Department of Communication

Mike Putnam
Department of Communication


“Things to know before taking one of my classes”

General Teaching Philosophy:
I encourage my students to ask questions and seek my help when you need it. I cannot “learn you” anything. The learning process is up to you. My mission to establish a positive environment where learning is a choice you want to make for all the right reasons. My goal is to present course information you need in an interesting, clear, and educationally effective manner. You don’t need me to entertain you. But you do need me to perform my job as well as I possibly can. When you need help, ask. When you are don’t understand, ask. And when you want to share a thought, do so.


I am a big believer that attending class regularly increases your chances of academic success. While we are all creatures of freewill, if you sign up for my class and pay your tuition, you would be wise to be present as often as possible. I normally incorporate a small percentage (usually 10%) of the class grade into attendance, under the heading of “class activities.” I do so not to serve as a club but as a positive incentive to be present. Those students who are regular attendees benefit in several ways: (a) they get the 10% of their grade at an “A” level, (b) they do better on the assignment since they know what I ask for, and (c) they score better on exams since some questions are only known to those who are present during that day’s lecture. Bottom line: since you paid for this class, you would be wise to maximize your return on the investment.


It should come as no surprise that since I am a strong believer that students ought to attend class, I am equally adamant about arriving in a timely fashion. Anyone can be late on occasion. I am the first to recognize that sometimes circumstances beyond our control can make it impossible to arrive to class on time. But some people are perpetually late for just about anything and everything. Chronic tardiness says two things to me: (1) the class is not something you take seriously, and (2) you are not sufficiently in control of your own life. Bottom line: make it a habit to be here on time!


Things you’ll want to do to increase your chances of success:
1.See references above regarding attendance and tardiness.
2.Use this web site to download and print out class lecture notes. And bring those chapter notes to class so you can add to them during my lecture.
3.Turn off your cell phone when class starts.
4.Buy the book; it is very hard to do well on the exams without it.
5.Come and talk to me when you need help.

Things you’ll want to avoid doing that will decrease your chances of success:
1.Don’t surf the web on other sites during class lectures or student speeches.
2.Don’t sleep during lecture, no matter how boring I might seem.
3.Don’t walk into class during the middle of a student speech, but you can walk into class during the middle of my lecture.
4.Don’t e-mail me the night before your speech is due wanting help. There is little I can do at that late date.
5.Don’t miss a lot of class and then tell me near the end of semester how much you liked my class and how badly you need an A or a B.