School of Communication

Communications Courses, Fall 2014

COM 100.  COMMUNICATIONS IN A GLOBAL AGE  (4)
Contemporary media play a vital role in society, both locally and globally.  In this course, students study the importance of books, newspapers, magazines, recordings, movies, radio, television and the Internet, and the messages carried through news, public relations and advertising. The course emphasizes the relationship of media and democracy, ethical decision-making, the diversity of audiences, and the global impact of communications.
 
COM 110.  MEDIA WRITING  (4)
Clear, logical writing is necessary to communicate effectively with an audience. This course focuses on background research, interviews, accuracy, attribution and styles of writing (print, broadcast, online, news releases). Grammar and language skills are refined, and Associated Press style is introduced.
 
COM 210.  WEB AND MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS  (1)
The development of the World Wide Web and the proliferation of mobile devices have transformed the way people gather information and communicate. In this course, students learn key terminology and principles of web and mobile communications. The course also demystifies basic technologies used to create web pages. Must be taken concurrently with COM 220. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 100.
 
COM 220.  CREATING MULTIMEDIA CONTENT  (3)
Media content comes in many forms: text, photos, graphics, audio and video. In this course, students learn principles of aural and visual design, acquire knowledge of media production techniques, and create accessible content for the web and traditional media. The course features units on photography, audio and video recording and editing, and online content management. Must be taken concurrently with COM 210. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 100.
 
COM 250.  JOURNALISM IN A FREE SOCIETY  (4)
Good journalism is essential for a vibrant democracy. This course focuses on the role and contemporary practices of print, broadcast and online journalism. Students examine freedom of expression and the value of journalism in society, the historic evolution of news, the rise of participatory and citizen journalism, and changing business models and entrepreneurial efforts that support journalism today. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 100.
 
COM 252.  PUBLIC RELATIONS AND CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY  (4)
Public relations is the bridge between an organization and its many publics. This course emphasizes theories, strategies and techniques in organizational environments (corporate, not-for-profit, associations, agencies, government) and studies historical roots, formation of public opinion, crisis management, marketing and the ethical requirements to be a responsible corporate citizen. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 100.
 
COM 256.  ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA  (4)
Television and cinema are the leading entertainment media in the world. This course examines industry structures and business models, ownership and regulation, programming and content, production and distribution, the changing nature of audiences, historical contexts, and points of convergence in cinema and television arts. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 100.
 
COM 258.  VISUAL COMMUNICATION  (4)
The media world is a visual world, from the use of images to elements of graphic design. This course focuses on visual theory and hierarchy, typography, color, movement, space and composition as applicable to professional publications and the web. Students learn the historical development of visual communication and understand how design components influence perceptions of message content. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 100.
 
COM 260.  UNDERSTANDING AUDIENCES  (4)                                    
Engaging with audiences is a bedrock practice for media organizations. This course explores the complex relationships between the producers of media messages and their audiences, users and participants. The course probes theories, past and present, to understand the communication process. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 100.
 
COM 262.  INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION  (2)                        
Interpersonal relationships can be enhanced through the acquisition and development of communication skills. Topics include self-concept, perception, conversation skills and conflict resolution.
 
COM 265.  SMALL-GROUP COMMUNICATION  (2)
The effectiveness of small-group communication can be enhanced through the acquisition and development of skills related to committee, team and work-group processes.
 
COM 266.  THE FELLOWS EXPERIENCE  (4)
This course provides students a domestic travel experience that offers an inside look at media and communications industries. Prerequisite: Communications Fellows only, application required.
 
COM 300. PERSUASION (4)
This course explores the factors and techniques that either reinforce or change one’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors as applied to media and communication messages. Students study classical and contemporary strategies, identify accepted rules that guide the decision-making process, and review how source, receiver, situation and message characteristics impact the social influence process.
 
