Graduate Courses

Spring 2017 Courses

COMM 501   Proseminar in Mass Communications  
Monday  2:30pm-5:30pm 3 Carnegie Building Matt McAllister

The course will review and discuss the major concepts, issues and approaches involved with studying media from a critical-cultural perspective. Topics covered include the Frankfurt School, political economy, cultural studies, feminism and representation, globalization, consumer culture, medium theory and digital culture.  Issues and trends of COMM as a field will also be reviewed.

COMM 511 Mass Communication Research Methods
(Qualitative Research Methods in Mass Communications)   title effective Spring 2017
Friday  1:25pm-4:25pm 3 Carnegie Building Michelle Rodino-Colocino

This course teaches the practical knowledge of designing qualitative research studies to gain insights that deep analysis of small samples and single texts/events/media technologies yield. Students will learn to become keen observers of media phenomena, and you will learn how to collect and interpret qualitative data.  Additionally, you will learn how to craft your observations into arguments in academic writing.  This course will teach you the basics of research design as you learn to apply these skills specifically to the focused research of media phenomena such as: media texts (i.e., films, ads, blog posts, video games), media history (i.e., the history of media technology, the history of media workers), media audiences (i.e., Beyhive, Beliebers, Trekkies), media activism (i.e., the use of media in social movements and activism such as Black Lives Matter, #YesAllWomen, Occupy Wall Street), and the business of media (i.e., media ownership, media concentration and consolidation, alternative media, independent media). This course covers textual analytic, interview, historical, and political economic methods. We will survey methodologies from critical-cultural, critical race, feminist, historical, mass communication, and political economic perspectives and will explore research from humanistic and social scientific traditions. This course also attends to key epistemological and ethical problems that arise in qualitative research.

COMM 516 Introduction to Data Analysis in Communications
Tuesday 3:05pm-6:05pm 8 Carnegie Building Mary Beth Oliver 

This introductory course in quantitative data analysis is designed to provide students with a broad examination fundamental assumptions, procedures, and interpretations of statistical analyses commonly employed in Communications and related disciplines. The course does not assume any prior coursework in statistics, but some familiarity with basic social science methods is helpful. Consequently, this course is often taken by students the semester following their completion of Comm 506 or other, related methodology courses. Comm 516 takes a hands-on and applied approach, with the goal of empowering students to both understand statistical analyses frequently reported in journals, as well as to analyze their own data and present it scholarly formats. The course is conducted in a computer lab, where students will be given many opportunities to practice the topics covered in each meeting. Topics include descriptive statistics, analysis of variance-based models, regression, and exploratory factor analysis.


COMM 517 Psychological Aspects of Communication Technology
Friday  10:10am-1:10pm 24 Carnegie Building Shyam Sundar

Do you feel lost without an internet connection? Are you addicted to your mobile phone? Do you behave socially toward your computer? Do you feel self-conscious when posting on social media? More generally, do you think interactive media shape the way we think, act and react? If so, consider enrolling in COMM 517, “Psychological Aspects of Communication Technology,” in Spring, 2015. This graduate seminar will provide an extensive overview of foundational theory and empirical research on human-computer interaction (HCI) and computer-mediated communication (CMC), drawing from a broad array of disciplines including communication, psychology, consumer behavior, and human-computer studies. Topics to be covered include social scientific research on: 1) social responses to communication technologies, 2) the uses and effects of unique technological features, 3) the nature and dynamics of mediated interpersonal and group interaction, 4) how issues of source, self, and privacy are altered by computer-based media, and 5) the broad socio-psychological consequences of Internet use, among other topics. The instructor is the current editor-in-chief of JCMC, the premier journal for computer-mediated communication in the fields of Communication and Information Science.


COMM 521 Strategic Communication Research Seminar
Thursday 10:35am-1:35pm 3 Carnegie Building Fuyuan Shen 
This course covers theories and concepts in persuasion and strategic communications research. The focus is on understanding the effects of messages in both traditional and new media, and exploring future research ideas. Discussions and presentations in the class will cover a range of topics in advertising, social marketing, and health and political communication. Required readings include empirical and conceptual articles concerning the psychological effects of media messages. At the end of the semester, students are expected to complete a research paper. Currently listed as Advertising Perspectives, the course is under revision.


COMM 555 Media and Culture
Wednesday 2:30pm-5:30pm 3 Carnegie Building Matthew Jordan
Media and Culture will provide an overview of the major theorists of mass media whose work offers critical appraisals of the impact of mass media on cultures and the people within those cultures. We will work our way toward an understanding of the major theorists and their conceptions of the relationship between media, communication and culture. Each section will offer a particular epistemological or methodological challenge to our understanding of mass media, from the seminal thinking of Adorno and the Frankfurt School through the theorists of the so-called post-modern turn.  Special attention will be paid to examining the ways in which mass media constructs ideological foundations for our understanding of democracy, identity and everyday life.


COMM 582 Ethics and Technology
Wednesday 11:15am-2:15pm 3 Carnegie Building Patrick Parsons 

Designed to provide a forum for the inquiry into issues involving new communications technology, social change, ethics and social responsibility. The questions we ask are both empirical and normative. Our first order of business will be the examination of sociological and philosophical views of technology and social change. We will consider various forms of technological determinism, including utopian and dystopian perspectives on technology and society. The evolutionary model of technical development and the social construction of technology will frame a consideration of technical development. We will subsequently examine various consequences and implications of technical change in communications, including economic, political, social and cultural effects. Finally, we will spend time discussing the normative implications of some of these changes, a discussion that will include a grounding in normative philosophy.