Classes

  • The Communication Leadership curriculum includes core courses and a variety of electives. 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. Registration SLNs can be located on the Time Schedule. Please read the Department’s statement on internet resource requirements for access to courses.

COM 597: Content & Social Strategy for Maximum Business Impact (Schiller) - 2017-2018 Fall

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Saturdays, 10/14, 10/28, and Sunday 11/5, 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

Many experts think of social media and content strategy in big company terms: getting buy-in from management, developing a process, communicating among teams, defining metrics, etc. All very important, but in an over-saturated digital world how do you create the actual content? Not boring, me-too, formulaic content, but stories that people actually read, share and take action upon? Contrary to what many people think, great content is not built on luck or magic; it’s built using specific, repeatable techniques that you can learn and deploy to drive your business objectives. This class will teach you how to create unforgettable content, how to customize it for each social channel and how to ensure that your social and content strategy support each other for maximum business impact. Through a combination of case studies, readings and hands-on assignments, students will gain a solid understanding of how to create the kind of content that other marketers will wish was their own.

Student Testimonial:

I came into class with little to no formal training on content strategy. It was apparent from the get go that I would be learning multiple useful techniques on how to break down content and better improve said content based on the its ultimate goal. With her years of industry experience and scrappy attitude, Carol was a terrific asset to the class. Regardless of your individual pathway through the program, this is a great class for better understanding the online ecosystem that we all exist in.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Leadership Approaches to Diversity Initiatives in Organizations (Ross) - 2016-2017 Summer

Track Neutral, 3 credits
Tuesdays, 6/20-8/15, excluding 7/4, 6:00-8:20pm | 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.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 510: Leveraging Diverse Perspectives for Product Content Strategy (Davies) - 2020-2021 Autumn

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Wednesdays 9/30-12/9, 6:00pm – 8:20pm | Online

Course Description:

This course will guide students through a variety of techniques and processes to building experiences that are inclusive, and designed to directly serve their intended audience. This includes a lightweight look at understanding and defining your audience, testing for a variety of accessibility challenges, designing for inclusion, and an overview of ways to get feedback from your audience.Students will then be able to leverage these techniques to evaluate experiences to identify opportunities to improve.

[Course Description +]

COM 597 Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2017-2018 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.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling (Partnow) - 2018-2019 Summer

Track Neutral
Monday-Friday, 6/24-6/28 | 9:00am-5:00pm | SAV 132
Registration SLN: 10909

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.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 524: Copywriting Fundamentals for Marketing (Schiller) - 2019-2020 Autumn

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Saturdays 10/5, 10/19, 11/2 | 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126

Course Description: 

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.

Student Testimonial:

“This course was one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken while in the program. Carol ensured that the readings and assignments were directly applicable to our own careers and the ideas I brought back to my boss made me look great at work. I wondered if a full-day class about copywriting would be too long, but Carol’s lessons were lively and interesting, and I found that the day moved along very quickly. In short, I found this class to have tremendous value and I highly recommend it.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 510: Decision Science and Content Strategy (Kabiri) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/7-3/11 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

Course Description:

This course introduces students to content strategy through the lens of Decision Science. Successful content requires solid decision-making by the professionals who create it. But it also relies on a firm understanding of audience decision-making, so that communications can effectively sway audience decisions. This course will explore the audience half of this equation. Students will be introduced to behavioral and social science principles that apply to decision-making, including heuristics, game theoretic models, network effects, institutional constraints, and cultural and social norms. The course will also include a market research component, to teach students how to uncover drivers of decision-making among their target audience. Finally, the course will pull it all together, guiding students as they apply these learnings in the creation of a content strategy proposal.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 503A: Practicum in Consumer Insights (Kabiri) - 2020-2021 Spring

Track Neutral Elective | 2 Credits
Thursdays 4/1 – 6/3, 5:30PM – 7:20PM PST (Note: instructor and class will determine meeting dates with project needs) | Online

Course Description:

To be effective in their marketing strategies, organizations need to know who their target audiences actually are – what they think, feel, and do, and how they ultimately make decisions. Without this insight, organizations “make up” who their target audiences or consumers are, and by doing so they miss the mark by making ill-informed strategic decisions. They design the wrong products, create the wrong messaging, write the wrong sales plays. Consumer insights is one of the primary ways businesses ensure that product design and messaging align closely with the needs, wants, and dreams of their consumers.. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do consumer insights. This class will teach you the right way. Through this practicum, students will work in teams of consultants for an organizational client to understand what consumer insights are missing in the organization, what insights are needed to drive the right decision-making, and how to find those insights. Students will conduct interviews with the organization’s stakeholders to uncover what’s already known (and what isn’t known). They will conduct secondary research to learn as much as possible about their consumer target. Finally, they will identify remaining gaps in information and prepare a “request for proposal” (RFP), which is intended to be sent to consumer insights agencies to request consumer research. The final deliverable will be the RFP, which will include a summary of what is already known about consumers. Students will present this RFP to the client. 

