybrid introductory communication textbooks currently on the market. Each section/topic area within each of the chapters begin with its own set of objectives that provide students with an overview of the topics to be covered - these could also serve as useful study questions for exams. In addition to the concepts and theories presented in each chapter, the text includes text boxes that encourage students to apply content to contemporary examples - each box concludes with Discussion Questions that could be assigned as homework or utilized in online course formats for virtual discussions. Each of the 3-4 sections within each chapter concludes with its own summary (Key Takeaways) and 2-3 suggested activities for students to apply the content during in-class assignments or completed out-of-class. The format of the text provides sufficient content to cover a 16-week class in either face-to-face or online contexts.
All of the content included in the chapters appears to be accurate. Information from both a historical perspective and contemporary research is included to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the topic. At the conclusion of each topic area within each chapter, 8-20 references are provided to allow students to conduct additional research on the topic. These sources range from scholarly journal articles to contemporary news articles published in the popular press to expose students to a variety of sources on each topic area.
Descriptions of the concepts and theories are relevant and applicable to the majority of students - regardless of their status (traditional/non-traditional), age, or other demographic distinctions that contribute to class diversity. Areas that may need periodic updates include the text boxes that are dedicating to providing contemporary examples of topics covered within the chapter. Overall, the text provides a solid foundation of the core concepts that instructors could easily apply contemporary examples as they tailor the course to meet the specific needs of their own student populations. While the discussion questions are written in a way that appeals to a diverse student population, they may occasionally need to be updated to address contemporary issues.
The clarity of the writing style of the text is one of its strongest selling points. Concepts are defined/described in layman's terms that most students can easily relate to their own experiences. Examples that are provided are relatable to the the majority of students. While the key concepts are highlighted in blue font, it would be useful if the text also included a Glossary that students could quickly access by clicking on hyperlinks within the chapters. A unique feature of the book is that topics covered in later chapters (e.g., Media) include a discussion of how the information is related to topics covered in earlier chapters in the text - hyperlinks are provided within the text to direct students back to the earlier chapters for a review/recall of content.
Students will be pleased to find that each chapter is organized and presented in a consistent manner. Each chapter begins with Learning Objectives, followed by content (with key terms highlighted), and concludes with a contemporary example highlighted in a textbox with discussion questions and a chapter summary. Topics are presented in a way so that they build on one another - there is a logical progression from one chapter topic to the next. As mentioned before, chapters that appear later in the text include hyperlinks to direct students back to earlier content - this helps showcase the connections between content areas.
A unique feature of this text is that each chapter is organized into distinct subsections that allow instructors to "select/choose" which topics they want to include in their class. For schools where students may also be taking a separate public speaking class, there is just enough information in the four (4) chapters on the topic to provide them with the necessary foundation to understand the key elements of speeches. Instructors can pick and choose the sections within these (and other) chapters to include. If an instructor wishes to alter the order in which the chapters are included in the course schedule, they can be interchanged or assigned in any order without altering the flow of the text.
While most introductory human communication texts place the public speaking chapters at the end of the book (to allow instructors to skip over them if students are already required to take a separate public speaking class), this text includes the speech chapters in the middle (Chapter 9-12) before covering topics such as small group communication and media in the last four chapters. While the chapter/topic order may not strictly adhere to the typical format of most communication textbooks on the market, this is not a "deal-breaker" when adopting this text because chapters can be presented in any format desired without impacting the readability and flow of the text.
All of the charts, hyperlinks to articles included in the reference lists, and the photos appeared to be clear and in working order. Some of the photos appear to be somewhat dated, but this could be viewed as a positive feature for ensuring the longevity of the book. It does not require frequent revisions to the photos. It might be beneficial to include more "SmartArt" that graphically represents/lists/summarizes the core concepts to appeal to visual learners using charts or tables.
The writing style is clear and concise without excessive examples or confusing details. It is written in a conversational tone that students can easily relate to as they consider how the concepts apply to their own personal examples. No writing or grammatical errors were discovered during my review.
Examples and content covered in the book are respectful of diversity. I would not consider any of the content to be culturally insensitive or offensive. Topics that are of a sensitive nature are presented in a fair and objective way to encourage students to think critically about the communication implications (e.g., hate speech, culturally sensitive language choices, ethical decisions associated with communicating with diverse others). The core content provides a foundation that instructors can build upon as they address diversity topics that are directly relevant to their own student populations. While there is diversity represented in the photos included in the text, it could provide a more comprehensive reflection of diversity (cultural, racial, age, economic).
