Department of Telecommunications

Spring 2019 Course Offerings

COMM 170: Introduction to the Sports Industry (elective)
Mike Poorman  ---
TR 9:05-10:20 a.m.  113 Carnegie Cinema
Prerequisites: None

Subject:  You will study the unique aspects of the sports industry, including the effect of the sports industry on the mass media and vice versa. The inter-relationships of sports with print, broadcast, electronic, digital and all forms of media will be considered. You will learn how the basic principles of public relations, sales, marketing and branding, myriad avenues of revenue generation, labor relations, jurisprudence, products and finance apply to the sports industry. Ethics in sports and athletes’ rights are ongoing themes across many subjects and discussions.
Key features: A wide array of guest speakers, many of them Penn State alumni and some of them well-known national figures, are a critical part of the course content, with industry professionals — including those from on-campus — addressing the class in person, via real-time Skype and through three evening lectures (at which attendance is mandatory).
Key skills learned: A realistic, operating understanding of the key driving business principles, marketplace forces and employment opportunities in the American sports industry that will help students make decisions on academic and career direction, and give them a deeper understanding of the economics of one of America’s most visible and popular industries.
Who is it for: Anyone with an interest of working in the sports industry, especially in the areas of media, sales, marketing, production, public relations and administration, especially at the collegiate, professional league and corporate levels.

COMM 180: Survey of Electronic Media and Telecommunications (required core course)
Matt Jackson
TR 10:35 – 11:50 AM,    Sparks 010
Prerequisites: None

Subject:  This course covers the electronic media industries including the Internet, radio, television, music, movies, videogames and telephones.  The course examines how these industries influence society and how they are shaped by technology, economics and law.
Key features: Students will learn the history of electronic media and what the future holds. 
Who is it for: Required introductory course for all Telecommunications students.  Also counts as a General Education (GS) social science course for non-majors.

COMM 280: Introduction to Telecommunications Technologies (required core course)
David Norloff
Lecture: MW 10:10-11:00 AM   113 Carnegie Cinema
Required lab meets on Fridays: choose: 10:10, 11:15, 12:20, or 1:25
Prerequisites: none

Subject:  This course will introduce students to a broad spectrum of telecommunications technologies.  The topics for this class include:  Internet, Internet of Things, Image/Audio/Video File Formats, VoIP, Wireless Networks, Cloud Computing, Social Networks, and 3D Printing.  Students will attend lectures on MW and complete a weekly lab assignment on Friday.
Key features:  This course will offer class lectures coupled with Friday lab sessions that are focused on applying the concepts introduced during the weekly lectures.  Students will develop a personal website, analyze wireless network capabilities, create Yammer/Linked In accounts, upload files to a Box account, and design a 3D-printed keychain.
Key skills learned:  Website development, SWOT analysis, wireless network analysis, enterprise social networking, cloud computing, and 3D printing software.
Who is it for:  Students who have an interest in developing a broad perspective on telecommunications technologies and emerging technology trends.  This will provide a broad, foundational level of technical knowledge that will prepare the students for the rigors typically associated with 300/400-level Telecommunications courses.

COMM 282: Television Field Production
Section 1: MW 4:00-5:15 PM  (Bill Hallman    Innovation Park Building 103, room 225
Section 2: TR 9:05-10:20 AM (Andy Grant) Innovation Park Building 103, room 225
Prerequisites: None  
NOTE: COMM 242 is a substitute for COMM 282.  Do NOT take both courses!

Subject: Basic single-camera production techniques and video editing.  Learn how to use professional video production equipment and editing software
Key features: Produce short video stories
Key skills: Camera operation, framing, composition, lighting, audio, digital editing
Who is it for: Anyone interested in video production and video storytelling.  This is the first course in the Telecommunications production sequence

COMM 283: Television Studio Production
Section 1: TR 3:35PM - 5:30PM (Jim Dugan )  Innovation Park Building 103, room 225
Section 2: MW 9:05AM - 11:00AM (Scott Myrick) Innovation Park Building 103, room 225
Prerequisites: COMM 282 or COMM 242

