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.

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.

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COM 597: Communication Through Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Understanding and Motivating Organizations and Communities (Philipsen) - Fall 2016-2017

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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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 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.

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COM 597: Innovation Communities (Hill) - Fall 2016-2017

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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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.”

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COMMLD 570: Communication and Teams in Organizations: Leading with Impact (Chang) - Fall 2017-2018

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 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.

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COM 597: Communicating Ideas: Strategies and Theories of Communities and Networks (Yasin) - Fall 2016-2017

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 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!”

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