The creation of Competent Communication began in the Fall of 2019 when Southwest Tennessee Community College launched a Gatekeeper initiative. This initiative involved identifying high enrollment courses that showed significant equity gaps. Fundamentals of Communication (COMM 2025) was identified as one of the courses with equity gaps. Two of the Communication faculty members (Lisa I. Coleman and Tracy McLaughlin) were selected as Gatekeeper fellows and charged with redesigning the course from a lens of equity. In the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020, the Gatekeeper Fellows researched best practices for equitable teaching. One of the best practices identified for this Gatekeeper course was the use of open education resource materials in the classroom. Since some students struggle to buy textbooks because of the expense, using OERs could help close equity gaps and ultimately increase retention and ultimately graduation rates. Gatekeeper Fellows also agreed that the Fundamentals of Communication course needed to be refreshed and made more relevant and interesting.
Thus, we utilized the research from the Gatekeeper course, along with a 2020 Tennessee Board of Regents OER Grant, and developed this OER digital textbook. The decision was made to move away from the public speaking approach of the current COMM 2025 course to a hybrid approach focusing on 8 "competencies" identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers as being essential for career success. The name for the textbook, Competent Communication, was chosen, in part, because each chapter addresses one or more of these competencies.
- Chapter 2 (Communication and Culture) - Global and Intercultural Fluency
- Chapters 3 - 5 (Verbal Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Listening) - Oral and Written Communication/Global and Intercultural Fluency
- Chapter 6 (Interpersonal Communication) - Critical Thinking and Problem Solving/Teamwork and Collaboration
- Chapter 7 (Career Communication) - Professionalism and Work Ethic/Career Management.
- Chapter 8 (Leaderships and Working in Teams) - Leadership/Teamwork and Collaboration.
- Chapter 9 (Mass Communication and Social Media) - Digital Technology
- Chapters 10 - 17 ( Public Speaking) - Oral and Written Communication
Our OER textbook is called a Remix in the OER vernacular. We have utilized the LibreTexts library of OERs and their software to produce this Remix. LibreText is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to "freeing the textbook from the limitations and costs of traditional textbooks."
The grant specified that what we develop must be available to and editable by others outside our organization. In Competent Communication, we have attempted to create a usable, zero-cost textbook for not only our COMM 2025 course, but for any institution that may want to adopt it. The free, open nature of the text means that instructors are able to use all or part of it, and add their own materials. The redundancy of key components in the textbook is intentional. Because it is an open educational resource, some users do not access the whole text. For clarity, sometimes a concept that is explained in a preceding chapter is reviewed and re-emphasized in later chapters as needed.
Thank you for downloading Competent Communication.