Communication Courses

 Undergraduate Courses

 

Comm 101 Intro to Communication Comm 215: Intro to Intercultural Communication
Comm 218: Interpersonal Communication Comm 220: Public Speaking
Comm 227: Nonverbal Communication Comm 300: Principles of Communication
Comm 311: Research Methods Comm 312U: Media Literacy
Comm 313U: Communication in Groups Comm 314U: Persuasion 
Comm 316: Communication, Individuals, and Discourse Comm 317U: Communicating About Violence and Children
Comm 318U: Family Communication Comm 319: Social Media
Comm 320: Introduction to Political Communication Comm 322: Mass Communication and Society
Comm 323U: Introduction to Organizational Communication Comm 326: Communication, Society, and Culture
Comm 329U: Introduction to Health Communication Comm 336U: Metaphors in Communication
Comm 337U: Communication & Gender Comm 341: Introduction to Public Relations
Comm 346: Humor, Irony and Laughter in Communication Comm 370: Debates and Forensics
Comm 389U: Ethics of Human Communications Comm 398: Topics in Communication in the Workplace
Comm 399: Media Industries Comm 399: Deception
Comm 399: Identity Politics Comm 399: Digital Media
Comm 399: Environmental Campaigns Comm 399: Business and Professionalism
Comm 399: Advertising and Society Comm 399: Conflict and Negotiation
Comm 399: Communication, Nature, and Media  
 
Comm 404: Cooperative Education/Internship Comm 410: Media and Health
Comm 410: Promotional Culture Comm 410: Media and Sports
Comm 410: Social Media & The Selfie Comm 410: Public Engagement with Science
Comm 415: Problems of Intercultural Communication  Comm 412: Media Effects
Comm 418: Advanced Interpersonal Communication Comm 416: Communicating Environmental Controversies
Comm 422: Critical Theories in Mass Communication Comm 420: Political Communication
Comm 427: Issues in International Communication Comm 423: Advanced Organization and Strategic Communication
Comm 432: Communication and Technology Comm 429: Health Communication Campaigns
Comm 437: Urban Communication Comm 436: Communication & Cognition
Comm 439: Gesture and Meaning in Everyday Talk Comm 438: Everyday Talk: Structure and Process
Comm 445: Risk & Strategic Communication Comm 440: Metaphor, Play and Humor
Comm 452: Gender and Race in the Media Comm 448: Issues in Science & Environmental Communication
Comm 472: Communication and Public Opinion Comm 460: Framing and Mass Media
Comm 489: Media Ethics Comm 487 Propaganda, Public Relations, and Media

 

 

Graduate Classes

 

Comm 510: Public Engagement with Science Comm 511: Introduction to Communication Theory
Comm 512: Media Effects Comm 518: Advanced Interpersonal Communication
Comm 520: Political Communication Comm 521: Quantitative Methods in Communication Research
Comm 523: Advanced Organizational and Strategic Communication Comm 529: Health Communication Campaigns
Comm 531: Qualitative Methods in Communication Research Comm 532: Communication and Technology
Comm 533: Organizational Communication Comm 536: Communication and Cognition
Comm 537: Urban Communication Comm 538: Everyday Talk: Structure and Process
Comm 539: Gesture and Meaning in Everyday Talk Comm 540: Metaphor, Play, and Humor
Comm 545: Risk and Strategic Communication Comm 548: Issues in Science & Environmental Communication
Comm 560: Framing & Mass Media Comm 572: Communication and Public Opinion
Comm 587: Propaganda, Public Relations and Media Comm 589: Media Ethics

 

 

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Comm 101: Introduction to Communication 

A fast-paced intriguing overview of the field of communication. The class will look at all the different aspects of communication such as social uses of language, different models of communication, communication codes – verbal/nonverbal. During the class, we will also explore listening and sharing within interpersonal and intercultural groups, along with public and mass media contexts. You will develop your communication skills with a community focused assessment.
 

Comm 215: Introduction to Intercultural Communication

The United States has a changing cultural terrain with the internationalization and globalization of mass and popular culture and this class will focus on how it impacts you while communicating interpersonally and within mass communication.  Understanding the classical theories of intercultural communication will build a foundation for further study of other interdisciplinary areas such as cultural studies, gender studies, cultural anthropology political science, and international development.

Comm 218: Interpersonal Communication

Study of communication concepts, processes, and practices in interpersonal contexts with application of principles and concepts to actual interpersonal communication situations. Includes situational management and behavioral repertoire development, verbal/nonverbal code features structuring conversation and relationships, characteristics of functional relational systems, intercultural/inter-ethnic factors

Comm 220: Public Speaking

Employers are seeing a successful communicator. This fully online course will position you for professional success, graduate school or volunteer work. This fast-paced and intense course helps you learn to think on your feet, build a convincing argument and find evidence to support your stance. You will learn persuasive strategies to clearly relate your views and consider how humor, passion and logic influence listeners. Take the first step to skillfully creating a perspective and defend it - gather information and climb inside the head of your audience through life-long communication skills – embracing the public speaking process.

