COM 113: Creative Communication

Course Description

This course is designed to enable students to perfect their communication skills: writing, corresponding, emailing, conversing, negotiating, and persuading. The course will stimulate the students’ creative mind-set, helping them become more proficient at communicating in all aspects of their personal and professional life – at home, with friends, on the field of play, at the country club, in the boardroom – with analytical insight, humor, dignity, and alacrity. Students will learn and exercise the power of an expanded vocabulary (words matter!), kindness in conversation, laughter in discussion, team-building, and cooperation in negotiating. Members of the class will tap into their innovative, thoughtful, and intelligent potential: eloquently expressive, sublimely jubilant, outrageously fecund, and sagely introspective. The course will enrich and empower students’ communication abilities, enabling them to correspond and articulate fluently and expressively. Students will learn to become adept storytellers. (3 credits)

Note: This course duplicates our COM 112 course. Students can only earn credit for one or the other. Credit cannot be earned for both courses.” Advisors and Counselors need to be notified of this as well. 


  • ENG 101: English Composition

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Examine your creative and humorous writing and storytelling skills.
  2. Define your verbal communication skills: advising, advocating, debating and negotiating.
  3. Describe the role of a strong vocabulary in communication.
  4. Analyze creative and thoughtful conversing and writing abilities, by exploring your individual cultural experiences in essays and conversation.
  5. Discuss how language influences and encourages contentment, joy, and empathy.
  6. Discuss the power of laughter.
  7. Create cogent presentations, proposals and negotiation.
  8. Analyze the influence of social media (crises created by loose words, sloppy postings, images, videos – and prejudicial or poor governance).
  9. Explore ethical behavior and dilemmas in and out of the workplace.

Course Activities and Grading


Discussions (Weeks 1-8)


Essays (Weeks 1-8)


Vocabulary LIsts (Weeks 1-8)


Video Confernces (Weeks 2, 5, 6)


Final Exam (Week 8)




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.

Required Technology

  • Students are expected to participate in video conferencing. If you are uncertain whether you have the necessary resources to participate in a video conference, or if you have any questions relating to this expectation, please contact the instructor.

Course Schedule




Readings and Exercises




Writing With Imagination

  1. Writing is Thinking (4 pp.) 
  1. Rewrite Your Story (2 pp.)
  2. Words Matter: Imperium, Robert Harris (p. 304):

    "He raised his cup. And we all raised ours with him. Although I could not help remembering the last remark Lucius ever made to him: 
    ‘Words, words, words.  Is there no end to the,
    tricks you can make them perform?’”     

  1. Racist Connotations (2 pp.)
  2. The Two Creative Writers with the Same Story (2 pp.)
  3. Discussion Board Netiquette - 15 Rules (2 pp.)
  4. Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day
  5. Proofreading Marks
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Write: "YOU" essay
  • Write: Worst Date or Job Interview
  • Write: Poem
  • Participate in discussions
  • Begin your rolling Vocabulary List



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

  1. Figures of Speech  (10 pp.)
  2. Similes (2 pp.)
  3. Metaphor Examples (2 pp.)
  4. More Metaphors (1 p.)
  5. Conceits (2 pp.)
  6. "Windmills of Your Mind", Dusty Springfield (great imagery)
  7. "Starry, Starry Nights", Don McLean
  8. "Firework", Katy Perry
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Listen to assigned resources
  • Compose five succinct metaphors
  • Write: Critical movie or novel "review" highlighting copious figures of speech
  • Write: Creatively explore a cultural experience(s) that has impacted you
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue rolling Vocabulary List
  • Participate in the Video Conference



Writing Effectively – Words Matter

  1. “Garbage Language” – Why Do Corporations Speak the Way They Do? (11 pp.)
  2. Avoid Jargon (2 pp.)
  3. Netiquette (2 pp.)
  4. 15 Rules of Netiquette for Online Discussion Boards
  5. 101 Romantic Love Letters (8 pp.)
  6. Obituary (2 pp.)
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Write: "Garbage language" to romantic letters - how do words matter?
  • Write (briefly):
    • press release
    • love letter
    • letter to HR
    • your obituary
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue rolling Vocabulary List



Storytelling – Inspiration and Vision; Imaginings and Dreams

  1. Six-main-arcs-in-Storytelling, as Identified by an AI (3 pp.)
  2. CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK (4 pp.)  In ‘The Last Dance,’ Michael Jordan and the Bulls Still Dominate
  3. St. Bernard’s Dilemma (3 pp.)

