Classes

  • The Communication Leadership curriculum includes core courses and a variety of electives. All courses are 5 credits unless otherwise indicated. Use the search widget below to sort classes by degree track (MCDM, MCCN, track neutral) and by other attributes (credits, core requirements, etc.).

    Please view the University of Washington Academic Calendar for important dates, including quarter start and end dates, registration dates and deadlines, and campus holidays.

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COM 597: Thinking Story- Fundamentals of Storytelling for Organizations, Business, and Movements (Kessler) - 2018 Winter

Track Neutral
Tuesdays, Jan 9th-March 6th, 6-9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

Thinking Story is a foundational class that focuses on the art and craft of nonfiction storytelling to communicate ideas and emotion, build relationships and community, promote change and inspire action. The class reflects the need in all sectors for superb storytelling. The class explores, investigates and discusses the elements of narrative — what makes a story a story – and looks at examples of nonfiction storytelling across media (text, sound, still image, moving image and multimedia combinations). This platform-agnostic, birds-eye view of story is about learning how to reframe/ reconceptualize “information” and “report” as story, how to locate the small story that illuminates the larger issue, and what it takes to produce such work. At its heart, the class is about learning how to conceptualize issues, topics, brands, and ideas as narratives. Students will learn to “think story,” to pinpoint, pitch and gather material for the production of original, compelling and persuasive content.

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COM 597 Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2018 Winter

Track Neutral, Meets Law and Ethics Core Requirement
Wednesdays, Jan 3rd-March 8th, 6-9:50pm I CMU 126

Course Description:

The 24-hour news cycle, social media, and online reporting fundamentally changed how institutional leaders, executives, celebrities, politicians, and organizations address crises big and small; internal and external; local, national, and international. Effectively managing a crisis means not just employing PR strategies, but developing a comprehensive communications plan that disseminates actionable content and engages all stakeholders with equal focus across multiple and diverse networks. This course will address how the tools of communication influence crisis communication strategies. In addition, it will identify the key issues that must be addressed during an organizational crisis (real or imagined) from a communications perspective. It will examine implementation strategies to engage traditional and social media; digital networks; federal, state and local lawmakers; external and internal stakeholders; and consumers or constituents. As important, it will deconstruct and reinforce the personal ethics and behavior required by professionals in a crisis situation. This class uses current events, interactive discussions, real-time exercises, and engaging guest lectures to provide practical insight about effective techniques and lessons learned.

Student Testimonial: 

“This course is one of my favorites and Melissa is infectious. The variety of crisis cases that we looked at, presented each week and the readings that were required to be read were mind boggling. Not only did the course teach how to handle crisis, but also taught how to improve presentation skills, public speaking skills and more than anything, how to prevent crisis especially on social media when you have the option of preventing. Overall an amazing program and I have already recommended it to a lot of my classmates who started in Fall.”

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COM 597: Communication for Advocacy (Tausch Lapora) - 2018 Winter

Track Neutral, Meets Law & Ethics Core Requirement
Thursdays, Jan 4th-March 8th, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302

Course Description:

Today’s leaders are confronted with an increasingly rich landscape of possibilities to spark and create change. Parallel to this challenge, decision-makers and influential bodies are bombarded with waves of messaging. This course will introduce you to communication techniques for advocacy. Our approach in this class will be focused on”integrated advocacy,” which is a strategy of communicating through multiple channels one’s advocacy efforts – like the marriage equality movement, net neutrality efforts by Google, Facebook and Netflix, and the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. You will develop part of an integrated advocacy campaign working for a client in this class. Real-life challenges and advocacy needs of our clients will allow us to use integrated advocacy model in an applied sense. We will build stories around goals and solutions. We will come up with advocacy tactics and create an advocacy campaign that will ignite change. This is a hands-on course. The course will help you develop immersive storytelling skills, and practice community organizing. You will learn persuasive communication and engagement methods, and how to pack a punch with a campaign aimed at making change. Guest speakers and mentors with experience spearheading campaigns will serve as guides throughout the quarter. The course will culminate with a short advocacy pitch session.

