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New Knowledge on Basic Course

By Brandi N. Frisby

In the latest issue of the Basic Communication Course Annual, released this month on eCommons, college and university educators from across the country explore the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on public speaking practice, communication apprehension, student motivation and technology use in the communication course almost all college students take. 

Although Volume 34 is not a special issue on COVID-19, the pandemic has necessitated an altered approach to teaching and assessing the basic course; as such, it has prompted new research, inquiry and practices. To wit:

  • Joshua F. Hoops of William Jewell College focuses on situational communication apprehension with the environmental factors of a pandemic considered as the unique situation in which students were being asked to perform. Hoops concludes that in general, pandemic public speaking led to opportunities to build resilience in students.
  • Jessalyn I. Vallade, Renee Kaufmann and T. Kody Frey of the University of Kentucky replicate and extend pre-COVID-19 research on student motivation and engagement in the basic course. Their article provides evidence that instructor presence has been more important for motivation and engagement during the pandemic.
  • Ashley N. Aragon and Drew T. Ashby-King of the University of Maryland explore course administrators’ relationship management styles and how those styles facilitated the move to remote instruction. They conclude that administrators had to balance rhetorical and relational management strategies, and this balance led to positive outcomes.

Timeless topics

Kristin L. Farris and Michael Burns of Texas State University pursue the idea that the basic course classroom is an ideal place for university socialization and that this socialization process may include integrating core values into the curriculum and highlights ways the basic course may partner across campus to contribute to the overall success of the university.

Joe C. Martin of the University of Kentucky examines the use of mobile technology in the basic course classroom, introducing a new term to the basic course literature — “phubbing,” or snubbing one’s classmates and instructor to focus on one’s phone.

Pandemic: Positive takeaways

In the Basic Course Forum, authors were asked to think about pandemic pedagogy lessons for the basic course, and they found some positive takeaways. Nicholas T. Tatum of University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Melissa Broeckelman-Post of George Mason University propose multiple ways course administrators can plan courses for adaptation in the event of a crisis. LeAnn M. Brazeal of Missouri State University focuses on increased reliance and the development of efficacy with technology and advocates for the continued use of many of these pedagogical tools to improve course accessibility to benefit all students, whether in person or online. Roy Schwartzman of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro provides a thoughtful forum response.

All articles available online; print volume available for purchase

The Basic Communication Course Annual is a peer-reviewed academic journal that launched in 1989. In 2016, the University of Dayton acquired the publication and its archives and made all of it available on eCommons, UD’s open-access institutional repository. New volumes are released in the first quarter of each year. Though all articles are available free online, readers who prefer a print version of Volume 34 may purchase one for $15 plus shipping.

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