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Coms 120 - Small Group Communication - Athena Simpson

Course:Small Group Communication
Professor:Athena Simpson
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Athena Simpson at a desk

Hey everyone, I'm Athena Simpson and I have been passionate about communication studies ever since beginning my own community college career, and learning first-hand how effective communication can change lives. I would not be here today without applying the things I will be teaching you in this course. I have more than book knowledge about the subject, I have practical experience attempting different strategies and approaches to myriad communication challenges throughout my college career and beyond. Not all approaches work for all people, so you have to do some honest self-assessment to figure out what works best for you. Please understand that I do not expect perfection, but I do expect your best effort. This class is about growing as an individual and learning how to apply what now know to affect others in positive and beneficial ways. 


Course Description

This course applies principles of communication in a variety of group contexts. It examines the theory, application, and evaluation of group communication processes, including problem solving, conflict management, decision making, and leadership.

What to Expect in this Course

While this is an in-person class, I like students to have easy access to all information and assignments (even when absent), so Canvas plays a large role in our course. 

There are two major group assignments to collaborate and present on. You will be evaluated on how effective your small group communication is, and not the final product that it yields. For example, you might be asked to design a website that teaches viewers how to avoid hazards when hiking in Griffith Park. The information should be accurate and well researched, but ultimately the group meetings, evaluations, and reflections will be a larger part of your grade than how cool and informative your website is. This will encourage equal contributions from each group member, instead of the web design savvy group member taking over and completing the assignment alone. 

You will have weekly quizzes for the first half of the course to ensure that you are reading and understand the course content, as well as how to effectively apply it to your groups. Groups SHOULD have conflict, you will learn in this course that is a GOOD thing, poor communication squanders the potential benefits that competing ideas offer. The course readings will help you navigate conflict (and so much more) to become a stronger more effective team member and ultimately a cohesive team. 

Types of Assessments

You will be assessed the following ways: 

  • Canvas Quizzes
  • In-Class Activities 
  • Presentations
  • Self and Team Evaluations
  • Reflections
  • Final (optional, so students who work hard all semester can opt out if they are happy with their class standing) 

Textbook Information

OER (online educational resource) will be accessible from Canvas. I've organized some of the OER content to make it easier to read/access through Canvas if you prefer NOT to read from a PDF. 

If you prefer a printed copy the bookstore orders a few, and you can always print the book at your own expense. Printing the book is still far cheaper than paying for a hardcopy small group communication book. I require free OER's to save you that cost, but if you feel having the printed pages will help you learn, please do what works best for you. 

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 08/15/2023 Sub#: 1632