Comm 227: Nonverbal Communication

In addition to spoken and written language, people express themselves through a range of signals including gestures, facial expressions, and voice inflection.  These are sometimes part of spoken communication, sometimes replace spoken communication, and sometimes are used alone.  In this class you will learn through readings, observation, and class discussion to recognize, classify, interpret, and use this full range of signals.  You will also learn to distinguish between intentional signals, which are part of communication, and private behaviors that are not intended as signals and not part of communication.  The ability to identify, understand, and use the full range of intentional signals is a vital part of becoming an effective and ethical communicator.  

Comm 300: Principles of Communication

Are you curious about Communication?
From Human Communication to Media Industries and everything in between, a study in Communication results in a degree with wide applicability. As such, COMM 300 broadly explores the discipline of Communication, introduces you to key concepts and debates, and develops some of the basic skills necessary to move throughout the major.

Throughout the term you will explore:

  • Communication Careers
  • Communication Research Traditions
  • Communication Subfields and Theories

This course is a prerequisite for the remainder of the Communication core: 311, 316, and 326.

Comm 311: Research Methods

Whether they are getting a baseline of public opinion or tailoring communication efforts for different audiences, professional communicators depend on their ability to collect and understand social science data. Research Methods in Communication will equip you with the skills you need to ask research-relevant questions, collect data from human participants, and analyze the data you collect. The topics we cover will also help you better understand and interpret research papers you will encounter throughout your college career.

Comm 312U: Media Literacy

The modern world is filled with people working, day-in and day-out, to get inside your head. Advertisers seeking to influence your purchases, social media companies pushing to capture more of your time, politicians trying to persuade you, even non-profits striving to earn your support: everybody is using mediated communication to get a piece of you. Media Literacy is designed to facilitate a better understanding of the construction of media messages, the effects of these messages upon audiences, and the gratifications that audiences derive from such messages. The course is composed of three primary sections that cover: the relationship between the political economy of the mass media and the messages it produces; the verbal or textual construction of media messages; and, the visual construction of media messages. Altogether, the goal is to help you, the audience member, deconstruct the construction of media designed to appeal to and influence you. 

Comm 313U: Communication in Groups

Focuses on communication processes in small, decision-making groups. Students examine the relation between actual communicative behaviors of group members and group structure, functions, and outcomes. Topics include leadership emergence and enactment, quality of problem solving strategies utilized, the impact of socio-cultural and institutional features on small group communicative practices. Theoretical application in the critical analysis of various group settings and effective communication in ongoing group projects.

Comm 314U: Persuasion 

This course introduces students to key principles of persuasion. We'll consider how persuasion works when talking with others and when viewing advertising and other media. You will work to develop your own persuasive messages and consider how to adapt them to your audience. There are no prerequisites for this course. It is part of the Examining Popular Culture and Leading Social Change clusters. 

Comm 316: Communication, Individuals & Discourse

Extends the discussion of empirical approaches to communication introduced in Comm 300. Introduces relevant social science theories of communication including theories based on cognitive and social psychological approaches that depict communication as a process. Comm 316 is a requirement for the major and a recommended prerequisite for 400-level communication courses.

Comm 317U: Communicating About Violence and Children

Investigation of endangered and violated children in environments including domestic and global. Threats to children’s safety, survival, quality of life, family or alternative care, education, health and health care, and basic human rights are examined. Trends in public awareness, information systems, organizational advocacy and intervention efforts are assessed for impact and effectiveness. Students will employ specific listening and speaking practices to promote substantive class discussions. Areas of violence investigated include: physical, sexual and verbal abuse; child soldiers; slavery; war; starvation, disease and displacement; teaching hatred; religion used as a weapon; cyber-stalking and bullying.

Comm 318U: Family Communication 

In 318U, there will be an opportunity to look at courtship, relational development, changes in the life of families, and family roles while applying theoretical frameworks such as family systems theory, social construction theory and dialectical theory.  During the lifetime of a family group, the members create, maintain, and reinforce patterns of communication through daily living, storytelling, and other forms of interaction.

Comm 319: Social Media

This course provides students with a deeper understanding of social media and its role in identity/personality, close and less close relationships, and societal change.

Comm 320: Introduction to Political Communication

What communication resources do citizens need to function in a democracy? In what ways do democratic governments depend on communication to function? Introduction to Political Communication is an overview of the purpose and landscape of political communication in the United States from the perspective of a variety of stakeholders. It explores both the conceptual and practical importance of political communication to citizens, political candidates, public officials, journalists, media organizations and others. In doing so, the course lays a broad foundation for understanding the diverse ways in which communication intersects with politics in the United States during the 21st-century. Political communication is more than a Presidential campaign: it is the coordination of social movements, the practice of journalism, the act of participatory budgeting, and much more. 