Subject: This hands-on production course focuses on television studio operations and
production. Lessons and activities encompass both creative and technical aspects. Students will learn how to brainstorm ideas, develop program proposals, create budgets, and write scripts. They will also become proficient at operating all manner of studio equipment. Students will apply shooting, producing and directing concepts while creating a variety of projects typical of multiple-camera shoots.
Key Features: Students will produce and direct their own multi-camera television programs, both on their own and in teams. They will develop and guide program concepts from inception to distribution, learning technical skills and crew positions along the way. Students will experience the real world challenges and rewards associated with live and live-to-tape production.
Key Skills Learned: Technical operation of studio equipment including video switchers, playback/record servers, audio mixers, computer graphics, and cameras. Clear communication amongst a production team. Creative problem solving. Strong writing skills for electronic media. Objective critique of productions by giving and receiving constructive feedback.
Who is it for: anyone interested in careers in multi-camera production, anyone interested in producing or directing television, anyone interested in broadening their media production skillset.

COMM 310: Digital Media Metrics (required for DMTA minor)
Krishna Jayakar,  
MW 11.15-12.05, Thomas 102,   Required lab meets on Fridays:  choose: 9:05, 10:10, 11:15, or 12:20    
Prerequisites: none

Subject: Metrics and key performance indicators for web analytics and social media metrics; sources of data for new media, including web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, online surveys and competitive intelligence.
Key features: Students are prepared to take the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) certification exam.
Key skills learned: quantification, basic statistical tests, reasoning with numbers, performance measurement and tracking, financial metrics
Who is it for: students intending to pursue careers in web analytics, digital analytics, social media analytics, or in new media departments of traditional content providers

COMM 374: Audio Production
Jeff Brown
Friday 1:25-3:20 PM Innovation Park Building 103, room 225
Prerequisite: COMM 100 or COMM 180

Subject: Audio production as used in radio stations and podcasts
Key features: Produce radio features
Key skills: Learn microphone and recording techniques and digital audio editing software
Who is it for: Anyone interested in radio production or audio production for music, movies, video games or websites

COMM 380:  Introduction to Telecommunications Management (required core course)
Section 1: MWF 9:05 – 9:55 am;  Willard 367  (Anne Doris
Section 2: MWF 1:25 – 2:15pm; Willard 373   (Anne Doris
Section 3:  TR  3:05-4:20 pm; Nursing Sci  365  (Linda Feltman )
Prerequisite:  COMM 180

Subject:  COMM 380 introduces students to management of broadcast, cable and the telecommunications industry.  The course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the cable television and telecom industries with a specific focus on the management function.  It familiarizes students with various operations of broadcast, cable television and telecom companies.  Topics include Marketing, Advertising Sales, Audience Measurement, Regulatory Impact, Public Relations, Financial and Human Resources Management, Programming Content, and the importance of Diversity and Inclusion and Ethics in this environment. 
Key features: Emphasis on historical and current activities in the industry, case studies, team collaboration and the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive research report on a key company within the industry. 
Key skills learned:  Use of industry, financial and competitive databases, ethically managing various stakeholders with focus on company image, brand and profitability.
Target Audience:  Students who want to successfully onboard at the entry level within a telecom, cable or broadcast media company after graduation. 

COMM 383: Advanced Production—Live webcast
TR 10:35-11:50 AM, Lubert 213K  (Bill Hallman )
Prerequisite: COMM 283

Subject: Advanced production course combining skills from COMM 282 and COMM 283 to produce a live telecast. Topics include preproduction planning, logistics, site assessment, video streaming, working with clients and more.
Key features: Produce a live webcast.  New project each semester: Past semesters have included live webcast of Homecoming parade or live theater production.
Key skills: Planning and producing a live event viewed by thousands.  Same skills used to produce live telecasts of sporting events and shows like Saturday Night Live.
Who is this for: Anyone interested in a television production career.

COMM 386: Telecommunications History
TR 1:35-2:50 pm, Sackett 106 (Patrick Parsons )
Prerequisites: None

Subject: Telecommunications history examines the development of electronic communications systems in the United States within their economic, political, social and cultural contexts. Students will gain an understanding of the origins and growth of the major electronic media including the telegraph, telephone, radio, broadcast and cable television, the Internet and social media.
Key features: Exploration of important questions in TC history: Who invented television? How and why did Microsoft come to dominate home computers? Why did we have only three major television networks until the 1980s? Why do we have so many cable channels now? How did the internet happen?
Key skills learned: Historical research and critical evaluation.
Who is it for: Anyone with professional interest in how the associated telecommunications business arose and were shaped by a myriad of technical, economic and social forces, and anyone with an interest in the role of radio, TV and the internet in US history.

