OF COURSE! Fall 2016

Written by Anita Verna Crofts.

When I joined the graduate program as an Associate Director in July of 2010, we offered a single degree track and a range of classes that reflected the Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM), including three course requirements. Today, we have the MCDM as well as the Master of Communication in Communities and Networks (MCCN), and there are now four course requirements that all Comm Lead students complete. This column will be a place in each newsletter to feature a current course in our blended curriculum.

But first, a bit more context.

Since 2010, the number of Comm Lead faculty has grown by over 50%, and in the last three years the number of women teaching for Comm Lead has doubled so that they now represent half our faculty. We have recruited two UW iSchool faculty to teach courses, and we look forward to continuing to create interdisciplinary links across campus. Six full-time Department of Communication faculty have offered classes in the Comm Lead curriculum, and this coming academic year the number will rise to eight.

makoThe course I’ll highlight in my inaugural column is taught by one of the full-time COM faculty, Mako Hill, doctoral graduate of MIT and an Affiliate Faculty member at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Mako was part of a new generation of tenure-track hires in our department who expressed interest in teaching for Comm Lead. He has offered three classes in the four years he’s been on campus, as well as popular weekend coding workshops.

The first class Mako taught for the MCCN electives track is called Innovation Communities, and it remains one of his most popular. This course asks the question, “Can innovation be crowdsourced?” Based on Mako and his colleagues’ research on new models of collective innovation, this class explores how various organizations and institutions can successfully harness the community-driven innovation instincts around an array of products, and mirror those “user-centric” innovation behaviors in their own internal systems of improving design, delivery, and customer engagement. Students dive into case studies featuring 3M, Mozilla, and Threadless, to name just three examples. A student described the course as a “perfect combination of digital technology and community/network development.” This statement speaks to the essence of the MCCN track: an embrace of digital technology with an eye to how people engage and connect across those technologies.

For a full listing of all Comm Lead courses searchable by quarter and year, visit the Curriculum page on our website.

View other articles from the Comm Lead Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2016:
Vital Signs
The Download
Our Future in a Toothbrush: Making Meaning in IoT
Pushing Boundaries: Burgers, Tweets, and Babies
Storytelling from Safeco Tower

Jeana RidleyOF COURSE! Fall 2016
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