This book offers a comprehensive treatment of key areas of communication studies. It is an appropriate introduction to the discipline, and would be read more
This book offers a comprehensive treatment of key areas of communication studies. It is an appropriate introduction to the discipline, and would be suitable for an introduction to communication theory course, a public speaking course, or a hybrid model. It covers foundations of communication theory (perception, language and meaning, etc.) as well as a chapter each on listening, interpersonal, nonverbal, verbal, small group, leadership, media, and new media. As well, it offers several chapters oriented toward public/presentational speaking, covering the preparation and delivery of oral presentations in a variety of contexts. It does not contain an index or glossary, but given that most students will access it in a format that allows for a text search, this is not necessarily a major issue. It would benefit from a chapter on communication apprehension/anxiety -- this is treated very briefly toward the end of Chapter 1.
The book is accurate when it comes to objective aspects of communication theory and practice -- in other words, I found almost nothing to be blatantly incorrect, and did not perceive any overt political biases. (The one blatantly incorrect sentence is: "The term transgender includes other labels such as transsexual, transvestite, cross-dresser, and intersex, among others" in Chapter 8). I appreciate that there is a chapter dedicated to communication and culture, prompting students to consider the rest of the book's contents (as well as their own work) through the lens of social constructivism and to think critically about their own biases. Yet, it (like most communication textbooks) is reflective of the dominant western worldview when it comes to concepts like persuasion and reasoning.
The book is relatively up-to-date, though some political references are already somewhat outdated. For example, the first subsection is entitled, "From Aristotle to Obama: A Brief History of Communication." Updating references like these would be very easy to implement. The book's author offers to supplement the chapter on new media on his personal website, but when I followed the included link the site did not load. This chapter in particular already feels a bit outdated -- in the section on new media and interpersonal relationships there is no mention of Snapchat or Instagram (Twitter and Facebook are referenced), and I suspect that students may already find the book to be out of touch in this regard. Table 8.3, displaying "Developments Related to Sexuality, Identity, and Communication" needs to be updated to include the 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and other recent events.
The writing is clear and accessible for students who are reading at an appropriate college level. Jargon is explained well. My students enjoy the author's use of the first person in many cases, telling anecdotes in plain language that illustrate and animate the concepts being discussed in a more immediate way.
The text maintains consistent vocabulary and structural frameworks. I have not found any internal inconsistencies in the book's language use or explanation of theories/concepts. There are a couple of minor inconsistencies that should not impede student understanding (e.g., references to the "Gay Rights Movement" and also to the "gay and lesbian rights movement").
The book is highly modular. I have adapted it for use in a public speaking course in which my students are reading the chapters related to presentational speaking as well as those on listening and culture. They have read the chapters, and in some cases the sections, out of order with no problem. The book is rarely self-referential, and when it is, the reader does not need to have internalized much of the section being referred to in order to understand the present section.
The structure flows logically. It can be understood as unfolding in six major sections that make sense sequentially or in modules: foundations (Chapters 1-2), basic components of the communication process (Chapters 3-5), communication in context (Chapters 6-8), presentational/public speaking (Chapters 9-12), communicating in groups/organizations (Chapters 13-14), and media (Chapters 15-16).
I have not encountered any problems with the book's interface. I have read it online and downloaded the PDF with no such issues.
The text contains no grammatical errors that I am aware of.
The book strives for cultural relevance and, for the most part, achieves it. In the photographs, people depicted are overwhelmingly white, which is a strike against it in terms of representing communicators from a variety of racial/ethnic backgrounds. I would like to see updates to the section on sexuality, as the standards for inclusive language in this arena change rapidly and the text does currently utilize terms that many consider to be problematic such as "homosexual" (the text explains that this word "can be appropriate in some instances, but it carries with it a clinical and medicalized tone" -- I would argue that the word is not considered appropriate in any context except an historical one). I would also suggest that the large image of the Confederate flag is not a necessary inclusion in section 8.3 -- as a hate symbol, this could be jarring to many readers, to say the least. Finally, the text does occasionally utilize ableist language (e.g., an example speech topic in Chapter 9 is "My Craziest Adventure").
My students have expressed positive reviews of this text. On the whole, they find it to be relevant, accessible, and straightforward. They especially appreciate the author's use of personal observations and stories from the classroom. I have identified in my comments above a few changes that I think would be useful in bringing the text up-to-date and making it more inclusive, and I think instructors who value inclusivity and recency can easily supplement their syllabi and lessons to fill these gaps. In general I do recommend this text, and I find it superior to comparable books from for-profit textbook companies that I have reviewed.
After reviewing this text, I believe that it does provide an effective index and glossary. The table of contents are easily able to be found at the read more
After reviewing this text, I believe that it does provide an effective index and glossary. The table of contents are easily able to be found at the very beginning of the online textbook. What is especially nice is that you can easily click over back to the table of contents when you are in the middle of the textbook, making it easy to flip around and move from section to section. I found it helpful that at the beginning of each chapter, the textbook provides a "Learning Objectives" section, where one can easily read what the expected learning outcomes are for the chapter. This will make it easy for both the Professor and the students as to what they are expected to get out of each chapter. I also believe that this textbook accurately covers all necessary areas of Comm 100, as I currently teach this class with a physical book copy that covers the same chapters.
