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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Communication & Fine Arts • Communication

Improving Listening Skills COMM-133

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 02
  • 1 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012
  • Modified 08/23/2012

Contact Information

Instructor: Josh Misner

For the most part, I am available at any reasonable time throughout the day by email ([email protected]).  I do try to take every Saturday off to spend time with my family, though, so please wait until Sunday for a response if you email me on Friday or Saturday.  My email goes straight to my phone and I typically respond within 24 hours or less.

Office Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday, 9:00 AM to 12:45 PM, MOL201A
  • Tuesday, Thursday, 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM, MOL201A

Meeting Times

Tuesday/Thursday, 7:30AM-8:45AM, BOS142


This course involves instruction in the skills necessary for effective listening. These skills apply to all aspects of life from the job to personal relationships. Listening is the most used (and least trained) of the four basic communication skills. Lecture: 3 hours per week for 5 weeks


No text required.  Readings will be provided in class.


  1. Critical/Creative Thinking and Problem Solving:  The student will demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate information and arguments, and construct a well-supported argument. The student will select or design appropriate frameworks and strategies to solve problems in multiple ontexts individually and collaboratively.
  2. Communication: The student will recognize, send, and respond to communications for varied audiences and purposes by the use of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  3. Mathematical, scientific, and Symbolic Reasoning: The student will demonstrate the ability to apply mathematical and scientific reasoning to investigate and to solve problems.
  4. Historical, Cultural, Environmental, and Global Awareness: The student will demonstrate the ability to think globally and inclusively with a basic understanding of key ideas, achievements, issues, diverse cultural views and events as they pertain locally, nationally, and globally.
  5. Aesthetic Response: The student will demonstrate the ability to recognize the elements of design, the unifying element, the context, the purpose, and the effect of craftsmanship and artistic creations.
  6. Social Respoinsibility/Citizenship: The sutdent will demonstrate awareness of the relationships that exist between an individual and social groups, private/public institutions, and/or the environment, the nature of these relationships, the rights and responsibilities of these relations, and the consequences that result from changes in these relationships.
  7. Information Literacy: The student will develop the ability to access information for a given need, develop an integrated set of skills (research strategy and evaluation), and have knowledge of information tools and resources.
  8. Valuing/Ethical Reasoning: The student will demonstrate the ability to apply what one knows, believes, and understands toward developing an empathetic and anaytical understanding of othrs' value perspectives. Incorporates valuing in decisionp-making in multiple contexts.
  9. Wellness: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the factors that contribute to physical, emotional, psychological, occupational, social and spiritual well-being, life-long learning and success.





Seeing as how you signed up for this course, I can only assume that you want to be in this class and as such, I expect you to be at every class session.  Much of what we learn in this class will come not only from cognitive learning, but experiential learning as well. By enrolling in this course you are making a commitment to form a “learning community” with mutual responsibility for the discussions in our class.  You will be sharing with us your knowledge and experience.  This commitment includes being prepared for projects, field experiences, and assigned readings. The payoff is a good class for everyone involved.  If you see yourself going beyond two absences or have an extraordinary need to be absent from class, you must notify me at least 24 hours in advance of the absence.  Three unexcused absences from class will result in automatic failure.

We do not have time for make-ups. By reading this syllabus, you will know well in advance all assignment due dates.  It is up to you to manage your time appropriately.

Late written assignments will not be worth any points.  This means that, if you are not present in class to hand in your work, I expect it to be delivered to me at my office (MOL201A) or via email by the due date assigned.

Assessment & Assignments:

Your final grade in this course is based on the following criteria:

A = Superior, exceptional, unbelievable, great work.

B = Good, solid, well done, very fine work.

C = Average.  Okay, all right, you did just fine.

D = Below average. I’m confused by your work and I think you are too.

F = Failing. You didn’t get it. You’re not a failure. You just didn’t get it.


Evaluation will be based on four assessments:

Reflective Journals:                    30 points

Response Papers:                      30 points

Final Essay:                               15 points

Attendance & Participation:       25 points

Total:                                       100 points


1. REFLECTIVE JOURNALS: You will keep a reflective journal throughout the course and submit it twice for review (15 points/ea).  In this journal, I expect a minimum of three entries per week, with at least a paragraph per entry, in which you reflect on your learning from class and your experiences applying what you’ve learned to your daily life.


