Communication Course Descriptions

COMM 100 Introduction to Media Communication

This course introduces students to a critical approach to evaluating the media and popular culture. Primary-source materials in the media will be examined. Students will analyze, interpret, and evaluate how a variety of media work and interact with culture. The genres examined include music, the internet, social media, TV, film, news, books and magazines, and advertising. The course will cover major issues concerning the media, including ethics, the history and power of the media in several genres, the economics of the media and other forces that may determine content, and political and cultural aspects of the media. Communication majors must earn a grade of C- or higher. (3)

COMM 101 Public Speaking

Students gain knowledge of principles and theories of oral communication regarding the design, creation, and delivery of several types of speeches; analysis of the audience and public speaking situation; and experiential practice in both public speaking performance and evaluation. Communication majors must earn a grade of C- or higher. (3)

COMM 201 Research Methods in Communication

Through this broad-based qualitative methods course, students will develop a working knowledge of text-based qualitative methods and different types of fieldwork used in communication research. Text-based methods include grounded theory, textual analysis, content analysis, news framing analysis, and rhetorical analysis. Fieldwork includes ethnography, observation, interview, and focus groups. Opportunities for practice using the various methods will be provided through exercises involving the practical application of methods to the collection and analysis of data. Students will look at research exemplars and practical instructions on how to investigate cultures. Students will demonstrate competence in their chosen method(s) through an original research proposal. Prerequisite: EN 102. (3)

COMM 204 Video Production: Multimedia Communication

This course explores various techniques, digital technology, and equipment for video storytelling. Students experience hands-on preproduction, production, and postproduction techniques. Students plan and produce multimedia journalistic video stories. (3)

COMM 206 Introduction to Public Relations

This introductory survey course emphasizes the basic concepts and principles of public relations; the theory and history behind the practice; and the uses, tools, methods, and technologies of public relations. Also covered are the general types of public relations practices, including corporate, firm, institutional, nonprofit, government, political, sports, entertainment, and international. Communication majors must earn a grade of C- or higher. (3)

COMM 209 Contemporary Journalism

This course provides a broad overview of journalism as a communication medium with an emphasis on developing the reporting and writing skills required to work in the 21st century communication environment. The course will teach students to gather, organize, and write effective news reports on deadline and according to acceptable professional standards. The course will include discussions of current events and issues that arise in the news. Communication majors must earn a grade of C- or higher. Prerequisite: EN 102. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: DSINQ, WI. (3)

COMM 220 Intercultural Communication

This course introduces students to the influences and effects of cultural variability on the communication process and its outcomes with regard to family, religious, government, education, health, and business institutions. Particular emphasis will be given to the inseparability of culture and communication; intercultural theories; cultural and interpersonal adaptations; and ethnolinguistic, religious, and national identities. Content functions to aid the student in developing successful communication competencies, strategies, and skills necessary for increased contact with diverse cultures, as well as for success in international and multicultural societies. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: GP. (3)

COMM 302 Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

This course focuses on the applications of public relations theory, techniques, and principles. Students learn the writing and style requirements of different media, including print, broadcast, web, and social media. They develop writing skills in preparing print and digital news releases, newsletters, and other print and social communication materials as part of publicity and promotion campaigns, as well as strategic planning and audience identification. Prerequisites: EN 102 and COMM 206. (3)

COMM 304 Media Criticism

This course is designed to foster critical inquiry and analysis as students learn to use rhetorical criticism as it relates to media. Students will apply method(s) of rhetorical criticism to a wide variety of messages in our contemporary, increasingly mediated society, including, but not limited to, speeches, advertisements, news reports, television programs, films, songs, and music videos. Prerequisite: EN 102. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: DSINQ, WI. (3)

COMM 307 Broadcast Writing and Delivery

This course focuses on gathering, writing, producing, and delivering news for radio and television. The course includes practice writing news for broadcast, working with taped material, and on-air performance. Prerequisite: EN 102. (3)

COMM 310 Career and Professional Communication

This course provides guided experiences that develop career-related communication skills, such as listening, interviewing, communicating in small groups, and persuasion. Students will also learn writing forms and skills necessary for the job search and ongoing professional success. These skills will be practiced via assignments and classroom exercises, and students will explore how the skills are applicable in professional environments. Prerequisite: EN 102. (3)

COMM 315 Writing for Digital Media

Drawing from the fields of marketing, communication, sociology, and statistics, students learn about the social media tools that are currently shaping our lives and changing how we interact with the world. From Twitter to Facebook, participants learn how to manage these tools, for personal and professional use, as well as how to orchestrate a persuasive social media campaign. Because being effective and persuasive online requires excellent written communication skills, this course requires considerable writing, both on the page and on the screen. Prerequisite: EN 102. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: WI. (3)

COMM 399 Topics in Communication

Advanced topic areas within the field of communication studies not already covered by regular course offerings will be offered. Topics will vary by instructor. Potential topics may include journalism and politics, gender and communication, communication theory, and communication methods. Course may be repeated for credit up to three times with new topics. Prerequisite: EN 102. (3)

COMM 400 Internship

Senior students may register for a field experience or an internship in a cooperating research or media communication agency in the Washington metropolitan area under the supervision of an instructor. Prerequisites: senior status and permission of the dean of the School of Design, Arts, and Humanities. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: EXP. (3)

COMM 401 Public Relations Case Studies

This course examines solutions to public relations problems through an analysis of actual corporate and association cases. It emphasizes successful public relations management and practice through the systematic application of defining, planning and programming, acting and communicating, and evaluating results. Prerequisite: a grade of C- or better in COMM 206. (3)

COMM 402 Organizational Communication

A study of communication research and its application to industrial and organizational systems. Particular emphasis will be given to organizational communication theory, message processing, networks, and channels of communication; leadership and managerial behavior; systems theory and organizational structures; climate and culture; decision making and managing conflicts; diversity and globalization; and the communication audit. Prerequisite: junior/senior status or permission of instructor. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: DSINQ. (3)

COMM 403 Principles of Communication Law

This course examines the historical development of communications-related law and the interlocking technological, economic, political, and social issues affecting policies that guide and regulate the nation’s media and communications systems. Emphases include First Amendment and privacy law and the Federal Communications Commission’s regulation of interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Prerequisite: junior/senior status or permission of instructor. (3)

COMM 421 Project

The project is an investigation of a selected topic in the major discipline. It is intended to demonstrate students’ ability to conduct independent research and present the results as a communication and media design project with writing of commendable quality. Repeatable course for up to six (6) credits. Prerequisite: permission of the dean of the School of Design, Arts, and Humanities. (1-6)

COMM 425 Senior Seminar in Communication

This capstone course synthesizes the topical areas and theoretical traditions in the discipline so that students begin to understand humankind’s capacity to fashion symbols and well-designed messages in a variety of situations, via any number of channels. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of communication theories, practices, trends, and problems, and they will develop expertise in research methodology and in writing a major research paper. Prerequisites: senior status, including the completion of 36 credits in the communication major. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: DSINQ. (3)

COMM 433 Research

Students in this course will conduct collaborative research (scholarly work leading to new knowledge) under the direction of a faculty member. Repeatable course for up to six (6) credits. Prerequisite: application and approval of department chair. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: EXP. (1-6)