After reviewing the online textbook, I do believe that the information to be accurate. The text accurately covers all of the same type of content that is also covered in my textbook. I wasn't able to notice nearly any errors at all within the text, which was great. What I do especially appreciate about the accuracy of this text is that at the end of each section within each chapter, it has a "Key Takeaways" section, as well as a section for "Exercises." The Key Takeaways section discusses specific terms for students to remember, and the Exercises section is helpful for Professors, as they can use these exercises to create in-class activities.
I do believe that this textbook is up to date, especially because it has incorporated the Chapter titled "New Media and Communication," which a lot of the physical copies similar to this text (Comm 100) have incorporated as well based off of the evolving technology.
I believe that the text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and also provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology that is used. They stuck to the appropriate content for the text and everything flowed well.
I compared this text to the other text that I am using to teach my course, and it appeared to be consistent to that. There were no confusing terms that were used and everything made sense.
There are definitely no enormous blocks of texts without subheadings for this textbook. Each section is divided up appropriately and is also easy to follow along with. I found that everything flew together very nicely. Any time that the author goes into discussion of something new, there is a clear header to identify that.
This text is divided up similarly to the physical textbook that I am using to teach this course this summer. Everything is organized well and is easy to follow along with.
I do not believe that the text has any type of navigation issues. The navigation is easy to use, and it is simply to get from chapter to chapter. One thing I did notice is that it would have been more effective to have more charts available for different topics such as the communication process, non-verbal communication, and so fourth.
I was not able to identity any grammatical errors within this textbook.
I believe that this textbook is not culturally intensive in any way. The chapter that focuses on culture and communication included a variety of examples that are inclusive to a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. All of the other chapters were culturally sensitive as well, as they did not include any inappropriate terminology.
This textbook covers virtually all of the main topics I would expect to see in an introductory communication textbook. The only exception I noted is read more
This textbook covers virtually all of the main topics I would expect to see in an introductory communication textbook. The only exception I noted is that there is no chapter on organizational communication, although they do discuss communication in organizations throughout other chapters. If anything some sections of the book are a little TOO comprehensive. The book itself is quite long, as are the individual chapters. Some chapters go into so much depth they almost feel like they don't belong in a general introductory textbook. For instance, the chapters on media feel like they could come from an introduction to media textbook. Of course, it's a good thing that the book is so comprehensive, but I could see students getting overwhelmed by the length of the chapters. Likewise, the four chapters on public speaking would be the good basis for a public speaking textbook, but they feel a little out of place here. The rest of the book feels like it's designed for a lecture-based survey course, but the public speaking chapters are very prescriptive, seemingly designed for the kind of class where students are giving their own speeches. I wonder if the book might be too much of a survey for standard basic courses, but with too much emphasis on public speaking for survey courses. In the PDF version, there is no glossary or index.
I did not note any outright factual errors or bias. There are, of course, some things that are open to interpretation, such as when the author goes into a historical perspective. Some people would likely disagree with the way the author divides up the eras of human history, but the book does make a good argument for the way it divides them up.
There are a few minor instances of outdated information. For instance, Table 8.3 provides a history of acceptance of the LGBT community, but stops with the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, suggesting that it was written before the recent Supreme Court cases recognizing same-sex marriages. Of course, that's not the author's fault, just the result of the book being a few years old. I actually expected that the media chapters would have outdated information, but they turned out to be surprisingly up-to-date. The author must have been up-to-date enough at the time the book was published that it hasn't gotten dated.
The book is generally clear and easy to follow. It can be a little dry at times, but no more than any other textbook.The book does a good job of introducing major communication theories, but not nearly enough to overwhelm the students.
I didn't note any inconsistencies in the book.
I have actually used chapters from this book to complement another text in a media-heavy introductory class, so I can say from experience that the chapters work fine on their own. Even within chapters, the shorter subdivisions could be used to direct students to exactly what you want them to read.
Besides the chapters possibly being too long, I don't see any organizational problems.
Using the PDF version, I did note occasional white space between text and pictures, but I think that's unavoidable. I also noticed at least one instance in which a pictures was on one page and its caption was on the next page.
No problems that I saw
I found the book to be culturally sensitive. The book acknowledges the importance of culture to communication throughout.
I think this is about as good as any of the other introductory textbooks on the market. The coverage of media is much better than I've seen in other similar books. If you were using the book in a lecture-based survey class, the public speaking chapters probably wouldn't fit, but since it's an open textbook that's no loss.