About 503 Communication and Leadership Practicum

Communication and Leadership Practicum was designed as a complement to COMMLD 502, intended to help shape the beginning of the Communication Leadership journey. The course gives students an early opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations.

Each section of the Comm Lead Practicum focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations who are interested in partnering with Communication Leadership students.

he span of a quarter, students analyze the issues faced by the client organization(s), collaborate and brainstorm collectively in small teams, and with the support of their faculty mentor create a deliverable for the client organization(s) that relates to the specific practice. Students may also create creative samples as part of the project. In doing so, students can develop and enhance skills, build foundations of practice, and produce work that they can include in their own professional portfolios.  

Structure of Class

Class will convene online during the time indicated by section for a minimum of 5 classes led by a faculty mentor. This may occur every other week, or at different intervals that serve the needs of the project. On dates that the faculty mentor is not in attendance, students will have that time together to work with their teams.

During the times that faculty mentors are in attendance, students will report out on the current status of their projects, hear from experts about best practices, receive feedback, and provide feedback to one another. At the end of the quarter, students will present their project deliverables to the client organization, faculty, and their peers. 

In addition to the final presentation, students will plan to meet with the client organizations mid-way through to report out on the current status of their projects and receive important feedback on their developing ideas and processes. Depending on client availability for these two meetings, time may need to be rescheduled from the regular class meeting time, with consideration of faculty mentor and student schedules.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Issues in Content Production: Structuring Legal and Business Deals in Creation, Production, and Distribution of Content (Baker) - 2017-2018 Summer

Track Neutral, 3 credits
Thursdays, 6/21-8/16, 6:00-8:20pm I SAV 130
Registration SLN: 10851
(add code required to confirm prerequisites)

Course Description: 

This class will explore the various business and legal aspects involved in content production and creation, from acquiring and clearing rights in the content, creating the content consistent with legal obligations, and examining the upside and downside of various distribution methods.  The class will explore both production and distribution of audio, print, video, and interactive media formats.

The class will be evenly split between production issues and distribution issues.  In the first half of the class, we will discuss how to acquire rights to a story, “fair use”, when to use releases, production agreements, talent agreements, product integration, and financing vehicles.  In the second half of the class, we will examine distribution, including option agreements, the characteristics of various distribution and/or publishing arrangements, and how to best leverage your distribution to meet your overall goals.

Students taking this class should have completed COM 558 or COM 560. Prerequisites will be checked before an add code is given.

[Course Description +]

COM 597 Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2017-2018 Summer

Track Neutral, Meets Law and Ethics Core Requirement
Thursdays, 6/21-8/16, 6:00-9:50pm I PCAR 492
Registration SLN: 14248

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.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 520: Marketing Copywriting (Text-Based Marketing) (Schiller) - 2018-2019 Fall

Track Neutral | 3 credits
Saturdays, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3 | 9:00am- 5:00pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 23688

Course Description: 

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.

Student Testimonial:

“This course was one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken while in the program. Carol ensured that the readings and assignments were directly applicable to our own careers and the ideas I brought back to my boss made me look great at work. I wondered if a full-day class about copywriting would be too long, but Carol’s lessons were lively and interesting, and I found that the day moved along very quickly. In short, I found this class to have tremendous value and I highly recommend it.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 503B: Practicum in Developing Creative Briefs and Strategy (Faris) - 2020-2021 Spring

Track Neutral Elective | 2 Credits
Saturdays 4/3 – 5/5, 9:00AM – 11:00AM PST (Note: instructor and class will determine meeting dates based on project needs) | Online

Course Description:

A strong creative brief guides a creative project from concept through distribution and serves as a strategic outline. Usually developed in the project initiation phase, it’s a critical document that gets all members of the team on the same page – creatives, clients, and other stakeholders. It captures specifics on project goals and objectives, target audience, messaging and other essential information to drive your creative ideation, and execution. In this practicum, we’ll explore what makes a brief strong and learn the key elements of an effective brief. You’ll practice doing all the necessary research, preparation, and strategic work that goes into developing a creative brief for an actual, organizational client. You’ll work directly with the client to understand their project needs and creative request. You’ll turn that into a solid brief and present your work to the client at the end of the quarter.

About 503 Communication and Leadership Practicum

Communication and Leadership Practicum was designed as a complement to COMMLD 502, intended to help shape the beginning of the Communication Leadership journey. The course gives students an early opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations.

Each section of the Comm Lead Practicum focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations who are interested in partnering with Communication Leadership students.

he span of a quarter, students analyze the issues faced by the client organization(s), collaborate and brainstorm collectively in small teams, and with the support of their faculty mentor create a deliverable for the client organization(s) that relates to the specific practice. Students may also create creative samples as part of the project. In doing so, students can develop and enhance skills, build foundations of practice, and produce work that they can include in their own professional portfolios.  

