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.

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COMMLD 502: Narratives and Networks in Digital Media (Yasin) - 2020 Spring

Required Core Course for MCDM and MCCN
Thursdays, 3/30/20-6/5/20 | 6:00-9:50pm | Location TBD

Course Description:

This foundational course examines how organizations across different sectors tackle their challenges using tools of communication. Through case studies and guest speakers the course exposes students to common organizational problems and the potential of communication tools in solving them. The course also asks students to apply their learning by creating their own communication solutions for (1) an actual organizational challenge for class clients that they are matched with or (2) a cause/issue of their own choosing. In addition to the final project, students will write professionally-oriented articles aimed at developing their leadership in the communication fields about course readings and discussions. Credit/no-credit only.

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COMMLD 540 B: Distributed and Diverse Teams (Chang) - 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.

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COMMLD 560: Individualized Research (Philipsen) - 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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COMMLD 512: User Research & UX Strategies (Levine) - 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 532: Advanced Video Storytelling (Chan) - 2020 Spring

MCDM Elective
Wednesdays, 3/30 – 6/5 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302

Course Description: 

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:

“I can’t say enough good things about this class. [The instructors] are gifted educators and expert storytellers. As educators, I found them open and willing to engage many points of view with equal respect. That’s a rare talent. Their entry in the Seattle International Film Festival 2013 (Barzan) attests to the pedigree of their storytelling. They encouraged me to seek a challenging topic. In the few weeks we had in the class, they were mindful to remind the class to stay on pace. They grounded this advice in real-world experience. A big debt of thanks to Comm Lead for leveraging [the instructor’s] abilities and experience into a rewarding experience; the class was over all too quickly.”

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COMMLD 533: Storytelling for Emergent Platforms (Macklin) - 2020 Spring

MCDM Elective
Mondays, 3/30 – 6/5 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 322

Course Description:

Emerging models of interactive and immersive (any screen, responsive, virtual & augmented reality) storytelling are disrupting the ways we can reach and engage with our constituents. This course in Emerging Platforms will have a deep concentration on the production aspects and development tools necessary to create immersive (VR / AR) experiences and Snow Fall like web stories. We will be coupling a critical look at these emerging models while working through the technical aspects of story creation and the implementation of media production tools and platforms. This will be a project-based course through which students will acquire the strategy and skills to make informed design, development and use of immersive storytelling processes. Previous multimedia production and web development is not necessary, though a willingness to learn and play with the underlying technologies is a must.

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COMMLD 534: Visual Storytelling (Salkowitz) - 2020 Spring

MCDM Elective
Saturdays, 4/4,4/18,5/2,5/16,5/30 | 9:00am-4:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

This course will provide you with a solid understanding of the medium of sequential art and visual narrative (aka “comics”) and the practical ability to incorporate visual storytelling into traditional, digital, and transmedia projects in a variety of entertainment, business, education, social and journalistic scenarios. Why comics? Comics and sequential art have gone from the margins of popular culture to the center of a multi-billion dollar global industry and a respected art-form. Many of the most popular movies, television, video games and transmedia projects are adapted from comics and/or depend heavily on storytelling styles that originated with this unique medium. Issues of digital distribution, adaptation and audience engagement that arise in today’s “comics culture” affect the future of publishing, technology, social media and gaming. Beyond the world of entertainment, the principles of visual narrative are becoming fundamental to all manner of storytelling projects, global initiatives and creative enterprises. This class will explore the history and potential of comics as a storytelling medium in the digital age in both a media studies and business dimension, incorporating both theory and practice.

Student Testimonial:

“For the uninitiated in transmedia, it’s a crash course in visual storytelling and pop culture. For those familiar with transmedia, it offers a series of case studies in what you can do right or wrong in transmedia campaigns. The class definitely emphasizes comics, so while it’s not necessary to have an extensive knowledge of that format, it’s definitely for someone who’s curious about them. I was surprised to learn that a degree of visual abstraction can actually enhance storytelling. Rather than using a more precise visual format, such as photography or accurate illustrations of reality, using caricatures lets a person’s imagination fill in the gaps. I also found the study of the more formal aspects of comics to be very interesting. The all-day Saturday sessions went surprisingly fast. Rob does a great job of mixing up the class between discussion, lecture, guests, and video. Still, it’s not for the faint of heart, so if you’re going to take the class, plan on committing your Saturdays. You don’t want to miss a class.”

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COMMLD 559: Law, Data and Privacy (Baker) - 2020 Spring

MCDM Elective, Meets Law & Ethics Core Requirement
Tuesdays, 3/30 – 6/5 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 302

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 do not protect) data and databases.

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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COMMLD 513: Content Marketing (Weaver) - 2020 Spring

MCCN Elective
Saturdays: 4/11, 4/25, 5/9, 5/23, 6/6 | 9:00-5:00pm | CMU 232

*This course was previously Autumn 2019’s COMMLD 510: Content Marketing and Strategy for Communities

Course Description:

This course focuses on the approach and implementation of marketing programs that encourage community building and engagement. The course starts with how to build a content strategy that supports the organization and its audiences as a foundation for content marketing. Building from strategy, we’ll explore best practices and tactics to create impactful campaigns and adaptable content for a variety of channels and platforms. Class work focuses on building brand storytelling, effective messaging, and models for optimizing and measuring digital marketing.

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COMMLD 540 A: Mastering the Communications & Marketing Mix: Thinking Like a Chief Marketing Officer (McCarthy) - 2020 Spring

MCCN Elective
Mondays, 3/30 – 6/5 | 6:00 – 9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

This course will provide necessary background on the many disciplines in the communications and marketing mix, identify areas of convergence and divergence between these disciplines, and learn how to use these tools help an organization achieve its objectives or business goals. The course will teach participants to anticipate the communications needs of a company or organization’s leadership and include a range of assignments that ask students to apply course teachings to real-world scenarios with strategic thinking, brand development, and compelling storytelling.

Student Testimonial:

“Molly did a tremendous job leading this class. She assigned valuable readings — articles that I’ve since bookmarked and expect to reference for years to come. She assigned Harvard Business School case studies that inspired critical thinking and thoughtful discussion in our class. Molly also brought in impressive guest speakers from a range of disciplines within marketing and communications. She struck the perfect balance of analyzing both current trends and timeless marketing strategies. I would rank this class among the top few classes I took over the course of the Comm Lead program.”

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COMMLD 551: The Law and Ethics of Organizations (Tausch Lapora) - 2020 Spring

MCCN Elective, Meets Law and Ethics Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 3/30 – 6/5 | 6:00-9:50pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

All organizations — private, public and non-profit — inevitably encounter legal and ethical challenges when building and engaging with their communities and networks. Leaders must be able to identify, anticipate, and problem solve issues such as how to create and maintain legal and ethical organizations, and how legal relationships are created. They must also grapple with challenges such as to whom legal and ethical duties are owed, and what advocacy strategies to employ when defining deliverables and implementing initiatives. This course considers and juxtaposes the legal and ethical realities of community building through a cross-sector approach. We will survey a wide array of case studies, many with a social justice backdrop, in which law and ethics may overlap, conflict, or contain gaps. We will engage in practical story exercises that maximize understanding of how law and ethics impact how organizations communicate to clients, customers, and constituencies. Throughout the course, you are encouraged to bring in legal and ethical issues from your professional experiences to enrich discussion of course topics.

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