Policy Statement

Communication Studies 100 and 100P

This course is designed to develop oral communication competence in listening and speaking skills. Both the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Northern Illinois University affirm that communication skills are  important at all levels of education in order to better improve individuals for work, citizenship and social well-being.

Our course is distinctive in two respects:

We emphasize listening skills as strongly as speaking skills.
We make a continual commitment to value cultural diversity and the opportunities it provides communicators to benefit from one another.

Oral Communication Competencies -- Objectives of COMS 100

Oral communication competency consists of recognizing the unique characteristics of differing communication contexts and adapting speaking and listening skills to those contexts. The goals of this course consist of the effectiveness in both the preparation and presentation and the reception and interpretation of oral messages. These goals are achieved by emphasizing the classical rhetorical skills of invention, organization, language, style and delivery.

The general speaking and listening skills, or competencies, are listed below. Specific skills are provided separately.

I. Rhetorical Purpose

Listeners set responsible and appropriate goals. 
Speakers set responsible and appropriate goals. 

II. Speaker/Audience Adaptation

Listeners assess the purpose and credibility of a speaker. 
Speakers analyze listeners in order to adapt messages to them.

III. Establishing Central Themes

Listeners identify the thesis and main ideas in a message. 
Speakers develop a thesis and main ideas in a message. 

IV. Supporting Materials

Listeners classify and assess supporting data. 
Speakers develop adequate and appropriate supporting materials. 

V. Arrangement

Listeners assess relationships among ideas. 
Speakers develop a logical, consistent and appropriate arrangement of ideas. 

VI. Linguistic Style

Listeners appreciate the impact of language on understanding and belief. 
Speakers use clear, precise and vivid language.

VII. Non-Verbal Style

Listeners recognize and assess the influence of nonverbal symbols on the interpretation of messages. 
Speakers use nonverbal symbols to amplify messages and maintain rapport. 

VIII. Speaker/Audience Interaction

Listeners actively interact with speakers and others. 
Speakers encourage interaction with listeners.

Minimum Course Requirements

All sections of COMS 100 use common texts. Fifteen percent of the final grade is based on a uniform comprehensive final exam covering the cognitive content of the course. The remaining 85 percent is based on assignments that require demonstration of speaking and listening skills.

Preparation and presentation of at least 3 speeches, which includes one informative speech and one persuasive speech. 
Interpretation of at least 3 oral messages, which includes one critical essay. 

  • Listening to one communication event outside of class. 
  • Videotaping at least one assigned speech. 
  • Participating in directed class activities.


Attendance is obviously vital in a course designed to improve basic communication skills. Missing more than 15 percent of class meetings (6 MWF absences or 4 TTH) and substandard course performance constitutes sufficient reason for failure. Students who must miss assignments for a verifiable emergency or serious illness (confirmed by the Health Center) are responsible for making arrangements with their instructor promptly upon return to class to complete missed work at the discretion and convenience of the instructor. It is also the student's responsibility to get information on course content missed or changes in assignments, due dates or schedules announced during his or her absence. Failing to give any oral performance at the scheduled time is especially serious since the schedule for an entire class is affected. Assignments not completed will receive a failing grade and/or penalty.


"The faculty of the university aims to foster a spirit of honesty and integrity. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work which he or she has not performed is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on any assignments, quizzes or examinations may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the University."

COMS 100 Advising

Ferald Bryan
(815) 753-7100

Helena Sivits
COMS 100P Coordinator
(815) 753-6999

OCFSCE Sign-Up Form

Contact Us

Department of Communication
Northern Illinois University
Watson Hall 210
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1563
Fax: 815-753-7109

Acting Department Chair

Mehdi Semati
Phone: 815-753-7028
Email: msemati@niu.edu