Structure of Class

Class will convene online during the time indicated by section for a minimum of 5 classes led by a faculty mentor. This may occur every other week, or at different intervals that serve the needs of the project. On dates that the faculty mentor is not in attendance, students will have that time together to work with their teams.

During the times that faculty mentors are in attendance, students will report out on the current status of their projects, hear from experts about best practices, receive feedback, and provide feedback to one another. At the end of the quarter, students will present their project deliverables to the client organization, faculty, and their peers. 

In addition to the final presentation, students will plan to meet with the client organizations mid-way through to report out on the current status of their projects and receive important feedback on their developing ideas and processes. Depending on client availability for these two meetings, time may need to be rescheduled from the regular class meeting time, with consideration of faculty mentor and student schedules.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 541: Crisis Communication (Schwartz) - 2019-2020 Summer

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Law and Ethics Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 6/23-8/18 | 5:00-8:50pm*
*Please note non-standard meeting time due to instructor teaching from Eastern Time Zone

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.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560: Individualized Research (Philipsen) - 2018-2019 Summer

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Meetings to be arranged between enrolled students and instructor
(application and add code required)

Course Description:

This course is designed for students who want to explore an area and develop a research project of their own. Students work individually in this class with the instructor, Dr. Gerry Philipsen, to develop a negotiated plan of work, involving the reading of important scholarly works in the area of study and the development of an individual creative project designed to enhance the student’s intellectual and practical development. The topics to choose from with Dr. Gerry Philipsen as the instructor/advisor are: Communication that enhances effectiveness in workplace teams, personal negotiation strategies and conflict management in the workplace, and beyond, and cultural and intergroup communication.

Submit your application for this class here: https://forms.gle/Ft4nsCc2c2AMXwVMA.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Content & Social Strategy for Maximum Business Impact (Schiller) - 2016-2017 Fall

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Saturdays, 10/1, 10/15, 10/29/16, 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

Many experts think of social media and content strategy in big company terms: getting buy-in from management, developing a process, communicating among teams, defining metrics, etc. All very important, but in an over-saturated digital world how do you create the actual content? Not boring, me-too, formulaic content, but stories that people actually read, share and take action upon? Contrary to what many people think, great content is not built on luck or magic; it’s built using specific, repeatable techniques that you can learn and deploy to drive your business objectives. This class will teach you how to create unforgettable content, how to customize it for each social channel and how to ensure that your social and content strategy support each other for maximum business impact. Through a combination of case studies, readings and hands-on assignments, students will gain a solid understanding of how to create the kind of content that other marketers will wish was their own.

Student Testimonial:

I came into class with little to no formal training on content strategy. It was apparent from the get go that I would be learning multiple useful techniques on how to break down content and better improve said content based on the its ultimate goal. With her years of industry experience and scrappy attitude, Carol was a terrific asset to the class. Regardless of your individual pathway through the program, this is a great class for better understanding the online ecosystem that we all exist in.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 511: Introduction to User Centered Design (Holmberg) - 2020-2021 Autumn

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement
Mondays 10/5-12/7, 6:00pm-9:50pm | Online

Course Description:

This course focuses on the fundamentals of user experience design, identifying the skills and concepts needed to successfully design products and services for humans. We will learn the principles of design thinking so that students come away from the class with a framework for understanding how to identify real user problems, design solutions for how to solve those problems, and then test those solutions with real people.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 510: Leveraging Diverse Perspectives for Product Content Strategy (Davies) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Wednesdays 6:00PM – 8:20PM PDT

Course Description:

This course will guide students through a variety of techniques and processes to building experiences that are inclusive, and designed to directly serve their intended audience. This includes a lightweight look at understanding and defining your audience, testing for a variety of accessibility challenges, designing for inclusion, and an overview of ways to get feedback from your audience. Students will then be able to leverage these techniques to evaluate experiences to identify opportunities to improve.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Introduction to Project Management: Principles & Best Practices (Franco) - 2016-2017 Winter

Track Neutral Elective, 3 Credits
Saturdays, 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 9-5pm | CMU 126

Course Description: 

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.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: The Art & Science of Text-Based Marketing (Schiller) - 2016-2017 Spring

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Saturday, April 22, May 6, 20, 9-5pm | CMU 242

Course Description: 

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.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Communication Through Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Understanding and Motivating Organizations and Communities (Philipsen) - 2017-2018 Fall

MCCN Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 10/3-12/5, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

Each organization and community has its unique “culture.” As technology has both enhanced and disrupted how we traditionally connect to each other, harnessing the culture within these specific social structures is an increasingly valuable strategy in the networked age. If we can discern the cultural foundation of an organization or community, we can interact with, and motivate its members more effectively and efficiently. In this course, you will learn how to determine the heart of a particular, localized culture of an organization (businesses, non-profits, civic entities) or community. Specifically, you will learn how to see the cultural values, rules, and symbols of a culture as vital resources for promoting successful collaboration within and across groups. This is a crucial undertaking for 21st century leaders who seek to inspire and transform through communication.

