COMM 460
Fall 2014

Comments from Previous Students

The Study of Public Discourse

Who is the course for?

What knowledge should you have before you come into this course?

What will the course be like?

Learning Resources

Office Hours

Participation and Attendance

Recommendations to you from previous students in the course

What are the keys to success in this course?

Home Page

I ask students at the end of each semester to indicate advice they would pass on to future students. (You will be asked this as well).  Below are comments from the last time the course was taught.  Not all students indicated advice.  But most all that did are included here.  I only excluded comments that were not comprehensible to me or that seemed repetitive.

Read the material

The most frequent advice given was to read the material for class.

  • Read in depth
  • Read the speeches!
  • Make sure to study a lot for the exams and read
  • Read the speeches!  Prepare for class and you will get more out of it.
  • Do the reading.
  • Read.

Some comments provide additional advice on ways to study.  They stress that it is not just important to read, but to study the material.

  • Read speeches and relate concepts and themes to them.
  • Read the speeches aloud in the mirror.  With feeling.  It will keep you awake during the boring ones.
  • Closely pay attention to speeches and their context.
  • Read the texts ahead of time, go to class, and participate in the discussion.  Practice writing speeches and do some memorization along the way.
  • Read through the class notes before lecture. It is better to add to these notes than try to take your own set.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking the full class notes will substitute for being in class for the lecture. The lecture brings the material to life in a way that written notes can never do.

Others indicate the importance of not falling behind in your reading.

  • Definitely, keep up with the reading.
  • Don't do any last minute study.  Study and understand the material as you go along.  Also, read all the assigned material to be prepared for the quizzes.
  • Do all the readings and don't fall behind because its hard to catchup.
  • Stay on top of the readings.  There is a lot of information and if you get behind, watch out because its going to be a rough one.
  • Make sure and do the reading prior to class and don't fall behind.
  • I would tell them to keep up with the readings.  That would help.
  • Read ahead of the syllabus.

Attendance and participation in class is important

The second most frequently mentioned advice is to attend class.

  • Read, Read, Read, and don't forget to come to class.
  • The website is very helpful and you must go to class and do readings.
  • Do the readings and attend lectures.
  • Do all the readings, and always come to class.  It really is very beneficial.
  • Go to class
  • Come to class so you can absorb the feel of the community.

Some make a particular point to stress the importance of participation in class.

  • Participate in class

Use of the website

Students also point to the usefulness of the website:

  • Go to the website between every class.  There is so much more depth there that will help you understand.
  • Print off the notes on the website and bring them to class.  Make your notes on them as you need to.
  • Don't overlook the incredible study aids on the website.  They provide so much material that will help you study.

Other comments

There were other comments.  Some are good advice, but I do not endorse all of these but offer them for completeness.

  • Be prepared to open your mind up and go back to see how other people lived.  Try to lose yourself in history.
  • Time management is necessary.
  • Focus more on class information and not so much on the readings for tests.  The only part where I found the readings really important were on the matching section.
  • Study Lincoln.
  • This is about American history and is not about practicing your own communication skills.