COMM 388: Production Management
Catie Grant ( )
TR 12:05-1:20 pm, Lubert 213K
Prerequisites: COMM 242 or COMM 282 or permission of instructor

Subject:  This course will teach students about managing the production process and creating videos for clients. Students will learn the different styles of client-based video production, develop creative story pitches and briefs, create and implement a budget, learn client communication skills, and create a full production plan. Students will understand the role of each position on the production team, collaborate with their peers, and be responsible for delivering a final production plan that meets client expectations and goals.
Key features: Students will learn about the responsibilities of each member on a production team, how to create and manage a production budget, the purpose and use of contracts and release forms, all while working together as a team to create a production plan for their client.
Key skills learned: Client etiquette, production timelines, create and manage a budget, and contracts, release forms, and other legal issues.
Who is it for: Anyone who is interested in working in an agency or agency-like setting, in what’s required to successfully create videos for a client, or looking to grow their knowledge of the pre-production requirements of managing a successful video production team.

COMM 404: Telecommunications Law
Benjamin W. Cramer
MWF 1:25-2:15 pm; Willard 367
Prerequisite: COMM 180

Subject:  This course starts with an introduction to the basic structure of law and regulation in America. We will then focus on telecommunications law and how it affects areas like media content, free speech, access to networks, privacy, and many others. We will explore the technological and economic challenges faced by the telecommunications industry, and the development of legal and political responses to those challenges.
Key features: Students will conduct research on current legal issues facing the telecommunications industry, while learning more about the laws that regulate free speech, content creation, network access, and privacy.
Key skills learned: Understanding and applying the law, legal reasoning, and written legal analysis.
Who is it for: anyone who might work in the telecommunications field (including content creation and network services), anyone interested in law school, anyone who wants a better understanding of how laws can enable or prohibit the functions of modern telecommunications devices and networks.

COMM 484: Emerging Telecommunications Technologies
“Digital Feudalism: Surveillance, Privacy, & New Media”
Sascha Meinrath  
TR 12:05pm-1:20pm; Willard 269
Prerequisites: COMM 180 and COMM 280

Subject: “Digital Feudalism: Surveillance, Privacy, & New Media” will teach you about -- and train you regarding -- how to defend yourself against an array of privacy-invasive and surveillance technologies. Even as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and media distribution tools like Tor, YouTube, and BitTorrent have empowered users, less visible constraints threaten to undermine the Internet’s liberatory potential. The next 10 years will be a decisive decade that will decide the trajectory of digital communications for generations to come. Recent debates over digital rights management (“DRM”), net neutrality, surveillance, and user privacy reveal unprecedented attacks on our basic civil liberties, undermining the foundations of democratic society and creating a very real potential for a highly dystopian future. This class will explore many of these tensions and their technological, political, and economic underpinnings; investigate alternatives most have never heard of; and, identify what we can do to empower ourselves and take control of our digital lives.
Key features: This course draws from today's headlines – spanning legal, policy, corporate, and individual facets of technology uses and abuses. The course is writing-intensive, (with weekly reading responses, a mid-term paper, a final paper, and two class presentations) and highly participatory (we debate various topics/scenarios most Thursdays). Most students report having at least one OMG/holy Toledo moment over the course of the semester – whether they're learning about a new hack/exploit/surveillance program or how to use the latest circumvention technologies to protect their privacy.
Key skills learned: You'll learn what's really going on regarding everything from corporate data collection to government surveillance. You'll learn how your privacy is being invaded and some tools you can use to protect it. You'll learn what a Pecha Kucha is; how to use Tor; CFAA, PRISM, CISA, CALEA, SESTA, and a whole host of acronyms you didn't realize were defining nearly every facet of your everyday lives. This course will leave you far wiser, and quite a bit more trepidatious about technology.
Who is it for: People who use the Internet, or cell phones, or pretty much any technology. Anyone who's ever wondered “what does Facebook do with all my data,” “who has access to information about who I call/text,” “did NSA staff actually use our global surveillance system to spy on their ex's” [spoiler alert: yes!]. If you ever wondered what was really going on behind the scenes, this course is for you!

