Introduction of the course:

Questions "Open Mike" welcoming new students to U of C

What is your name?

Why are you taking COMS 201?

First time at the University?

What high school did you come from?

Was it a small high school?

Are you from out of town?

Do you find the University of Calgary very big?

Did you have trouble finding the Physical Education Building?

Did you have trouble finding the room?

Are you scared? Terrified? Do you feel over-whelmed?

Have you made any friends yet on campus?

Are you afraid you will flunk this course?

Do find this to be a very big class?

Did you attend the U of C Orientation 101 Basic Schedule.

Did it make you feel welcomed?


Dr. Diane Howard

Teaching Assistants

These are all natural feelings. Let me read you some first day experiences from other people in this class last year.

OVERHEAD Past experiences of first day at U of C

Why do we study theory? Because it helps us to understand and predict the world around us. The theory, which explains these social phenomena, is named "Uncertainty Reduction Theory", which is scientifically classified under "Interpersonal Communication".

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

What is your name?

Why are you seated in the front row?

Are you friends with the person sitting on either side of you?

Is this your boyfriend?

Is this your girlfriend?

Why are you seated at the very back of the class?

Why do we study theory? Because it helps us to understand and predict the world around us. A theory, which explains these social phenomena, is named "Proxemic Theory" or the "Kinesic Code" which falls under the scientific classification of "Non-verbal Communication".

Kinesic Code

Non-Verbal Communication

Who in this class is a Canadian?

What makes a Canadian?

VHS: I am Canadian Molson Commercial

Why do we study theory? Because it helps us to understand and predict the world around us. A theory, which explains these social phenomena, is named "Cultural Theory" and is scientifically classified under "Cultural Studies".

You may be thinking, "What a strange class"! This is like no other class I have taken before? What you are engaging in while you are thinking to yourself is the basis of "Cognitive Theory". The theory is scientifically classified as "Intrapersonal Communication", or self talk. It is how we think and talk with our inner selves and how we perceive and understand the world around us.

Have you noticed how advertisers are starting to use technology to sell their products?


How can we explain these new phenomena? The theory of Semiotics by Rolland Barthes helps us to understand the cultural meaning of nonverbal signs

Semiotics is concerned with anything that can stand for something else. Look at the ideological or connotative meaning to explain the cultural status quo.

To know more about this theory click on the web site below.


Another phenomena I have noticed in advertising have been the changing portrayal of women and men in fashion magazines.


To understand this change we could use Feminist Theory to critically analyze the differences between the portrayal of males and females in North American society. To learn more about Feminist Theory click on the web site below.

Feminist Theory

The Internet is fascinating. These new social phenomena can be described by the theory "Technological Determinism". We are defined and our lives are determined by the technology we use. Iíd like to think that I am one of tomorrowís teachers.

As such, my entire course outline and all my lectures are on the Internet. If you miss a class, you can print out the lecture that you missed. Some people say, well, if we can print out all of the lectures why bother coming to class? I want you to come to class because you want to be here!

If you want to learn how to communicate effectively and be successful in life, just show up at this time twice a week for the next fifteen weeks. I hope that I can help to make your life better by becoming a more understanding human being, and to help you predict your future and make all your dreams come true. Iíd like to know that you come to your COMS 201 class because you want to come!

You donít have to take notes and write my lectures the whole hour we are together, because you can print them off before or after class, or panic for the midterm and print them all off on October 23rd.

Letís look at the course outline.

Course Outline

Letís end class ten minutes early so you can rush over to the bookstore and bypass the hourly line-up for the textbook.

Griffin, Em. (2000). A First Look at Communication Theory. Fourth Edition. McGraw-Hill.

Assignment for next Lab:

  1. Write about your feelings and impressions of the first day at the University of Calgary on one sheet of paper.
  2. Please type up the page and hand it in your next lab.
  3. Do not put your name on this assignment to protect your privacy and anonymity.
  4. Donít forgot you need a nameplate for both class and labs.