COM 302.  MEDIA HISTORY, MEDIA TODAY  (4)
This course examines the development, growth and impact of media in America, from colonial newspapers in the 1600s to today’s print, broadcast and online media. It studies key events, important personalities, ownership structures, technological advancements, major trends and societal impact.
 
COM 304.  BROADCASTING IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST  (4)
Broadcasting was conceived and is regulated to serve the public interest. This course provides a philosophical, historical, technological and social overview of the broadcast industry and its progeny. It focuses on broadcast economics, audience analysis, management, programming, media effects, government policy and FCC regulation in the public interest.
 
COM 306.  DEVELOPMENT AND INFLUENCE OF CINEMA  (4)
Cinema has a rich history as an art form, entertainment medium and business enterprise. This course explores the social influence of cinema, both American and international. Students also study contemporary trends and business models in the film industry.
 
COM 310.  REPORTING FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD  (4)                         
Students become reporters and writers who emphasize accuracy, logic, and the sound and sense of words. Students analyze good journalism and discuss concepts such as civic journalism, the watchdog function of the news media, ethical practice, and journalism’s role in serving the public good in a democracy. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110.
 
COM 311.  BROADCAST NEWS WRITING  (4)                                       
Students become broadcast reporters and writers for the ear by producing a variety of radio news stories. They analyze good broadcast journalism, audience research, media effects research, ethical standards and industry trends. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110.
 
COM 312. STRATEGIC WRITING (4)
This course emphasizes the importance of writing in public relations, advertising and media relations. Informative and persuasive methods include news releases, backgrounders, speech writing, employee publications, annual reports, news conferences, multimedia, public service announcements, and oral presentations to a variety of audiences. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110.
 
COM 315.  MULTIMEDIA NEWS PRODUCTION  (4)
Students learn techniques of news production across media platforms and in converged news environments. With a focus on broadcast news production and online publishing, students gain the ability to produce news content through audio, video, photo and text for traditional, web and mobile media distribution. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 316.  WRITING FOR TELEVISION AND CINEMA  (4)               
Writing for television and cinema requires mastery of story, structure and format. This course helps students harness their imaginations in scripts for multiple forms of entertainment media. These include writing for television shows, documentaries, short films and feature films. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110.
 
COM 318.  WRITING FOR VISUAL MEDIA (4)
Words and images are media partners. In this course, students engage in multiple forms of writing, including scripts for visual media, copywriting, photo essay scripts, public service announcements, storyboards and other textual/visual products. The course explores brainstorming, concept mapping and process documentation. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110.
 
COM 319.  COMMUNICATING MEDIA INSIGHTS  (4)
Writing is a central component for effectively communicating media research. Through research reports, policy briefs and executive summaries, students develop writing skills to report media research and create media messages. Topics include communicating online and social media measurement procedures, the relationship between words and data, and recommendations for effective decision-making. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110.
 
COM 320. EDITING AND DESIGN (4)
Precision in word usage and style and an aesthetic sense of design are valuable in publications. Students practice crafting content, editing copy, writing headlines, using photos and graphics, writing captions and designing pages. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 322. CORPORATE PUBLISHING (4)
Print and web media (publications, public relations, advertising and the Internet) are used to communicate with internal and external publics. This course emphasizes effective visual design and publishing for corporate purposes. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 323. CORPORATE VIDEO (4)
Businesses often use video to communicate with internal and external publics. This course emphasizes achieving an organization’s goals through informing, persuading and entertaining. Students focus on research, writing, and both studio and field video production. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 324. TELEVISION PRODUCTION (4)
Students explore the principles and techniques in television broadcasting and other video media. Studio and field assignments emphasize the aesthetics of television production and the centrality of effective audio. Students produce a variety of television content, such as public service announcements, commercials, and information and entertainment
programming. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 326. CINEMA PRODUCTION (4)
This course focuses on digital cinema picture and sound production, highlighting the relationship between technology and artistic form in documentary and narrative production. Students explore cinematic principles and techniques, learn production positions and procedures, and produce short cinematic works. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 328. PHOTOJOURNALISM (4)
Photojournalism is the visual reporting of news. Students produce digital photojournalism by translating ideas and newsworthy information into visual form. The course emphasizes composition, lighting, storytelling and editing, along with the history of photojournalism and its legal and ethical frameworks. Prerequisite: COM 250 or 258.
 
