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    This project began many years ago as an attempt to find the perfect textbook for Humboldt State University's Department of Communication COMM 105-Introduction to Human Communication course. When looking for an appropriate textbook for this course, it became evident that much of the discipline of Communication uses the term “Intro Course” to mean some version of Public Speaking. Further, it became clear that a great deal of Communication departments across the country do not have an introductory course that function as a “survey” course. This is particularly unusual in light of the fact that most other disciplines have these types of courses (e.g. Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Anthropology, etc.). These circumstances provided a quandary regarding locating a good survey textbook that introduces our students to the discipline in ways that go beyond the scope of public speaking textbooks.

    We decided to deal with this particular problem by producing a textbook that introduces students to the study of Communication. We firmly believe that it is important for our students to be able to answer the question, “What is Communication Study?” in a way that captures the field of Communication appropriately, as well as an important discipline across colleges and universities. We found it difficult to point our colleagues and students to texts or classes that demonstrate what the field of Communication Study is about. Hence, we wrote the original version of the textbook for our own Introduction to Human Communication course.

    Upon completion of the first draft of the textbook, we decided to publish the work in an open-source format for a couple of reasons. First, given the high cost of textbooks, we wanted students who use this book to have it for free, a move that works to help students with the skyrocketing cost of education. Second, it was, and is, our belief that academics should be able to control what they write, and that we should not have to rely on the three to five year cycle publishers use for updating course textbooks. Instead, open source materials allow for immediate currency in the materials we provide our students because they are open for all to edit.

    The first edition of this text was published on wikibooks in 2009. We joked that we were “five years ahead” of it being common practice that colleges and universities would embrace using open-source, free materials in classes. We wondered if those involved in the field of Communication would actually edit the text frequently, or if it would function more statically like traditional print textbooks. What we discovered was that many of our colleagues were using the book across the country, but there were almost no edits to the text. It was being treated more like a print version, with an apparent need for a “second edition.” Instead of a continuously updated textbook over the last five years, in 2014 we still had essentially the same version as we published in 2009.

    This brings us to the current edition.

    Current Edition

    We have increasingly moved our pedagogy in our courses to move beyond what we call “the audience of one.” Traditional classroom models are set up in such a way that professors give students assignments, students complete the assignments, the professors grade them, then give them back to the students. The only audience that encounters the students’ work are their professors -- an audience of one. We have found that when we create assignments that are written for the public, the motivation and work of our students rises dramatically.

    Given the move to go beyond the audience of one for our students, it occurred to us that our open source textbook would be a perfect fit as a class project for our students. Thus, we developed our senior Communication Capstone course in such a way that our senior Communication students would be the editors of the “second edition” of Survey of Communication Study. We were fortunate to have access to a classroom that was divided into five tables. At each of these tables were two large computer monitors that students could connect their portable computing devices. Each class was spent engaging in groups, or as an entire class, in work on the textbook. The result of this combined work is the current version of the textbook. It was completed through the ingenuity and thoughtfulness of these students.


    We were fortunate enough to be able to replicate our Capstone Class with a new group of seniors to produce the "third" edition of the textbook. Below is a picture with the names of the students who contributed to the current version of the textbook through their hard work and ingenuity.


    Scott T. Paynton (Ph.D. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale) is Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and a Professor of Communication at Humboldt State University. His research and teaching specialties include Organizational Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Health Communication, and Leadership Studies.

    Laura K. Hahn (Ph.D. The Ohio State University) is a Professor of Communication at Humboldt State University. Her research and teaching specialties include the Rhetoric of Food, Gender and Communication, Intercultural Communication, and Rhetorical Criticism.

    Contributors and Attributions

    Special thanks to Lance Lippert (Ph.D. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale) for his contributions to the first edition of the textbook.

    The third edition of this textbook was a collaborative project between the authors, Dr. Scott T. Paynton and Dr. Laura K. Hahn, and the Fall 2017 Communication Capstone Class at Humboldt State University. The following students generously shared their creativity, hard work, knowledge and positive energy.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Humboldt State University Communication Capstone Fall 2017
    Shaysa Ainsley Brenda Berrera Sydney Baty
    Katharine Blackburn Ana Carrasco Diana Carrillo
    Kayla Daniel Marlon Dobbins Ariana Elwess
    Victoria Fardanesh Lorea Foinels Julianne Updike-Gonzalez
    Christine Harris Jessica Hemker Harley Hoyt
    Elijah Lechman Nikita Nunnink Carly Paronelli
    Arturo Pazz Emilio Rodriguez Daniel Smith
    Amy Torres Matthew Velasco

    The second edition of this textbook was a collaborative project between the authors, Dr. Scott T. Paynton and Dr. Laura K. Hahn, and the Spring 2014 Communication Capstone Class at Humboldt State University. The following students generously shared their creativity, hard work, knowledge and positive energy.

    Erin Anderson Alex Araiza Dominic Calderon
    Monica Carranza Ana Chavez Kellsie Domnitz
    Parker Gibson Yanni Gonzalez Salina Hernandez
    Brooke Howell Katie Lowe Sarah McElroy
    Teresa Passen Douglas Rischbieter Emalyn Searles
    Shravasti Singh Jason Stibi Ha Tran
    Jordan Vanbuskirk
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): CC BY 2.0 Photo by Kellie Brown.