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COMM 5110/6110/7110 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

COMM 5110/6110/7110 - Leadership and Communication

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course introduces leadership perspectives and the role communication plays in effective leadership and management strategies.

Course Outcomes:

The objectives of the course are as follows:

  • This course is designed to introduce students to leadership perspectives and the role communication plays in effective leadership and management strategies. The objectives of the course are as follows:
  • Acquaint the student with leadership and communication theories.
  • Improve the student's ability to comprehend communication research articles and to synthesize areas of research.
  • Create an awareness of the interaction between theorists in communication, sociology, and psychology who are associated with leadership research.
  • Develop student awareness with and ability to examine, understand, and interpret financial statements of an organization.
  • This course attempts to develop these skills through the examination and application of conflict theory, communication theories, and application assignments.
  • The communication skills of writing, speaking, and listening will be developed through written assignments, case studies, and discussion board topics.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Graduate status and admission to the Master of Professional Studies degree program or departmental approval.

Course Topics:

The course will explore leadership approaches as they relate to motivation, conflict resolution, human resources, financial analysis, and information flow within the organization.

Specific Course Requirements:

Internet access, computer, Microsoft Word, and Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Dilenschneider, R.L. (1998). The Critical 14 years of your Professional Life. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing. (ISBN) 0-8065-2011-6

Relevant and Essential Journals (most are available online) for the course:

Harvard Business Review
Journal of Management
Academy Management Journal
The Academy of Management Review
Administrative Science Quarterly
Management Communication Quarterly
Journal of Applied Communication Research Journal of Psychology
Communication Yearbook

Supplemental online readings, cases, or handouts will be provided as assignments dictate.

The readings are DUE the first day they are listed in the class schedule.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:


Grading Procedures:

Assessing Your Performance in Leadership and Communication

Research paper 20%
Review of Scholarly Articles 20%
Weekly Synopsis 20%
Discussion Questions/Responses 20%
Cases/Application Assignments 10%
General Course Participation 10%

Grading Scale:

Your Discussion responses will be evaluated according to the following scale as follows:

Excellent 93-100
Very Good 92-85
Good 84-77
Fair 76-69
Poor 68-below
No response 0 Points

It is imperative that you keep up with the readings and the discussion board activities. It is unfair to allow late submissions on the discussion board when other students are working to keep up. I will not be lenient in relation to the due dates on the discussion board. You must post and respond within the time allotted.

Assignments and Projects:

In addition to Discussion participation, you will have the following assignments:

  1. Research paper or Leadership Presentation

In this category you have an option, you can choose to write a research paper or prepare a presentation that could be given to a professional/work group. The requirements for the assignments are as follows:

If you select the research paper, you will write a paper in which you thoroughly explore a topic relevant to leadership and communication. The paper could be the foundation for your final research project for the your program of study. I am very open to suggestions for the final paper. For example, the paper could be: 1) a review of literature of a selected leadership and communication perspective; 2) application of a theoretical perspective to an interesting leadership question; 3) a detailed methods section of a research proposal testing a particular theoretical perspective, or 4) a complete research study. The paper should be 8-10 pages in length.

If you select the presentation option, you will prepare a presentation complete with PowerPoint slides in which you explore a key leadership topic (Change, Conflict, Motivation, Leadership Style, Turnover, Competition, etc.). You will select the audience and briefly describe how this topic meets the expectations of the audience. The presentation could include hands-on activities for the audience, hand-outs, discussion questions, etc. If given to an audience, the presentation should be approximately 15-20 minutes in length. This is a new option. If you actually do the presentation, you can submit a video tape as well as your text of the presentation when the assignment is due.

  1. Review of Scholarly Article (every other unit)

One of the strengths of online learning is the opportunity for diverse individuals to share their resources and ideas. You will be asked to find 3 (approximately one every other unit) articles online or offline, conduct a brief analysis of the research and its application to communication, and submit it on the Discussion Board for that week. The purpose of this assignment is to help you and your fellow learners become exposed to the breadth and depth of scholarly research. Through the sharing of the research articles with your classmates your three articles become 45+ articles; therefore, you need to be thoughtful in your selection of appropriate articles and your evaluation of the research.

See Review of Scholarly topic for a sample of this assignment. 

  1. Weekly synopsis of assigned readings from the books

​Each week you will be assigned readings from the textbook. You submit through the assignment link a 100-200 word synopsis of each chapter. In the discussion board you will submit a 100-200 word paragraph on what you found most interesting in the assigned book readings. As a learner, you are expected to respond to at least one other learner's identification of what they found most interesting.

  1. Discussion Questions

​You should refer regularly to the Course Schedule which provides a framework for the course, so we can progress through the same units and discussions together. As you'll notice, some units last one week while others are two weeks. I will post one to three questions or exercises. Typically, for a one-week unit, I will post questions on Sunday or Monday. You'll be expected to post a thoughtful response/answer (100-200 words) to each question. In your response, you should refer to readings, your own experience, or other resources germane to the question. Additionally, you will be expected to provide a thorough response to at least one other student's answers. I do not expect or want you to respond to every learner. I want a thoughtful response to one learner. However, it is important that you read the responses of the other learners. The sharing of information in an online setting is only successful if you read and respond to other learners. (As the instructor, I can tell how often comments are read by other students.) 

  1. Case Studies and Other Assignments

​Throughout the course I will assign case studies or application exercises. The cases and the application activities will test your ability to apply the readings to "real world" situations. The situations reflect actual events that a leader may face. I think you will find them interesting and challenging. 

  1.  Posting Your Discussion Responses and Reviews of Scholarly Articles

​Please respond to assignments in a timely way. It's very easy to miss important information if you don't stay fairly close to the Course Schedule. You may post directly into the Discussion Board. I discourage attachments in the Discussion Board. If something prevents your participation, please make sure to let your instructor know. Students may post questions or requests for clarification, which may be answered by the instructor as well as by other students.

Research Paper/Professional Presentation Timeline

  • Select a topic and Confer with Instructor (Due Date: Consult the Weekly Schedule) E-mail a brief description of the topic you intend to develop. If you'd like help making a decision about your project concept, contact the instructor.
  • Submit Final Paper/Leadership Presentation: (Due Date: Consult the Weekly Schedule) Submit the final paper as a MSWord attachment to an e-mail message. When I receive the e-mail and the attachment, I will respond to confirm receipt.
  • Post 1 page abstract of final paper: (Due Date: Consult the Weekly Schedule) Post 1 page abstract of the final paper for the other students. 

Communication with the Instructor

You may be new to online learning or you may be a little uncomfortable with some of the technology. Regardless of your experience, it's very important that you ask questions if you are confused about an assignment or course expectation. You can also communicate with me via e-mail or send a fax. In addition to electronic communication, I am available for telephone conversations. Contact information is listed under the professor link. I suggest you send an email first so we can arrange a time. If you're encountering technical problems, you may call the RODP help desk.

Class Participation:
Late Policy:

There will be no make-up work accepted for any reason. If you know in advance that you will miss an assignment for a legitimate reason, you must turn your work in early.

NO extra credit will be given. Please don't ask. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 15, 2017