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Matt Abrahams - Communication Studies

Speech 15

Com: puzzle

If all my possessions were to be taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it, I would regain all the others.    -Daniel Webster

Course Description

Problem Solving and Critical Reasoning in Groups is a hands-on practical class that examines communication and reasoning in the context of effective group problem solving. In this class, we emphasize the application of group communication concepts and methods of problem solving to come up with effective, appropriate decisions.  We will explore principles of evidence, reasoning, and impediments to effective group communication. 

I believe that true learning only occurs when everyone is involved and interested in the material presented.  Our class will consist of a combination of lectures, discussions, group activities, projects, and presentations.  Through constructive feedback, we will all have the opportunity to teach and help each other.  I encourage you to use this course to explore and broaden your world view.  Please, challenge yourself and explore issues that matter to you.



Fall 2012 Syllabus

Extra Credit Surveys (complete by 5PM on Monday, Dec 10th)
-Survey 1
-Survey 2
-Survey 3
Informative Presentation Outline

Deception Article

Critical Decision Making and Problem Solving Articles
-Decision Time
-10 Ways to Make Better Decisions

-Document 1
-Document 2

Case Study Groups

Case Studies - Down load the case study for your group (some are large files ~5M)
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5

Vocal Activities

Handling Difficult Facilitation Situations

Sample Active Listening Report

Sample Facilitation Agenda and Minutes

Reading notecard questions for pages 234-250, 259-269, and 168-173


(1) Looking at all of the tips on how to avoid groupthink, explain the underlying reason they all work to reduce groupthink.

(2) List and briefly describe one tool for identifying a problem to be solved and another tool for analyzing a problem to be solved (I need 2 tools total).

(3) Define the Delphi technique for coming up with creative alternatives.

Reading notecard questions for pages 306-315

(1) List the things you can and should do to be a good meeting participant.

Reading notecard questions for pages 184-190

(1) List the and briefly describe the steps for developing a discussion plan.

Reading notecard questions for pages 283-397

(1) Describe the differences between task and process leadership. (2) Describe the differences between situational and process transformational leadership..

Reading notecard questions for pages 101-115 and 316-322

(1) What are the differences between confirming and disconfirming messages?  Give a recent example of a confirming message that someone did for you.

(2) Define cohesiveness and talk about some advice on how to build it?

(3) List the five steps your books suggests for planning what to say to an audience.

Reading notecard questions for pages 150-164

(1) What are the differences between simple and ego conflict?

(2) Think of a conflict you recently had with a person in your life, use Gottman's X-Y-Z formula and write out a comment you could provide to that person.

Reading notecard questions for pages 69-88

(1) List the 3 different types of roles and give an example of each.

(2) Why is trust so important in groups?

Reading notecard questions for pages 12-19 and 51-62

(1) When does it make sense to collaborate as a group?

(2) How are Maslow's and Schultz's theories of why people join groups similar and different?

Reading notecard questions for pages 120-142

(1) Identify barriers to effective listening (including, word barriers).  Which of these do you use most frequently in your communication?

(2) Define the four listening styles and identify which one is most like you?

(3) What one concept about nonverbal communication did you find most interesting and why?

Reading notecard questions for pages 2-5 and 196-200

(1) Define mediated setting and give an example?

(2) What are some differences between facts, examples, opinions, and statistics?


Informative Presentation Articles

If you need Adobe Acrobat, please click this link

email icon Email: Matt Abrahams
phone icon Phone: 408.864.8534

Communication Studies

Last Updated: 4/20/16