COM 546: Communication Through Digital Media & Networks (Yasin) - 2017 Spring
Required Core Course for MCDM and MCCN
Tuesdays, 03/27/17-06/2/17, 6-9:50pm | PCAR 391
Communication through Digital Media and Networks: Organizational Storytelling and the Digital Age tackles how organizations across all sectors successfully craft their story and message it internally and externally. The course looks at various theories and case studies of organizational communication, which provide important context for how organizations map their values, identities and image to the story they convey to employees and the broader public. The course also asks students to apply these theories, create solutions and draft a plan concerning an actual organizational challenge for class clients that they are matched with in the class. In working with real clients, the class hopes to facilitate the pursuit of professional networks for students whilst also building strategic thinking and planning skills, which will be reflected in students’ in-class group projects. In addition to the group projects, students also write a case-study about the organization and the communicative challenge they face on their own to further develop students’ skills as forecasters and leaders in the field.
COM 597: Audio Storytelling: Education, Engagement, and Entertainment (Crofts) - 2017 Spring
Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Wednesday, 3/27/17-6/2/17, 6-8:30pm | CMU 242
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. 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.
“Three words are all it should take to convince any CommLeader that this course is awesome: Anita. Verna. Crofts. As we all observed, first hand, in her core class, Anita is one of those professors who not only excels at teaching course material, but also models effective communication, leadership, and community building techniques at all times. You learn a ton just by being around her, and she’s been known to bring amazing desserts to class as well.
In addition to the “AVC Factor”, this class will help you beef up your skills as a storyteller, interviewer, writer, and editor, especially when it comes to content that is meant to be engaged with auditorily. The course materials, which include a number of great podcast episodes, radio stories, and relevant readings, help provide solid examples of how audio stories can be used to educate, inspire, and entertain. There were also several guest speakers who shared insights both on the “how to’s” of audio storytelling and ways in which it can be used as a community building tool as well. Lastly there were several opportunities for rich class discussion and peer-review time which I always appreciate since we are surrounded by such a talented community here in CommLead.”
COM 597: The Art & Science of Text-Based Marketing (Schiller) - 2017 Spring
Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Saturday, April 22, May 6, 20, 9-5pm | CMU 242
This advanced marketing writing class is designed for students who can already write well, but want formal training in persuasive copywriting techniques – the kind that drive people to call, buy, join, or sign-‐up. If you’ve ever agonized over finding just the right words to achieve your goals, this class is designed to get you there faster. It introduces some of the most effective and well-‐tested methods used by professional storytellers to outsell and outrun the constantly changing market. Students will learn how to use techniques based in psychological research to get measurable lift in subject line open rates, landing page conversion rates, app store downloads, and more. Using a combination of readings, case studies and practical writing assignments students will learn the art and science of creating top-‐performing marketing text.
COM 597: Community Data Science: Programming and Data Science for Social Media (Guy) - 2017 Spring
MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Requirement
Thursdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126
This course will introduce basic programming and data science tools to give students the skills to find, access, and synthesize data into information. We will cover the basics of the Python programming language, web APIs including APIs from Wikipedia and Twitter, and basic tools for statistical hypothesis testing, data manipulation, and visualization. Students will be encouraged to bring questions and problems from their own area of interest and apply Python and Data Science to those problems through an independent project. Our target audience is students with no previous programming experience. There will be two major additions to the material we teach in the Community Data Science Workshop. First is a capstone independent data research project where students will be expected to practice what they’ve learned by sourcing, cleaning, and analyzing a data set that is relevant to their interests. Second will be special topics from the world of online social media analysis including A/B testing and measuring online success.