Student Testimonial: 

“I enrolled in Brenda Tausch-Lapora’s Integrated Advocacy class feeling like I had a ton of skills but without a clear purpose for applying them to make change. I knew I wanted to do something that matters. This class gave me a practical and actionable framework for translating my skills into doing good things in this world. Your typical marketing campaign usually follow the rules of what has worked in the past, what sells, and who’s the first to do it. By contrast, integrated advocacy challenges you to figure out the core of the message you’re trying to share and the vision for what you want to change. You have to build a consciousness of action which involves a lot of components such as content strategy, policy change, partnership building, and a drive to make the change worthwhile for the communities involved. Integrated advocacy allows you to challenge conventions and question the nature of the message you’re are trying to put out there. Bottom line: you’re asking your community to believe it. Brenda’s class pushed me to create a project utilizing VR to change the perception of Fire Services in Washington State—a project which is gaining traction and may turn into a national model for EMS public outreach campaigns.”

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COM 597: Distributed and Diverse Teams: Leading and Communicating with Impact (Chang) - 2018 Winter

Track Neutral
Saturdays Jan 6, 13, Feb 3, 10, and March 3 I 9-5pm I CMU 126 (CMU 302 on March 3)

Course Description:

Through this practical and applied course, students will build their leadership and communication effectiveness to work in distributed teams at the global, national or local levels. With increasing inter-connectedness that builds larger and more complex teams and also reduces face/face time of those teams, competencies in distributed leadership are a rapidly evolving must-have set in any professional context but especially in ther field of communications. And yet opportunities to sharpen those nuanced skills remain less than optimal. Enrolled students will embark on a full-immersion experience by working in distributed teams using a combination of relevant practical materials and readings, ongoing team and individual assignments, personal self-reflection and improved self-awareness and the planning and execution of a class-wise exercise such as a strategy retreat or Hackathon. Topics covered will include project planning, goal setting, managing through direct and indirect influence and communicating with impact over the e-highways. Distributed team technology will anchor the students together as they move through coursework that will help them to stretch, struggle and succeed. By the end of the course, students will be able to not only recognize their progression but will also be able to more effectively articulate the related competencies using terminology and language relevant for professional pursuits.

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COM 597: Leadership Approaches to Diversity Initiatives in Organizations (Ross) - 2018 Winter

Track Neutral
Wednesdays, Jan 3rd-March 7th, 6:00-9:50pm | PCAR 297

Course Description: 

How leaders facilitate an inclusive work culture directly impacts the effectiveness of workplace diversity efforts. Changing workforce demographics and global collaborations create opportunities for greater effectiveness, resilience, and innovation. Without intentional leadership, however, these benefits can be lost. This course examines how common diversity paradigms profoundly shape how organizations approach internal diversity work and why these expectations matter. Students will learn to identify and communicate their own preferred leadership approaches to diversity and inclusion and will practice ways to collaborate with others who may hold very different expectations. In future, whether asked in a corporate job interview or by a journalist profiling a small start-up, students who have taken this class will be better equipped to field questions about these critical aspects of leadership in the 21st Century.

Student Testimonial:

“This was THE BEST class! It was a complete eye-opener. We discussed some of the issues that are so prevalent in our daily lives but we choose to stay quiet and not discuss. Sarah pushes students to think deeper about our own behaviors towards self as well as others. Most of us found ourselves open up so much that by the end of the class, we were always longing for more discussions. The quarter went by too fast but did leave us with lot of learnings.”

