Investigating Communication Apprehension: Interventions and Instruction in COM 101 (poster 22)
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The establishment of COM 101: Digital Communication Lab as a co-requisite to Critical Issues in Human Inquiry (CIHI) classes in the Magis Core made significant changes to oral communication instruction at Creighton University. Oral communication moved from an elective to a required course and from face to face to online instruction. Thus, nearly all undergraduates at Creighton are required to develop and perform classroom speeches, whereas, in the past, students with high levels of communication apprehension could select courses that avoid this requirement. Communication apprehension manifests in physiological and psychological stress for some people who fear and/or express fear of public speaking. The establishment of the Communication Center in the Department of Communication Studies is an instructional intervention for Creighton students, recognizing the unique nature of online oral communication instruction and providing much needed opportunities for face to face tutoring. Data are collected from all sections of COM 101 and from each student who opts into tutoring sessions in the Communication Center (nearly 1,000 in 2015-2016) including data that focuses on a variety of measures for understanding communication apprehension. By focusing analysis on student speech apprehension, self-reports of computer mediated skills, attitudes regarding CIHI courses, and attitudes about participating in a variety of speech situations (i.e., online, face to face, small group), the Department of Communication Studies is exploring the instructional methods in the classroom and through the newly established Communication Center that are effective in reducing student communication apprehension.