Syllabus — Org Comm @ Illinois Tech

Note: the syllabus is a living document. It could change and probably will.

Instructor: Dr. Libby Hemphill

Office: 214 Siegel Hall


Google Hangouts:

Office Hours

Tuesdays 2–3pm, other times by appointment or via Google Hangouts

Course Description

This class provides an opportunity to examine and discuss the ways in which organizing, communicating, and interacting affect our worlds. Some of the things you will learn in this class include the knowledge to

  1. explain various theories of communication from different approaches to organizational scholarship;
  2. understand the relationships between social trends and organizational communication practices;
  3. discuss the roles of collaboration, participation, socialization, etc. in the workplace; and
  4. describe developments in organizational scholarship related to leadership, management, and communication technologies.

Classes are not just about learning content or remembering facts. In this class, you will also develop broader skills such as the abilities to

  1. discuss the effects of technological developments on communication between individuals and within social groups;
  2. demonstrate knowledge of the issues and methods entailed in providing and evaluating evidence or intellectual justifications for claims;
  3. participate effectively in critical discussions of cultural and social issues; and
  4. demonstrate knowledge of how social and economic structures influence human behavior.


Required Books

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., & Trethewey, A. (2014). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint (Seventh edition). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Additional Materials

We’ll be watching films and episodes of TV most weeks. More info about accessing videos is coming soon.

Assignments and Grading

The primary means of communication for the class and among all of us will be our Medium publication. We will use Medium as a place to discuss the course material, a stand-in for a physical classroom. You will be responsible for reading and watching material each week, then posting your own blog post and commenting on others’ posts about those materials. I will also post materials about the course, including notes about each week’s readings, to Medium. The schedule of reading and watching assignments lives on Google Drive.

“Pithy instructions on writing and collaborating on Medium: here, here, and, yes, here.” (from Press Play by David Carr). In order to use Medium and complete these assignments, you need a Twitter or Facebook account. I recommend using a Twitter account, and you may use an existing Twitter account or create one just for this class. You may use your real name or a pseudonym as long as you tell me which name is yours so I can identify your contributions for grading purposes. Email me your preferred Medium account info ASAP.

Blog (50%)

Your primary assignment is to talk about the readings, the “watchings,” and how they relate to one another. You will post weekly responses to the readings on Medium. These weekly posts should include links to other materials that our readings or watchings made you think of (for instance, when we watch Pitch Perfect or Ocean’s Eleven, you could write about how organization communication unfolds differently in those movies than in their sequels or than in each other). You must discuss the readings each week. For ideas about what to write about, see the questions throughout the chapters, especially the boxes and case studies.

Comments (40%)

You are also required to comment on one another’s Medium posts. You can do this throughout the semester, but it’s best to comment early and often. Your comments should be constructive, useful, and respectful. For instance, you may suggest edits or engage in dialogue.

End of Semester Reflection Assignment (10%)

The purpose of the individual reflection assignment is to give you an opportunity to make sense of the work you’ve done this term and to demonstrate that you have thoughtfully considered how the course material may or may not be useful to you in the future. Your assignment may take many forms (e.g., prose essay, Powerpoint deck, infographic, video, song).

Whatever form you choose, your reflection assignment should explain how you understand some of the topics we covered in class. The syllabus and unit notes are all good resources for lists of concepts we covered. You don’t need to explain every concept, learning goal, and competency, but you should address at least a few. I’m especially interested in competencies and concepts that were completely new or that you understand differently now. Use the whole semester; don’t just write about technology alignment or competitive strategy.

Special Needs Policy

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources. The Center for Disability Resources (CDR) is located in Life Sciences Room 252, telephone 312 567.5744 or

A Note on Academic Honesty

Work you submit must be your own. Refer to the Code of Academic Honesty in the Student Handbook for details concerning sanctions. If you need help documenting sources appropriately or want additional help or feedback on your writing, please visit the Writing Center (Siegel Hall 232–233).