COM 329.  APPLIED MEDIA ANALYTICS  (4)
Media organizations rely on analytics to measure their audiences and the use of media content. The course highlights traditional performance indicators such as newspaper circulation and broadcast audience estimates, as well as metrics for emerging media such as websites, blogs, social media and mobile media. Students learn concepts, issues, analytical tools, procedures and the role of data visualization. Prerequisite: MTH 110.
 
COM 330. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS (4)
Media systems differ substantially in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the rest of the world. In this course, students examine the media systems of many countries, stressing the chief problems of communications across cultural, economic, sociological and political barriers.
 
COM 331. ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATIONS (4)
The environment is central to our future. Students develop an understanding of environmental issues and communication practices to promote public awareness, change behavior and influence public policy. The class analyzes media coverage of sustainability topics and methods for informing, educating and influencing important target audiences.
 
COM 332. ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS (4)
Every organization has its own internal communication patterns and leadership practices. This course addresses the theories and workplace issues related to leadership, teams, interpersonal relations, and organizational culture and strategy. Students analyze leadership and ethical dimensions of communication in organizations.
 
COM 333. RELIGION AND MEDIA (4)
Religion and media are two powerful influences in society. This course analyzes how they intersect through media coverage of religious issues and themes, religion’s use of television and the Internet, and media portrayals of religious people and traditions.
 
COM 334. POLITICS AND MEDIA (4)
The media have a tremendous effect on the American political system in terms of news coverage, candidate visibility, political messages and the creation of public opinion. This course traces the evolution of media impact to the present day.
 
COM 335. SPORTS AND MEDIA (4)
A symbiotic relationship exists between athletic competition and the media. This course traces the century-old expansion of media coverage of athletics as well as social science research, weighing the capability of the media to participate in shaping and packaging sports content and programming as forms of popular culture.
 
COM 336. INTERNATIONAL CINEMA (4)
Around the world, cinema is a reflection of societies, cultures and the times. This course surveys the development and evolution of selected international cinemas and movements and examines the social, cultural, economic and historic forces
that influence, or are influenced by, that evolution.
 
COM 337.  HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS  (4)
This course examines interpersonal, mediated and public health communication, and the resulting influence on health beliefs and behaviors. Students examine health communication theory, research, campaigns, message design, media representation of health, health literacy and contemporary topics in health communication.
 
COM 338. ADVERTISING IN SOCIETY (4)
Advertising is a creative communications process between messenger and consumer. This course studies the research
foundation and methods used in creating advertising for print, broadcast and online media. Topics include history, ethics, social dynamics, economic implications for society, and the global spread of advertising.
 
COM 339.  THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET  (4)
This seminar explores emerging issues and trends in digital communications. Topics include the evolution of software, hardware and policy; social networks; uses and gratifications of emerging media; the influences of ubiquitous computing on the design of human lives; and how technology influences culture and how culture influences technology.
 
COM 340. FEATURE WRITING (4)
Students study writing styles and write feature articles for publication. The course applies techniques such as narrative, characterization, dialogue and scenes to nonfiction writing. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110.
 
COM 342. SPORTS INFORMATION (4)
This course focuses on the writing and organizational skills essential for journalistic and public relations functions related to collegiate, professional and Olympic sports coverage. The functions of sports information tend to be closely related to media coverage and also can include effective operations of sporting events. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 110 or BUS 202.
 
