This advanced course focuses on describing, explaining, and predicting communication processes that occur within the context of close relationships, with a focus on the effects of technology on these processes. The field of personal relationships is interdisciplinary, with scholars from areas such as communication, family studies, and social psychology all contributing to knowledge about communication in relationships. Similarly, mediated communication research is conducted by scholars in various fields -- including communication, computer science, and sociology. Therefore, this course emphasizes communication but also includes concepts and theories from other fields. The overall goal of the class is to help students better understand some of the factors affecting relationships and technology, and to appreciate the impact of communication on their relationships in a variety of contexts. This course balances an in-depth examination of several classic studies in the field of relational communication with close readings of cutting-edge research published in the past five to ten years. Each week, students read articles that consider topics in both online and offline contexts. Students demonstrate mastery of material from each of their previous communication classes -- particularly their courses in social scientific methods and theory -- to enter into the scholarly conversation surrounding the examination of communication in relationships.
Prerequisites: COMM 230 and 330 or 331; Communication Studies major; or permission of instructor.