COM 112: The Art and Joy of Communication

Course Description

This course is designed to focus on elevating all of your communication skills – writing, conversing, and corresponding – by stimulating the exploration of your creative mind-set. We will tap into your innovative, thoughtful, intelligent, and humorous potential. The real (maybe hidden) you: eloquently expressive, sublimely jubilant, sagely introspective, and outrageously fecund. My goals are to enrich and empower your communication abilities, enabling you to correspond and articulate fluently and expressively. With panache! To enjoy the art – and enormous fun – of communication. (1 credit)

Note: This course duplicates our COM 113 course. Students can only earn credit for one or the other. Credit cannot be earned for both courses. 


  • ENG 101: English Composition 1

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Examine in essay and conversational form – your innovative, thoughtful, intelligent, humorous and creative communication skills: writing, speaking, advising, advocating, debating, negotiating (how to gently convince your spouse/child/friend that they should wash the dishes), encouraging, empathizing, and laughing.
  2. Illustrate creative and thoughtful thinking, conversing, and writing, by exploring your imaginative abilities, helping to empower you verbally, and urging you to express your individual cultural experiences in essays and conversation in a more effective (sincere, persuasive and humorous) manner.
  3. Demonstrate your writing and conversational skills, thereby enabling you to articulate with more precision.
  4. Discover how language influences and how it will cultivate contentment, joy, empathy and bonhomie. How a strong vocabulary is a powerful tool – and words matter.
  5. Demonstrate the power of laughter: stupid puns, silly jokes, clever quips and outlandish pranks (some gone sour – see Domino’s Pizza). Humor is a palliative.
  6. Analyze the influence (sometimes pernicious) of social media (crises created by loose words, sloppy postings, images, videos: Jet Blue, Walmart).
  7. Acquire and realize a more inspired, sanguine, confident, literate (perhaps urbane), and knowledgeable mindset – and, hopefully, radiate even more happiness and kindness in all forms of your communication.

Course Activities and Grading


Discussions (Weeks 1- 5)


Vocabulary List (Weeks 1-5)


Weekly Essays (Weeks 1-5)


Video Conference (Week 3)


Final Exam (Week 5)




Required Textbooks

  • This course uses Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are openly licensed, educational resources that can be used for teaching, learning and research. OER may consist of a variety of resources such as textbooks, videos and software that are no cost for students. 

Course Schedule



Readings and Exercises




Topics: Writing and Storytelling

  • Readings:
    1. Writing is Thinking (4 pp.)
    2. Rewrite Your Story (2 pp.)
    3. Garbage Language (6 pp.)
    4. Proofreading Marks [see provided chart]
    5. Suggested Vocabulary List [see provided format]
    6. Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day (register)
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Write essay: “YOU”
  • Write essay: Worst Date or Job Interview
  • Write: Short Poem
  • Participate in discussions
  • Begin your rolling Vocabulary List



Topics: Figures of Speech, Creativity, and the Power of Language

  • Readings:
    1. Figures of Speech (5 pp.)
    2. Similes (2 pp.)
    3. Metaphors Example (2 pp.)
    4. Metaphors (1 p.)
    5. Conceits (2 pp.)
    6. How to be a More Effective Communicator (7 pp.)
  • Listen:
    1. Windmills of Your Mind, Dusty Springfield
    2. Starry, Starry Nights, Don McLean
    3. Rock the Boat, Hues Corporation (simile and metaphor in refrain)
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Listen to assigned resources
  • Compose five succinct metaphors
  • Write essay: A critical movie or novel "review using copious figures of speech
  • Write essay: Creatively explore a cultural experience(s) that has impacted you
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue Vocabulary List



Topics: Happiness and Laughter – Joy and Humor

  • Readings:
    1. Art and Science of Making Conversation (2 pp.)
    2. How to be Happy (2 pp.)
    3. Gratitude Rewires Your Brain (2 pp.)
    4. Small Changes (1 p.)
    5. How to Spend Money for More Joy in Life (3 pp.)
    6. 101 Romantic Love Messages (skim 7 pp.)
  • Listen:
    1. Happy: Four Pillars of Meaning, Ted Talk (video, 12 mins.)
    2. "Hindsight's 2020" (video, 3.5 min.)
    3. "Find a Little Kindness," Glen Campbell (4 min.)
    4. An Ideal Husband - try to watch (it's romantic): 1999, Cannes Film Festival; Rotten Tomatoes 86%)
      "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." Oscar Wilde
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Listen to assigned resources
  • Write essay: What are the "threads of happiness” that weave through the readings and how do they relate to the Four Pillars?
  • Write essay: What have you done to make someone especially happy?
  • Participate in Video Conference
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue Vocabulary List



Topic: Social Media – Does it Help or Hinder?

  • Readings:
    1. The Dark Psychology of Social Networks (9 pp.)
    2. Lurking -- It's Time to Unfriend the Internet (3 pp.)
    3. The New Rules of Chivalry - The Modern Man's Guide to Being a Gentleman in the Digital Age (3 pp.)
    4. Facebook reaches about 1/3 of humanity. It is more powerful than any political party — and it’s full of untruths, bigotry and nonsense.  “The truth is that these [social media behemoths] won’t fundamentally change because their entire business model relies on generating more engagement, and nothing generates more engagement than lies, fear and outrage.” Roger Cohen, NYT 12-13-2019
  • Listen:
    1. Sacha Baron Cohen Has a Message for Mark Zuckerberg (42 min; or click on transcript)
    2. Dominos Pizza (ick...) (video, 2.5 min.)
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Listen to assigned resources
  • Write essay: Pros and Cons of Social Media; does Big Tech Need Regulation? Is Sacha too extreme?
  • Write essay: When has SM (1) been a great advantage; or, (2) an embarrassment?
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue Vocabulary List



Topics: Kindness and Conflict – Negotiation, Reconciliation

  • Readings:
    1. Political Civility – Listen to the Other Side (6 pp.)
    2. How to Sway the Other Side (4 pp.)
    3. Optimism (1 p.)
    4. Negotiation (6 pp.)
  • Listen:
    1. Sympathy (video, 5 min.)
    2. "Thinking Outside the Box" (video, 3 min.)
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Write essay: What was the subject – and result - of your most memorable argument? What techniques learned in these readings would have helped?
  • Participate in the discussions
  • Finalize Vocabulary List
  • Complete Final Exam (to be posted on Wednesday)
Final Exam
SLOs 1-7


COSC Accessibility Statement

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COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.