COMS 100 is a basic course in speech communication and is required of all undergraduates at Northern Illinois University. The University believes that proficiency in oral communication is essential to meet the educational, professional and societal needs of all students.
This course is distinctive because we give as great an emphasis to listening skills in oral communication as to speaking skills. We make a continual commitment to value cultural diversity as a source for alternative perspectives from which communicators can benefit each other. Students will learn a variety of rhetorical skills which are applicable to the tasks of both the speaker and the listener. Why is there such an emphasis on listening? College success, insofar as it is related to communication skills, relies more heavily on listening than speaking.
Our culture already provides ubiquitous training, adages, commentary, and explicit instruction about how to talk sensibly and clearly. It does not provide such explicit instruction about listening. Therefore, students have little or no experience in thinking and practicing listening skills consciously and systematically. Direct listening instruction complements the development of speech skills.