COM 597: Thinking Story- Fundamentals of Storytelling for Organizations, Business, and Movements (Kessler) - 2017 Winter
Track Neutral Elective
Saturdays, 1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 2/18, 3/4, 9-5pm | CMU 126
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.
COM 597 Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2017 Winter
Track Neutral I Meets Law and Ethics Requirement Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 1/3/17-3/10/17, 6-9:50pm I CMU 302
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.
COM 597: Introduction to Project Management: Principles & Best Practices (Franco) - 2017 Winter
Track Neutral Elective, 3 Credits
Saturdays, 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 9-5pm | CMU 126
The legacies of communication leaders are built upon the successful management of projects. Whether you are involved in a small web project, a social media campaign or a long-term multi-platform initiative, strong project management can be the difference between merely completing a project and taking your team’s work to the next level. Effective project management requires discipline from all project team members; thus, this course is intended for anyone – not just aspiring project managers. In this course, students will be introduced to project management fundamentals and best practices. We will cover various tools and methods for planning and controlling scope, schedule, budget, quality, communication, risk and more. During the class, we will discuss and examine common practices used for interactive and digital communication projects that students will be able to immediately apply to their work elsewhere. By the end of this course, students will understand how to compose effective project management plans. There may be some opportunities for working in groups but most assignments will not be group work.
COM 573: Advanced User Research and UX Strategies (Morrill-McClure) - 2017 Winter
MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126
What makes interactive experiences compelling and how are they designed? This course analyzes existing interfaces, discussing what makes them effective, and provides an overview of tools and theories that guide user experience designers in their practice. Students will be introduced to information architecture (wireframes, sitemaps), information design (information graphics) and visual design (composition, typography, composition, color) and encouraged to apply their learning towards practical design assignments. Our focus is on computer interfaces but is not limited to its traditional “keyboard/mouse/monitor” triangle, as we will also discuss innovative consumer products such as Kinect. The course “Foundational User Centered Design” will provide good foundation for discussion in this class but is not required. A basic understanding of Adobe Creative Suite software, CSS or Visio is helpful, but not necessary for success in this course.
COM 583: Multimedia Storytelling: Digital Distribution and the Story (Keller) - 2017 Winter
Tuesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242
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.
“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!”
COM 585: Multi-platform Content Strategy: A Practical Approach to Immersive & Responsive Content (Vanderburg-Paner) - 2017 Winter
MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126
In the ever-changing world of search algorithms and content marketing, businesses have become focused on maximizing the impact of their online content. Content is no longer simply what is written on the page, rather it has become the integrated discipline of Content Strategy. This class will provide students with the skills and practice for the movement of thought from a Content Editor to a Content Strategist. Using Kristina Halvorson’s text “Content Strategy for the Web” to provide the template for structure around editorial content, students will practice the fundamentals on creating a content strategy through auditing content, developing governance, building a scorecard and defining key metrics for content. Additional readings on topics such as multi-channel delivery, collaborative authoring, knowledge management, user-generated content, and SEO will support further analysis and conversation around defining quality and relevant content. Students will leave this class with a tool-kit, vocabulary and skills to approach content in a strategic context.
“This course is essential for understanding both how to implement content strategy (you’ll tackle all the phases of a real-world project) and how to present content strategy conclusions to colleagues and employers. The class is a perfect introduction to the discipline of content strategy for newcomers, but as a current content strategist, the work I did in class paid off for me professionally. I recently accepted a position with a major tech company as a strategist, and used skills and examples directly from this class in the interview process.”
COM 588: Marketing and Branding in Digital Communication (Marr) - 2017 Winter
Thursdays Jan 12th – March 16th, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126
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.
“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.”
COM 597: Community and Media: Storytelling and Audience Engagement (Banel) - 2017 Winter
Thursdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302
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.
“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.”
COM 597: Visual Communication (Faris) - 2017 Winter
Tuesday, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302
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.
COM 597: Social Spaces and Technology Tools: Dynamics of Community Organization and Participation (Garrido) - 2017 Winter
MCCN Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242
Social change comes in a variety of shapes and forms. It takes on different meanings attending to the cultural, social, and political needs of the communities, networks, and organizations that engage, participate, and interact in their pursuit of advancing social goals. Whether it is youth groups mobilizing for democratic goals, migrant communities organizing to advance their rights, women networks interacting across countries to fight gender inequality, communities develop different strategies for organizing and interacting across neighborhoods, states, and nations towards the betterment of societies. Different technology tools are playing a significant role for communities organizing for social change around the world opening new spaces for participation, shaping organizational strategies and enabling opportunities for networking and collaboration beyond their local environments. This course will explore the dynamics of community organization for social change in different cultural, social and political contexts and the ways in which digital media are appropriated attending to these different contexts. Drawing on experiences from around the world, the primary emphasis of the course is to understand dynamics of community organization and participation that lay at the intersection between local contexts and digital media and the different ways in which this interactionshape the types of organizational and engagement strategies of people, communities, and networks.
“For the Comm Lead student who wants to make a difference, Maria’s class is a must-take. Her enthusiasm and passion are contagious, and all of us in the class eagerly joined in as we journeyed with her through sociological theories on communication’s fundamental role in shaping in societies across space and time. This laid the foundation of our examination of modern-day social change campaigns – what worked, what didn’t, and why. The accomplished guest speakers were generous in sharing their contemporary experience researching communications techniques in social context, including the role of increasingly connective technologies in under represented communities. Classes were like a lively dinner conversation with good friends, discussing deep social justice and cultural evolution issues of the day, and our role as enlightened communications professionals in these movements. The flexibility and freedom of our independent research assignment allowed me to explore a latent area of interest – climate change communications as it relates to conflicting world views – and this Fall Maria and I are working together to prepare it for publication as an independent study. Maria’s class connects many of the Comm Lead classes on theory, tools, techniques, law, ethics, and skills with real life social context scenarios, particularly valuable for students aiming to apply their skills in social justice, public service, or non-profit worlds.”