Overall, the comprehensiveness of this text is one of the main characteristics that attracted me to it. When teaching the communication studies basic read more
Overall, the comprehensiveness of this text is one of the main characteristics that attracted me to it. When teaching the communication studies basic course (interpersonal + public speaking + small group), textbooks often fall short in one or more of the three topics usually taught in the course, perhaps due to limited space. This text is quite a bit longer than other texts I have used for the basic course, which gives it a greater chance to cover topics in more detail and provides me the opportunity to choose which topics (and how much of which topic) I want to cover in my courses (more so than other texts that only offer a limited discussion of topics). I also appreciate the inclusion of Chapters 15 and 16 about media, which are not always a part of similar texts from publishers.
I did not come across any info that contradicted what I know to be true about the field of communication studies. In addition, I appreciate the care the author took to incorporate credible outside sources and document them (in-text and reference page at the end of each chapter section).
Most of the chapters in this text likely have a reasonable level of longevity. The main chapters that I think will likely need revisions sooner than others are the chapters about media. However, it would be difficult to address the topic of media without needing revisions in the near future, so I do not see this as a weakness of the text. In addition, a few examples in the public speaking chapters (such as a sample speech outline about "going green") could use updates later on, as well.
The author's choice to use words such as "we" and "you" while explaining concepts helps the prose to be more understandable to the reader. However, more complex vocabulary is also used throughout, which can be a benefit or a deterrent, depending on the student population. Because I teach at a community college, my students have a wide range of reading comprehension. For example, they may look at pages 455-456 of the text and see the headings "systematic desensitization" and "cognitive restructuring" and feel overwhelmed, thinking that if they don't understand the heading, then they won't understand the rest of the text in that section. Contrastingly, students with higher reading level may enjoy this feature of the text.
Even though interpersonal/group communication are topics that are often discussed in a different way than public speaking, this author did a nice job of maintaining a consistent writing style throughout. Likewise, reading one chapter gave me an idea of what to expect when reading another.
The modularity of this text was designed in an effective manner. Because this text is longer than many texts produced through publishers (a nice benefit of this text), the length of the text required that the longer chapters be broken into smaller sub-chapters. I find this useful because I may not use the entire chapter and having the chapters broken into sub-chapters helps me to tell students on which parts of the chapter they should focus their attention. It appears as though the author has taken care to determine which sub-topics within chapters make the most sense to be their own sub-chapters.
If I were to use this text to teach my intro to communication basic course, I would likely teach the chapters in a different order than they are presented here. For example, I would teach Chapter 8 after Chapter 2 and Chapters 15/16 after Chapter 8. It's not too much of a problem to just around in the text like that, but I have found that it does tend to confuse students a little. Aside from the order of the chapters, the content within the chapters does flow well and has been organized with care.
I appreciate that this text can be read on a cell phone (I think that will motivate more students to read it). I printed the text and noticed that students will need a 3" binder for it (something I would want to point out in my syllabus if I were to adopt this text). I did notice that when I printed the text, some of the pictures were too dark and printed in such a way that it was difficult to tell what the picture was showing.
I did not come across any grammatical errors during my review and the writing is done in a very professional manner.
While the content does not appear to be biased or insensitive/offensive, only about 1/3 of the photos of people in the text represented racial diversity (which likely isn't the author's intention; there may have been limited options for open-source images to use in the text). However, this representation of diversity was actually higher than some of the other texts I have been sent by publishers recently. In fact, the explanations and examples throughout the text show that the author has taken care to discuss culture in a fair and accurate manner.
Now that I have reviewed this text and considered each of the items in this review, plus the benefit to my students, I have decided to adopt this text for Fall 2017. I appreciate the hard work and efforts of this author to provide such a high-quality open education resource for students to use.
This text is designed for an introduction to communication course, but I am reviewing it as a possible text for an introduction to Interpersonal read more
This text is designed for an introduction to communication course, but I am reviewing it as a possible text for an introduction to Interpersonal Communication course. For this purpose the text provides a useful foundation in communication theory in research, covering communication models and various skillsets. For an intro to IP comm course the book, when compared to texts designed for that purpose, lacks research on specific fields of interpersonal communication, such as "Family," "Friends," "Workplace," and "Romantic Relationships." Even without these chapters I would use this book for an IP comm course as the benefits of an open textbook outweigh the missing chapters and I feel I could use supplemental materials to cover that information. The text book does not have supplemental materials, an index, or glossary, which might make it more difficult to use for an intro to IP comm course if one is new to the material. However, the text is downloadable in several formats and is thus searchable negating the need for an index or glossary.
The book includes the key information on communication research and theory for an introduction to communications course. Much of this information would overlap with the needs of an Introduction to Interpersonal Communication course, though some specific terms, concepts, and theories may need to be supplemented by the instructor to adapt the text for that purpose.
