Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 COMM Course Offerings

COMM 1000: The Process of Communication

This course is a study of modern communication theories and principles useful in understanding how people affect and are affected by others through communication. The course is designed to give you an overview of the scholarly discipline of human communication, demonstrate the multitude of viewpoints and subdomains in the discipline, prepare you for future theoretical and practical application of the course concepts, and make you more aware of the role of technology and media in all aspects of daily life. Assignments will provide opportunities to practice and improve communication skills.


COMM 1100:  Principles of Public Speaking

This course will prepare you for the future by helping you to develop specific methods for speaking and delivery as well as critical thinking and analytical skills that focus on how to organize a presentation, solve problems, build arguments, and be creative. As a result of satisfactory completion of this course, you should become a more confident presenter and a more professional presentation writer.


 COMM 1300: Mass Communication Systems
This course is designed to explore mass communication as a unique field of study, and also how it relates to broader social and economic processes.  It will provide an overview of key historical events and timelines pertaining to different media.  Attention will be paid to how different types of media forms and content influence individuals and, in turn, shape society. As a result of this course, students will be prepared to critically evaluate media trends, norms, policies, and outcomes, and to make informed decisions on media consumption choices and behaviors.


[NEW] COMM 2110: Presenting in the Digital World  [SUMMER 2018 ONLY]

The course will cover the basic foundations of computer mediated communication as it relates to delivering effective digital presentations. Students will develop an understanding of how to select the best channel for their presentation and audience needs. The course will provide students with foundations of best practices for delivering different types of online and/or digital presentations with a focus on skills that can be applied in a variety of communication contexts. As a result of satisfactory completion of this course, students will become more competent and confident in their ability to present via computer mediate channels.

Prerequisite: COMM 1000


COMM 2310W: Media Literacy and Criticism
This course addresses the history, analysis and evaluation of technique, content and aesthetic effect of media messages. Cultural, political, economic, and institutional factors that help define the grammar of popular mass media content; social scientific perspectives addressing how audiences learn to comprehend media content including efforts to promote media literacy.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000; ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011; open to sophomores or higher
Recommended preparation: COMM 1300 or 3400 or 3600


COMM 2940: Fundamentals of Digital Production
This course provides an overview of the theory and technique behind successful digital production. This course will fuse practical training with theoretical understanding while also considering the nuances of tailoring production works to diverse audiences, managing a digital workflow, and developing a project from initial creative ideas through the fine-tuning of post-production. Throughout, we will consistently connect these skills with the communicative function of digital media. Ultimately, this course will provide you with a foundation from which you can build your own digital production projects, in both your college and professional endeavors.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000


 COMM 3000Q: Research Methods in Communication
This course is designed to examine the role of research in communication. We will discuss how research is done, what is effective research, and what quantitative statistics are used to analyze and interpret research. At the end of this course, students will be able to understand concepts related to research methods, apply appropriate statistics to hypothesis testing, conduct hand calculations of basic statistical tests, use and apply appropriate visualizations of statistics, and propose, outline, and justify a business venture using statistics.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000
Recommended preparation: A mathematics course


COMM 3100: Persuasion
This course will focus on the processes, theories, and strategies related to the communicative nature of persuasion. It is an introduction to theories of attitude formation, change, and reinforcement. At the end of this course, a student will be able to: understand and describe the evolution of persuasive theory and inquiry, explain how persuasive techniques are applied, identify examples of persuasive techniques, interpret others’ attempts at persuasion, and apply concepts of persuasion to a prosocial persuasive campaign.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000


COMM 3103: Motivation and Emotion
The goal of this course is to introduce advanced undergraduate students to current and emerging theory, methodology, and research literature in motivation and emotion, particularly emotional communication. Topics will include cognition, brain mechanisms, biofeedback, aggression, sex, competence, social influence, and conformity.

Prerequisites: PSYC 1100 and PSYC 1101 or 1103; open to juniors or higher


COMM 3200: Interpersonal Communication
This course is an introduction to research and theories in the field of interpersonal communication. Students will learn to define interpersonal communication, identify the goals of this form of communication and the needs interpersonal communication helps individuals meet, and differentiate these concepts from other related terms; to analyze the process of identity-formation and the influence of interpersonal communication on understandings of self; and to differentiate the stages of relationship development and the process of relational maintenance, including how to manage and engage in conflict, as well as issues related to closeness, affection, love, sex, and uncertainty.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000


COMM 3300: Effects of Mass Media
This course is designed to examine the effects of mass media on individuals and society. Mass media research focuses on the discovery of what happens to people who listen to, read, or view media messages, and how these messages affect them. The first part of the course will focus on surveying the evolution of mass media theories and the remainder of the course will focus on various aspects of media influence such as advertising, news, politics, and new technology. At the end of this course, you will be able to: identify examples of theoretical concepts in current media, interpret your own media use in light of mass media theories, and critique mass media messages that are presented to you.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000