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COM 583: Multimedia Storytelling: Digital Distribution and the Story (Keller) - 2018 Winter

MCDM Elective
Mondays, Jan 8th-March 5th, 6:00-9:50pm, one class on January 27th | CMU 242

Course Description:

The landscape of web-distributed video can be broadly divided into three motifs: Entertainment, Newsgathering, and Business Communication. From YouTube to Vimeo, Netflix to Hulu, 12seconds.tv to Facebook, online video is a storytelling revolution. Or is it? How do storytelling choices affect message reception? Storytelling has been part of the human experience since the formation of language. Today, the technology that surrounds the “tell” of a story (the modes and channels of communication) directly shape the immersive experience felt by the viewer, while leveraging the lessons of narrative and myth. This course focuses on the decisions we make when we tell our stories. This course is both theoretical and practical. Students will be afforded the skills to create and distribute video stories. Additionally, students will be expected to display critical thinking around point of view, audience targeting, ROI success criteria, methodology, and production standards. Students are expected to exercise the craft of content creation while at the same time critically evaluating and deconstructing content they see in the marketplace.

Student Testimonial:

“Drew Keller’s Multimedia Storytelling class deftly weaves in the interconnected components of effective multimedia communication. Whether you are a novice or expert videographer, this class takes you to the next level by covering video syndication, platform selection, and monetization. In addition to perfectly balancing theory, guest lectures and hands on work, Drew went above and beyond by providing weekend tutorials on video composition, shooting and editing. He even provided 1:1 help during work!”

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COM 597: Aligning UX Design With User Psychology (Evans) - 2018 Winter

MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Tuesdays, Jan 9th-March 6th, 6-9:50pm | DEN 303

Course Description: 

Designers, product marketers, and entrepreneurs will learn the psychological constrictions of attention, perception, memory, disposition, motivation, and social influence that determine whether or not customers will be receptive to their digital innovations. This will give their innovations an edge on what are increasingly competitive platforms such as apps, bots, in-car apps, augmented reality content). Students will learn…

  • The psychological processes determining users’ perception of, engagement with, and recommendation of digital innovations
  • Examples of interfaces before and after simple psychological alignments that vastly enhanced their effectiveness
  • How to identify, apply theory, and develop consulting or research recommendations based on psychological theory
  • Application to their own business interests. A deeper understanding of common digital interfaces such as conversion funnels, display advertisements, and mobile notifications.
  • A broader understanding of the human context of digital ventures, and the ethical differences between alignment and meeting needs vs. exploitation and unsustainable design approaches
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COM 585: Multi-Platform Content Strategy (Magwire) - 2018 Winter

MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, Jan 3rd-March 7th, 6-9:50pm I CMU 302

Course Description:

This course will focus in two areas: 1) Teaching the skills, techniques and tools used by product content strategists like, wireframing, responsive content modeling, and journey mapping. 2) Outlining how to successfully apply these skills in real world scenarios within interdisciplinary teams. Each skill will be applied in both hypothetical product teams and with real brands from around the region.

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COM 597: Audio Storytelling (Partnow) - 2018 Winter

MCDM Elective
Wednesdays, Jan 3rd-March 7th, 6-9:50pm I CMU 318E

Course Description: 

Whether gathered around a radio in a living room or walking plugged in with headphones, the medium of audio storytelling has always offered the opportunity to build mindset-shifting community around content. This course traces the evolution of audio storytelling from radio to podcasting that links to communities for various purposes: to educate, to entertain, and to inspire action — and the new golden age of podcasting that we find ourselves in means that audio storytelling has the potential for broad reach and powerful impact. Consideration is given to the core characteristics of strong storytelling, observed through an auditory filter. Class materials are twinned with a selection of cross-sector guest speakers who bring their own craft perspective. Students will experiment with designing their own short audio pieces.