COMM 484A:  Wireless Devices & Global Markets
David Norloff,
MW – 2:30 to 3:45 pm, Willard 269
Prerequisites:  COMM 180 and COMM 280

Subject:  This course focuses on the leading wireless device manufacturers in the world and their various form factors (smartphone, tablet, wearable, etc.).  In addition, students will understand the competitive wireless landscape along with the challenges of sustaining long-term success in the global marketplace.  Students will examine the rise and fall of Nokia, Blackberry, Motorola as well as the impact that Apple and Google have had on wireless devices.  In addition, students will learn about the Internet of Things, Mobile Identity solutions, Connected Cars, Connected Homes, Wearables, and other emerging wireless device market segments.
Key features:  This course will offer class lectures, three case studies, and a final group project that builds upon the case study assignments.  The team that consistently performs at the highest level will have an opportunity to travel to Virginia and present their final group project to an executive team at Giesecke & Devrient, a recognized leader in the development of wireless products and solutions.
Key skills learned:  Case study development, SWOT analysis, new product barrier to adoption analysis, development of new product market projections, and presenting a final group project that addresses a current market challenge for the wireless device industry.
Who is it for:  Students who have an interest in working for companies that utilize wireless technologies to bring new products and services to consumers.  In addition, students who have an interest in working in Product Management, Business Development, Sales, Management Consulting, or Marketing would benefit from taking this class.

COMM 486W: Telecommunications Ethics—Capstone course
Patrick Parsons,
TR 9:05-10:20 am; Carnegie 019
Prerequisites: COMM 180, 280, 380

Subject: In this course the instructor and students work together to consider and analyze ethical issues in contemporary telecommunications practice. Using the tools of ethical and political philosophy, students will discuss current cases in problem areas such as truth, privacy and content control.
Key features: Guided classroom discussion and engagement of long-standing and current ethical dilemmas.  Should Facebook ban neo-Nazi accounts? Should Google sell your private information to third parties? Is it OK to pose as someone else online? Is “product placement” deceptive? How do we decide what is and is not ethical in our professions and in our lives?
Key skills learned: Ethical analysis; working thoughtfully through ethical problems and applying both ethical theory and industry guidelines to problems in practice.
Who is it for:  Everyone. Every job in telecommunications has its own set of professional ethical problems. This course will provide the tools to better address them when, not if, they arise.

COMM 487:  Advanced Telecommunications Management and Leadership—Capstone course
Section 1: Embedded course—includes spring break travel to Guyana
Marilyn Anne Doris 
MWF 11:15 am – 12:05 pm; Chambers 106
Prerequisites:  COMM 180, 280 and 380.  Enrollment by application.

Subject:  COMM 487 students learn how mangers and leaders operate in a variety of broadcast, cable and the telecommunications companies.  Using selected Harvard Business Schools’ global telecom case studies, students gain knowledge, skills and values to solve critical challenges that develop in US and international communications businesses.
Embedded course:  This special section of COMM 487 will include a Spring Break trip to Guyana in South America.  The trip will include interaction with media and telecommunications companies as well as cultural and natural tours.
Cases topics:  Issues include Strategy, Competitive Marketing, Organizational Culture, Diversity and Inclusion, Crisis Management, Customer Experience, Turnaround Leadership and operating in International markets. 
Key features: Utilizing the case study method to analyze, strategize and implement realistic solutions to problems that develop within the communications industry.  Guest speakers cover relevant management or leadership topics.  Group and individual class discussions and presentations.
Key skills learned:  Learning to think critically, objectively and independently.  Writing and presenting to build credibility and influence. Successful collaboration in teams.  Understanding the impact of talent development, globalization, and diversity of people, culture, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation on enterprises.
Target Audience:  Students who want to build a successful management and/or leadership career trajectory within a telecom, cable or broadcast media company.

COMM 487:  Advanced Telecommunications Management and Leadership—Capstone course
Section 2: Social Entrepreneurship
Sascha Meinrath
TR 1:35-2:50 pm; Carnegie 024
Prerequisites:  COMM 180, 280, and 380.

This section of COMM 487 emphasizes strategic thinking.  Students will do market analysis and develop business plans for new media and technology companies. 