COMM 3450: Gender and Communication
This course examines a broad range of theories, concepts, and topics on gender, sex, and communication. Throughout this course, we will discuss research from a variety of fields, including communication, women’s studies, sociology, and psychology. The goal of this course is for students to understand the ways in which gender is learned and communicated, the implications of gender on our lives, and possibilities for change insofar as individuals are able to reject gender norms. Ultimately, students in this course should develop a strong understanding of how gender and sex influence their everyday lives and be able to critique the impact of gender construction on larger social structures.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000; open to juniors or higher


COMM 3600: New Communication Technologies
This course will help students become informed members of the Information Society in the age of the Internet and social media. The course reviews the functions and regulatory policies of new communication technologies, with an emphasis on how they affect users.

Prerequisites: COMM 1300; open to juniors or higher
Recommended preparation: COMM 3300


COMM 4035: Advanced Media Effects
This course explores contentious topics in current media effects research, and their theoretical implications. Topics may include sexual content on television, pornography, alcohol on television, video games, and media impact on body image.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000 and 1300; open to juniors or higher


COMM 4120: Communication Campaigns
This course explores the application of media, persuasion, and social change theories to the design of communication campaigns, including focus groups, interviews and other background research. The purpose of this course is to learn how to design a good communication campaign. This is a practical course, designed to give you practical skills. You will learn two qualitative research techniques — interviewing and focus groups — that can be applied to marketing, advertising, public relations, political campaigns, health education, radio or television program development, public opinion polling, etc.

Prerequisites: COMM 3000Q or STAT 1000Q or 1100Q; open to juniors or higher
Recommended preparation: COMM 1300, 3100, and 3300


COMM 4130: Marketing Communication
This course explores the principles, strategies, and theories of communication in product and brand marketing contexts. The course builds on and elaborates on the persuasion core course COMM 3100 and involves material from COMM 3000Q and COMM 3300. The course emphasizes theory and application associated with marketing, branding, and popular culture. The course is geared towards those who want to pursue a career in marketing, although those interested in advertising or public relations may also find the course valuable.

Prerequisites: COMM 3000Q, COMM 3100
Recommended preparation: COMM 1300


COMM 4220W: Small Group Communication
This course explores issues related to communicating in groups and teams. We will explore what constitutes a group, verbal and nonverbal communication in groups, how groups are structured, your role as a group member, group decision making, leadership, conflict management, group development, meeting management, and how to observe group process and provide feedback. During the term, you will have various opportunities to practice what you have learned about group communication. Also, the writing component of this course will be group-oriented, providing you with an opportunity to examine a group-related content area of your choice.

Prerequisites: COMM 3100 or 3200; ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011; open to juniors or higher
Recommended preparation: COMM 3100


COMM 4240: Marital and Family Communication
Whereas it is common to recognize that good communication is a vital component for healthy family functioning, this course takes the position that families can exist and function ONLY through communication. Without communication, families, as we know them, could not exist, let alone function productively. If people are the bricks used to build families, communication is the cement and supports that keeps the structure from being just a pile of bricks. This means that communication is not just another variable or set of variables influencing family life. It is the main ingredient that makes family possible. This course will focus on how communication creates, sustains, and contributes to family.

Prerequisites: COMM 3200; open to juniors or higher


COMM 4320: Media and Diverse Audiences
This course covers issues of race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, and sexuality in mainstream and alternative media. It involves an analysis of how diverse groups use the media, are represented in, and interpret media content. By the end of this course, the student should have a more developed and expanded media knowledge as it relates to U.S. ethnic populations and other population segments. It is desired that the student will gain more sophisticated knowledge about ethnicity, race, culture, social class, and gender. This course is for any student who is planning a career in the communication field or wishes to have a more complex understanding of mass media in a diverse world.

Prerequisites: Open to juniors or higher
Recommended preparation: COMM 1000, 1300


COMM 4330: Children and Mass Media
This course provides an overview of important issues and research regarding children’s and adolescent’s reactions to mass media. Emphasis will be placed on developmental differences in the processing of media content and in the effects of such materials. Major emphasis will also be placed on theoretical perspectives in communication and developmental psychology that frame the media-related topics to be covered. Topics will include educational television, frightening media, violent television, computer games, the Internet, and media policy.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000 and 1300; open to juniors or higher


COMM 4470: Soap Opera/Telenovela
This course analyzes socio-cultural functions of soap operas/telenovelas as mediated serials constructed by commercial organizations and consumed by United States and global audiences. At the completion of this course, you should be able to: identify international and domestic television programs of particular social and commercial value in soap opera/drama/telenovela history, identify motivating factors (e.g. nation’s technological development level, profit, consumer desires) involved in global flows (distribution, export, import, ideas) of television programs, differentiate unique country styles for content (e.g. aesthetics, length, themes, technical quality, etc.) among international and domestic television programs, specify the kinds of television program content that can have deleterious (harmful) impact on viewers, evaluate how television programs have the potential to inform and educate viewers for social good.

