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Information Theory Presentation

Communication comes from Latin word, communis, which means common. When we communicate with someone we are trying to share information to establish commonness with them. The relationship between the source and the receiver determine the success of the communication process. In this scenario the Media Specialist at Traip Academy is the source; she desires to communicate to the instructors who are the receivers, the importance of using technology in the classroom setting. The media specialist will establish this commonness using David Berlo’s S-M-C-R Model of communication. David Berlo’s S-M-C-R Model was developed by building upon the transmission concepts of the Shannon and Weaver model and the Osgood and Shramm’s circular model.

The Shannon and Weaver model of communication was produced by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver. This model contains the source, message, channel and receiver but does not address the sociological nor psychological aspects of communication. It primarily describes the technology of communication. It does, however, address the “noise” concept which includes anything that interferes with the signal. Noise may be static or distortion and may include semantic noise which would include different meanings people associate with words, tone, gestures, and other body language.

Shannon Weaver Model

The Shannon Weaver Model

Schramm’s model of communication includes the source which is also known as the encoder, the message or the signal, and the destination which is also recognized as the decoder. The model addresses the sociological aspects involved in communication. Communication or commonness can take place if the fields of the source and destination overlap as shown in the figure below as the field of experience.

Schramm Model

Schramm’s Model of Communication

Osgood & Schramm replaced the linear model of communication with the circular process of communication and took interpretation into consideration. Communication involves not only the taking in of information but making sense of it. Therefore, the sender becomes the decoder as well as the encoder, making the model one of a circular process between source and receiver, the encoder and decoder; with each switching roles in the process as noted in the diagram below.

Circular Model

David Berlo’s S-M-C-R Model of communication builds upon the previous models shown. It considers the source, message, channel, and receiver, as well as the importance of the psychological view in the communication model. Berlo’s model is broken down into four areas with each area containing essential elements.

Berlo Model

David Berlo’s S-M-C-R Model of Communication

Source: the source encodes the message to be delivered. In this case the source is the Traip Academy Media Specialist who wishes to communicate to the instructors the importance of using technology in the classroom setting. Factors found within the source are as follows: Communication skills, social system and culture, attitude, and amount of knowledge all affect both the source and receiver in the communication process. Communication skills allow us to encode and decode our ideas or thoughts. Different cultures or social systems communicate differently; they determine word choices and meanings associated with certain words or gestures. Attitude plays a significant role in the idea that is being presented, be it attitude toward self, receiver, or subject matter and of course one’s knowledge or lack thereof will affect the communication process.

Message: the message is the product of the source or encoder. In this case the message is to impart the importance of using technology in the Traip Academy classroom setting. There are three factors included in the message:

The message is the meaning of something, as of a word or words, or work of art. The code of the message may be language, music, art, dance, or body gestures. In deciding which code to use the source must also choose the element of code. The elements of the code of art may be watercolor, oils, pastels, etc. The element of code employed by the Media specialist at Traip Academy would probably be the English language using nontechnical terms. The treatment of the message is the arrangement of the code and content, the structure of the information given and which parts of the messages are emphasized.

Channel: the channel is the mode of encoding and decoding the message. In this scenario the channel would be the Staff Development Workshop. The five senses are used as channels of communication:

Berlo describes the elements of the channel of communication as the vehicles which transport the message. He uses the analogy of a person sending a package to someone across the river using a dock, boat and water as the channels of transportation. In communication the channel contains encoding and decoding devices. These devices may come in the form of sound waves for speech and light waves for visuals.

Receiver: the receiver may be the most important link in the communication process according to Berlo. In this case the receivers would be the teachers who attend the workshop. The elements found in the receiver are the same as those found in the sender:

As noted in the Source: communication skills, social system and culture, attitude, and amount of knowledge affect both the source and receiver in the communication process. The receiver in this model would then become the source, encoding information via feedback to the original source which had now become the receiver.

As Cherry puts it On Human Communication,

“…although many different pairs of people may say ‘the same thing’ (linguistically) on different occasions in conversation, each occasion, as an event, is observably different in many aspects from the others; such differences depend upon people’s accents, their past experiences, their present states of mind, the environment, the future consequences of interpreting the message, knowledge of each other, and many other factors.”

Cherry (1977)

Berlo, D. (1960) The Process of communication: an introduction to theory and practice. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc.

Doyle, T. (2000-2004) Interpersonal transmission: Berlo, Osgood and Schramm, Gerbner. Accessed from 6/19/2004

Lee, D. (nd) Developing effective communications. Accessed from 6/19/2004

Underwood, M. (2003) Berlo’s SMCR model. Accessed from 6/19/2004

Underwood, M. (2003) Meanings are in people. Accessed from 6/20/2004

Underwood, M. (2003) Schramm & Osgood circular model. Accessed from 6/23/2004

Underwood, M. (2003) The Shannon-Weaver model. Accessed from 6/20/2004

Last updated 13-July-2004