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.). Or view the latest version of our printed course guide here.

    Please view the University of Washington Academic Calendar for important dates, including quarter start and end dates, registration dates and deadlines, and campus holidays. Registration SLNs can be located on the Time Schedule.

COM 592: Marketing Policy and Engaging with Diverse Societies: Public Health, Culture, and Video-Based Communication (Edgerly)

MCCN Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement, 1 Credit
Mondays, 6:00-7:50pm | CMU 321

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCCN, 1 Credit, Research Methods

Note: Course only meets Research Methods Core Requirement if full 3-quarter sequence taken.

Course Description:

Spring quarter will continue the work of disseminating public health discussion videos created Autumn quarter, by actively recruiting focus group participants, continuing to develop a guided discussion protocol, and conducting focus group observations with
those participants that students recruit. Students should be prepared to spend time writing recruitment texts, finding locations to post them, talking with possible participants, and setting up and running focus group discussions with video screenings. This project requires time, and a willingness to reach out to the community, engage in discussion, and ask questions. Students will learn the basics of setting up and running a qualitative, community-focused research project, as well as how to do field observations, take notes, and analyze initial data.

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COM 597: Community Engagement: Communication Design for the Networked Age (Marr)

MCCN Elective
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCCN

Please Note: While fundamentally geared towards MCCN students this quarter, this class will not substantially differ from the MCDM “Marketing and Branding in Digital Communication” class, so those who previously took the MCDM version cannot receive credit for this class.

Course Description:

This course is designed for students that will be utilizing their MCCN 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.

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COM 597: Innovation Communities: How Business Can Harness the DIY Dynamic (Hill)

MCCN Elective
Tuesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCCN

Course Description:

Can innovation be crowd-sourced? Equipped with a range of new digital communication technologies, “users” innovate every day — creating solutions to their own problems through sharing and collaboration. Disruptive new models of collective innovation are emerging in forums, in “free” and “open source” efforts, and in hacking initiatives. Organizations increasingly want to tap into this community-driven DIY dynamic, but frequently struggle to structure their own innovation processes in relation to these unique communities. This class will explore some of the techniques that firms can use to harness this surge of innovation by introducing a new “democratized” or “user-centric” innovation paradigm. We’ll look at how user communities bolster their ability to innovate through specific technological tools and innovative social routines. Through practical examples, you will learn how to effectively use communities both as sources of inspiration and as collaborators.

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COM 592 E: Table Talk: Deathoverdinner 2.0 (Hebb, Macklin)

MCDM Elective, 1-5 Credits
Wednesdays, 6:00-8:00pm, April 9, 23, May 14, 28 | Off Campus

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM, 2 Credits, 3 Credits, 4 Credits

Course Description:

In Fall 2012, Communication Leadership Associate Director Scott Macklin and Community Fellow Michael Hebb and eight MCDM students held a Leader Communications design studio Independent Study to develop the concept www.deathoverdinner.org (DOD) with dozens of leaders in End of Life Care. In August 2013, DOD launched and has inspired over 10,000 individuals to gather family and loved ones and hold a structured and thoughtful conversation about life and death while breaking bread. DOD has received remarkable press (The New York Times, Bloomberg, USA Today, National Public Radio, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic) for its ingenuity and effectiveness as a digital platform. DOD has been credited with inspiring an international movement. Now Scott and Michael are going back into the studio with partners CIVILIZATION, The Huffington Post, Newport Academy (possibly ADAI/UW Health Sciences) to create a companion platform that could potentially reach 10x the audience of Deathoverdinner.org. -The topic: Drugs, Addiction, Rehabilitation, and Policy. The War on Drugs has been judged to be a colossal failure. We aim to set a model for how adults talk to their children and to one another about this critical issue. This Independent Study will put students directly onto the design team as we review the success and failures of DOD, begin designing and building Drugs over Dinner, and launch the platform with our partners.

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COM 597: Leadership in the Digital Age: Establishing Authenticity through Story (Crofts)

MCDM Elective, 3 Credits
Saturdays (May 3, 17, and 31) 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM, 3 Credits

Please Note: This class will not substantially differ from the Cohort 13 required core class “Leadership Through Story and Community: Creativity and the Digital Age” class, so this class is appropriate for Cohort 12 students or earlier.