Student Testimonial:

“Communicating Through Culture was the most unexpectedly rewarding class I ever took. When the quarter began, I had no idea what to expect, and I was leery of the plentiful, heavily academic readings listed in the syllabus. I ended up enjoying the class so much I was sad when the quarter ended! Lisa took an arguably esoteric subject matter (the ethnography of communication) and not only did she help me to understand it, but she bridged the gap between academia and industry. I came out of the course with a newly positive attitude toward research and a keen interest in knowing more about how people communicate.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 525: Brand Values and Creativity (Howard) - 2019-2020 Winter

Track Neutral Elective
Tuesdays, 1/7-3/10 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302

Course Description:

This course will take a close up look at corporate brand values in marketing communications today. Brand values should be timeless and unchanging, but in a constantly fluctuating business environment, is this goal even possible? While high volume video advertising and A/B testing is exploding, paradoxically, messaging of corporate brand values is oftentimes minimized. Marketing today is comprised of ever-changing algorithms, transactional communications, and confusing narratives.Should creativity play a bigger role in storytelling in today’s marketplace? Do customers even know what the companies they make purchases from actually stand for values-wise? Does it matter? How can companies still connect emotionally with consumers? Students will conceive of, research, shoot, edit, and create a marketing film for a company of their choice. All the while, they’ll be considering deeply how emotion, story, and marketing message function in a project that resonates with the consumer while also reinforcing a company’s belief system.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2016-2017 Summer

Track Neutral, Meets Law & Ethics Requirement
Mondays, 6/26-8/14, 6:00-9:50pm | MGH 074
Please note this class will begin the second week of the quarter on June 26 and will add a class on Tuesday, June 27, 6:00-9:50pm in 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.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Communication for Advocacy (Tausch Lapora) - 2017-2018 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.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling (Partnow) - 2018-2019 Winter

Track Neutral
Wednesdays, 1/9-3/13 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 22052

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.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560: Individualized Research (Philipsen) - 2019-2020 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Meetings to be arranged between enrolled students and instructor
(application and add code required)

Course Description:

This course is designed for students who want to explore an area and develop a research project of their own. Students work individually in this class with the instructor, Dr. Gerry Philipsen, to develop a negotiated plan of work, involving the reading of important scholarly works in the area of study and the development of an individual creative project designed to enhance the student’s intellectual and practical development. The topics to choose from with Dr. Gerry Philipsen as the instructor/advisor are: Communication that enhances effectiveness in workplace teams, personal negotiation strategies and conflict management in the workplace, and beyond, and cultural and intergroup communication.

Submit your application for this class here: https://forms.gle/Ft4nsCc2c2AMXwVMA.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560: Individualized Research (Philipsen) - 2019-2020 Spring

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Meetings to be arranged between enrolled students and instructor
(application and add code required)

Course Description:

This course is designed for students who want to explore an area and develop a research project of their own. Students work individually in this class with the instructor, Dr. Gerry Philipsen, to develop a negotiated plan of work, involving the reading of important scholarly works in the area of study and the development of an individual creative project designed to enhance the student’s intellectual and practical development. The topics to choose from with Dr. Gerry Philipsen as the instructor/advisor are: Communication that enhances effectiveness in workplace teams, personal negotiation strategies and conflict management in the workplace, and beyond, and cultural and intergroup communication.

Submit your application for this class here: https://forms.gle/Ft4nsCc2c2AMXwVMA.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 530: Intensive Video Storytelling: Conceptualizing, Shooting, and Editing (Keller) - 2018-2019 Summer

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Wednesday-Sunday, 8/7-8/11, 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 10908

Course Description:

Media creation is a multi-step effort, with thoughtful decision-making involved throughout the process. How do the choices you make in the telling and delivery of your story affect the reception of your message? This course is aimed at expanding thought about how online media is affecting storytelling. Additionally, students will gain hands-on practice in producing online video stories. The skills-based aspect of this course is designed to familiarize students with the technologies associated with storytelling. Specifically how to refine, shoot, edit, and distribute their online video.