COM 345. SPORTS BROADCASTING (4)
Students learn the structure, strategies and techniques of sports broadcasting, which serves the dual role as journalism (an accurate reporting of an event) and as entertainment. The course considers different content and styles of radio and television sportscasting. Assignments include broadcast coverage of athletic events and subsequent critique. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 350.  WEB AND MOBILE PUBLISHING  (4)
Students develop the ability to create websites, deepen the use of coding to enhance the user experience, and apply concepts of web and mobile design.  In the course, students learn best practices of user interface design for usability and accessibility, consider structures for web-based storytelling, and produce web and mobile prototypes for content delivery. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 351. TELEVISION NEWS REPORTING (4)
Students research, write, edit and produce television news packages and newscasts as well as analyze current examples of news and public affairs programming. They work as producers, reporters, anchors, editors, videographers and studio production crew for news, sports and information segments in a newscast. Prerequisite: COM 311 and 315.
 
COM 354.  AUDIO FOR SOUND AND VISUAL MEDIA  (4)                 
This course focuses on the concepts and techniques of sound production, audio recording and music recording. Students learn tools and workflows for creating stories using voiceover, dialog, music and sound effects. The course covers studio and field production techniques, single-channel and multi-channel recording, audio and video synchronization, automatic dialog replacement, mixing, post-production and signal processing. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 355.  THE DOCUMENTARY  (4)
Students trace the origins of the documentary and analyze its status today, ranging from news documentaries to nature and travel productions to major artistic documentaries. Students analyze ethical issues and produce projects outside of class. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 356. FILM AND TELEVISION AESTHETICS (4)
Aesthetics refers to the creative use of camera angles, motion, lighting, color, sounds, music, special effects and editing for cinematic impact. This course examines theories of shooting and editing, and students apply these concepts to the production of short works. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 324 or 326.
 
COM 358.  DESIGN OF VISUAL IMAGES (4)
Students apply principles of visual and graphic design in producing media content. Examples include publications, advertisements, logos and graphics. Students critique professional graphic design and solve visual problems involving typography, illustrations, photographs, and design for traditional and interactive media. Prerequisite: COM 258.
 
COM 359.  STRATEGIES FOR EMERGING MEDIA  (4)
Emerging media challenge the definition and measurement of audiences, users and participants. In this course, students confront the realities of analyzing and interpreting metrics to guide decision-making in competitive media environments. Strategies may include social media monitoring, targeted and customized messaging, forecasting, search engine optimization, and utilizing loyal followers and paid media. Prerequisite: COM 329.
 
COM 360. INTERACTIVE MEDIA (4)
Students analyze the history and structure of interactive and newer media forms and explore their potential uses. This
course experiments with interactive presentations and emerging media, using a media theory framework and models drawn from the fields of cognition and graphic design. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 361. MEDIA MANAGEMENT AND SALES (4)
For media to thrive, they need good management and a steady revenue stream. This course explores the principles of management and sales for print, broadcast and online media. Topics include ownership and regulation, organizational structure, personnel, business models and clients, and how to sell time and space.
 
COM 362. STRATEGIC RESEARCH METHODS (4)
Successful communications strategy relies on good research. In this course, students learn theoretical and methodological concepts for conducting applied research in communications. The course explores quantitative methods such as surveys,
qualitative methods such as focus groups, marketing research methods, and public opinion polling.
 
COM 364. MOTION GRAPHICS (4)
This course covers the creation and integration of motion graphics into video production. Students learn the basic concepts of keyframing, easing, masks, custom cameras, and the manipulation of 2D objects in 3D space. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 365. EDITING THE MOVING IMAGE (4)
Students learn the concepts and techniques of video editing for broadcast and cinema. The course examines the historical and theoretical evolution of editing, and students complete projects that require mastery of video editing techniques. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220.
 
COM 366. THE SUNDANCE EXPERIENCE (4)
The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase of dramatic, documentary and animated works by independent
filmmakers. Students study the culture of independent filmmaking, attend a week of the festival, and monitor and produce media coverage of the event. Students research topics prior to attending the festival and complete journals and related assignments. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
 
COM 368. MAGAZINE PUBLISHING (4)
This course examines the magazine publishing industry from its origins to today. Students explore industry trends toward specialization and magazine publishing processes including concept, planning, writing, editing, advertising, production, promotion and distribution of a finished product.
 