Course Description:

Leadership skills are not just traits you are born with, but competencies you learn and refine throughout your life. Today, with office structures flattening and transparency at a premium, authentic leadership is critical for success in the digital age. Whether it is crowdsourced decision-making, the arrival of the Millennial Generation as customers and colleagues, or the wider reach of personal narrative in the age of new media, the challenges and opportunities that leaders face are evolving as quickly as the technologies themselves. In this course, we will consider how the rise of new media has amplified the teachings of traditional leadership development scholarship, called into question outdated models of engagement, and accelerated the need for genuine relationship building. As leadership development is a deeply personal pursuit, we will emphasize individual leadership development and theory, nested in the context of leading within an organizational structure. We will pay particular attention to the concept of storytelling, or life narrative, as a key leadership tool in the 21st century. Leaders at all levels and across all sectors will be able to apply teachings from this class to their work.

Student Testimonial:

“When I first read up on Leadership in the Digital Age, I had planned to take it as a sort of capstone to the end of my time with the MCDM. I figured by then, I’d fully be ready to learn about and embrace leadership. However, through last minute scheduling changes I ended up taking as part of my first quarter in the program, which ended up being the option I recommend! The term “leadership” I think can be a bit loaded, with the expectation that you are a manager of people or high-up in the organizational chain. I am neither of these. But through this course, I learned leadership really has nothing to do with that. The class is a very good combination of enlightening readings, discussion based class within a small group (you really get to know everyone by the end of the course!), and great guest lecturers from the community. I was surprised that the eight-hour weekend classes actually seemed to flow by very quickly, and Anita organizes your time during these days very well, so the classroom time is well spent. There is a lot of reading, writing and the final project that pushed me out of my comfort zone to interview local leaders I admired. The course is challenging, but in the best way – I learned a lot about leadership and even more about myself. Anita is a very nurturing presence and allows for a very safe space to explore your own belief system, and I left the course with a major boost to my self-confidence. I highly recommend that everyone take this course during their time in the MCDM, it should be a requirement!”

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COM 597: Entrepreneurship in the Mobile Phone Industry in Emerging Economies (Sey)

MCDM Elective
Mondays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM

Please note this class will begin one week late on April 7 and end on June 7. Due to the Memorial Day Holiday, the course will meet on Monday, June 2 and then end with a full Saturday session on June 7.

Course Description:

This course explores patterns of mobile phone appropriation in emerging market economies and the contribution of micro-entrepreneurs and consumers in fueling innovation in the industry. We will examine the concept of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) and how it has been applied to micro-entrepreneurship in the mobile phone industry in emerging economies. We will discuss the nature of entrepreneurship in emerging and advanced economies; patterns of mobile phone appropriation by different parties; and their impact on developments in the mobile phone industry, the livelihoods of mobile phone users and micro-entrepreneurs, and national socio-economic development agendas. You can expect to come away with an appreciation of the nature of micro-entrepreneurial activity in emerging economies and how it fits into the complex dynamics in the mobile phone industry. Our discussions should equip you to critically assess ICT4D programs in general, and in particular those that focus on providing employment in the ICT industry for people with limited resources. For your class project, you will prepare a case study on a selected mobile phone development, service or project with a micro-entrepreneurial component.

Student Testimonial:

“Mobile Phone in Development taught by Dr. Araba Sey, was a brand new elective offered last summer. It was my first class into this program. What makes the class so great is Dr. Sey’s expertise. She brings relevance and her current research on Mobile in Development to the class – research she is doing in Ghana. In the US, many of us have smartphones with the ability to check mail, access the internet, send text messages. We use them for personal use, school and for work. In developing countries, mobile is used differently, especially in rural regions. Mobile phones are tools used to sustain a livelihood. You learn a lot about Technology Appropriation and how regions use the basics of mobile technology to bridge information gaps between rural urban areas. You also learn about government regulations. I found the class to be engaging, informative and eye opening. The class makes you think about mobile technology in a new way; and the possibilities for developing countries.”

