Department of Communication, Burton Hall

The DoD Joint Course in Communication proceeds from two central assumptions: first, that communication can best be studied as a social science, and secondly, that communication is the basic discipline from which public affairs eminates. Based on these two assumptions, the approach of the DoD program is to provide a basic foundation in the social science of communication for each student, and then to build on this foundation an understanding of public affairs strategies and tactics.

Corresponding to these two assumptions and goals, the DoD Program is subdivided into three blocks of academic instruction. Block I orients students to the scholarly study of human communication and the theoretical perspectives of human communication behavior. Block II examines the various directions and contexts for the application of communication theory and research to foster the development of effective communication strategies and tactics. Block III reflects specialized material pertinent to the students' Capstone (final) project. The Capstone experience is team-based and serves an integrating function for course content. The Capstone projects provide students with an opportunity to solve real problems in the public affairs arena.

All textbooks, supplies and supplemental reading packets for the course are provided by the university to the students for use throughout the course, and for future use and reference at their respective installations. No books or supplies need to be purchased prior to the course.  

The Joint Course in Communication is divided into three three blocks of academic instruction with students receiving seperate grades for each block based on academic performance.

Block I: This section is concerned with the development of communication as a social science within the tradition of similar social sciences such as psychology, sociology, and political science. As part of this effort, epistemological issues are discussed. Objectives during this block are to provide an introduction to the history and nature of epistomology, introduce significant concepts and terms and to develop a schema of research functions. The overall grade for Block I consisits of two exams and one paper.

Block II: This section provides a basis for translating the theoretically based material presented in Block I to the concern for the application of these principles into the work settings, particularly that of public affairs. The previous Block of instruction was concerned with the role of theory and research in understanding communication generally, and in an attitude toward the value of theory in problem solving. This section seeks to provide a way to move from theory to the practice of that theory in “real world” problem solving.

Block III: This block focuses on integrating communication research, theory, strategy and tactic into a tool for solving particular military related problems. Working in teams, students will employ a case method approach to 1) differentiate a causal agency problem form an unmanageable situation, 2) embrace a communication theoretical perspective to guide their analysis, 3) present a comprehensive list of solutions based on that perspective, 4) choose the best solution and justify its workability, and 5) create an executable plan relative to their problem, paying special attention to the evaluation to the success or failure of the solution. Instruction is designed to show specialized application of communication research.