This book may not be the most "up to date" but in many senses I don't think it should be as an introduction to the field. Most major perspectives in Comm are covered and an experienced instructor could easily build on the foundation laid out in the book to discuss recent research and developments. In this way, I believe the book presents a solid foundation for communication studies students.
I think the book it quite accessible. In comparison to the more expensive books it lacks the up to date media and cultural examples that make reading more engaging for many students. Overall, I actually see the lack of these examples a strong suit of the book as it is not easily dated.
The framework of the book is internally consistent, though I think it takes on too much to have true consistency. Compared to similar books on the market for introductory textbooks I think it may cover a bit too much to provide real consistency. For example, Chapters 1-8 provide common topics for an intro to comm course and cover different places/venues for communication, then Chapters 9-12 serve as a public speaking manual before returning to the kind of overview format for Chapters 13-16. However, as the book is totally free for students this would not at all prohibit me from assigning the book as I can easily choose not to assign those chapters.
Each chapter has 3-4 subheadings, but the chapters span as many as 50 pages. I think more sub-headings would make the book more approachable, especially for students still learning study skills or who are returning to the classroom later in life. I would mitigate this by discussing reading strategies with my students and assigning the chapters in smaller pieces.
I think the text is as logical and organized as a very broad overview can be. The problem is one of all texts which cover such a broad field.
I downloaded a PDF file of the text and have had no interface issues.
I have not noted a distracting number of erros.
The book is not culturally insensitive or offensive. As an instructor I would add examples to present the topics with more emphasis on social and racial justice than that text.
I think this book could be adapted for many intro-level communication courses. One concern I have is that I would want a hard copy for myself and at 752 pages printing is cost-prohibitive. I've read about instructors working with bookstores to loan out hard-copies of open texts when the copyright allows but with this text the sheer number of pages would make that difficult.
I currently teach both SP100 Basic Communication and SP 218 Interpersonal Communication and I feel the material is comprehensive enough that with read more
I currently teach both SP100 Basic Communication and SP 218 Interpersonal Communication and I feel the material is comprehensive enough that with modification and shuffling of chapter modules I could manage to use it for both courses.
I feel the content is quit accurate the only concern is that many of the references are to somewhat dated material.: Example: "In fact, since the systematic study of communication began in colleges and universities a little over one hundred years ago, there have been more than 126 published definitions of communication (Dance & Larson, 1976).
Actually I think that the material is very well written in such a way that the instructor using it could rather easily con-temporize the content with supplemental material.
I very much like the content for the fact that it uses contemporary speak rather the egocentric academic jargon.
Very good flow from topic to topic!
Very well compiled and I could easily cherry pic content and flow.
Easy to follow transitions with well defined connections.
Same as stated above - well put together.
Seemed fine to me -but I may not be the judge!
I found no problems here!
I really do believe I could use this material in both intro and interpersonal courses.
Comprehensive Individualized Curriculum and Instructional Design: Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Developmental Disabilities/Autism read more
Comprehensive Individualized Curriculum and Instructional Design: Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Developmental Disabilities/Autism Spectrum Disorders covers a wide range of topics related to working with students with developmental disabilities and ASD. There is no index or glossary but the chapter titles are clear and relate to the overall topic of the textbook.
The content in this textbook is accurate and research based. There are many reputable sources that are referenced and the information supports current information on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The content is up-to-date, but many of the links were not accessible, which made it hard to get the additional information needed. If those links were updated it would make the text more relevant.
The text is clear and easy to follow, in particular Chapters 1-4. There are some technical terminology used but there are always explanations included. The specific behavioral examples given helped bring clarity and made it easy for teachers to see how to implement the plan with their own students. The templates and charts provided would be useful for educators to use as provided or to adapt to meet their individual needs.
The first part of the textbook was very consistent and had a nice flow. It seemed to change with the information regarding the use of technology. Chapter 5 read more like a technical manual with directions of how to use the technology for adaptive purposes.
The textbook is set up very well so that smaller reading sections could be used in courses. Each chapter has a complete topic that could be used in isolation. Together they offer a cohesive picture of working with students with special needs.
The textbook has a nice flow and starts off with the most comprehensive chapter that sets the tone for the rest of the book. The last two chapters seem the most different, but do offer important information regarding communication and technology.
The only interface problems I found is that some of the links are not live and may be inaccessible. For some chapters that seemed to be a lot of content that may be missing.
There were no grammatical errors.
The text was very culturally sensitive and shared strategies in a positive and productive way for working with students with developmental
This textbook is full of detailed strategies related to Curriculum and Instruction Design for students with developmental delays and students and ASD. Chapter 4 Developing Function-based Interventions is especially beneficial for teachers seeking management strategies.