Comm 322: Mass Comm & Society

Do we have the right to free speech on Facebook? What does Hollywood tell the same origin story for Batman and Spiderman over and over again? How do today’s divisive politics relate to the development of modern media technologies and the businesses built around them? Mass Communication and Society explores the social, cultural, and political functions of mass media, primarily in the American context. Many mass media topics are covered, including: news, entertainment media, social media, the internet, advertising, etc. The course takes a broad, often historical, approach to understanding the roles and effects of mass media. Along the way, we hope to help students understand what structures the increasingly mediated environments that we all inhabit.

Comm 323U: Introduction to Organizational Communication

The goal of this course is to introduce students to theories that examine how communication works in business contexts. Students will study organizational management, interpersonal conflict and conflict management in organizations. Students will learn to apply course concepts to business interactions and practices.

Comm 326: Communication, Society and Culture

Are you interested in the ways in which communication shapes culture and social life? Do you ever consider what role communication and media play in the reproduction of inequality and power? To approach these questions, and other related to communication and society, Comm 326 develops the interpretive, constitutive, socio-cultural, and critical approaches toward the study of communication. Throughout the term, we will explore the way messages and meanings are socially and culturally produced, received by individuals and society, and transformed through technological and industrial shifts.  

Comm 329U: Introduction to Health Communication 

This course introduces students to key ideas in health communication. We will learn about best practices for health care provider conversations with patients and caregivers, how to use online tools to find health information and assess its credibility, and some basic principles for designing health campaigns and responding to public health crises. This course is extremely relevant now and can help develop skills for careers in health care, information technology, or advertising and marketing. There are no prerequisites for this course.  It is part of the Healthy People/Healthy Places cluster.

Comm 336U: Metaphors in Communication

 How metaphors are used and understood in conversation, media, and public controversies. You will learn to identify, classify, and interpret metaphors in spoken and written language and in visual media.

Comm 337U: Communication & Gender

Study and practice of the skills involved in communicating of messages, specifically, Gendertalk. (Gendertalk refers to the content or topic of gender identity and gender issues; whenever gender is the topic, content, focus of attention, the subject matter of messages, etc.) Separation of myths, assumptions and notions from the facts, realities and truths about communication and about gender. Expansion of message approaches, communicator styles, uses and abuses of the quality and quantity of messages, etc. when the topic is gender. Topics include: the role of anger in communicating about gender issues; gender differences as a “catch all” explanation for gender-related problems; the facts of differences confused with attitudes about differences; impact of the perception of women and men as speaking different languages; gender binary operating as status quo within language and message structures; gender nonbinary as an evolving study of language and communication; the problems of quick-talk & quick-listen Gendertalk; confusing personal beliefs and opinions with facts; examination of informed/under-informed and practiced and under-practiced communicators.

Comm 341: Introduction to Public Relations

An introduction to the principles and practice of professional public relations, focusing on the functions of PR in organizations, the concept of strategic communication in persuasion, relevant professional skills, the role of research, and an understanding of common ethical issues encountered

Comm 346: Humor, Irony and Laughter in Communication

How humor and irony contribute to social interactions, including conversations, small groups, health, and persuasion.

Comm 370: Debates and Forensics

Development of advanced public speaking and argumentation skills. Each student will attend college tournaments and engage in a variety of forensics events, including platform speeches, limited-preparation speeches, interpretive speeches, and team debate.

Comm 389U: Ethics of Human Communications

Applies important ethical theories to communication settings and problems, including aspects of interpersonal, group, organization, public, Internet and mass communication, showing how ethics relate to all communication events. Reveals how communication can either validate or undermine the basic humanity, dignity and value of others in the communication setting.

Comm 398: Communication in the Workplace

This 2-credit fully online course is built on the principle that leadership is a process – an effective, productive, and collaborative communication process. You will discover and examine the connection between communication and leadership. Self-assessment will empower you to be a model for leadership, which, in turn, will guide you toward leadership positions in your circles of influence (family, friends, academia, career). You will explore dynamic concepts such as self-knowledge (Courage); communicating like a leader (Clarity); working with others (Collaboration); and decision making (Consensus) – to challenge you to make better sense of your current life situation, and transform your experiences into working knowledge.  You will assess elements of influence to your communication style and ultimately empower your leadership communication and your relationships.

Comm 399: Identity Politics

Asks: what is identity? Students explore the topic of identity by listening to the voices of writers from across the spectrum of class and ethnicity, and ranging from Ta-Nehisi Coates to Tara Westover. We ask what individual-level and what social-structural features influence identity and how communication informs identity. Students also explore what “Identity Politics” mean in the United States today. No prerequisites are required and students from all disciplines are invited. 

Comm 399: Environmental Campaigns

From recycling to air pollution to environmental conflicts like the Dakota Access Pipeline, understanding how people think about and relate to the natural world has never been more important. What makes people behave the way they do toward the environment? How can communication campaigns shape those beliefs and behaviors? In this course we explore how communication shapes public perception of the environment. We cover topics like campaign planning, audience analysis, message creation, and environmental justice. Students also get the opportunity to apply the skills we cover in class to an environmental issue they care about. At the end of the class, students will have a complete campaign plan to include in a professional portfolio.