Student Testimonial:

“Five consecutive full days in the classroom may look intimidating, but not to worry, Drew Keller has a knack for effectively breaking up each eight-hour session. Drew takes students through a variety of exercises ranging from lecture and group discussions, to campus excursions to shoot footage, to hands-on video editing sessions. The first half of the course begins with the basics of storytelling through video. Drew makes sure each student has a firm grasp on film equipment use and vocabulary (light, sounds, camera, etc.). The second half is spent alone or in small teams shooting for and editing final projects which are screened the last day of class (Sunday afternoon). When I signed up for this course I cleared my schedule for the five days and devoted my entire attention to what I was learning. I decided to treat the course like a conference or even summer camp. Video editing is one of those tasks that always takes longer than you imagine, so be prepared to live and breathe your final project on days 3 through 5. But by the time you export your final video, you are quite amazed at what you were able to accomplish in such a short time span. Taking this course during the normal 10-week schedule probably allows for more internalization of the material and obviously additional time to learn shooting and video editing skills, however taking the 5-day deep dive proved to be extremely rewarding. This course is great for someone who doesn’t want to devote an entire 5 credits or quarter to video storytelling since it may not be the primary focus of their graduate school studies or career, but wants to get the higher level overview to be able to understand the process of creating a short online film from start to finish.”

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Leadership Approaches to Diversity Initiatives in Organizations (Ross) - 2017-2018 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.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 540 B: Distributed and Diverse Teams (Chang) - 2019-2020 Spring

Track Neutral
Saturdays/Sunday, 4/18, 4/19, 5/2, 5/30 I 9:00 – 5:00pm I CMU 302

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 interconnectedness 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 the 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 other learning event. 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. Please note that this course models distributed team leadership in that students will have a weekly distributed leadership team call and work in addition to the 4 on-site classes; this applied approach to the course offers deeper leadership transformation as well as practical skill development.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Intensive Video Storytelling: Conceptualizing, Shooting, and Editing (Keller) - 2017-2018 Summer

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Wednesday-Sunday, 7/25-7/29, 9:00am-5:00pm | SAV 130
Registration SLN: 10853

Course Description:

Media creation is a multi-step effort, with thoughtful decision-making involved throughout the process. How do the choices you make in the telling and delivery of your story affect the reception of your message? This course is aimed at expanding thought about how online media is affecting storytelling. Additionally, students will gain hands-on practice in producing online video stories. The skills-based aspect of this course is designed to familiarize students with the technologies associated with storytelling. Specifically how to refine, shoot, edit, and distribute their online video.

Student Testimonial:

“Five consecutive full days in the classroom may look intimidating, but not to worry, Drew Keller has a knack for effectively breaking up each eight-hour session. Drew takes students through a variety of exercises ranging from lecture and group discussions, to campus excursions to shoot footage, to hands-on video editing sessions. The first half of the course begins with the basics of storytelling through video. Drew makes sure each student has a firm grasp on film equipment use and vocabulary (light, sounds, camera, etc.). The second half is spent alone or in small teams shooting for and editing final projects which are screened the last day of class (Sunday afternoon). When I signed up for this course I cleared my schedule for the five days and devoted my entire attention to what I was learning. I decided to treat the course like a conference or even summer camp. Video editing is one of those tasks that always takes longer than you imagine, so be prepared to live and breathe your final project on days 3 through 5. But by the time you export your final video, you are quite amazed at what you were able to accomplish in such a short time span. Taking this course during the normal 10-week schedule probably allows for more internalization of the material and obviously additional time to learn shooting and video editing skills, however taking the 5-day deep dive proved to be extremely rewarding. This course is great for someone who doesn’t want to devote an entire 5 credits or quarter to video storytelling since it may not be the primary focus of their graduate school studies or career, but wants to get the higher level overview to be able to understand the process of creating a short online film from start to finish.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 570: Listening and Leadership (Crofts) - 2018-2019 Spring

Track Neutral | 2 credits
Wednesdays, 4/3/19-6/5/19 | 6:00-7:50pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12435

Course Description:

This course considers listening skills as a key leadership attribute when it comes to effective communication. The behaviors of a good listener are considered through a range of texts related to leadership, but with additional emphasis on audio programs showcasing the interview format where an interviewer’s ability to listen closely and empathically solicits strong connection and memorable storytelling. Foundations in Audio Story is the production course geared toward audiophiles at Comm Lead, whereas Listening and Leadership is for all Comm Lead students who are keen to hone their ability to listen as a critical career skill.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560: Individualized Research in Communication and Culture (Philipsen) - 2018-2019 Fall

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Meetings to be arranged between enrolled students and instructor
Registration SLN: 23683 (application and add code required)

Course Description: 

This class is designed for students who want to explore an area and develop a research project of their own. Students work individually in this class with the instructor, Dr. Gerry Philipsen, to develop a negotiated plan of work, involving the reading of important scholarly works in the area of study and the development of an individual creative project designed to enhance the student’s intellectual and practical development. During the quarter the student meets at least three times with the instructor (at a time of their choosing) for one on one meetings. The terms of evaluation are set out in the individually-negotiated plan of work. This is a highly individualized, and highly structured learning experience. The topics to choose from with Dr. Gerry Philipsen as the instructor/advisor are:

  • Communication that enhances effectiveness in workplace teams
  • Personal negotiation strategies and conflict management in the workplace, and beyond
  • Cultural and intergroup communication

Dr. Gerry Philipsen is a pioneer in communication research. He is the originator of speech code theory. He is also the recipient of University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award and University of Washington Award for Distinguished Faculty Contribution to Lifelong Learning. He is the former Chair of the Faculty Senate, Secretary of the Faculty, and former Department Chair at Communication Department at UW. He has spoken at over 100 universities and colleges, world-wide and also served as consultant for National Science Foundation and United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

To apply for this individualized research opportunity, please complete the Google Form here.