This text covers the expected topics for an introductory hybrid (communication and public speaking) text, and in the order that those topics are read more
This text covers the expected topics for an introductory hybrid (communication and public speaking) text, and in the order that those topics are customarily covered (1. introduction, 2. perception, 3. language, 4. nonverbal, etc.). The history of communication going back to ancient times is covered briefly in chapter 1, but not in as much detail as I would prefer. However, few introductory communication texts cover the history of communication in much detail and many ignore history altogether. There are multiple chapters addressing public speaking, which is appropriate for a hybrid text. The text does not have a glossary or index, but given that the text is available as a searchable .pdf file, a printed index would be redundant. I searched for a few terms and the search function worked well.
The accuracy of the book is excellent. In my reading there was nothing I encountered that caused concern as far as accuracy is concerned. The author(s) are objective, inclusive, and egalitarian in their treatment of topics, so it is fair to say the content is unbiased. The authors also do a nice job of representing communication scholarship from both a social scientific and humanistic perspective.
This version of the text was published in 2013 and the content is currently up-to-date as of early 2017. There are a number of specific instances that will need to be updated in coming years/decades to be accurate as a function of the passing of time, but those cases should be fairly easy to change out with new examples. On page 46 the text refers to the "first presentation" in this class, which supposes that speeches/presentations are a component of the class that uses this text. Other cases of information that may go out of date are references to "google" being a new term, pay stubs, the "recent" Obama/Romney presidential election, and the current ages of individuals who are members of the various generations (p. 678). The text uses a number of URLs. The vast majority of the URLs that I checked worked as intended, but a few of them redirected or were no longer working (e.g., the author's blog in chapter 16).
The clarity of the prose is good. At no point in my reading was there confusion with regard to communication content due to a lack of clarity. One meta-clarity issue concerns the identity of the authors. The authors have withheld their identity, which may present confusion due to the frequent use of the first person by the author(s). In chapter 16 the name of one of the authors is available in a URL that claims to be the author's personal blog. That URL no longer works. Perhaps a standard name could be assigned to the author (e.g., Alan Smithee) and references to the individual authors in the text could be removed.
The consistency of the text is remarkably high. Despite there being multiple authors of the text, the voice throughout the difference chapters and sub-sections is similar. The framework of the chapters is similar, which each chapter being broken down into multiple sub-sections, followed by the references. The photos used to supplement the text have a common theme - realistic, gritty, compelling.
The text rates high in terms of modularity. Each chapter is divided into a minimum of three distinct sub-sections. Within the sub-sections, headings are used frequently to divide up the ideas. The text does refer to/mention other chapters frequently. This occurs most frequently in chapter 1, which refers to all the other chapters, but it also occurs in other chapters (e.g., chapter 3 refers to chapter 1, chapter 15 refers to chapter 1, and chapter 16 refers to chapter 15).
The organization is typical of introductory texts, starting with an introduction and moving through perception, verbal and nonverbal communication, moving on to interpersonal communication and relationships, and then on to public, small-group, and mass communication. This order is logical as the text flows through the forms of communication in order (intrapersonal to mass).
Reading the text on a computer display took a little bit of time to get used to, but after getting used to it the reading went well. The fact that the text is searchable is a great advantage. All the graphics, photos, models, and figures displayed properly.
The grammar is excellent. It is written in a scholarly format but does not confuse readers with undefined jargon or superfluous words. Some texts are too conversational; this text is easy to relate too but does not do so at the expense of credibility.
Multiple potentially controversial topics, such as race, hate speech, disability status, and sexual orientation are covered by the text and are done so in an even-handed, fair manner. The text even points out how using certain specific terms (e.g., handicapped instead of disabled) can have an undesirable effect. Photos are inclusive in that people from various races and ethnicities are pictured, not to mention that people with tattoos (and without tattoos) are also featured.
All in all this is an excellent introductory communication text that would be ideal for a hybrid (introduction to communication + public speaking) communication class. It is comprehensive, well written, and well sourced. It could be used by either a social scientist or a humanist. The text would also work well in an introductory communication course that does not have a public speaking component; the multiple public speaking chapters could be covered in less detail. The text covers a number of recent events and technologies that will need to be updated in the coming years.
The textbook provides a good overview of communication as a discipline. Notably, this text has two chapters that discuss media--"Media, Technology, read more
The textbook provides a good overview of communication as a discipline. Notably, this text has two chapters that discuss media--"Media, Technology, and Communication" and "New Media and Communication." This in particular is an asset because it provides further discussion of an important topic.
I found no major errors or issues in this text. It is written using inclusive language.