“This course was intense and fast-paced, but it was an absolute blast! I took this course because I had taught myself a little bit of HTML, CSS, and C++ before, but I really wanted a more structured environment in which to better learn coding principles. Learning how to code is like learning another language; it takes a lot of practice and effort but you learn a lot of actionable info in a short period of time. From the beginning Professor Guy set the expectation that we weren’t going to become expert Python coders in 10 weeks, but we were going to learn the basic coding logic and syntax, how to pull and manipulate social media data, how to derive meaningful analysis, and how to speak about our technical coding methods in a clear and effective manner. He really made sure the course was as practical and applicable as possible. During the class we had weekly challenge problems where we learned how to manipulate data and then how to access it from website APIs. We got a lot of class time to work together and tackle these problems. These exercises gave us the skills to access and analyze data that we would eventually use for our final project, which we got full autonomy over. We learned basic skills for the first 6 weeks or so, and then had the rest of the classes to work on our final projects and ask Guy questions. He is incredibly enthusiastic and an insanely skilled programmer. This class made me feel that coding was much for accessible and gave me some skills that I could fall back on if I need to do some heavy data analysis in the future. I would highly recommend this course if you are curious about programming and up for a little bit of a fun challenge!”
COM 597: Advanced Content Strategy and the Future of Communication (Holmberg) - 2017 Spring
MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Mondays, 3/27/17-6/5/17, 6-9:50pm | COM 126
This course will focus on advanced content strategy, in two senses of “advanced”: both as the next level of the skills taught in the intro courses, and as next wave content strategy as it relates to the advancement of emerging technologies. We will therefore build off of skills learned in the foundational content strategy courses, while looking simultaneously toward the future of the discipline and the hypothetical technologies of tomorrow.
For the advanced skills, we will take deeper dives into some of the core content strategy skills, including journey mapping, information architecture, and teardowns. Our goal with these tools will be to focus on the strategy which informs how we build products that solve real user problems.
We will also look “beyond the screen” to apply these content strategy tools to the Internet of Things, VR, AR, and more future technologies. But to understand the opportunities and challenges these new technologies bring, we will peer into to the future through the lens of science fiction. Science fiction both predicts and influences future technology; for example, in the 1960s Star Trek communicators foreshadowed the flip phones of the 1990s, and video chat existed in 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey long before Skype in the 2000s. Because sci-fi explores the human side of technological advancements—especially how people live and interact with these technologies—looking at several science fiction examples will help us think through tomorrow’s user challenges today.
This course will assume you have a basic understanding and familiarity with content strategy principles, so previous experience with content strategy, such as the completion of either COM 585: Multi-platform Content Strategy: A Practical Approach to Immersive & Responsive Content or COM 597: Design + Content: Introduction to UX Content Strategy is recommended (but not required).
COM 558: Law of Digital Media, Interactive Media, and Content (Baker) - 2017 Spring
MCDM Elective, Meets Law & Ethics Requirement
Thursday, 3/27/17-6/2/17, 6-9:50pm | CMU 302
The law of digital media, interactive media and social media has facilitated the growth of multimedia storytelling, interactivity, and the explosion of collaborative consumption. Understanding when and how one can remix, reuse, republish, and remake content is critical to any organization’s successful advertising, content creation, distribution, and publication. This course will explore the legal issues surrounding free expression, content production and publication, intellectual property (with a special emphasis on copyright and fair use), and advertising. This course is designed both as a stand-alone course to satisfy the law and policy requirement of the program and as a companion to the data security and privacy law course offered in the Fall, which focuses more on data usage, privacy and security, FTC regulatory issues and intellectual property issues around data and analytics.
“Law & Policy is usually among the favorites of each cohort, and I completely understand that! Kraig is an incredibly knowledgeable professor who is detail oriented, and cares deeply about getting his students interested in the material. Law seems like a boring subject at first, but he makes sure that the material is tailored to the interests of each class and gives his students the freedom to adapt the course to their passions and learning styles. Also, this course is incredibly relevant to many questions we always have looming over our heads about copyright and content. This subject will continuously be relevant, and Kraig does a great job at making sure you’re confident in that.”
