Online College Courses in Communications
Colleges and universities recognize the importance of effective written and oral communication in almost every academic or career field. As a result, communications is a required course for many undergraduate degree programs and an essential part of a comprehensive liberal arts education. Programs in both the arts and sciences typically include at least one communications course among their general education requirements. For some majors, a greater range of communications courses is mandatory, with relevant majors including communication studies, mass communication, journalism, public relations, advertising, and even communication disorders, which is more closely associated with the health profession of speech-language pathology.
For most programs outside of these majors, students will only take an introductory communications class such as speech communication, principles of oral communication, or business communication. Upper-level courses might cover specific areas of communication more in depth, such as conflict management, persuasive communication, intercultural communication, forensics, and origin of language.
Online college courses in communications can be a good option for students who are having trouble fitting a required communication course into their busy schedule. Many online colleges offer these courses asynchronously, which means that students do not need to be online at a particular time, and can log in at a time of day that is most convenient for them. Online communication courses are also ideal for those interested in taking an individual course to sharpen their communication skills. However, remember that some online communication courses are of higher quality than others. Make sure that the institution offering the course is accredited by searching the name of the school in the U.S. Department of Education's database of accredited postsecondary institutions. Beyond this, research the school's reputation and quality. Finally, if you intend to transfer the credits you earn from a communication course to another school, verify with the other school that the credits are transferable.
Communications and Your Career
Communications courses hone your ability to get a message across clearly, work effectively as part of a team, persuade someone to your point of view, resolve conflict, and confidently address people individually or as a group. These skills are beneficial for almost any career field, but are especially useful in careers that entail speaking with the public every day, working as part of a team, or leadership. Careers that emphasize communication skills include sales, customer service, management, human resources, training and development, public relations, marketing, and advertising, according to the University of Utah Career Services. In a sales role, communications skills help you effectively tout the benefits of a product or service to a customer and even persuade a customer to act. In fact, employers look for excellent communication skills when looking to hire sales representatives, along with the ability to persuade and work well individually or as part of a team, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Similarly, good communication, listening, and interpersonal skills are qualifications for customer service jobs, even if the job does not require a degree, the BLS notes.
In general, taking an online communication course can help you gain a better understanding of effective ways of communicating, which has the potential to improve the quality of your friendships, marriage, or work relationships. From getting the confidence you need to ask your boss for a raise, to having the ability to resolve an argument with a friend, online communication courses can give you an edge in both your personal and professional lives.
Free Online Communications Courses:
- Communicating Across Cultures – MIT OpenCourseWare
- Communication for Managers – MIT OpenCourseWare
- Communication Theory and Research – New Jersey Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare
- Marketing Communications as a Strategic Function – Open University