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COM 597: Social Media Analytics and the Measurement of Social Marketing Success (Au)

MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM, Research Methods

Course Description:

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of social media analytics and social listening & monitoring, with a focus on tracking the overall social health of brands. We will compare and evaluate some of the analytics tools on the market and learn how to perform a social landscape audit, establish KPIs (key performance indicators), set social marketing goals, and determine methods for campaign performance tracking. We’ll deep dive into the components that comprise a thorough monthly monitoring report, including managed channel (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) success metrics and KPI tracking, conversation sentiment and themes, competitive share of voice, influencer identification, data insights, listening & monitoring topics, and ROI. At the end of the quarter, we’ll examine the latest debates, tools, technologies, and social channels and their implications for social media analytics. Students who successfully complete the course will have gained hands-on experience analyzing and developing insights and tactical recommendations based on social media data. They will also leave armed with resources for following the latest trends and developments in social media marketing.

Student Testimonial:

“Vanessa Au’s Social Media Metrics class provided a great overview of how (and what) to track in order to best calculate the ROI of your social media channels. The guest speakers were all leaders in their field, and offered an excellent complement to the class lectures and readings. Professor Au’s slide decks were great and functioned as useful takeaways for each class session. This class is a great intro for anyone wanting to learn more about measuring social media impact and offers practical instruction on how best to do so. If you already do this for a living, you may find some of the lectures redundant, but for those that are just getting started, this is a great way to get a head start on an essential skill set of social channel management.”

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COM 597: Graphic Storytelling as Transmedia Platform (Salkowitz)

MCDM Elective
Saturdays, 9:00am-5:00pm, April 5, 19, May 3, 17, 31 | CMU 302

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM

Course Description:

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.

Student Testimonial:

“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.”

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COM 583: Multimedia Storytelling: Immersive Production Studio (Macklin)

MCDM Elective
Tuesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 318E

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM

Course Description:

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 development 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.

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COM 569: Gaming, Virtual Worlds, and Communication (Rufo)

MCDM Elective
Thursdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242 & 244

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM

Course Description:

No technology better defines the digital media experience than the video game. What was once the domain of the maladjusted introvert has become the dominant new media experience, with whole generations of console and PC gamers competing against other players online, crafting avatars and walking the halls of virtual worlds, playing, cheating, and building their “second lives.” This course will explore these virtual environments, mapping the communication that happens within and through this new medium. We will ground the class through a variety of game-playing, both in and outside of the classroom, and will do so in a way that works for “noobs” as well as hardcore gamers. Speakers will include those that live, breathe, and design video games right here in the Seattle area, one of the hubs for national and international video game production. Emphasis will be placed on determining strategies by which new video games may solve old communication problems.

Student Testimonial:

“I rediscovered an old passion in the MCDM’s course Gaming and Virtual Worlds. I rediscovered that I like to make learning fun. I consider fun and play fundamental qualities in a full life experience. Up until this class, the focus of my career and passion had been in the classroom and in the edit suite. My experience in Dr. Rufo’s class gave my lifelong passion new direction in analog games and the Kinect. I now apply the theories I learned in this class most everyday as I work as a Producer and PM for Microsoft in the IEB division and as I pursue personal projects to ensure learning stays fun for people of all ages. My new favorite VUI command is ‘Xbox! Get me a victory milk!’”

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COM 558: Digital Media Law and Policy (Baker)

MCDM Elective, Meets Law & Ethics Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 6:00-9:50pm | MGH 271

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM, Law and Ethics

Course Description:

Legal issues are pervasive in the use and implementation of all types of digital media. Copyright owners consistently struggle with how to monetize content without alienating end users, bloggers confront the parameters and limits of free expression, and consumers are more and more sensitized as to how companies will make use of their personal information. This course examines the existing frameworks that govern how companies, organizations, and end users approach free expression, intellectual property, privacy, security, and advertising. Students are provided practical guidance for applying these frameworks to varying news, entertainment, social media, and digital media environments.

Student Testimonial:

“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.”

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COM 587: Business Fundamentals in Digital Communication (McPherson)

Track Neutral
Mondays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302

Former Tags: Spring 2014, MCDM, MCCN, Track Neutral

Please Note: COM 587 is a neutral class and while offered in different tracks different quarters, can be taken by either MCCN or MCDM students as part of their core electives, regardless of the track that particular quarter. It does not count as as the option all students have to take two courses in the alternative track.

