Criteria for Communication-A Courses
So what happens in the Comm-A course? What skills should you expect your students to have mastered upon coming to a Comm-B class? These questions are more easily asked than answered since not every student will have an “ideal” Comm-A experience. (In fact, you may even have students who come to your course without yet having a Comm-A course.) But there are some things with which the average Comm-A student should be familiar.
The overall objective of a Comm-A course is to develop students’ abilities in writing and public speaking for exposition and argumentation. The courses vary in emphasis, but, across the board, the class size is about 20.
Comm-A courses stress frequent assignments in writing and speaking totaling 25-30 pages of clear, revised prose (including at least one researched essay and several prepared oral presentations) and completion of the information component developed in conjunction with the campus library user education program.
In addition to evaluations of student work by individual instructors, each course has an assessment plan to demonstrate that the course meets the Comm-A objectives.
Courses at UW-Madison That Satisfy the Comm-A Requirement
Communication Arts 100
Communication Arts 181 (honors)
Engineering Professional Development 155
Life Sciences Communication/Family and Consumer Sciences 100
The following is a more detailed breakdown of some of the specifics students should learn upon completion of a Comm-A course:
- Selecting, narrowing, and focusing topics
- Identifying and analyzing audience information needs
- Generating and organizing ideas
- Comprehending and analyzing texts
- Learning structures of exposition and argument and the use of evidence
- Organizing and developing paragraphs, papers, and speeches
- Adapting writing and speaking for intended audiences
- Learning conventions of academic writing
- Mastering elements of grammar, usage, and style
- Preparing speeches for oral delivery
- Citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, and compiling accurate bibliographies
- Developing critical skills for reading and listening—in review of peer writing/speaking
- Revising and editing essays and speeches—for spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, organization, and logic
- Critiquing assigned readings and speeches delivered outside class
Information-Seeking Skills and Strategies:
- Identifying and retrieving source materials needed to evaluate, organize, and select information from print and electronic sources
- Acquiring basic critical, technical, and mechanical skills needed to find relevant information
We hope you’ll talk with your students about these requirements along with their individual Comm-A experiences.