Crazy Credits: Learning becomes personal in the digital age

Julie Sisler

Despite growing opportunities for digital communication through social media, understanding face-to-face communication is still highly valued by employers and could lead to greater success.

COMM 348, a course in interpersonal communication, gives students the opportunity to better understand and utilize such skills.

Professor of communication Holly Payne teaches the course. She said she believes it’s an excellent opportunity to not only learn about communication theory but to see it in action.

“We study how our perceptions of self and others influence our construction and interpretation of messages,” Payne said. “We also closely examine how relationships are initiated, developed, modified, maintained and terminated through a communicative lens.”

Junior Garrett Boyd said the class was one of his favorites. He said he finds himself regularly utilizing the skills he picked up.

“Ever since I took the class, I have found myself noticing what other people do when I’m talking to them such as fidgeting or looking around the room if they are nervous and then trying to change the way that I am approaching them in conversation,” Boyd said.

Senior Rachel Tidwell said she also frequently uses the skills learned
in class, finding a lesson in conflict 
management to be particularly impactful.

“It taught different types of tactics you should use to navigate through
a bad situation,” Tidwell said. “And more importantly, it taught what things you should not say and do in a given situation.”

A large part of the class analyzes how theories discussed are applied in your own life. This is demonstrated through personality and relationship assessments about love languages, conflict management styles, self perception and family relations.

Tidwell said one of the most illuminating class moments she encountered was learning her love language from an in-class quiz. She said the quiz was very accurate and later encouraged her fiance and friends to take it as well.

Payne said she’s heard much about how the class impacts students personally. She added that once a student told her via an end-of-semester evaluation the class saved one of their relationships.

“I can think of no higher praise,” Payne said. “I can’t promise that the course will save all relationships or that it should, but I can say that it provides a unique space to honestly examine why we communicate the way that we do and gives solutions for improving.”

Features reporter Julie Sisler can be reached at julie.sisler389@topper. Follow Julie on social me-dia at @julie_sisler.