COM 583: Multimedia Storytelling: Immersive Production Studio (Macklin) - 2017 Spring
Wednesday, 3/27/17-6/2/17, 6-9:50pm | CMU 318E
Emerging models of interactive and immersive (full & any screen, scrolling and responsive) storytelling are disrupting the ways we can reach and engage with our constituents. This course in Studio Production will have a deep concentration on the production aspects and development tools necessary to create Snow Fall-like immersive web stories. We will be coupling a critical look at these emerging models while working through the technical aspects of story creation and the implementation of web deveopment tools and platforms (HTML 5 & jQuery). This will be a project-based course through which students will acquire the strategy and skills to make informed designs about the development and use of immersive storytelling processes. Previous multimedia production and web development is not necessary, though a willingness to learn and play with the underlying technologies is a must.
“This class blends multimedia storytelling and places it into a digital context. We used different mediums (video, text, photos, maps, and more,) to tell a story. Not only do we get to tell a story, but we also are guided in the technical aspects of video, photography, and web design. There are more practical skills actually used in this class than I can count on my fingers and toes! I really learned the importance of setting a scene. My previous degree is in filmmaking, and it seems like in longer-format storytelling (films, novels, etc) you can take more time building the landscape of a story. However, in digital storytelling, it is essential to get your visual ‘lede’ line – Having a map, photo, or video to set the scene of your story is essential to get your point across succinctly and clearly. Brevity is the soul of wit (and the internet). I really enjoyed that the class had both structure and freedom. We had a well defined storytelling goal to achieve for the class, but Scott opened up the way we told it to as many ways as we wanted to. This gave everyone the ability to choose which digital platforms to use and to perfect. While we all had to create a website, (with certain grade requirements – one video, photos, etc), it was up to us which web platform we used, and how much detail we put into individual aspects of the story. For instance, if a student wanted to really focus on good film, they could do that while selecting an easier web platform to plug their video into. Or, if a student wanted to really focus on building a detailed website, they could do that and be able to add shorter videos. The flexibility to work on your own strengths and interest in storytelling was really great.”
COM 597: Graphic Storytelling as Communication Platform (Salkowitz) - 2017 Spring
Saturdays, April 8, 22, May 6, 20, and June 3, 9-5pm | CMU 126
Understanding how to use words and pictures in combination to tell stories is a core competency for communicators in the digital era. This class will provide you with a solid understanding of the medium of sequential art and visual narrative (aka “comics”) and the practical ability to incorporate visual storytelling into traditional, digital, and transmedia projects in a variety of entertainment, business, education, social and journalistic scenarios. Why comics? Comics and sequential art have gone from the margins of popular culture to the center of a multi-billion dollar global industry and a respected art-form. Many of the most popular movies, television, videogames and transmedia projects are adapted from comics and/or depend heavily on storytelling styles that originated with this unique medium. Issues of digital distribution, adaptation and audience engagement that arise in today’s “comics culture” affect the future of publishing, technology, social media and gaming. Beyond the world of entertainment, the principles of visual narrative are becoming fundamental to all manner of storytelling projects, global initiatives and creative enterprises. This class will explore the history and potential of comics as a storytelling medium in the digital age in both a media studies and business dimension, incorporating both theory and practice. We will look at the anatomy of the medium in all its forms; study how comics are used in entertainment, literary, documentary, journalistic, educational, training and business communications contexts; examine the challenges of bringing comic-based subject matter to other media; explore the business issues associated with the explosion of comics in the wider culture; and create an original digital transmedia project incorporating the visual language of comics.
