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COMS 120 - Small Group Communication - Dr. Kerry Osborne

Course:Small Group Communication
Professor:Dr. Kerry Osborne
  • Online
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


I want to welcome you in advance to my COMS 120 course. I have been a communication scholar and instructor for decades. Additionally, I worked in the private sector for 15 years in various industries. My combination of academic and professional experience make group communication among my favorite subjects to teach. What I love about teaching this course is that everything you learn here applies to your lives immediately, and much of it will help you succeed professionally. I have the perspectives of an educator to guide your instruction and a business manager to focus on career pragmatics. I look forward to presenting you with the communication skills that enrich your group interactions in personal, social, and business environments.

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.

Course Objectives

  1. Compare and contrast theories of small group dynamics.
  2. Examine theories of interpersonal needs and interpersonal attraction as they apply to groups.
  3. Distinguish the variables of group roles, norms, culture, status, power, trust, and self-disclosure.
  4. Compare and contrast confirming and disconfirming responses and their application to supportive and defensive climates.
  5. Assess research findings on nonverbal communication to small group communication and identify guidelines for interpretation.
  6. Develop strategies for group decision making and problem solving.
  7. Evaluate processes of group conflict, groupthink, consensus, and methods for managing different types of conflict.
  8. Examine different approaches to leadership.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze theories of small group communication
  2. Evaluate small group communication theories within specific group contexts.

What to Expect in this Course

All work is due by Sunday night, 11:59pm. This includes all assignments, discussion board posts, meeting-related submissions, quizzes and activities. Deadlines are firm; no late submissions will receive grade points, and there are no make-ups.

Each week will include assigned reading and video viewing, a group meeting with written notes, and quizzes based on the assigned reading and videos. Additional activities will be assigned in the term.

The course culminates in the live (online) presentation of the group project that was undertaken and completed over the weeks leading up to the presentation date. All members of each group must share the live presentation equally. This course fulfills a transfer requirement for oral presentation, so there are no exceptions to the requirement to present to the class.

Types of Assessments

Quizzes, group discussions, meeting notes, activities (submitted in Canvas), and term presentation.

Textbook Information

We are using an Open Education Resource compiled by the COC Communication Studies Department. It will be available in Canvas at the beginning of the term at no cost to you.

Other Relevant Course Information

There are no exceptions to the meeting dates and assignment deadlines. The mandatory meetings entail working in your groups, so absence is not an individual matter. Assignment/quiz deadlines will all be available at the beginning of the term so you can schedule your time and ensure meeting your deadlines.

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: 10/05/2021 Sub#: 719