COM 370-379. SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATIONS (1-4)
The School of Communications periodically offers special topics courses. Prerequisite: determined by instructor.
 
COM 380. MEDIA WORKSHOP (1)
An on-campus practicum with student media, featuring weekly instruction from a faculty advisor. Prerequisite: approval of department chair. Maximum of four credit hours applied toward graduation.
 
COM 381. COMMUNICATIONS INTERNSHIP (1-2)
An off-campus, professionally supervised internship in journalism, strategic communications, cinema and television arts, communication design, or media analytics. Students secure an internship with guidance from the school’s internship office and enroll for one or two credit hours, based on at least 80 work-hours per credit hour. An internship involves creation of a student portfolio, reflection assignments and supervisor evaluations. Prerequisite: approval of school’s internship director. Maximum of four credit hours applied toward graduation.
 
COM 386.  ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION IN LOS ANGELES (4)
The cornerstone of entertainment media is storytelling. Students further develop production techniques to create compelling stories through visual media. Students produce an online blog, complete weekly projects, and produce work for a professional portfolio. Students learn about unions, guilds and the casting process in the entertainment industry. Prerequisite: C or better in COM 210 and 220 and admission into the Elon in LA program.
 
COM 395. GREAT IDEAS: ISSUES AND RESEARCH (4)
Students examine great ideas that shape media and communications such as free expression, the global reach of communications, technological convergence, disruptive innovation, media entrepreneurship, the diversity of audiences, and media effects. Students write an original research paper or substantive analytical paper that examines a specific issue. Prerequisite: junior status.
 
COM 400. MEDIA LAW AND ETHICS (4)
The First Amendment is the philosophical foundation for freedom of speech and press in America. This course distinguishes between forms of communication that have constitutional protection and those with limitations (libel, privacy, copyright, censorship, commercial speech, broadcast licensing, access to information). Students explore the foundations of moral reasoning and apply ethical responsibilities to communications cases.
 
COM 406. FILM THEORY (4)
This course surveys classical and contemporary film theory and critical approaches to the study of film including formalism, realism and expressionism. Students explore film genres (drama, suspense, comedy), auteur directors (those whose vision dominates great movies), and the social, cultural, economic and historic forces at play.
 
COM 411.  THE ‘60 MINUTES’ MASTER CLASS (4)
In partnership with 60 Minutes in New York, students sharpen their skills in the production of long-form broadcast journalism. The course focuses on investigative and feature television pieces and personality profiles designed for broadcast and web. Students produce local stories in the style of 60 Minutes, with roles both in front of and behind the camera. Prerequisite: junior standing and permission of instructor.
 
COM 416.  THE SCREENPLAY  (4)
A well-crafted feature film screenplay embodies precise story structure that is both cinematic and dramatic. This structure is supported by dialogue, setting and story evolution and enhanced by conflict, a sense of urgency and complex characters. In the course, students write a full-length screenplay. Prerequisite: COM 316.
 
COM 428. VISUAL STORYTELLING (4)
Multimedia tools are used to produce online visual stories through photojournalism. This course emphasizes advanced photojournalistic technique and methods of evoking emotion. Each student develops a working portfolio. Prerequisite: COM 328.
 
COM 438. ADVERTISING TECHNIQUES (4)
Advertising has a creative side as well as a business side. This course focuses on writing advertising copy and merging it with graphic design elements to communicate messages both creatively and effectively. Emphasis is placed on concepts, strategies and presentation style. Prerequisite: COM 322, 338 or 358.
 
COM 440. PUBLIC AFFAIRS REPORTING (4)
Journalism provides eyes and ears for the public at large. Students concentrate on how best to cover politics, government, business and other social institutions. Students explore story topics, sources and pitfalls. Prerequisite: COM 310.
 
