Most Helpful Review
I really enjoyed this class and Bates is a cool guy. He is intimidating at first but he's really a very friendly, helpful, and entertaining professor. He was helpful during office hours. Although lectures were 3 hours, Bates made them entertaining and interactive so it wasn't too difficult to stay engaged. He also let us out early sometimes (like 30 mins at the most).
The breakdown for grading in the class is 20% in-class assignments (these weren't really assignments but rather small responses that were used to grade participation, so you do have to attend lecture to get this portion of the grade), 20% take-home exams (these were pretty easy and you had plenty of time to work on them, in my opinion), 20% short papers (there are 2 of these trhoughout the quarter, and you get to pick from a variety of topics for these so you can mostly likely find one that's pretty easy for you to write about), and 40% final paper (for this we had to transcribe a conversation and discuss elements of group communication that were at play in the conversation, somewhat time-consuming but not difficult, in my opinion).
My only complaint is that I don't feel like our class time was always used productively. Bates would spend the first 10-20 minutes of class answering questions students had for him about pop culture or sports or whatever else. This was entertaining and fun, and I'd be lying if I said I would rather listen to a dull lecture than this. I enjoyed it and it created a good rapport, but from an objective perspective that probably isn't how our time should be spent and I'd rather have a shorter lecture than spend some of the time doing this.