COMM 489W: Advanced Telecommunications Topics—Capstone course
Section 1: International Telecommunications Law
Ben Cramer
MWF 11:15-12:05; Borland 117
Prerequisites: COMM 180, 280, 380

Subject: In this course we will analyze telecommunications and media law trends in countries or regions that serve as instructive examples, while comparing those to American law. The topics covered in this fashion range from the different processes of regulation around the world to treaties and international relations, and specific matters like media content, surveillance, and intellectual property.

COMM 489W: Advanced Telecommunications Topics—Capstone course
Section 2: Children and Media in Conflict Zones
Yael Warshel
TR 10:35-11:50 am; Carnegie 024
Prerequisites: COMM 180, 280, 380

Subject: Course explores children and youth’s culture, and how they use, interpret, and create low-tech and high-tech media within zones of conflict, inequality, and poverty where telecommunication markets operate unevenly or not at all. Finding ways to bridge these telecommunication gaps pose ethical challenges to operators who seek to expand into these untapped and/or social change relevant markets. Students will leave the course with the necessary tools to conduct needs assessment research to tap into these markets.
Key features: students will be introduced to methods for conducting needs assessment research and the kinds of critical-creative thinking skills needed to brainstorm successful media products.
Key skills learned: methods for conducting media product research internationally with adults, children and other niche populations.
Who is it for: anyone interested in designing media/toys, hoping to work for children’s media or ICT4D/socially conscious media organizations that require basic product research understanding; and/or who want to be able to independently make sense of “research studies” they come across in the news.

COMM 492: Internet Law and Policy
Benjamin W. Cramer
MWF 9:05 – 9:55 am, Willard 268
Prerequisite: COMM 180

Subject:  This course has been designed to investigate and debate conflicts in Internet-mediated information, communications, and entertainment. The resulting confrontations stem from technological innovation; real or perceived changes in the marketplace; or outdated legal, regulatory, political, or economic philosophies.
Key features: Students will learn how to read court rulings and regulatory documents, while determining how modern online communications have disrupted traditional legal doctrines. Students will also read and interpret the writings of legal experts and conduct research on modern legal challenges. Conflicts raised by the Internet include matters of political control, free speech, anonymity, intellectual property, harassment, national security, privacy, and the management of networks and infrastructure.
Key skills learned: Understanding and applying the law, reading court rulings and expert legal analyses, legal reasoning, and written legal analysis.
Who is it for: anyone who might work in the telecommunications or Internet fields, anyone interested in law school, anyone who wants a better understanding of how laws can enable or prohibit the functions of modern telecommunications networks and the creation of online content.

COMM 493: Entrepreneurship in the Information Age
Linda Feltman  
Tuesday 6-9 pm, Willard 365
Prerequisite: COMM 180 and COMM 380

Subject: Previous Comm 493 classes have been open, lively laboratories on entrepreneurship.  The fictional businesses created and researched are students’ own ideas for products or services in various industries—from retail to manufacturing to business or professional services—many with an emphasis on the telecommunications field and making use of emerging technologies.   The goal of this seminar is to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of each student through a rich experience in creative planning, budgeting, researching target markets and communicating his or her vision for a business. One of the outcomes of the process is a student-produced business plan that could be used as a template for moving forward a real life business and possibly pursuing financing and/or launching the student’s entrepreneurial vision.
Key features: This class is run as a real life as possible.  There are no tests.  Teams are self-selected and for the duration of the semester.  The class culminates the last evening of the class when the team pitches their well-researched business idea to a panel of local lenders and investors, ostensibly to seek funding.  
Key skills learned:  COURSE OVERALL OBJECTIVES -- After taking this class you will…
• Better understand your personality and current inclination to being an entrepreneur
• Be able to identify and utilize the basic elements needed to start a business
• Have created a business plan and gained basic skills on presenting to potential investors
• Know where to find critical information to help start your business
Who is it for: Students interested in learning more about the “entrepreneurial mind set” and how to implement that in a classroom setting.  Also students interested in learning how to pitch an idea to a panel of investors, this class provides an opportunity to hone a skill set that can be useful in their career.

COMM 497, Section 003: COMM Agency Advanced Production
Bill Hallman
MW 1:25-2:40 pm; Lubert 213A
Prerequisite: 242 or 282 preferred.  Enrollment by application

This class will give students a realistic look at how branded content is created and developed.  As members of this class, students will work directly with the Penn State Office of Strategic Communications to develop high-quality video products that will help promote Penn State on social media and broadcast outlets.