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.).

    Please view the University of Washington Academic Calendar for important dates, including quarter start and end dates, registration dates and deadlines, and campus holidays.

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COMMLD 501: Leadership Through Story and Communities: Creativity and the Digital Age (Crofts) - 2018 Fall

Required Core Course for MCDM and MCCN
Saturdays, 9/29, 10/13, 10/27, 11/10, 12/1 | 9:00am-5:00pm | NAN 181
Registration SLN: 23665

Course Description:

The Comm Lead core classes are designed to build off one another, with the Fall core class focused on personal narrative and leadership styles, with the Spring core class opening the aperture on narrative to include organizational storytelling and engagement. Both classes are also designed to set expectations and behaviors for a fruitful graduate school experience that encourages students to take accountability for their own learning, to see themselves as creatives, as leaders, and as entrepreneurial thinkers whose evolving expertise serves not just their own professional growth, but the wellbeing of their greater community at large.

This foundational class considers personal leadership development through the two lenses of story and community, with particular attention paid to contemporary research on creativity. In this digital age when the technology of communication is so pervasive and accessible, leadership and creativity go hand in hand to produce strong community engagement. Oneʼs personal history and cultural context influences oneʼs leadership style, so using cross-sector profiles and guest speakers, we will carefully consider a range of leaders, their personal narratives, communication styles, and how they connect meaningfully to customers, colleagues, and constituents. As part of the course applied learning, you will be asked to research and produce an original final project concerning a communication issue that you find compelling and that reflects your personal and professional interests, ambitions, and curiosity within the field of communicationStudent Testimonial.

Student Testimonial:

“This course is about being able to understand that leadership and creativity are main tools in developing authentic, real and strategic messages. The class enhances the understanding of communications patterns in current organizations where storytelling becomes a unique tool to reach audiences when messages are everywhere. I learned in this class that one of the main things to true leadership is about opening ourselves to others in order to connect with them. There needs to be an ability to listen to others and care. Online worlds created by the fast-changing digital media technologies go back to the essence of connection with others. This class is the best personal and professional learning experience I had since I started the program. It gave me the creative room to imagine that everything is possible if you open up to yourself and to others. Leadership is a trait you can develop by using storytelling as a tool but in the end it’s about being able to share who you are with others and connect by listening back. The best storyteller is one who knows how to listen. Anita Verna Crofts, the professor of the course, represents that ideal teacher who is not only academically and professionally experienced, but who also cares for the whole growth of the people around her. Having this class changed my perspective on leadership, creation of communities and storytelling, but most importantly on myself.”

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

Track Neutral Elective | 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.”

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

 

 

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

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

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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COMMLD 510: User Research and UX Strategies (Levine) - 2018 Fall

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 9/26-12/5 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 23734

Course Description: 

This course focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of user interfaces from a usability perspective. The aim of the course 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.

Several 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 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
  • Prepare reports and presenting results
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COMMLD 511: Introduction to User Centered Design (Holmberg) - 2018 Fall

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Mondays, 10/1-12/10 (no class on 11/12) | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 23669

Course Description: 

This course focuses on the fundamentals of user experience (UX) design, focusing on the skills and concepts needed to successfully design products and services for humans (otherwise known as the human-centered design process). 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.

Over the course of the quarter, students will learn the foundations of user experience design, covering the entire cycle from ideation to implementation, and all of the design phases in between. We will cover a wide range of UX skills, including user research, user journeys, sketching, wireframing, principles of information architecture, prototyping, and usability studies. Additionally, we will consider the larger ethical questions raised by designing products in the digital age.

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.”

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COMMLD 520: The Future of Marketing: How Digital Media is Changing the Practice of Commercial and Consumer Engagement (Salkowitz) - 2018 Fall

MCDM Elective
Wednesdays, 9/26-12/5 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 23689

Course Description:

Rapid evolution of digital media and technology continues to disrupt the business of marketing, making it essential for professionals in the field to keep abreast of trends in a number of areas. This class focuses on the technologies shaping marketing, advertising, media, public relations and communications in the 2-4 year horizon and explores strategies of successful marketing organizations, both digital and traditional. We will examine the impact of social media, mobility, big data, new content and rich media distribution technologies, multi-platform storytelling, apps, and other digital innovation on audience engagement. We will study how consumers and audience expectations are changing, and how marketers must shift their models to accommodate new realities and expectations. Finally, we will look at changes to the structures and processes that marketing organizations – corporate, agency or otherwise – can adopt to become resilient in the face of rapid change. This class assumes a general familiarity with the practices of digital marketing and digital technologies. It is recommended for marketing, advertising and commercial communications professionals interested in developments at the cutting edge of the field. We will offer a survey of techniques and practices, including case studies, readings from contemporary practitioners and thought leaders, and expert guest speakers.

Student Testimonial:

“The first day of class, Rob Salkowitz tells you that there is no crystal ball to predict the future of marketing. However, it really does feel like we were able to divine the future. Based around a technique called scenario planning, as a class and as groups, we looked at the future of technology (from 3D printing to Internet of Things), content/content creation, and a whole host of other things as they would relate to marketing in the future and to make predictions. It was a great class for thinking about trends and their influences and ways that marketers can stay ahead of the curve based on the knowledge that we have in-hand today.”

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COMMLD 530: Multimedia Storytelling: Digital Distribution and the Story (Keller) - 2018 Fall

MCDM Elective
Mondays, 10/1-12/10 (no class on 11/12) | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302/126
Registration SLN: 23670

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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COMMLD 558: Law & Policy: Law of Digital Media, Interactive Media, and Content (Baker) - 2018 Fall

MCDM Elective | Meets Law & Ethics Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 10/2-12/4 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 23671

Course Description:

The law of digital media, interactive media and social media has facilitated the growth of multimedia storytelling, interactivity, and the explosion of collaborative consumption. Understanding when and how one can remix, reuse, republish, and remake content is critical to any organization’s successful advertising, content creation, distribution, and publication. This course will explore the legal issues surrounding free expression, content production and publication, intellectual property (with a special emphasis on copyright and fair use), and advertising. 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 data security and privacy law course offered in the Fall, which focuses more on data usage, privacy and security, FTC regulatory issues and intellectual property issues around data and analytics.

Student Testimonial:

“Law & Policy is usually among the favorites of each cohort, and I completely understand that! Kraig is an incredibly knowledgeable professor who is detail oriented, and cares deeply about getting his students interested in the material. Law seems like a boring subject at first, but he makes sure that the material is tailored to the interests of each class and gives his students the freedom to adapt the course to their passions and learning styles. Also, this course is incredibly relevant to many questions we always have looming over our heads about copyright and content. This subject will continuously be relevant, and Kraig does a great job at making sure you’re confident in that.”

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COMMLD 520: Brand Matters (Captain) - 2018 Fall

MCCN ELECTIVE
Thursdays, 9/27-12/6 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 23687

This course would bring brand into focus and answer questions such as what is brand and why does it matter? How does an idea become a brand? How can a brand motivate a community or group to take action? How do you create a brand that triggers desired behaviors? Is a person a brand? How do brands stand out in this age of message inundation? What vehicles best communicate brand? What are the most popular brands on the planet and why? This is a timely topic because the media and messaging landscape is morphing so fast. In the era of skeptical consumers, today’s communicators must be savvy thinkers and shrewd creators of future brands.

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COMMLD 570: Communicating Ideas: Strategies and Theories of Communities and Networks (Yasin) - 2018 Fall

MCCN ELECTIVE | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 9/26-12/5 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 23672

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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