Comm 399: Deception

Lying is always wrong, right? Well then, what should you do if someone asks you a question that if you answer honestly you will hurt their feelings? And you can easily tell when someone is lying, right? However, research shows people are only right about 50% of the time when judging a statement as a lie or the truth. These are just a couple of the many topics that will be covered in this course. We will go over theories and research that examine why and when people lie, what makes people think they are being lied to, how deception is perceived in social and mass media, and how deception impacts relationships, communities, even whole nations.

Comm 399: Digital Media

This course will interrogate how the social, political, economic, and cultural landscape is changing in relation to digital media and information technologies. We will develop critical resources to better understand the history of these technologies and emerging communicative forms; the economics and politics behind them; the sociocultural moments from which they have emerged; and the shifts they have engendered. Once equipped with these tools, we will ask deeper questions about their impact on society.

Comm 399: Conflict and Negotiation

This dynamic and interactive online course examines the nature of interpersonal conflict - how it occurs, and how to respond. This is very much an applied communication course - it combines lecture, discussion and activities that focus on translating human communication research into knowledge and skills that will influence the quality of your relationships. We will explore theories and strategies of communication relevant to purposeful conflict response and the intentful conduct of negotiations.

Comm 399 : Business and Professionalism

This dynamic and interactive fully online course introduces the basics of professional communication in the workplace – focusing on various aspects of business communication, including interpersonal and small group communication, interviewing and presentations. You will be challenged to use this course to make better sense of your current life situation, and to transform your experiences into working knowledge.  You will assess and make sense of information to influence your communication style and ultimately empower your professional communication – which will support a more productive and collaborative personal communication process.

Comm 399: Advertising and Society

This course examines the history of advertising as a cultural form in the United States, helping you to critically engage with advertising and consumerism. In the first half of the course, we will survey the history of the industry, exploring a range of campaigns in print, radio, television, and the internet from the end of the 19th century until present day. We will learn to analyze these ads in their historical context rather than as a set of abstract techniques or appeals. From austerity appeals of the Great Depression to post-war consumer citizenship to the creative revolution of the 60s, we will explore how advertising has changed to address different kinds of consumers in U.S. history. In the second half of the course, we will examine relevant issues associated with digital culture, like data mining, ethical consumption, native advertising and content marketing. We will also explore how social media is changing the way we engage with businesses and brand culture. By the end of the course, you can expect to have developed the skills and perspective to better understand, create, and analyze advertising culture.

Comm 399: Media Industries

This course is an overview of the mass media communication industries, including print, electronic, and digital media. We examine issues such as the institutional, social and technological histories of media industries, the influence  of economic factors in shaping content, issues of governance and regulatory policy, and the labor conditions and practices of specific industries. Special emphasis is given to media's role in society, the impact of new communication technologies, the forces of globalization, and the convergence of various forms of media. 

Comm 399: Communication, Nature, and Media

This course explores the history, theories, and politics of nature or wilderness media. How much of your experience of nature has come through a television, a smartphone, or some other piece of media technology? How do we become an audience to nature through the media, and how are we encouraged to understand, protect, or experience it? The course will address several different kinds of nature media, including wildlife films, environmental journalism, maps, social media activism, video games, and wildlife cams. We will explore the genre’s relationship with documentary aesthetics and technologies, and we will learn how nature has been a key figure in other media genres such as horror films or westerns. The course will examine new media’s roles in conservation movements, data collection, and other forms of citizen science. By the end of the course, students can expect to develop a critical vocabulary for analyzing nature media and its role in civic, popular, and scientific culture.

Comm 404: Cooperative Education/Internship

Students must take this course during the same term as their internship in order to receive credit. Students will apply their classroom learning in a work-based setting, interpret their internship experience through a disciplinary lens, and leverage their internship for career development. Success will be based on a student’s performance in both the scheduled assignments and the internship. Students must secure an internship and have it approved by the instructor before registering for this course.

Comm 410: Media and Health

This course explores the practices and technologies of medical media and their historical overlap with popular culture. We will investigate a range of topics such as health gamification, biometrics and surveillance, telemedicine, wearables like Fitbit, pharmaceutical advertising, medical journalism, philanthropic campaigns on social media, and narratives of health in television and the movies. How are these media technologies changing access to and delivery of medicine? How do different kinds of media construct social norms around healthy bodies and disability? In this class, you will also have the opportunity to design a health app, play and analyze video games, rewrite a television show, and create social media campaigns. By the end of the course, you will be equipped to contribute to public and professional conversations on health media. You will also understand some of the complex ways consumers, practitioners, researchers, and regulators use media technologies to both deliver and define health.