 

 

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 514: Product Content Strategy (Schwieterman) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/6-3/10 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

Course Description:

The goal of this course is to provide a strong foundational knowledge of product content strategy as a function within a user experience design team. Skill areas include responsive content strategy, inclusive design, content auditing, performance auditing and more. Specific focus is also given to understanding the perspectives of partner roles, building skills around collaborating and communicating with each role type. You should walk away ready to join a real team and get to work. You will also gain real work examples by working with brands from around the region.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 512: User Research & UX Strategies (Levine) - 2019-2020 Autumn

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 9/25-12/4 (no class 11/27) | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 230

Course Description:

This course focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of user interfaces from a usability perspective. The aim of the class is to study the concepts, methods, and techniques of usability engineering, with a focus on the artifacts where user experience is essential. Historically, usability has covered aspects of efficiency, learnability, and ease of use. Today, a large number of other measures for success rely on elements such as playability, engagement, entertainment, immersion, and aesthetics.

The following concepts will be detailed with the expectation that by the end of the quarter, students will recognize the aspects of each of the following deliverables within Interface Design and User Research. At the completion of this course, students will have portfolio-ready, end-to-end work examples. The work examples are designed for students to demonstrate they can: understand basic principles of user interface design, implementation, and evaluation, design and conduct usability studies, select an appropriate evaluation method and articulating its advantages and disadvantages, establish useful test objectives, and prepare reports and presenting results.

 

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 510: Product Content Strategy (Magwire) - 2018-2019 Spring

MCDM, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 4/2/19-6/4/19 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 232
Registration SLN: 12426

Course Description:

The goal of this course is to provide a strong foundational knowledge of product content strategy as a function within a user experience design team. Skill areas include responsive content strategy, inclusive design, content auditing, performance auditing and more. Specific focus is also given to understanding the perspectives of partner roles, building skills around collaborating and communicating with each role type. You should walk away ready to join a real team and get to work. You’ll also gain real work examples by working with brands from around the region.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Advanced Content Strategy and the Future of Communication (Holmberg) - 2016-2017 Spring

MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Mondays, 3/27/17-6/5/17, 6-9:50pm | COM 126

Course Description:

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).

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Community Data Science: Programming and Data Science for Social Media (Guy) - 2016-2017 Spring

MCDM Elective, Meets Research Methods Requirement
Thursdays, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

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.

Student Testimonial:

“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!”

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Innovation Communities (Hill) - 2017-2018 Fall

MCCN Elective
Thursdays, 9/28-12/7, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242

Course Description:

Can innovation be crowdsourced? 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.

Student Testimonial:

This class was the perfect combination of digital technology and community/network development. Each week we looked at a case study to analyze why an online community did or did not work and how outside forces influenced its success or demise. We explored hacker communities, maker communities, online gaming communities and more. Mako always led an engaging class discussion (which you could only get from an expert like he is in the field of online communities), his is lectures were informative and reflective of the reading material and he always made good use of class time. I appreciated that he made himself available online or during office hours, especially while we developed and dove into our final projects. Plus, he’s just a cool person to talk to. This class taught me about things I didn’t even know existed, and I am so glad that I took this course.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 511: Introduction to User Centered Design (Holmberg) - 2019-2020 Autumn

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Mondays, 9/30-12/2 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 230
Note: Due to the holiday the final class will be Monday, December 9.

Course Description:

This course focuses on the fundamentals of user experience design, focusing on the skills and concepts needed to successfully design products and services for humans. We will learn the principles of design thinking so that students come away from the class with a framework for understanding how to identify real user problems, design solutions for how to solve those problems, and then test those solutions with real people.

Student Testimonial:

“From class activities to assignments to even the class slides, Dave crafts an optimal user experience for the student. He takes the time to provide useful, in-depth feedback on all assignments which enhances the learning experience considerably. The UX Content Strategy Playbook we created was an incredible way to learn the specifics of UX exercises we studied in class; I’m sure I’ll use it for years to come. The books Dave selected for class will serve as excellent resources down the road as well. This was definitely one of the best classes I’ve taken in the Comm Lead program.”

