COM3371 Communication Systems
McDaniel College Department of Communication
Richard W. Dillman (

Contents . Calendar . Discussion Board . Additional Sources . Assignments and Grading


(See the course calendar for specific due dates.)


Three kinds of studies will mix together during the course.

• Introduction to Systems Theory and Systems Thinking

What is a "system"? Where do systems come from? How do people study them?

• Complexity and the Problems Caused by Complexity

How can systems be used to solve problems? What kinds of problems? What are the methods?

• Questions and Examples

I will provide plenty of questions and examples that demonstrate how systems work and how systems thinking can be used to solve problems.


See the contents page of this site for the grading scale.

Online Discussion (80 points)

I will conduct an ongoing discussion with each student in the course. These will be open to every student so that everyone can read and participate in every discussion, but each of you will be required to talk to me on a weekly basis. I am looking to see that you have done the reading, that you are seeking to understand the reading, and that you are making progress in understanding the contents of the course. Spelling, grammar and English composition are very important in formal online conversations.

I will give you feedback on your discussion as we go. I will grade your first-half discussion at midterm ... this will be your midterm grade ... and your second-half discussion at the end of the course.

Homework Problems (20 points, 2 Problems)

Each problem will ask you to apply the ideas and methods that you have studied in order to solve a specific problem or conduct an exercise in systems thinking. Here is an example of what the homework problems might look like.

Final Project Reports (20 points)

A final, larger problem will be due at the end of the course. This will serve in place of the final exam.