Comm 410: Media and Sports

In this class, we will examine the ways in which sports and media have established themselves in everyday contemporary life and how they have become mutually dependent on each other. Using the lenses of class, race, and gender, we will investigate the nuanced ways sports and the media have become ingrained in our everyday culture locally, nationally, and globally.

Comm 410: Promotional Culture

This course examines the role of promotional culture (advertising, branding, and consumerism) in contemporary social life. We will examine the rise of a consumer society, and the changing relationships between advertising, culture, and the economy. Students will understand both advertising as a central component of global economies and its role as an indicator of cultural attitudes and ideologies.

Comm 410: Social Media & The Selfie

What is a self? And what does it have to do with a selfie? In this course we will survey some of the different practices and technologies of the digital selfie. This means taking selfies seriously as a form of expression and self-promotion, but it also means thinking critically about trends in social media. We will investigate a range of topics in the course, including micro-celebrity, privacy, surveillance, challenges to “opting out,” and the politics of race and gender in selfie culture. We will look at how selfies are made, but also how they are shared on different social media platforms. We will even hold a virtual Selfie Olympics in order to understand the technological limitations of the form.

Comm 410: Public Engagement with Science

Why doesn’t giving climate skeptics more information change their minds? Why are parents increasingly hesitant to vaccinate their children? Why do people avoid genetically modified foods, despite knowing very little about them? In this course, we examine how scientists and science communicators engage public audiences. In doing so, we cover the most up-to-date social scientific research in science communication and public engagement. Students will design a variety of public engagement strategies for contemporary issues, ranging from information campaigns to consensus conferences. At the end of the course, student get the opportunity to pitch their strategy to a community-based client. 

Comm 412: Media Effects

We will study media effects, including what we know about the effects of mass media relating to violence, stereotyping, and persuasion. As part of this class, you will have the opportunity to conduct your own research on how we think media affects us and others. You'll gain skills with spreadsheets and surveys. This class is great preparation for graduate school or a career that requires knowledge of quantitative methods (e.g. advertising and marketing, information technology, media production, etc.).

Comm 415: Problems of Intercultural Communication

Builds upon the theories and issues discussed in the introductory course by including contemporary and classical literature on multicultural and intercultural communication. Identifies and analyzes politically constructed categories of race, age, class, gender in society against the backdrop of debates on multiculturalism in the United States. Examines categorizations of race, class, etc. in their historical, social, and cultural context, and how those have influenced mass-mediated and interpersonal communication. Uses mass media (television, radio, daily print media, music) texts to provide examples of how we understand ?difference? and ?otherness? in our daily lives.

Comm 416: Environmental Controversies

Environmental problems are surrounded by a variety of different voices and perspectives, from corporations to politicians to environmental NGOs. With a special emphasis on environmental extremes and controversies, this course covers the latest theoretical and practical approaches to environmental communication, the makeup of environmental controversies, and the different factors that shape public opinion on those controversies within the United States. Students have the opportunity to examine the perspectives of scientists, social scientists, media outlets, policymakers, and public groups. They will apply what they learn to create a public engagement strategy for an environmental issue they are passionate about. 

Comm 418: Advanced Interpersonal Communication

Theory course in which students analyze current concepts and theories related to inter-personal communication, comparing and contrasting various models and their relative adequacy in representing the complexity of communication processes. The impact on actual communicative practices is examined. The influence of particular historical perspectives and contemporary issues and trends on interpersonal communication is analyzed through evaluation of empirical data and general cultural texts. Research project required.

Comm 420: Advanced Political Communication

Politics today is fast-paced, oriented around conflict, and unappealing to many, if not most, Americans. Yet, the practice of politics is fundamentally important to our lives and our future: it is necessary that we understand political competition which revolves in very central ways around communication. Advanced Political Communication is designed as an analysis of the relationship between communication – primarily mediated – and American national politics. Specific topics of concern include the role of mass media in a democracy, media strategies in modern electoral campaigns, money as the means for political communication, the political utilization of new media technologies, and the influence of political communication upon Americans’ attitudes and behaviors. 

Comm 422: Critical Theories in Mass Communication

Building on Marxist analysis of media and communication, this course surveys various critical and institutional theories of mass communication. The primary focus is the analysis of the relationship between media and communication institutions, the state, other social institutions, and the maintenance and reproduction of power.

Comm 423: Advanced Organization and Strategic Communication

This advanced organizational communication class is a mixture of academic research and applied practical skills. As a researcher, you'll be learning and practicing qualitative methods for interviewing. As an organizational consultant, you’ll be thinking about how the concepts and theories we cover apply in businesses.  You’ll examine how communication functions in an organization and how to improve communication. Class sessions incorporate experiential learning.

Comm 427: Issues in International Communication

In the 21st century, life rarely exists solely within the borders of the nation state. Rather it is the network society and the flow of globalization that comprise contemporary society. As such, this course takes the processes of globalization as a jumping off point to examine the how communication in the 21st century is inextricably connected with the concept of the global and its interplay with the local. In this course we will explore the history and development of global communication, examine and debate the role of the state, and interrogate theoretical positions from modernization theory to cosmopolitanism. We will examine attempts at soft power, international propaganda, and translocal social movements to develop a robust understanding of international communication in the 21st century. 