The text's content is fairly up-to-date and is unlikely to be rendered obsolete within a short period of time. Any advances/changes in new media and/or communication theory and research could be easily inserted into the text. Specifically, the "New Media and Democracy" chapter should be updated to include information about the promotion and presence of "fake news" on social media, and how one can develop skills to assess sources. However, as this issue (fake news on social media) has been of significant interest due, in part, to the 2016 US Presidential election, the omission of this information is understandable, and instructors could easily supplement the text with additional resources. The text's authors could also easily edit the content to include this update.
The text is written in a conversational tone that is accessible to readers.
The text is logically and consistently laid out, and each chapter follows the same general structure.
The content of this text could easily be divided into smaller readings assigned at different points during the semester without disrupting the students' progress in the course.
The text is organized in a logical manner that presents content in a way that is easy to read and understand. Chapters end with lists of key ideas, exercises for students to practice what they've learned, and references to cited texts.
Overall, the interface is good. However, some issues might cause reader confusion. For example, key terms (for example, "discriminative listening" in chapter 5) are in red. This is also the color of links in the text, but these terms are not links. Additionally, the use of red can present some issues with respect to accessibility.
This text contains no significant grammatical errors.
This text is written with inclusive language, and it includes examples with a variety of perspectives.
This is a comprehensive text that rivals textbooks in the traditional market. It contains the concepts often covered in a hybird/intro communication read more
This is a comprehensive text that rivals textbooks in the traditional market. It contains the concepts often covered in a hybird/intro communication course. Having taught this course for ten years and reviewed dozens of textbooks, I would have little hesitation in using this textbook in my oral communication course. Often these textbooks feel redundant of each other and being able to choose one that has the information and the best price point is persuasive.
In my estimation, I believe this text is accurate and error free.
The theory and concepts related to the course content are up-to-date and will most likely remain that way for a long time. Any shift in this area would occur for all texts in this area and would require updating all literature in the communication field. The examples and videos are currently great, but I can't help but think those will feel outdated very quickly. Same with any reference to social media that is constantly changing and evolving.
The text does a nice job of defining terms and offering relevant examples while formating the text in a way that makes it easy to read. I also found myself connecting to and enjoying sections, which is a bonus in the reading of a textbook.
The terminology follows itself consistently through chapters and there are frequent references to and from other chapters. One of the benefits of an online text like this one is the easy clickability between chapters and concepts that are much less disconnected than our organizational structure of chapters leads us to believe.
The modularity of the text lends itsself well to the particualr focus of an instructor teaching an intro communication course. It would be simple to piece out the chapters or sections based on one's specific focus.
The organization is consistent from chapter to chapter, which allows for a logical and clear reading of the text.
My biggest concern with the interface is the formatting of the outline chapter and therefore the references. I am a stickler for format, when it comes to this piece of my course and the improper outline numbering format and lack of hanging indent in the references is frustrating. Granted, I could say this is true of other books as well, and I could always supplement this chapter if need be.
I found no major grammatical probelms in the text.
This text does a respectable job of referencing multiple races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. It also does a nice job of not allowing analysis of any of these groups to be locked into stereotyping.
As compared to similar texts in the traditional textbook market, this book provides just as much comprehension for an introductory communication read more
As compared to similar texts in the traditional textbook market, this book provides just as much comprehension for an introductory communication course/curriculum. All of the general concept areas taught in an introductory hybrid communication course are thoughtfully present, including chapter content geared to modern communication technology concepts and influences on social media. After teaching the hybrid course for almost fifteen years, I would have no issues using this text, relative to including the required concepts of such a course.
In reviewing this text, I have not found any major errors or issues with presented content. Not to say that I could not have missed a model or diagram that was incorrectly presented. Overall, I found the text error-free in my review. But I have found that errors in texts are usually discovered when actually applied in teaching situations. As for bias, there is no discernible concern in my view of a particular philosophy or worldview that would distract from the learning objectives of the text used in a class. Actually, I found myself really enjoying the style of writing, and to my chagrin, realized the textbook author was a graduate of my same MA program!
This text areas focusing on traditional content in the hybrid communication course are up to date, and any changes to field theory would likely occur over a span of years (allowing for effective inclusion in this text, assuming the author will continue to update the text). The chapters that likely will need to be updated sooner of course deal with social media and technology.
The writer presents theory and concepts in a straight forward fashion, without requiring the reader/student to have prior grounding in communication theory. It’s easy to understand, and even enjoyable to follow!
The text follows a consistent pattern for each chapter, with learning objectives noted at the start of each chapter, followed by chapter content, case studies, concept review questions, and exercises. I did find a few examples of printing errors across a few sections, with extra spaces between sections.
Yes, this text could be applied or configured using specific chapters for instruction, leaving out several areas and/or focusing on specific chapters by topic area.
