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COMS 235 Online - Communication and Aging, Health, and Society - Victoria Leonard

Course:Communication and Aging, Health, and Society
Professor:Victoria Leonard
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Victoria Leonard

My name is Victoria Leonard, and I want to give you a little bit of background on me!  I started teaching at CSUN in 1981 and came to COC in 1989. I spent 17 years as the department chair, and during those years focused much of my research on leadership and organizational communication.  I have been proud of my contributions to our department, and when I first started at COC, I saw the need for a comprehensive communication studies program.  To that end, I wrote a lot of our curriculum, and initiated two associate degrees.  I also assisted students spearheading our COMS Club and Sigma Chi Eta Honor Society.  We are a well-respected program at the national level and have won awards for being the "Model Communication Studies Program." 

I am a firm believer that communication skills lead to success in life regardless of what context you are communicating in!   The skills that I hope students learn from my classes are transferrable to the next level of education, as well as the workplace. I also feel that we spend our lives learning to be better communicators, so this is just the beginning!  You will find that I will be a “straight shooter.” I am “who I am” in an online class, just as I am face-to-face. So, you will see me serious, funny, maybe a little goofy, but I love what I do, and I hope that will be what comes through the most. I am here to help you learn, but you will need to understand that I have expectations for you to follow through on your end throughout the semester.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit the Communication Studies website and look on faculty pages for more biographical information. I will also have an extensive biography on our Canvas page when that opens at the beginning of the semester.

Course Description

This course analyzes intergenerational interaction and communication patterns throughout the lifespan, including the examination of theories, attitudes, stereotypes, myths, and cultural differences. Topics explored include health that can be viewed from biological, psychological, and sociological approaches, and how older adults are treated within the medical community, the impact of society on the aging process, including how older adults are treated in society and within different cultures, myths associated with aging and the impact society has on perpetuating stereotypes, and the way that technology impacts older adults. There are many more interesting topics that will be explored, but these give you a brief overview of the course. You may ask why this is important! We will all, if given the best opportunity, age throughout time. Understanding yourselves, your parents, and your grandparents (if you have these generations within your life). will help you deal with all of the planned and unplanned events associated with caring for older adults, including yourself!

What to Expect in this Course

Unlike your traditional courses, this course is fully online.  That means all of your work, quizzes, exams, discussions, and writing assignments will be done online. There may be videos and other online activities as well.  You will not be required to meet online at a specific time; however, all of your assignments will be expected to be complete and turned in online by a date and time that is on your syllabus.  Please understand that because this course relies on technology, it is a bad idea to wait until the last minute to complete any online work.  It will require that you manage your time well and ask for assistance when needed.  In general, do not wait until a minor problem has escalated into a major one.

The expectation is that you will log onto Canvas at least four times a week and read my announcements as they come out.  You will have a set schedule each week, so typically you will read a chapter, have a writing assignment such as a discussion board or homework question, and take a quiz or exam.  You will find that you have a few days to do each assignment, so you do not “have to” work all weekend. 

I will contact you throughout the semester through Canvas announcements, or via email.  Please note:  I will only respond to students who email me through CANVAS or their MyCanyons accounts.  It is a violation of FERPA for me to connect with you on your personal email accounts.

Types of Assessments

The syllabus will explain your assessments in more detail, but there will be three exams, weekly quizzes, discussion boards, and a final project. The point value for these is detailed in the course syllabus.

Textbook Information

The textbook for this course is: Understanding Communication and Aging, by Jake Harwood and Christine Kunkle. 3rd Edition.(If you prefer a digtal copy, visit the publisher's website, Cognella Publishing. The paperback version ISBN is 979-8-8233-0332-3

A textbook is not optional.  Discussions, assignments, and exams will include content from the textbook. You will need the book for the first week. I realize that books are expensive and that students often find earlier editions of the textbook because they can get it at a bargain.  As long as you realize that material in a textbook has changed and that you are responsible for changes, I will treat you as adults regarding what book you are using. There is one copy of the textbook that will be available for use in the COC library. Students can find textbooks in many ways. Please reach out to me if you need assistance.

Other Relevant Course Information

For students trying to add:  If you are trying to add this class, please know that I will be monitoring the wait list.  I do not add several additional students to this class.  If you are below the 5th person on the wait list, chances of enrolling are typically not good.  Students would have to drop.  If you are interested in adding the class, please email me to inquire about the status of the class.

For enrolled students:  Please log into Canvas on the first day we begin the term.  I will open it even a couple of days earlier.  If you have any issues, please contact Canvas support, at (661) 362-3344. You should read your syllabus and complete your first online discussion board by the second day of the semester.  Failure to participate in the first assignment will be like missing the first week of class, and as a result, you will be dropped from the course.  My ultimate goal is to see you succeed, so I will do whatever I can to help you throughout the term.   More of my policies and more detailed explanations will be in the syllabus.

Academic Accommodation Center students must send me paperwork within the first four days of class to receive accommodations for the first quiz.  I will not be able to extend any time without documentation. 

I look forward to meeting you online the first day of the term!

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: 01/03/2024 Sub#: 1696