Comm 429: Health Communication Campaigns

This class takes an in-depth examination of health communication campaigns that promote social and behavior change. We define health broadly and include public health, disease prevention, access to education, and equality. The class meets guidelines for sustainability. You'll choose an existing campaign and learn to critique it using theory and an analysis of the kinds of media used. Ultimately, you'll propose how to improve the campaign. This class can help you develop a portfolio for creative industries and is also great for those wishing a career in government, non-profits, or advertising. 

Comm 432: Communication and Technology

Examination of several approaches to communication technology and how it affects human behavior and society. Topics include psychological aspects of communication technology; how design plays a role in the way we use the technology and interact with others; and the ways in which communication technology affects social institutions.

Comm 436: Communication and Cognition

Exploration of human communication from a cognitive perspective

Comm 437: Urban Communication

Cities are the greatest public creation of civilization: each one, the product of generations of people, working together to build homes and produce shared prosperity. Cities are much more than their physical attributes: they are the embodiment of ongoing cooperation and collaboration. Through communication, separate individuals come together to create a whole much greater than its parts. Urban Communication considers the myriad contributions of communication to the urban environment. The course surveys both physical and mass-mediated communication in cities, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative perspectives as appropriate. How does the physical design of a street shape its utilization? How, in turn, do different types of leisure and commercial activities relate to citizens’ well-being and a city’s economic prospects? Meanwhile, how does the transition from local, analog media to distal, digital media affect citizens’ relationship with their communities and neighbors? Throughout the term, students will explore questions like these in the context of cities in general and Portland in particular.

Comm 438: Everyday Talk

Conversation is the most basic form of communication, the very core of social interaction. In this class you will learn through readings, observation and class discussion to recognize and understand how people structure and conduct everyday talk, including beginning, managing, and ending conversations. For your primary research project you will learn, by observing and discussing a variety of conversations, to understand how the constraints imposed by the pandemic have affected and re-shaped the way we engage in and manage everyday conversations.

Comm 439: Gesture and Meaning in Everyday Talk

How humans use gesture and vocal intonation in conversation, with a primary emphasis on informal settings, interaction of gesture with language, metaphorical aspects of gesture, and the contribution of gesture to cognitive and interactive processes of message origination and interpretation.

Comm 440: Metaphor, Play and Humor

How figurative language contributes to meaning in conversations, media, and public controversies. Using actual communication data you will learn to use methods of metaphor analysis to identify metaphorical themes and metaphorical stories, how they are used both as framing devices and to express nuances of meaning and feeling.

Comm 445: Risk & Strategic Communication

How should communication professionals connect with public stakeholders before, during, and after a crisis? In this course, students learn about contemporary challenges in crisis and risk communication. We cover the phases of crisis communication and examine how public audiences process risk information. Case studies covered in the class range from public health emergencies (e.g. COVID-19) to natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes) to organizational crises (e.g. corporate scandals). At the end of the course, students will be able to analyze relevant stakeholders, plan ahead, and respond to crises.

Comm 452: Gender and Race in the Media

Primarily examines the representations of gender and race, including age, class and sexual orientation in various media (mainstream and alternative), and will examine theoretical and methodological approaches which may be used to interpret these representations. In addition, considers the potential impact that media institutions have on people’s lives, political decisions and social relations. The overall aim is for students to understand how their own cultural identities affect their media consumption and social positioning.

Comm 460: Framing and Mass Media

Introduces students to the theories and methods of framing research. We examine how messages are constructed, and whether and how audiences respond to some types of messages. Much of the course dives into conceptual definitions and the underpinning theories of framing. Another important feature of the course is an overview of the methods scholars use to study framing empirically. The course is designed for motivated undergraduate seniors, honors student, post-baccalaureate students and graduate students. Helpful prerequisites include Comm 311, 316 and 326.

Communication 448: Issues in Science & Environmental Communication

Examines public discourse about science, the environment and risk.  Two critical questions ground the course: How are meanings created and communicated, and how do we know what we know? Students explore the two questions in the context of science and environmental conflicts that impact disparaged and forgotten communities, particularly North American Indigenous nations. We explore communication processes at macrosocial and meso-social levels in order to investigate how meanings are constructed, and how we know what we know. We consider how cultural and ideological issues enter the arenas of communication, and how such stories are narrated. The course is designed for motivated undergraduate seniors, honors student, post-baccalaureate students and graduate students. .