Prerequisites: Open to juniors or higher


COMM 4500: Nonverbal Communication
The goal of this course is to introduce advanced undergraduate students to current and emerging theory, methodology, and research literature in nonverbal communication. Topics will include facial expression, body movement, and spatial behavior and para-language, with a consideration of applications for information theory.

Prerequisites: Open to juniors or higher
Recommended preparation: COMM 3000Q


COMM 4630: Communication Technology and Social Change
This course provides students with an examination of theory and research in the domain of new communication technologies, particularly their influence on social change. The course will focus on the scholarly literature, addressing the content, adoption, uses and effects of new media. Course materials address technology applications in the areas or interpersonal, organizational, health and mass communication (including advertising, public relations and marketing).

Prerequisites: COMM 1000; open to juniors or higher


[NEW] COMM 4640: Social Media: Research and Practice
This course examines social media from multiple perspectives, including understanding their effects through theoretical approaches and empirical research, as well as practical applications across various contexts. The first part of the course lays the groundwork with the interpersonal, media, and psychological theories that inform social media use; and the remainder of the course applies these theories to various contexts such as politics, education, and advertising. Students will learn to review and critique the current research on social media, as well as conduct their own research of the existing literature. Students will learn to review and critique the current research on social media, and will also learn applied skills and best practices of social media use through a community-based collaborative project.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000, 1100, and 1300; COMM 3100 or 3200 or 3300


COMM 4660: Computer Mediated Communication
This course is designed to examine how the use of technology influences communication processes, specifically computer mediated communication. A growing number of people are using their computers to communication, and this course examines the implications of that trend for interpersonal relationships, governmental policies, work behaviors, and social norms. Students will be better prepared to critically examine exposure to and use of computer media and the effects of this use. There will be several activities in the course designed to enhance media and technological literacy and understanding theories and research.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000 and 1300; open to juniors or higher


COMM 4660W: Computer Mediated Communication
See description above for the writing intensive (W) version of COMM 4660

Prerequisites: COMM 1000, 1300; ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011; open to juniors or higher


COMM 4700: Health Communication
This course provides an overview of health communication, including health behavior change interventions, emergency communication, risk assessment, media influences, provider-patient communication, socialization and identity, stereotyping, social support, diverse populations, and new communication technologies. Communication is central to health promotion and disease prevention efforts. In this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the major theories that guide health communication research and real-world application.  A particular focus is placed on how innovative communication technologies are currently being used to change attitudes and behavior. Each week, you will interact with (and critique) new media platforms such as video games, YouTube channels, smartphone applications, and wearable technologies geared towards health.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000, 1300; COMM 3000Q or PSYC 2100Q; open to juniors or higher
Recommended preparation: COMM 3100, 3200, 3300


COMM 4800: Communication Processes in Advertising
This course covers communications theory relevant to advertising, with specific application to the creative elements of art and copy. Student will learn and practice the analysis of companies, markets, and brands, the development of marking insights by profiling consumer behavior, the communication of a branding message to position a product in the market, and the development of an advertising campaign. Students will create actual print advertisements and radio commercials.

Prerequisites: COMM 1300, 3100 and 3300; open to juniors or higher


COMM 4820: Public Relations
This course explores practical applications of major theories of communication and mass media to public relations practiced by organizations. By the end of the course you should have a thorough understanding of public relations and be able to: survey the landscape of public relations theory, research and practice, understand the functions of public relations in various settings, understand the impact of public relations on society, learn how to develop a public relations campaign and appropriate plans to address problems and opportunities across a range of industries, and develop a plan for your portfolio that will enhance your ability to secure an internship or a job within the public relations profession.

Prerequisites: COMM 1300, 3000Q, and 3300; open to juniors or higher


COMM 4930W: Public Relations Writing
This course is designed to provide you with the information to develop written materials that communicate with various publics and stakeholders. This naturally requires you to conduct research about the topic, the industry, the media outlets and the stakeholders. The bulk of the work in this class falls on the student. You should become regular media consumers of newspapers, magazines, social media and broadcast. Writing projects will include press releases, media advisories, briefing packets, speech introductions, brochures, newsletters, and op-eds.

Prerequisites: COMM 4820; ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011; open to juniors or higher


[NEW] COMM 4995:  Nonfiction Digital Video Production

Hands-on work in nonfiction video production, focusing specifically on documentary film and informational media in various communication contexts.  Students will rotate through all production positions for a digital production and complete field shoots and editing for a nonfiction production project.  Production skills such as proposal writing, interviewing, b-roll, and budgeting included in each class project.  Note: This course will later be permanently offered as COMM 4941.

Prerequisites: COMM 1000, 1300, and 2940 ; or, consent of instructor