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Lesson 1 Blog Post: Small Groups in My Life
type up a list of your small groups and a brief description of how or why they are small
groups for you. Review the small groups you wrote about in your blog. Given this new
information about small groups and teams, does your list include groups, teams, or both? Feel
free to add another comment to the blog to clarify if your groups are teams, small groups, or
both!
Information you might needed
In your textbook, communication is defined as “the process of acting on information” (p. 3).
Small group communication, however, is much more than acting on information. As noted in
your textbook:
Small group communication is communication among a small group of people who share a
common purpose, who feel a sense of belonging to the group, and who exert influence on
one another (p. 3)
Using this definition, it may be difficult to see how teams and small groups differ. In realit y,
all teams are small groups, but not all small groups are teams. Teams have clearly defined
goals, roles, and rules for engagement to accomplish their purposes. Conversely, small groups
do not need to be as organized in their communication. Small groups have more generalized
goals and roles with evolving rules and methods to accomplish a purpose.
Lesson 2 Blog Post: Theoretical Statement
In this video, Family Ties…Strengthening the Family Unit , meet Raymond and Veronica’s
family.
From this brief introduction and considering what you learned in Lesson 1 about small group
communication, what theoretical statement could you develop about this family?
Information you might need
To make sense of small groups, like families, small group communication theory offers
process theories and method theories. Process theories are used to help explain
communication events while method theories can actually tell you what to do in particular
communication situations such as resolving conflict. Consider your theoretical statement
about the family in the video. For example, you may have theorized that the family regularly
goes to church to maintain cohesion. In this statement, going to church is considered a ritual.
In more abstract terms, you could further theorize that rituals provide pathways to
communication. Such a statement could be used to not only explain the ritual, but to
prescribe a behavior to aid small group communication.
Lesson 7 Blog Post: Communication Climate
Before you focus on the concepts for this lesson, consider your most recent small group
communication situation. How would you describe the communication climate? Hot? Cold?
Take some time to visit the small group communication blog and share your story now.
Sharing your experience will help you to further apply the material you are about to learn.
Lesson 8 Blog Post: My Listening Style
After learning more about listening styles, have you narrowed down which style best suits
you? By knowing your listening style, you can enhance your skills as well as practice other
styles so you will be able to adapt to different situations.
Information you might needed
Identify and define four listening styles.
In communication courses, you may spend so much time focusing on what is coming out
of your mouth that you might forget to focus on what is coming into your ears. Before you
continue, take a moment to listen to The 5 Communication Secrets that Swept Obama to the
Presidency , an engaging video about the importance of listening.
Did you know that listening is a skill? Just like getting better at playing a sport or a musical
instrument, you can become a better listener. With practice, you can learn to filter out stimuli
that compete for your attention in a listening situation. To become a better listener, it is a
good idea to first identify your listening styles. Learn more about them by clicking on the
icons below.
People-Oriented: People-oriented listeners are empathetic listeners who are comfortable
listening to other people’s feelings and emotions.
Action-Oriented: Action-oriented listeners are listening for the main point in the message
so they can figure out what to do with the information.
Content-Oriented: Content-oriented listeners like to listen to information-rich messages
with complex, detailed information.
Time-Oriented: Time-oriented listeners are aware of the amount of time they have to
listen, and prefer brief messages.
Lesson 9 Blog: Harry Potter
As Beebe and Masterson note in the textbook, “You’re more likely to label someone a deviant
if you think you are not deviant in your own team behavior” (p. 187).
Carefully review this scene from Harry Potter now. Next, consider the following tips for
dealing with difficult people.




Manage your emotions.
Describe what is upsetting you.
Disclose your feelings.
Return to the issue of contention.
Given these tips, in this fictional scene, is Harry the deviant, or is his family? How well does
Harry handle his family? What about his house elf? What would you do? Take some time to
record your thoughts in the course blog and see what others think.
Lesson 11 Blog Post: Virtual vs Face-to-Face Mtg
Along with the virtual environment of Web resources, small group problem solving can occur
in a virtual environment. Just as you have seen in this class, a variety of different online
venues are available for people to connect and solve problems. Beebe and Masterson stated
that though people use virtual communication, they still like to meet face -to-face. Yet, in a
recent study conducted on patients in psychological therapy, the transcripts do not reveal a
noticeable difference in “humanness” between the virtual therapist and the face -to-face
therapist (Cristea, Sucala, & David, 2013).
Therefore, whether technology is used or not, people still connect. Technology has advanced
enough that the medium for connecting does not matter, or does it? What do you think? If
you had the choice, would you rather meet virtually with a small group or meet in person?
Why? Share your thoughts now in the course blog.
Information you might needed
Describe how to evaluate Web resources and use virtual communication in
problem solving.
With advances in technology, when you have a problem to solve, where do you go? If you
answered a smartphone or the library, it is likely that within your research, you will stumble
across a Web page or two. Beebe and Masterson note, “Although traditional l ibrary sources
are still excellent for gathering evidence used in group discussion, more and more research is
conducted via the internet” (p. 87). The Internet is an amazing tool to access a variety of
resources, yet it brings a false sense of security because anyone can publish their thoughts,
opinions, and findings whether they are credible or not. As students of small group
communication, it is important to understand how to evaluate Web resources. Check
out Waking Up, Inc. to apply a set of criteria you can use to determine if the Website is
worthwhile.
Accountability: Know who is placing the information on the site.
Objectivity: Consider the interests or biases of the organization or individual responsible
for the site.
Accuracy: Is the information accurate and verifiable? Web resources should be relatively
free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Recency: Check to see when the Website was last updated. As a general rule, the more
recent the information, the better.
Usability: Consider whether you can actually use in the information and whether it relates
to the group goal.
Meeting virtually can be inevitable. Now that you have considered your preference, here are
some tips to consider if meeting in person is not an option:

Select a virtual venue that allows for easy capture of ideas and accurate recording of
the communication.

Get ready for brainstorming . Virtual groups often generate more ideas than face-toface meetings.

Don’t forget an agenda . Virtual communication can be best suited for structured and
linear tasks.

Be intentional . The fast-paced virtual environment allows for less time to reflect and
evaluate ideas.

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