Communication Foundations

Communication Foundations

We need to establish basic terminology for the course. Since this is a communication course, guess what? Yeah, we'll use basic communication terminology. All we need to get started is a definition, nine components, a technological device, and the types of communication. Here's the details.

A Definition of Communication

We'll use a definition of communication that is fairly standard in the department of Communication Studies. Learn this one time and you might find it very useful in other courses. Here goes . . .

Human communication can be defined as the process of stimulating meaning in the minds of others through the use of verbal and nonverbal messages.
Focus upon those three emphasized terms, process, meaning, and messages.

Components of Communication

This basic definition implies that several components are present in human communication. Consider each of these (and then we'll look at a graphic model to illustrate how they work together).

Components of Communication

The Technological Device

Now, this is a course in mass media, so how can we take the general definition and components of communication and make them specific for our purposes? We need to add one key idea. When we add a technological device to the communication process we make the general definition specific for mass mediated communication.

Models of Communication

And now, as promised, here's the basic model of communication based upon our definition and components. This will provide a simple but comprehensive view of all our components.


We also know that we need to add a feature to the basic model to make it apply for mass mediated communication. Here's that model:


Types of Communication

Okay, we're in great shape here. We've got a definition and we've got components. We know that we must add a techological device into the mix to make all this useful to our class. Now, one more basic communication idea. I want take the universe of all the different contexts in which people communicate and I want to partition that universe into four categories. To do this we'll draw a window.

You can see that we are dividing the universe along two different dimensions. The first is the number of communicators involved (interpersonal or one-to-one versus mass or one-to-many). The second dimension is whether a technological device is used. Now, the department of Communication Studies offers courses for many of these types, but in this course we are only concerned with the lower right hand window pane. When communication uses a technological device and involves mass communication (one-to-many), we're gonna take a long and careful look at that world. Think about it. TV, radio, film, recordings, print. The big technological devices are the domain of this course. It's a big and interesting world.

Wrap Up

Hey, that's the communication basics. A definition, nine components, the technological device, and the types.