2. RESPONSE PAPERS: You will write two response papers (3-5 pages) based on your experiences in a listening scenario (15 points/ea). The first paper will be an analysis of your current listening inventory, as seen through your eyes.  The second paper will be an Appreciative Inquiry, which is an analysis of your current listening inventory as seen through the eyes of others.


3. FINAL ESSAY: You will write a final essay based on a question I will pose to you, asking you to reflect upon your exploration of various listening techniques and theories (15 points).


4. ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION: Your attention and participation in class is an average expectation. You will need to attend all meetings and take an active role in class discussions.  I will take note of the degree of effort and attention you display in class, and this will help influence your final grade if you are on the borderline or have some other kind of extenuating circumstances.



You will be responsible for material covered in class and all assigned readings (both text and reprints). Lectures and class discussion will not necessarily cover the same material you have been assigned to read. Feel free during class discussion time to raise questions about your readings. You are encouraged to meet with me at designated office hours, by appointment or through e-mail to discuss any matters that relate to the work of the course. I would especially like to encourage e-mail use.

I very much want you to succeed in our class.  While I have high expectations and standards, I am also available to assist you in your efforts to tackle these abstract and often elusive ideas.


Scoring Guide for assignments:

In evaluating assignments, I utilize the standard grading scale. Students however, often feel there is a degree of subjectivity in the grading. They are right, part of grading is subjective and part is based on my expertise in recognizing the quality of effort and product. Generally speaking however, the criteria listed below are what I look for in your oral and written work.


A         A superior paper or report will address itself to all aspects of the assignment.  Though it may have an occasional fault, it will be well-organized, detailed, and extremely well-presented or written, with enthusiasm and emotional involvement.

B         This score will be for a well-presented report/paper, which is weak in some aspects of the superior report/paper. For example, it may slight part of the assignment; it may not be as clearly organized as a superior paper/report; it may have some minor inconsistencies. Otherwise, the report/paper is competently written or given.

C         This score is given for the following reports or papers:

                        • those which meet only minimum requirements;

                        • those in which the language is overly cliche;

                        • those which are too general or superficial

D         This score is used for reports or papers that show little understanding of the assignment or suggest serious weakness or incompetence in organization, preparation, and delivery.

F          This score is for students who fail to present an outline and report at the required time or papers, which show little understanding of the question or suggest incompetence in structure, syntax, and diction.


NOTE: Papers should be submitted as error-free (grammar, spelling, composition) as possible. Papers that are submitted with more than three errors on a page will be lowered by one letter grade.  If you need help with your papers, turn in an early draft for review or see the tutor in the writing lab on the first floor of the LKH Building.


Specific Course Topics


**This course outline is tentative in nature and is subject to change based upon the rate at which this particular class progresses through the material. Due dates for assignments to be delivered either orally or in written form are highlighted in BOLD.


1        Listening - The Basic Proposition


In this unit we will spend time introducing basic concepts of listening and how to accurately assess yourself and your own style of listening.  We will begin keeping a listening journal and practicing self-reflection.


Class 1

  • Review syllabus
  • Lecture: The stages of listening and communication models
  • Begin journal

Class 2

  • Lecture: Listening inventories
  • Determine listening style


2        Listening Styles


In this unit we will examine various theories and styles of listening.  You will experiment with each style and reflect on the results you find, discussing each in class.


Class 3

  • Lecture: Detailed & Persuasive Listening

Class 4

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Comprehensive Listening
  • 1st Paper Due

Class 5

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Analytical/Critical Listening

Class 6

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Defensive Listening/Protecting the Ego

Class 7

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Superficial Listening
  • 1st Journal Due

Class 8

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Patient vs. Impatient Space
  • Team Activity: Listening without noise

Class 9

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Authenticity and Listening

Class 10

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Mindful Listening

Class 11

  • Discuss listening experiences
  • Lecture: Appreciative Inquiry

Class 12

  • Discuss listening experiences/Course wrap-up
  • 2nd Paper Due
  • 2nd Journal Due

Final Paper – Due by Tuesday, October 9

Division Policies

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Institutional Policies

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes for the fall term: November 12, 2012. 

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, ESU, 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

DROP FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  You must attend and participate in the first week of this class. Failure to do so will result in your being dropped from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. For Internet classes, attendance is based on participation in an instructional activity; you must complete the first week’s assignment(s) by the assignment due date. Drop for non-attendance occurs at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on the second Tuesday of the semester.