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COM 588: Marketing and Branding in Digital Communication (Marr) - 2018 Winter

MCDM Elective
Thursdays, Jan 4th-March 8th, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

This course is designed for students that will be utilizing their MCDM education and experience in the marketing arenas in businesses and organizations (including non-profits) or in leadership functions where an understanding of marketing is an important skill. The focus on the course will be on how to best utilize digital media vehicles along with more traditional forms of communications and advertising (and other marketing or Research and Development functions). Because of the ever changing nature of the advertising world with the advances and acceptances of digital media platforms, we will showcase industry “heavy hitters” from local marketing and advertising agencies to discuss the trends and issues the industry faces, using real life situations to explore alternatives and solutions. We will also explore how new media can be used with traditional channels of distribution (clicks and bricks), as well as in the R & D functions by encouraging and mining information from current and potential customers. Students that have not had a basic marketing class will be assigned pre-course supplemental readings and we will do a quick review at our first session so that everyone has a common understanding of the subject before we move into the more cutting edge concepts.

Student Testimonial:

“Marketing and Branding is one of the most useful and fun classes that I have taken within the Communication Leadership program. This course offers updated and relevant information regarding the exponential growth of marketing in the digital sphere. This class builds upon the basics of branding and marketing skills and gives you new skills to take to other courses and/or to your career. You will also discuss the importance of branding and the role that it plays in company evolution as well as with a start up business. The homework involved in this class is engaging and useful to every lecture. The instructor has made sure to include guest speakers from all walks of the industry. From their insight, the class content becomes more real, impactful, and valuable to your education. I highly recommend this class to any member of the Communication Leadership program.”

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COM 597: Visual Communication (Faris) - 2018 Winter

MCCN Elective
Wednesdays, Jan 3rd-March 7th, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242

Course Description:

Images have a profound impact on our lives and have shaped our communities – from ancient cave drawings to today’s live broadcast of events around the globe. Today, visuals are our communication method of choice – with less time to spare and more content than ever coming our way, visuals are the most influential tool we can deploy. Visuals reach people at an emotional level motivating us to act on a cause, influencing our decisions, or convincing us to buy one product over another. From video to photography to infographics and data visualization, today’s visual options are seemingly endless. This class will explore the latest research about how the brain processes images, how to adapt a visual story for a multicultural audience, the use of emotions in pictures and video to persuade and motivate, and how to apply that knowledge strategically to communication and community engagement, whether for nonprofits, private or public sector work. Through interactive course work, thoughtful discussion and real world examples, students will walk away with the tools and knowledge for making their marketing and communication projects more visual and effective.

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COM 597: Community and Media: Storytelling and Audience Engagement (Banel) - 2018 Winter

MCCN Elective
Thursdays, Jan 11th-March 8th, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242 (January 4th class has been cancelled, a makeup class is TBD)

Course Description:

This class is about putting smart, strategic and soulful storytelling to work to rise above the roar of everyday digital media. As professionals honing messages, sharing stories and conducting outreach to 21st century audiences, the ability to craft meaningful narratives that engage audiences and create real connections is more important than ever.  A deep understanding of the transformative power of engagement and connection throughout recent history is critical to mastering the skills necessary to become communications leaders in digital media. “Community and Media: Storytelling and Audience Engagement” is a hands-on, practical course designed to teach students storytelling skills, along with a fundamental strategic underpinning, to help create deep connections between storytellers and audiences.  Along the way, we’ll examine the history and context of 20th century media storytelling, and mine award-winning radio and TV programs for timeless audience engagement techniques and methods that worked in previous eras, but that are still relevant and effective in the digital era. We’ll also learn practical strategies from contemporary media professionals who are constantly navigating profound changes to the technology, economics, architecture and even the social consciousness of the modern media landscape. Through case studies and hands-on exercises with communications professionals, we’ll learn how to create engaging interactions with audiences, and powerful connections with each other and our communities.

Student Testimonial:

“The class was driven by conversational discussion of contemporary news as relative to media history, and as intersections with the readings assigned. Lengthy interviews with local-legend media producers brought venerable views and opinions of contemporary community media outlets–their struggles and successes. The final projects were explorations and research of media effects, students had wide leeway in choosing their content and presentation style.”

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