Communication Course Catalog

A list of all Undergraduate courses in Communication.
Prerequisite Grade

Any course listed in this department with a prerequisite assumes a grade of C– or better in the prerequisite course.

Core Courses

  • Lower division: Communication 002 and 003;
  • Upper division: Communication 100; and
  • Plus three upper-division electives (one of which is an upper-division application course).

Lower Division

002 Communication and Social Understanding
This course intends to acquaint students with ways of critically assessing the everyday communication practices and texts (spoken, visual, and mediated) which construct and transmit social knowledge. Introduces students to issues such as language, meaning, rhetoric, persuasion, definition, mediation, representation, visual culture, social knowledge, understanding the “self,” the relationship between culture and communication, the social construction of reality, and the assessment of the influence of mass communication. Students will participate in in-depth discussions based in primary texts of communication theory and produce analytical projects that demonstrate their grasp of course content.

003 Communication Inquiry
This intensive discussion course utilizes important communication texts as the basis for learning many of the questions and terms that define the discipline of communication. Readings will concentrate in the areas of interpretation, identity, rhetoric and culture to better understand how we construct culture, society and the self through the various forms of communication, and how we analyze those constructions. Emphasis will be on developing the ability to use the readings to build theoretical literacy, to interpret written and visual texts with that theory, and to use the theory to analyze notions of identity.

010 Argument and Advocacy
Communication scholar, Rod Hart, writes that advocacy "is the human creature's most natural way of changing the world. It is also the most civilized way of doing so. Bombs, torture and mayhem change the world too, but those are primitive modalities and they lead to unstable outcomes. Symbolic influence is better. It lasts longer and it's less noisy." In this spirit, this course examines general principles of argument and advocacy as they relate to rhetorically creating change in different spheres of social life. Students will explore how the conventions of argument change — and how advocacy functions —in law, science, religion and politics. Students will develop an understanding of argument and evaluation theories, while also embodying those theories by developing practical advocacy and critical appraisal strategies.

Upper Division:

First-year students are not eligible for entry into upper division coursework.

100 Communication Theory
This course provides students with a review of major theories applicable to communication among individuals, within organizations, in politics and in the elite and mass media. Through readings and discussion of seminal core texts, students are encouraged to judge for themselves the strong and weak portions of alternative concepts, models and theoretical concepts, as well as to evaluate the empirical methods from which these theories are derived.

110 Quantitative Methods
An introduction to communication research approaches that allow us to generalize our understanding to specific instances. For example, we might wish to investigate the influence of mediated political message characteristics on voting behavior or how nonverbal cues influence the formation of romantic relationships. The course provides an overview of research designs, sampling, data collection, and data analysis for the empirical construction of these knowledge bases. Prerequisites: 2, 3, and 10 (Transfer students need permission of the chair).

111 Qualitative Methods
This course introduces students to qualitative methodology and offers students an opportunity to design and practice qualitative methods. Topics addressed will include origins of qualitative methodology, ethnography, participant observation, interviewing, formulating research questions, collection and analysis of data, writing the literature review, and authoring the qualitative-grounded essay. Prerequisites: 2, 3, and 10 (Transfer students need permission of the chair).

196 Senior Capstone
Senior standing required. Students conceptualize and conduct their own research methodological approach (including performative or narrative) addressing a socially significant communication issue under the approval and supervision of an instructor. Students are encouraged to explore a question/issue that will represent the culmination of their undergraduate experience and reflect their finest work as a college student. At the conclusion of the term, students will present their work to interested members of the college community. Prerequisites: 100, 110, and 111 (Transfer students need permission of the chair).

Upper Division Electives

Two of the four must be upper-division application courses, denoted by the word “Application” after the title.

105 International Communication
A review of our “global village,” which is dangerously divided not only by power struggles and interest conflicts but by message flows that create confusion and justified or unjustified suspicion. Special attention is given to the role of the United Nations (and its specialized agencies dealing with communication) as a vital mode of cross-cultural communication among the leaders of nations, and to the role of the media in defining global policy issues.

106 Intercultural Communication
An exploration of intercultural communication within various national contexts, though primarily U.S.-based. The course will include an examination of the roles of identity, history, power, language, cultural values, nonverbal communication, migration, cultural space, popular cultural communication and realtionships. Students will also become familiar with intercultural communication theories and with approaches to studying intercultural communication. This course seeks to provide a basis for comprehending the relationship between culture and communication and for understanding cultural practices, differences and similarities.

107 Political Communication
The interplay of the press, politics and public policy is a key feature in understanding our democracy today. This course examines the role of communication, information, and media technologies in the electoral and legislative processes. Special attention is given to how the Internet and other media have altered the political landscape.

109 Visual Communication
In this course, students study visual culture, learn to do visual analysis, and explore key ideas in visual communication including visual methodologies, such as compositional interpretation, semiotics, discourse analysis, and psychoanalytic analysis. Possible topics include exploration of the visual components of gay window advertising, video games, video camera technology, photography, film, television, news, the body, comics, theme parks, and museums. Other possibilities include discussing art, representations of race, and taking a walking visual tour of campus.

112 Interpersonal Communication
Upper-level course treating major theories and concepts in interpersonal communication. Lecture, discussion, readings, and activities integrating concepts such as nonverbal communication, listening, intimate relationships, family relationships, interracial relationships, conflict, conflict management, forgiveness, negotiation, gender, perception and self-concept, technology’s role in communication, as well as relationship development, maintenance, struggles, and termination.