Comm 472: Communication and Public Opinion

In a democracy, the voice of the people is the foundation of government. Citizens elect representatives, but how is their voice included in the day-to-day process of governing? This course examines the conceptualization, measurement, shaping, and influence of public opinion. Where does public opinion come from? What does it do? What should it do? How does communication connect with public opinion? To explore these questions, early theories of public opinion (ca. 1900) are connected to modern concerns related to social media, misinformation, equality, and representation. Additionally, students gain hands-on experience writing public opinion surveys and learn to use industry-standard software to gather data

Comm 487: Propaganda, Public Relations, and Media 

Offers students a mixed-media approach to learning about propaganda in mass media. The course introduces students to propaganda, persuasion and public relations using two methods: readings about theories and case studies; and viewing feature films, documentaries, advertisements and social media, and listening to podcasts aimed at persuading publics. Students will learn to think and write critically about how ideologies and agendas are promoted that influence opinion, behaviors, policies and sales. Students will learn about theories that underpin strategies of propaganda and persuasion as applied in real-life scenarios. The course is designed for motivated undergraduate seniors, honors student, post-baccalaureate students and graduate students. Helpful prerequisites include Comm 311, 316 and 326.

Comm 489: Media Ethics

Applies important ethical theories to decision making within the mass media, including considerations of personal, organizational, professional and cultural understandings of ethics to analyze how decisions regarding media content are made. Provides guidelines for identifying and understanding ethical dilemmas commonly encountered by media professionals and help in making theory-grounded decisions in print and broadcast journalism, advertising and public relations, the Internet, and entertainment media.

 

Graduate Course Descriptions

Comm 510: Public Engagement with Science

Why doesn’t giving climate skeptics more information change their minds? Why are parents increasingly hesitant to vaccinate their children? Why do people avoid genetically modified foods, despite knowing very little about them? In this course, we examine how scientists and science communicators engage public audiences. In doing so, we cover the most up-to-date social scientific research in science communication and public engagement. Students will design a variety of public engagement strategies for contemporary issues, ranging from information campaigns to consensus conferences. At the end of the course, student get the opportunity to pitch their strategy to a community-based client.

Comm 511: Introduction to Communication Theory

Introduction to the theoretical perspectives currently represented in the department, with attention to meta-theoretical considerations including ontology, epistemology, and axiology, and how these considerations shape the understanding of key concepts. Students will learn to critique and synthesize theoretical literature within each perspective.

Comm 512: Media Effects

We will study media effects, including what we know about the effects of mass media relating to violence, stereotyping, and persuasion. As part of this class, you will have the opportunity to conduct your own research on how we think media affects us and others. You'll gain skills with spreadsheets and surveys. This class is great preparation for graduate school or a career that requires knowledge of quantitative methods (e.g. advertising and marketing, information technology, media production, etc.). In addition, this course will provide substantial instruction related to survey research methods. 

Comm 518: Advanced Interpersonal Communication

Theory course in which students analyze current concepts and theories related to inter-personal communication, comparing and contrasting various models and their relative adequacy in representing the complexity of communication processes. The impact on actual communicative practices is examined. The influence of particular historical perspectives and contemporary issues and trends on interpersonal communication is analyzed through evaluation of empirical data and general cultural texts. Research project required.

Comm 520: Political Communication

Politics today is fast-paced, oriented around conflict, and unappealing to many, if not most, Americans. Yet, the practice of politics is fundamentally important to our lives and our future: it is necessary that we understand political competition which revolves in very central ways around communication. Advanced Political Communication is designed as an analysis of the relationship between communication – primarily mediated – and American national politics. Specific topics of concern include the role of mass media in a democracy, media strategies in modern electoral campaigns, money as the means for political communication, the political utilization of new media technologies, and the influence of political communication upon Americans’ attitudes and behaviors.

Comm 521: Quantitative Methods in Communication Research

An examination of the methods of quantitative empirical research in communication. Emphasis is upon selected research designs, data collection and analysis, data input for computer analysis with statistical packages, results interpretation, and writing reports of completed research.

Comm 523: Advanced Organizational and Strategic Communication

Application of communication theory to the study of human interaction in the organizational context. Examination of the relationships between structural variables in the organization and informal communication channels, organizational culture, and strategic communication. Course requirements include completion and report of a research project.

Comm 529: Health Communication Campaigns

This class takes an in-depth examination of health communication campaigns that promote social and behavior change. We define health broadly and include public health, disease prevention, access to education, and equality. The class meets guidelines for sustainability. You'll choose an existing campaign and learn to critique it using theory and an analysis of the kinds of media used. Ultimately, you'll propose how to improve the campaign. This class can help you develop a portfolio for creative industries and is also great for those wishing a career in government, non-profits, or advertising. In addition, this course will provide substantial instruction related to focus group methods.

Comm 531: Qualitative Methods in Communication Research

An examination of naturalistic empirical communication research and the assumptive bases. Particular attention given to descriptive, interpretive, and critical approaches for analysis, and to specific methods of participant observation, interviewing, and textual analysis. Critical examination of selected research as models for original student research.