 

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Strategic Communication for Responsible Leaders (Keyes) - 2016-2017 Summer

MCDM Elective
Wednesdays, 6/21-8/16, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description: 

Honesty, integrity and high moral standards top the list of qualities expected of a leader, whether they are running a country, inspiring a global team or launching a new product. The challenge comes in knowing how to harness these attributes to inform and fuel communication that’s authentic and effective. This course will examine the concept of leadership, explore a range of leadership styles and discuss the role strategic communication plays in creating and maintaining positions of power and influence. Concepts including cultural intelligence and personal branding will be applied to tools and techniques from executive speeches to social media channels. As a responsible leader, the art of storytelling is critical for everything from inspiring a vision to managing a reputation during a time of crisis to connecting with communities. This course uses real-world scenarios, current events, interactive discussions, in-class exercises, and a variety of guest lectures to provide practical insight, relevant theory and memorable learning.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Communicating Ideas: Strategies and Theories of Communities and Networks (Yasin) - 2017-2018 Fall

MCCN Elective, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 9/27-12/6, 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 242

Course Description:

Thought leaders such as founders of organizations, researchers and journalists produce ideas that help shape critical conversations. This course examines how ideas produced by thought leaders and public intellectuals in different fields are structured, and what makes these ideas resonate–or not resonate–with audiences. What type of communication techniques these thought leaders develop that result in the impact of their ideas in public discussion? In doing so, the course hopes to train the students as thought leaders by introducing students to both practical and analytical skills necessary to become such a figure.  Throughout the quarter, each student, at least once, will facilitate a conversation in class about an idea produced by a key thought leader or public intellectual – designing an activity to engage crowds. Each student will also prepare a short public talk on a topic related to the class theme of communities and networks. In addition to preparing the talk, students will prepare written proposal for an article or a book based on their idea and will conduct research on the topic of their presentation.

This quarter we will survey key discussions about communities and networks. Today, both organizations and political actors are thinking deeply about the structure and value of contemporary communities and the power of online and offline networks both locally and globally. In order to determine key texts and ideas about this topic, I distributed a survey to key thought leaders, professionals and scholars in my own network soliciting their recommendations of recent discussions on this topic. The ideas we examine in class will be partly based on these recommendations and will include key books, popular and academic articles and talks on this subject by leading thought leaders and public scholars.

[Course Description +]

COM 583: Multimedia Storytelling: Digital Distribution and the Story (Keller) - 2017-2018 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!”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 537: Principles of Storytelling for Organizations, Business, and Movements (Kessler) - 2018-2019 Winter

Track Neutral
Saturdays, 1/12, 1/19, 2/2, 2/16, 3/2 | 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 22049

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.

Student Testimonial:

“Storytelling is THE foundational skill every student must have a deep understanding of in order to succeed in the Comm. Lead program. Take this course if you want to learn how to craft a captivating story, if you want to be challenged, and if you want to improve as a writer, researcher, and interviewer. Thinking Story shows students how much thought is required to create an entertaining, purposeful, and persuasive story. The assigned reading, viewing, and listening materials are a combination of interesting examples of storytelling and long form nonfiction, intended to introduce students to the idea that humans are “wired for story.” Each assignment builds on the next, leading up to the final deliverable, a storyboard of the narrative you researched and developed all quarter. Professor Kessler asks her students to choose topics that are important and of interest to them. The work you will produce in Thinking Story feels more like a passion project rather than tasks you must complete. I recommend this class for all students in the program!”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 543: Leadership Approaches to Equity Initiatives in Organizations (Ross) - 2018-2019 Summer

MCCN Elective
Wednesdays 6/26-8/21 | 6:00-9:50pm | DEN 258
Registration SLN: 10910

Course Description:

This course challenges and supports students to develop deeper self-awareness, hone stronger skills for learning across difference, and prepare themselves as organizational change-makers for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For better or worse, organizational change initiatives impact individuals, groups, organizations, and ultimately societies. Thus, courageous leaders throughout organizations must learn how to improve their relevant knowledge, skills, and awareness iteratively, in order to contribute effectively to genuine change-making. The course is designed to meet students where they are and coach them toward significant growth in self-awareness, skills, and understanding. Students learn collaboratively together in order to explore interconnections among the dimensions of our intersectional identities. Those who complete this course gain confidence in their ability to learn about uncomfortable topics and expand their understanding of the roles of individuals, groups, organizations, and societal structures in making real system change.

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.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 517: The Psychology of User Experience (Evans) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/5-3/9 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

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
[Course Description +]

COM 597: Connecting Through Words: The Art & Science of Text-Based Marketing (Schiller) - 2017-2018 Spring

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Saturdays, April 21, May 5, 19, 9-5pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12416

Course Description: 

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.