“For the uninitiated in transmedia, it’s a crash course in visual storytelling and pop culture. For those familiar with transmedia, it offers a series of case studies in what you can do right or wrong in transmedia campaigns. The class definitely emphasizes comics, so while it’s not necessary to have an extensive knowledge of that format, it’s definitely for someone who’s curious about them. I was surprised to learn that a degree of visual abstraction can actually enhance storytelling. Rather than using a more precise visual format, such as photography or accurate illustrations of reality, using caricatures lets a person’s imagination fill in the gaps. I also found the study of the more formal aspects of comics to be very interesting. The all-day Saturday sessions went surprisingly fast. Rob does a great job of mixing up the class between discussion, lecture, guests, and video. Still, it’s not for the faint of heart, so if you’re going to take the class, plan on committing your Saturdays. You don’t want to miss a class.”
COM 597: The Law and Ethics of Community Building in Private, Public, and Nonprofit Entities (Tausch Lapora) - 2017 Spring
MCCN Elective, Meets Law and Ethics Requirement
Thursday, 3/27/17-6/2/17, 6-9:50pm | CMU 242
All organizations — private, public and non-profit — inevitably encounter legal and ethical challenges when building and engaging with their communities and networks. Leaders must be able to identify, anticipate, and problem solve issues such as how legal relationships are created and to whom legal and ethical duties are owed. They must also grapple with challenges such as how to balance privacy concerns with building an organization’s base, who owns specific content or ideas, and what advocacy strategies to employ when defining deliverables and implementing initiatives. This course considers and juxtaposes the legal and ethical realities of community building through a cross-sector approach. We will survey a wide array of case studies in which law and ethics may overlap, conflict, or be silent. We will engage in practical story exercises that maximize understanding of how law and ethics impact how organizations communicate to clients, customers, and constituencies. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to bring in legal and ethical issues from their professional experiences to enrich discussion of course topics such as legal relationships and duties, privacy, ownership, and making advocacy choices.
“This course helped me to build a basic understanding of legal and ethical issues related to business and companies. I am very interested in intellectual property and how to protect trademarks and copyright. Thanks to this the class, I have developed a habit of checking every contract from digital services. Before the class, I just clicked “Agree.” I have developed the habit of asking for permission when I record interviewee’s for video or podcast production. Brenda is passionate and informed. She reads business news every day and researched about issues of ethics and law from the news and brought them to class as timely examples. You can feel her enthusiasm from her voice.I was so inspired by her that I even thought about getting a law degree!”
COM 597: Leadership and Teams (Philipsen) - 2017 Spring
Wednesdays, 3/27/17-6/2/17, 6-9:50pm | CMU 126
In this highly interactive course you will learn to notice, describe, and assess how formal and informal leaders organize and participate in workplace meetings in ways that enhance group creativity and effective problem solving. The course integrates the classic wisdom on effective leadership in workplace groups with the newest research on virtual teams, computer-assisted group problem solving, and the facilitative potential of leader communications. In the course you will learn and practice a research method and skill—the real-time analysis of leader behavior in work group interactions, and you will learn how this skill will enable you to enhance the creative and problem solving performance of workplace groups in which you participate and t hat you lead. Taking this course can help you develop your personal capacity as a constructive participant in work groups and teams. It can also provide you with research-based understandings of how various leadership communications can facilitate the effectiveness of work groups, as well as equip you to do qualitative real-time analyses of the functioning of work teams of which you are a member, observer, or facilitator. Finally, it will introduce you to methods of analyzing and assessing the role that groups can play in the work of particular networks, communities, or organizations, including the benefits and costs to an organization of work in groups.
I really found this to be one of the most valuable courses yet that I have taken while in the CommLead program. Dr. Philipsen is a wonderful teacher and has an instruction style that resonates with me. He is a great listener and is deeply engaged in all aspects of in-class discussion. While he is approachable and laid-back, he asks incisive questions and elicits critical thought from all members of the class. The content of the course is especially pertinent for any CommLead students who are in or who anticipate being in positions of leadership in their respective fields. I learned a tremendous amount about different group discussion and creative work processes, and the science that serves as the foundation for those processes. There is so much from this class that is directly and immediately applicable to group interactions in professional settings. This course was fantastic, and I am a better leader because of it.