COM 450. MULTIMEDIA JOURNALISM (4)
Students gather and present news and information in a converged media environment that combines text, graphics, photojournalism, audio and video. Students work as individuals and in teams to write, report and produce online multimedia products. Capstone course in the Journalism major. Prerequisite: COM 315.
 
COM 452. STRATEGIC CAMPAIGNS (4)
Students apply strategies and techniques to create a communications campaign for real clients. In the process, students engage in audience analysis, budget preparation, and development of a strategic plan for corporate, nonprofit, association and/or government clients. Capstone course in the Strategic Communications major. Prerequisite: COM 322 and 362.
 
COM 455. PRODUCING THE DOCUMENTARY (4)
This course emphasizes the power of the documentary and its potential to address issues of social significance. Students examine the world of the documentary from initial concept to financing to distribution and produce a documentary suitable for submission to a film festival. Prerequisite: COM 355 or 356.
 
COM 456. PRODUCING FOR THE SCREEN (4)
Students synthesize the concepts, writing and production skills they have gained to produce team projects for television and cinema. This course focuses on program development, content design, production aesthetics and distribution channels that effectively attract target audiences. Capstone course in the Cinema & Television Arts major. Prerequisite: COM 316 and COM 324 or 326.
 
COM 458.  DESIGN STRATEGIES AND SOLUTIONS (4)
Students plan and execute a visual design solution for a large-scale media project. Students assess a design problem, develop a strategy that addresses the needs of a client, produce storyboards and prototypes, create a usability testing plan, and deliver a professional-level product. Capstone in the Communication Design major. Prerequisite: COM 350 and 358.
 
COM 460. MEASURING MEDIA IMPACT (4)
Students apply techniques to measure media impact for real-world clients and develop effective strategies. In the course, students use commercial and open-source tools for audience measurement, develop business models reflecting the strategic positioning of clients, and engage audiences using social, mobile and other media platforms. Capstone course in the Media Analytics major. Prerequisite: COM 359.
 
COM 491. INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-4)
Students engage in an academic project outside the domain of existing courses, closely guided by a faculty mentor in the School of Communications. Many students enroll for one or two credit hours; enrollment for three or four credit hours must represent the equivalent of a full and rigorous course. A project proposal form completed by the student and faculty mentor is required for registration. Prerequisite: approval of department chair. Maximum of four credit hours applied toward graduation.
 
COM 496.  BFA THESIS PROJECT  (2)
The thesis project is the culminating experience for students in the BFA program. Students independently produce an original festival-ready television or cinematic work. Working with a faculty mentor, students submit a proposal by the end of the junior year that includes a preliminary script or outline and substantive written documentation explaining the project’s significance. Repeatable once, with two credit hours in fall and two credit hours in spring. Prerequisite: senior status in the BFA program.
 
COM 499.  RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY  (1-4)
Students engage in original research or creative activity, closely guided by a faculty mentor in the School of Communications. Many students enroll for one or two credit hours; enrollment for three or four credit hours must represent the equivalent of a full and rigorous course. A research proposal form completed by the student and faculty mentor is required for registration. Prerequisite: approval of department chair. Maximum of four credit hours applied toward graduation.

 

This page was last updated June 26, 2014.

Pre-2014 Curriculum

Students who entered Elon in 2012-13 or earlier have the choice of remaining in their existing curriculum or moving to the new curriculum that goes into effect in Fall 2014.

Journalism curriculum
prior to 2014

Strategic Communications
curriculum prior to 2014

Broadcast & New Media
curriculum prior to 2014

Cinema curriculum
prior to 2014

Communication Science
curriculum prior to 2014

Below are pre-2014 COM course listings, COM course listings in effect for 2014 and course equivalencies.

Pre-2014 COM course listing

COM course listing, Fall 2014

Course equivalencies