Friday, September 14, 2007

Communications Class

Since I'm due mid-semester I have elected to take all of my classes this semester online. One of my classes is "Intercultural Communication."

Now, this is not the first time I've taken a communications class, nor the first time I've been disappointed by the book or content. I so want to like these classes, they should be interesting and fun, but I always end up reading textbooks that are not well written or researched and seem rather ridiculous and illogical to a large degree.

Why must communications make itself so laughable?

I hate to sound like and academic snob (especially since I'm a creative writing and photography major) but... well, communications is kinda like the dumbass degree field from what I can tell.

How else do you end up with a textbook that is full of logical errors and unsupported claims? That cites quotes by so and so but never even kinda explain why we should care what John Smith said about blah blah blah...

And then the professors.... This one seems ok, I think. It's an online class so I've never met her but I'm going to assume she's nice and smart. I've had a couple of doozies though in Com classes.

One semester I had... small group communication at a local community college. I ended up having to contest my grade because the teacher regularly used words she did not know the meaning of and then tested based on her vocabulary (SCARY!)... Like once she said something like "People get perspirational and excrementory when communication breaks down between group members..." I'm not sure that these were her exact words, just that niether were actually words at all and that both would have been very wrong (and were related to bodily functions) if they were words. Luckily I was able to show my dean a copy of a test I got a c on (because of her strange vocab) and it ended up ok.

The next was a public speaking teacher who was my worst nightmare. She was inconsistent in her policies, took any request for clarification as a challenge to her authority, and liked to pit students against each other (and stir up animosity) seemingly for fun. Well, and she was pretty dumb and clueless about even her field (even though she was working on her PhD!). On the day of our final speech she gave us class evaluations to fill out, stayed in the class while we filled them out, and insinuated that our grade could be influenced by how we evaluated her class... ick, ick, ick!

Anyway, I have to say that I've not found a lot of reasons to respect the communications field, and this class isn't helping. It's not that the teacher isn't smart, it's just that the field seems too... Fluffy. Like the standards are excessively low and more about political correctness than actual academic rigor. Sure, not offending people is an important part of harmonious communications, but at the same time... when you cease to be able to communicate because your message gets lost in the trying not to offend.... that's a big problem.

Alright... that's my rant on communications. I'm sure as I read further chapters I will com across other parts of the book that piss me off. If I can I'll even quote them for you next time.

1 comment:

Jason S. said...

I remember trying to take a freshman level communications class in college when I was a junior. I needed some extra hours, and decided to give it a shot. Bad idea.

I was a science major, and at the time also very introverted. It was nothing more than a public speaking class, though the course description mentioned something about communications theory.

I dropped it after the second class. It remains the only class I have ever dropped in college. At least it wasn't a core class, I'd feel ashamed if it had been.

Best of luck, and please do post some of those gems from the book if you aren't too busy.