Descriptions of the courses I regularly teach are included below. Please contact me if you are interested in my syllabi.
Students: you may access our course Moodle using this link.
CMN 312: Communicating for Innnovation
This course is designed to challenge the notion that good ideas are produced by lone geniuses. Surveying theories from organizational communication and other behavioral sciences, we will explore the important role that communication plays in fostering innovation and creativity in the workplace. Some topics discussed include: socialization, group decision-making, information sharing, positive workplace environments, the role of communication technologies, and social networks. Students will analyze real-world cases and participate in class activities designed to demonstrate innovation processes in action.The purpose of this course is to increase your ability understand and improve the organizations within which you will work. It is a course on applied communication and behavioral theory. By this, I mean that we will review fundamental concepts from the literature with a focus on understanding how they can be used effectively in real-world organizations. Although we will emphasize high technology and manufacturing settings, the we will be discussing theories and findings that can be applied to organizations in general.
CMN 410: Workplace Communication Technologies
The modern workplace is full of communication technologies such as email, social media, instant messaging, and knowledge management systems. What do these technologies do for the organization and the individuals within it? How can we maximize technology’s benefit while reducing the possibility of unintended negative consequences? This course addresses these questions by exploring the complex relationship between communication and technology in the workplace. We will focus particularly on how information communication technologies are designed, implemented, adopted, and used within and across organizations. The class begins with a focus on technological trends and the experience of new technologies. Then, we will review the theories used to conceptualize the adoption, implementation, and use of technologies in the workplace. Issues of knowledge management, expertise, impression management, and new organizational forms supported by technology (e.g. virtual organizations and distributed work) will be addressed. Along the way, we will examine real-world cases and develop skills necessary for working in contemporary organizations.
CMN 529: Communication, Technology, and Social Change
co-taught with Professor Sally Jackson
We begin with the premise that “new media” refers not just a set of specific artifacts (devices, applications, infrastructures) but to a dramatically changed communication environment in which we should expect meaningful shifts at both the social-behavioral and societal levels. This seminar will introduce students to significant bodies of theorizing in communication and allied disciplines, each of which attempts to explain the relationship between technological and social change. Following a general introduction to system theories of communication, we will explore: Medium theory (McLuhan, Postman, Ong, etc.); Mediatization theory (Hjarvard, Lundby, etc.), Actor network theory (Latour, Woolgar, Callon, etc.), Sociomateriality (Leonardi, Orlikowski); Socio-historical approaches (Marvin, Fischer, etc.), Social construction of technology (SCOT; Pinch, Bijker, etc.), Feature oriented approaches (Kiesler, Daft, Walther, etc.), and Structurational approaches (Poole, Barley, etc.). As a broader structure for the course, we will position each body of theory along two axes with regard to how they treat the relationship between technology and change: first, on whether the theory attends more closely to artifacts or to human interpretation, and second, on whether the theory attends more closely to the immediate influences or to durable, irreversible changes in the organization of social life. We will use this structure to facilitate a meta-conversation about how one’s theoretical positioning may influence data collection, methods, analysis, and conclusions.
CMN 529: Knowledge, Technology, and Organizing
This course begins with the argument that a sensitivity to the nature of knowledge, and the processes by which knowledge is managed, is essential to understanding human interaction in a post-industrial era. I have designed this course to introduce students to significant bodies of theory exploring the relationship between knowledge, technology, and organizing – with an emphasis on organizational contexts. Our readings draw on the disciplines of Communication, Management, and Science and Technology Studies (STS) to explore how diverse knowledge can benefit organizations, the challenges produced by such diversity, and the known mechanisms for overcoming these knowledge barriers. Along the way we will also consider the complex ways that communication technologies relate with knowledge management processes. As we read, we will position each body of thought along two theoretical axes regarding their conceptualization of knowledge processes: first, on whether the theory views knowledge as a codified resource or as an embodied performance, and second, on whether the theory attends more closely to social practices or social structures. My hope is that exposing you to such variety of perspectives will facilitate a meta-conversation about how ones epistemology influences data collection, methods, analysis, and interpretation.
CMN 529: Qualitative Field Methods
Qualitative field methods have been an important tool for social scientists for over a century. This course is an intensive practicum intended to introduce students to the skills of qualitative field methods, with an emphasis on their application in knowledge intensive contexts. While numerous texts on this topic exist, much of the knowledge necessary to be an effective field worker is tacit in nature. As such, this course is designed under the philosophy that the best way to learn this knowledge is through practice. This seminar will guide students through the process of formulating a field project, gathering high-quality data through interviews and observation, and performing a structured analysis that engages meaningfully with theory. By the end of the semester, you will have performed over 20 hours of fieldwork and analyzed your data using an iterative process informed by the tenets of grounded theory. We will approach these goals by: 1) reviewing exemplars of grounded qualitative inquiry, 2) surveying methods texts, and 3) gaining their own experiences in the field.