This text is well organized, with learning objectives presented the start of each chapter, followed by chapter content, case studies, concept review questions, and exercises.
I did find a few examples of printing errors across a few sections, with extra spaces between sections.
From my review, I could not find major grammatical problems in the text.
There is nothing offensive or culturally insensitive in this text so far in my review of it. The text is sensitive to diversity and provides excellent examples of situations where people from various background could find challenges in communicating within diverse cultural environments.
Again, as compared to using a traditional textbook from the market, this text, as far as relative content, could be just as effective. It could help in saving students on costs for another textbook, especially one used for an introductory course. My two concerns: 1. There are no boldfaced or italics key terms identified in text, which could leave the student not seeking out the concepts/theories for class discussion or application in activities or tests. While the learning goals at the start of each chapter (just about) provides this service, I feel the author should include a key term or concept summary for each chapter. 2. Given the emphasis today (actually, make that requirement) in colleges on taking the traditional hybrid communication course and applying the course in completely online or partly web-based classes, it would be helpful to have some consideration for a delivery platform for speeches or online discussions. And, that is probably where the open textbook concept, at least in this case, has to rely on the school’s default learning management system platform or other learning software platform.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction to Communication Studies
1.1 Communication: History and Forms
1.2 The Communication Process
1.3 Communication Principles
1.4 Communication Competence
Chapter 2: Communication and Perception
2.1 Perception Process
2.2 Perceiving Others
2.3 Perceiving and Presenting Self
2.4 Improving Perception
Chapter 3: Verbal Communication
3.1 Language and Meaning
3.2 Functions of Language
3.3 Using Words Well
3.4 Language, Society, and Culture
Chapter 4: Nonverbal Communication
4.1 Principles and Functions of Nonverbal Communication
4.2 Types of Nonverbal Communication
4.3 Nonverbal Communication Competence
4.4 Nonverbal Communication in Context
Chapter 5: Listening
5.1 Understanding How and Why We Listen
5.2 Barriers to Effective Listening
5.3 Improving Listening Competence
5.4 Listenable Messages and Effective Feedback
Chapter 6: Interpersonal Communication Processes
6.1 Principles of Interpersonal Communication
6.2 Conflict and Interpersonal Communication
6.3 Emotions and Interpersonal Communication
6.4 Self-Disclosure and Interpersonal Communication
Chapter 7: Communication in Relationships
7.1 Foundations of Relationships
7.2 Communication and Friends
7.3 Communication and Families
7.4 Romantic Relationships
7.5 Relationships at Work
7.6 The Dark Side of Relationships
Chapter 8: Culture and Communication
8.1 Foundations of Culture and Identity
8.2 Exploring Specific Cultural Identities
8.3 Intercultural Communication
8.4 Intercultural Communication Competence
Chapter 9: Preparing a Speech
9.1 Selecting and Narrowing a Topic
9.2 Researching and Supporting Your Speech
Chapter 10: Delivering a Speech
10.1 Managing Public Speaking Anxiety
10.2 Delivery Methods and Practice Sessions
10.3 Vocal Delivery
10.4 Physical Delivery
Chapter 11: Informative and Persuasive Speaking
11.1 Informative Speeches
11.2 Persuasive Speaking
11.3 Persuasive Reasoning and Fallacies
11.4 Persuasive Strategies
Chapter 12: Public Speaking in Various Contexts
12.1 Speaking in Personal and Civic Contexts
12.2 Speaking in Academic Settings
12.3 Speaking in Business Settings
12.4 Speaking via Electronic Media
Chapter 13: Small Group Communication
13.1 Understanding Small Groups
13.2 Small Group Development
13.3 Small Group Dynamics
Chapter 14: Leadership, Roles, and Problem Solving in Groups
14.1 Leadership and Small Group Communication
14.2 Group Member Roles
14.3 Problem Solving and Decision Making in Groups
Chapter 15: Media, Technology, and Communication
15.1 Technological Advances: From the Printing Press to the iPhone
15.2 Functions and Theories of Mass Communication
15.3 Mass Communication and Ethics
Chapter 16: New Media and Communication
16.1 New Media Technologies
16.2 New Media and Society
16.3 New Media, the Self, and Relationships
About the Book
Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies overviews the time-tested conceptual foundations of the field, while incorporating the latest research and cutting-edge applications of these basics. Each chapter will include timely, concrete, and real-life examples of communication concepts in action.
A key feature of this book is the integration of content regarding diversity and organizational communication in each chapter through examples and/or discrete sub-sections. Discussions of diversity are not relegated to feature boxes. Also integrated into the content are examples that are inclusive in terms of race, gender, sexuality, ability, age, marital status, religion, and other diverse identity characteristics.
About the Contributors
Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies is adapted from a work produced and distributed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2013 by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.