    Your Elusive Creative Genius (19 min)

    OPTIONAL/RECOMMENDED: [if you intend to follow the arc of your successful writing trajectory, purchase online as I did (inexpensive) both of these timeless books for constant reference.]

    1. Stein on Writing, Sol Stein, 1, “The Writer’s Job May be Different Than You Think” (pp 3-14)
    2. The Leader's Guide to Storytelling – Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative, Steve Denning, Ch. 2, “Telling the Right Story – Four Key Elements of Storytelling Performance” (pp 25-43)
  • Read and review assigned materials 
  • Write: Book outline, first chapter
  • Write: Critique style and voice in readings #2-3
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue rolling Vocabulary List



Presentations, Proposals / Team Building, Power of Networking

  1. The Seven Deadly Sins Of Proposal Writing (11 pp.)
  2. Appearing Smart When Brainstorming (Bad Advice) (3 pp.)
  3. What Makes Some People So Successful? Here are 17 things that high achievers do every day to stay on top. (4 pp.)
  4. Why I Wrote The No Asshole Rule (2 pp.) Prof. Robert Sutton, Stanford University
  5. The definitive guide to … surviving bullies, creeps, jerks, tyrants… (1 p.)
  6. Team Building (3 pp.)
  7. Learn to Love Networking (4pp.)
  8. 10 Reasons Why Networking Is Essential For Your Career (2 pp.)
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Draft your presentation
  • "Pitch" your proposal
  • Listen: to each other
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue rolling Vocabulary List
  • Participate in Video Conference



Speaking with Aplomb, Happiness, and Humor

  1. How to be a More Effective Communicator (3 pp.)
  2. 20 Tips for Mastering the Art of Public Speaking (6 pp.)
  3. Important Public Speaking Skills for Workplace Success (3 pp.)
  4. You Talk Too Much – Words (2 pp.)
  5. The Strange English Language
    1. The Brits
    2. Poem
    3. Story
  6. Art and Science of Making Conversation (3 pp.)
  7. Practicing Gratitude is the Simplest and Fastest Way to Build Mental Strength (1 p.)
  8. How to be Happy -- Re-Write Your Story (2 pp.)
  9. Laughter - 7 Ways to Boost Endorphins (2 pp.)
  10. The Happy Secret to Better Work, TED Talk (12 min)
  11. Happy: Four Pillars of Meaning, TED Talk (12 min)
  12. Funny Lady, Comedy Skit (3.5 min)
  13. "Find a Little Kindness", Glen Campbell
  14. Computers - What Gender! (video)
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Write: Define the secrets and threads of happiness that weave through the readings, and how they relate to the TED Talks
  • Write: What deed of your has made others happy?
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue rolling Vocabulary List
  • Particpate in Video Conference: Presentations on humor, sales and storytelling



Digital Communications – Social Media and Its Influence

  1. The Dark Psychology of Social Networks (8 pp.),
  2. Lurking, Joanne McNeil, “Unfriend the Internet”, NY Times (3 pp.)
  3. Words do matter: careless, damaging-tweets (3 pp.)
  4. Antitrust Concerns (1 p.)
  5. "I don’t know what algorithm Facebook is using to calculate the positives that it brings to the world, but I know too well the harm it has done..." (2 pp.)
  6. Twitter (4 pp.)
  7. Sacha Baron Cohen's Scathing Attack on FB (6 pp.)
  8. Pew Research (2018) – selectively peruse for  good reference
  9. Data Privacy
  10. Domino’s Pizza
  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Write: Pros and Cons of social media; does Facebook need regulation?
  • Write: How has social media been an advantage or embarrassment to you?
  • View: Domino's Pizza Scandal
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue rolling Vocabulary List



Kindness and Conflict – Negotiations  & Ethics

  1. Negotiation (6 pp.)
  2. How to Sway the Other Side – Two Techniques (3 pp.)
  3. How to Sway (8 min video)
  4. Optimism (1 p.)
  5. Take ownership of Your Future Self (2 pp.)
  6. 12 Examples of Important Business Ethics (3 pp.)
  7. The Wells Fargo Cross-Selling Scandal*  (9 pp.)
  8. The Walk from "No" to Yes". TED Talk
  9. Sympathy (5 min)

*Watch: Netflix episode, Dirty Money, season 2, “The Wagon Wheel” (Wells Fargo Scandal) 1 hour [if not a subscriber, contact instructor]

  • Read and review assigned materials
  • Listen: Sympathy
  • Write: Most memorable spat; and persuasive argument
  • Write: What went wrong at Wells Fargo?
  • Participate in discussions
  • Continue and finalize rolling Vocabulary List
  • Complete Final Exam


COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at

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.