Comm 532: Communication and Technology

Examination of several approaches to communication technology and how it affects human behavior and society. Topics include psychological aspects of communication technology; how design plays a role in the way we use the technology and interact with others; and the ways in which communication technology affects social institutions

Comm 533: Organizational Communication

Examines the implications of evolving perspectives in organizational theory, as well as cultural factors which may influence communication processes in the organizational context. Different approaches to assessing organizational communication processes are considered with relevance to enhancing organizational effectiveness and facilitating organizational transition and change. Course requirements include completion and report of a research project.

Comm 536: Communication and Cognition

Exploration of human communication from a cognitive perspective.

Comm 537: Urban Communication

Cities are the greatest public creation of civilization: each one, the product of generations of people, working together to build homes and produce shared prosperity. Cities are much more than their physical attributes: they are the embodiment of ongoing cooperation and collaboration. Through communication, separate individuals come together to create a whole much greater than its parts. Urban Communication considers the myriad contributions of communication to the urban environment. The course surveys both physical and mass-mediated communication in cities, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative perspectives as appropriate. How does the physical design of a street shape its utilization? How, in turn, do different types of leisure and commercial activities relate to citizens’ well-being and a city’s economic prospects? Meanwhile, how does the transition from local, analog media to distal, digital media affect citizens’ relationship with their communities and neighbors? Throughout the term, students will explore questions like these in the context of cities in general and Portland in particular.

Comm 538: Everyday Talk: Structure and Process

Conversation is the most basic form of communication, the very core of social interaction. In this class you will learn through readings, observation and class discussion to recognize and understand how people structure and conduct everyday talk, including beginning, managing, and ending conversations. For your primary research project you will learn, by observing and discussing a variety of conversations, to understand how the constraints imposed by the pandemic have affected and re-shaped the way we engage in and manage everyday conversations.

Comm 539: Gesture and Meaning in Everyday Talk

How humans use gesture and vocal intonation in conversation, with a primary emphasis on informal settings, interaction of gesture with language, metaphorical aspects of gesture, and the contribution of gesture to cognitive and interactive processes of message origination and interpretation. 

Comm 540: Metaphor, Play, and Humor

How metaphor, play, humor, and other forms of ?non-serious? language and gesture contribute to the creation of meaning and sustaining of relationships in everyday social interactions. Topics vary from quarter to quarter, and may include: metaphor; playful communication; humor and irony; and narratives

Comm 545: Risk and Strategic Communication

How should communication professionals connect with public stakeholders before, during, and after a crisis? In this course, students learn about contemporary challenges in crisis and risk communication. We cover the phases of crisis communication and examine how public audiences process risk information. Case studies covered in the class range from public health emergencies (e.g. COVID-19) to natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes) to organizational crises (e.g. corporate scandals). At the end of the course, students will be able to analyze relevant stakeholders, plan ahead, and respond to crises.

Comm 548: Issues in Science & Environmental Communication

Examines public discourse about science, the environment and risk. Two critical questions ground the course: How are meanings created and communicated, and how do we know what we know? Students explore the two questions in the context of science and environmental conflicts that impact disparaged and forgotten communities, particularly North American Indigenous nations. We explore communication processes at macrosocial and meso-social levels in order to investigate how meanings are constructed, and how we know what we know. We consider how cultural and ideological issues enter the arenas of communication, and how such stories are narrated. The course is designed for motivated undergraduate seniors, honors student, post-baccalaureate students and graduate students. 

Comm 560: Framing & Mass Media

Introduces students to the theories and methods of framing research. We examine how messages are constructed, and whether and how audiences respond to some types of messages. Much of the course dives into conceptual definitions and the underpinning theories of framing. Another important feature of the course is an overview of the methods scholars use to study framing empirically. The course is designed for motivated undergraduate seniors, honors student, post-baccalaureate students and graduate students.

Comm 572: Communication and Public Opinion

This course explores research questions that relate to mass communication and American public opinion. Important normative and philosophical issues are identified and reviewed via early writings (ca. 1900) in social philosophy and social science. These issues are further investigated by examining relevant work from sociology, social psychology, and mass communication.

Comm 587: Propaganda, Public Relations and Media

Offers students a mixed-media approach to learning about propaganda in mass media. The course introduces students to propaganda, persuasion and public relations using two methods: readings about theories and case studies; and viewing feature films, documentaries, advertisements and social media, and listening to podcasts aimed at persuading publics. Students will learn to think and write critically about how ideologies and agendas are promoted that influence opinion, behaviors, policies and sales. Students will learn about theories that underpin strategies of propaganda and persuasion as applied in real-life scenarios. The course is designed for motivated undergraduate seniors, honors student, post-baccalaureate students and graduate students. 

Comm 589: Media Ethics

Applies important ethical theories to decision making within the mass media, including considerations of personal, organizational, professional and cultural understandings of ethics to analyze how decisions regarding media content are made. Provides guidelines for identifying and understanding ethical dilemmas commonly encountered by media professionals and help in making theory-grounded decisions in print and broadcast journalism, advertising and public relations, the Internet, and entertainment media