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 597: Content & Social Strategy for Maximum Business Impact (Schiller) - 2016 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.

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

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

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.

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

Track Neutral
Saturdays Jan 6, 13, Feb 3, 10, and March 3 I 9-5pm I CMU 126 (CMU 302 on March 3)

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 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling (Partnow) - 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.

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

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

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.

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COMMLD 570: Listening and Leadership (Crofts) - 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.

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COM 597: Connecting Through Words: The Art & Science of Text-Based Marketing (Schiller) - 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.”

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COMMLD 570: Communication and Teams in Organizations: Leading with Impact (Chang) - 2018 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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COM 560: Law, Data and Privacy: Legal and Privacy Issues with Data, the Cloud, Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence (Baker) - 2016 Fall

MCDM Elective, Meets Law & Ethics Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 10/4/16-12/6/16 , 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

“Big Data”, “The Internet of Things”, “Behavioral Advertising”, “Analytics” — all buzzwords capturing the explosion of data and the promise of what we can do with data. Collecting, using, organizing, and sharing data and information also evokes legal issues and individual and collective uncertainty over who owns this data, what rights does one own, how does the data usage implicate privacy issues, how is and how should data use be regulated by the government, by private entities, for advertising, etc. This course will explore the legal issues associated with data usage, data collection, sharing of user information, and licensing. This course will pay particular attention to privacy laws in the United States, how the FTC and other regulators are approaching advertisers’ use of personal information, how organizations attempt to keep data secure, and how intellectual property rights protect (and don’t protect) data and databases. This course is designed both as a stand-alone course to satisfy the law and policy requirement of the program and as a companion to the law and policy course offered in the Spring, which focuses more on free expression and intellectual property issues around content.

Student Testimonial:

“This course was a fascinating overview of a quickly changing field. We touched on a variety of ethical and legal issues surrounding emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data. The course is exciting and engaging because many of these areas are so new that laws haven’t even been written, and it provided a great framework to view these topics through a legal lens. Although we charted lots of unfamiliar territory, Kraig Baker is an outstanding lecturer and makes the topics approachable and even fun. You don’t have to have a law background to glean interesting and useful information from this course, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in how nascent digital fields will be shaped by the law, and vice versa.”

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

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

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COM 597: Strategic Communication for Responsible Leaders (Keyes) - 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.

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

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

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!”

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COM 597: Innovation Communities (Hill) - 2017 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.

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