113 Rhetorical Criticism [Application]
This course will provide students the opportunity to learn and practice rhetorical criticism. Students will analyze artifacts (textual, visual, online) by employing methods such as Neo-aristotelian criticism, metaphor criticism, narrative criticism, pentadic criticism, generative criticism and queer criticism.

116 Advertising and Civic Engagement [Application]
This course is designed to give students an understanding of both the theory and practice of advertising through the medium of civic engagement projects. The first half of the course will allow you to study the underlying theories of the practice of advertising; in the second half, students will have the opportunity to apply these theories as they generate and possibly implement advertising campaigns for on-campus clients.

117 Public Relations [Application]
This course provides an in-depth understanding of the theories of public relations and the ways in which they are practiced throughout our society, both in the marketplace and in the political realm. Emphasis is on application of these theories in student-authored projects that focus on civic engagement in the community. This course affords students the opportunity to research, plan, execute, and evaluate a public relations campaign.

118 Media Law
This course examines the function of the laws regulating media and communication and explores how legal, political, social, administrative, economic, and technological factors contribute to determining public policy on media issues. Of primary concern is the First Amendment’s relationship to intellectual property, torts, and telecommunication law.

122 American Journalism [Application]
An introduction to the craft of news writing and reporting in print and electronic news media. Historical development of newspapers, journals, blogs, and magazines — in print, on television/radio, and online; emphasis on journalism as a profession and ethical conduct.

123 Sports Journalism
American culture, its contests and celebrations have moved from the sports page to the front page. This course explores the history, literature and practice of sports journalism in print, TV/radio, and new media. Students will examine issues of gender and ethics, develop editorial criteria for sports coverage, and learn the “best practice” in writing for print and broadcast. Prerequisite: 122

125 Introduction to Media, Technology, and Culture
This introductory core course focuses on the critical and technical concepts and skills necessary for understanding communication practices in the 21st century. The course emphasizes three aspects of digital literacy: computer literacy, information literacy and visual literacy. As the digital revolution has become commonplace, this course places today’s communication technologies in a broader historical context. The course involves both theory and practice. Students will be required to create multimedia projects, as well as learn key theories about digital communication strategies and approaches in a global, networked digital age. This course is the prerequisite to all upper-division media application courses.

132 Audio Production [Application]
Recognizing the importance of the sonic arts in contemporary forms of media, this course introduces students to:
(1) Basic acoustical theory;
(2) Musical concepts as related to media production;
(3) Aesthetic and technical elements of sound design;
(4) Audio field recording; and
(5) Non-linear audio editing and post-production techniques.
Prerequisite: 125

133 Video Production [Application]
This course introduces students to the basics of digital video production. Topics covered include: (1) introduction to film language and sound design, (2) video camera basics and video-production workflow, (3) cinematography and lighting, (4) non-linear video editing, and (5) post-production techniques. Prerequisite: 125

143 Advanced Media Production I [Application]
This course is a continuation of media skills and concepts developed in 132 and 133. These are upper-division media courses that delve into areas of specialization and advanced applications in media production. Possible topics include web design, digital photography, motion graphics, video game design, animation, DVD authoring, and advanced audio engineering. Prerequisite: 132 or 133

144 Advanced Media Production II
This course is a continuation of media skills and concepts developed in 143. These are upper-division media courses that delve into areas of specialization and advanced applications in media production. Possible topics include web design, digital photography, motion graphics, video game design, animation, DVD authoring, and advanced audio engineering. Prerequisite: 143

147 Persuasion
This course examines the theory and practice of persuasive communication in a variety of forms ranging from public relations campaigns to visual media, political debate, film, fiction, religion, and music. Course emphasizes the utility of classical and modern rhetorical frameworks for understanding contemporary persuasive efforts in a broad range of contexts, as well as other persuasive theories, including Robert Cialdini’s influence theory, Sherif’s social judgment theory, and Miller’s information processing theory.

158 Film
This course examines film history and film theory through the lens of communication. As a dominant mode of communication and as a major art form, the study of film itself ranges from theatrically-based Hollywood films to digital cinema. This course emphasizes the centrality of film to the visual imagination and the development of visual culture.

161 Communication and Social Justice [Application]
This course engages the power of communication as a transformative act. In the pursuit of social justice, communication can be a tool, a weapon and a witness on behalf of community service, social change and political struggle. The role of communication in relation to social justice is not just studied abstractly, but passionately practiced and embodied through real-world projects and first-hand experiences. This course involves a service-learning component.

163 Seminar in Special Topics
These are topical, special interest courses exploring an area of study or particular problem in the field of communication. Topics cover the range of communication theory, rhetoric and persuasion, law and public policy, and visual media.

170 Communication Management [Application]
The development of techniques and strategies for formal rhetorical argument as applied to informal and formal group processes in contemporary businesses. Includes communication management within multicultural settings, discussion and analysis of organizational needs assessment, communication auditing, and decision-making.

190 Student Media Practicum (.25)
One quarter academic credit may be applied to student participation in radio, video, visual, film, journalism, internship, digital media, public relations, advertising or independent study. Macken Collegiate Forensics Program may be taken for full or fractional credit. Please Note: Does not satisfy an area requirement.

195 Internship
Work in an appropriate internship position in the field of communication, under the supervision of a faculty member. Normally open only to communication majors in the senior year, with approval of the department chair and supervising instructor. Majors may qualify with a B average or better. Please Note: Does not satisfy an area requirement in the pre-2012 general education requirements.

197 Special Study
An independent study or research course for upper-division majors with a B average or better in communication courses. Permission of the instructor and department chair required.


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