Student Testimonial:

“This course was one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken while in the program. Carol ensured that the readings and assignments were directly applicable to our own careers and the ideas I brought back to my boss made me look great at work. I wondered if a full-day class about copywriting would be too long, but Carol’s lessons were lively and interesting, and I found that the day moved along very quickly. In short, I found this class to have tremendous value and I highly recommend it.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 512: User Research & UX Strategies (Levine) - 2019-2020 Spring

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 3/30-6/5 | 6:00 – 9:50pm | CMU 230

Course Description:

This course focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of user interfaces from a usability perspective. The aim of the class is to study the concepts, methods, and techniques of usability engineering, with a focus on the artifacts where user experience is essential. Historically, usability has covered aspects of efficiency, learnability, and ease of use. Today, a large number of other measures for success rely on elements such as playability, engagement, entertainment, immersion, and aesthetics.

The following concepts will be detailed with the expectation that by the end of the quarter, students will recognize the aspects of each of the following deliverables within Interface Design and User Research. At the completion of this course, students will have portfolio-ready, end-to-end work examples. The work examples are designed for students to demonstrate they can: understand basic principles of user interface design, implementation, and evaluation, design and conduct usability studies, select an appropriate evaluation method and articulating its advantages and disadvantages, establish useful test objectives, and prepare reports and presenting results.

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COMMLD 503C: Practicum in Storytelling for Organizations (Melograna) - 2020-2021 Spring

Track Neutral Elective | 2 Credits
Mondays 3/29 – 5/31, 6:00PM – 8:00PM PST (Note: Instructor and class will determine meeting dates based on project needs) | Online

Course Description:

An “About Us” video is an essential product that organizations of all kinds utilize to introduce who they are to clients and other communities. It’s usually an “evergreen” product that organizations hope to utilize as long as possible. In order to create an effective and useful video you need to understand all their needs for distribution, understand key messaging, find the right spokespeople, and craft the right stories to best connect to target audiences; hence creating assets for this multimedia product is as much or more about analyzing organizational identity and vision as it is about video production skills. During this practicum, with the support of your faculty mentor, you will engage in strategic pre-production of an “About Us” video that will help the organization better understand their goals, reach their audiences, and make their intended impact.

About 503 Communication and Leadership Practicum

Communication and Leadership Practicum was designed as a complement to COMMLD 502, intended to help shape the beginning of the Communication Leadership journey. The course gives students an early opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations.

Each section of the Comm Lead Practicum focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations who are interested in partnering with Communication Leadership students.

he span of a quarter, students analyze the issues faced by the client organization(s), collaborate and brainstorm collectively in small teams, and with the support of their faculty mentor create a deliverable for the client organization(s) that relates to the specific practice. Students may also create creative samples as part of the project. In doing so, students can develop and enhance skills, build foundations of practice, and produce work that they can include in their own professional portfolios.  

Structure of Class

Class will convene online during the time indicated by section for a minimum of 5 classes led by a faculty mentor. This may occur every other week, or at different intervals that serve the needs of the project. On dates that the faculty mentor is not in attendance, students will have that time together to work with their teams.

During the times that faculty mentors are in attendance, students will report out on the current status of their projects, hear from experts about best practices, receive feedback, and provide feedback to one another. At the end of the quarter, students will present their project deliverables to the client organization, faculty, and their peers. 

In addition to the final presentation, students will plan to meet with the client organizations mid-way through to report out on the current status of their projects and receive important feedback on their developing ideas and processes. Depending on client availability for these two meetings, time may need to be rescheduled from the regular class meeting time, with consideration of faculty mentor and student schedules.

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COM 597: Distributed and Diverse Teams: Leading and Communicating with Impact (Chang) - 2017-2018 Summer

Track Neutral
Saturdays 6/23, 6/30, 8/4, 8/11 I 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 14484

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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COMMLD 570: Communication and Teams in Organizations: Leading with Impact (Chang) - 2018-2019 Fall

Track Neutral
Thursdays, 9/27-11/15 (8 sessions) | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 23728

Course Description:

The workplace is increasingly connected and diverse, where teams and leaders work face to face, virtually or in hybrid teams with multiple audiences, clients, customers or suppliers. In this complex setting, responsive and adaptable leadership and communication skills are core competencies to create business and team effectiveness, not just from the organizationally designated “leader” but for anyone involved. And yet the technical skill building and conceptual internalization required to build –and demonstrate — those competencies can feel elusive and difficult to learn, articulate and track. This course is for anyone who says: “I want to become a better leader and communicate more effectively in this diversifying workplace.” In this course, students will advance their ability to generate clear technical communication results, team effectiveness and thought leadership through improved leadership communication competencies. They will do this by using a very practical, hands-on approach to applying various approaches, projects and tools to the workplace, diving into better understanding their own worldviews that shape how they engage with and react to teams, and bringing more explicit articulation to their leadership competencies. By the end of this course, students will be better equipped to provide leadership to and within teams, to articulate and measure their leadership growth and competencies, and to translate it all into a clear and compelling narrative.

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