Course Description:

A practical understanding of key business fundamentals is essential in being able to create and implement communications strategies in today’s organizations. This course will be useful for students that want to make a difference in large and small businesses, who are interested in starting their own business or NGO, or for those working with constituents towards a goal. We will cover the following subjects: Marketing/Sales, basics of Finance and Accounting (including understanding ROI), Operations, and Implementation. Students will apply key business concepts by building a business plan of their own design, either solo or on a team that is of interest to several students. The business plan serves as a comprehensive vehicle for putting into practice the central teachings of the class. Plans can reflect a range of possibilities: new small-business ventures, initiatives from students’ workplaces, a new nonprofit organization or plans that reflect the interests of students who choose to pursue a plan within a sub field they hope to pursue as a career. As a result of taking this course, students will have a better understanding of the underlying issues facing business and organizations and be able to develop more relevant strategies and tactics to leverage the opportunities and challenges. At the completion of the class, students will be able present their ideas and initiatives in a more persuasive way to the decision makers in organizations by aligning their suggestions with the needs and issues facing the organization.

Student Testimonial:

“Rick’s class took my understanding of business to the next level. As someone whose spent most of my collegiate career in communication courses, this business fundamentals class lived up to the name. Further, Rick’s examples were often straight from news headlines, and his career experience brought the concepts to life. The deliverables were time intensive, but working in a team made the workload comparable to other courses. The tools and know-how to build a strong business plan made this course one of the most valuable I’ve taken in the program thus far.”

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COM 597: Games as Communication: Online Strategies for Engaging Users and Customers (Lingle)

MCCN Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Mondays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126

Former Tags: Summer 2014, MCCN, Research Methods

Course Description:

Gamification has had its turn in the spotlight, promising new levels of user interaction and attracting both advocates and critics. While its successes are compelling, media professionals know it’s never easy, and often impossible, to apply generic solutions to your own communication challenges. Looking beyond the badges and buzzwords, the core ideas of games and play do tap into powerful human instincts. Drawing on those principles, we can think more deeply about users and customers, and build more rewarding experiences for them as real people. Digging into research and real-world cases, students in this course will develop insights into games and gaming as a mode of communication. In addition to critically evaluating “gamification” as a marketing strategy, we will go further by exploring such concepts as crowds, rules, identity, and social control. In a world where environments are increasingly digitized and datafied, students will analyze what’s behind our impulse to count, compare, and compete, whether with friends, strangers, or the objects around us. By the end of the course, we will have a more grounded understanding of what games are and how we can strategically and successfully apply them to communication.

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COM 597: Ethics for Communicating Across Local and Global Networks (Bardouille-Crema)

MCCN Elective, Meets Law & Ethics Core Requirement
Saturdays, 9:00am-5:00pm, June 28, July 12, 26, August 2, 16 | CMU 126

Former Tags: Summer 2014, MCCN, Law and Ethics

Course Description:

An ever increasingly globalized world presents both opportunities and challenges to how we communicate within and across networks. Local communities are influenced by a global perspective and communications designed for specific networks will reach father than can be imagined or tracked. This presents ethical challenges when building and engaging with a range of communities and networks. All facets of communications – be it advertising or advocacy campaigns, print newspapers or tweeting – will have an impact on those it reaches, and subsequently will affect the entity from which the communication came. Understanding the ethical implications embedded in a range of engagement models equips communication leaders to make smart, strategic, and sensitive decisions in how they design communication strategies. In this course, you will learn key analysis skills to be able to best apply ethical, cultural and contextually-appropriate strategies to communicate and interact with a range of networks and sub-networks, both locally and globally. Using class discussion, case examples, and projects, the class will explore the explicit and implicit messaging tactics in present day communications and apply analytical skills and techniques for developing constructive and ethical messaging in all aspects of communications.

Student Testimonial:

“Dost Bardouille-Crema asks students to address how they would manage ethical communications when communities can morph and change based on temporal issues, past and present relevant communications situations, etc. The curriculum requires that through discourse on theory and exposure to real-time ethical/unethical practices, students learn to develop their own approach to ethics in communication in order to become more discerning evaluators of ethical issues in communication. I learned how systems thinking in communications is applied to building out approaches to ethical strategy and practices. Dost is a working professional in the global non-profit sector dealing directly with complex, multi-national corporate and governmental conflict-resolution issues. She was an ideal choice for learning the tenants of ethics in communications.”

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