Graduate Programs

Graduate Courses, Spring 2020

COMM 501
Proseminar in Mass Communications

Mondays, 2:30-5:30 p.m., 3 Carnegie Building
Dr. Matthew Jordan
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 504
Seminar in Mass Communication History

Wednesdays, 2:30-5:30 p.m., 3 Carnegie Building
Dr. Ford Risley
This seminar will explore the history of mass communication, focusing primarily on the media in the United States. We will read and discuss a cross-section of important studies dealing with mass communication history by authors such as Elizabeth Eisenstein, Michael Schudson, Susan Douglas, John Nerone, Carolyn Kitch, and Mitchell Stephens. Subjects will include “Literacy and the Print Revolution,” “Freedom of the Press,” “Development of the Mass Media,” “Mass Communication & Technology,” “Media & National Crises,” and “Diversity in the Mass Media.” Students will write a research paper or literature review on a topic of their choosing.

COMM 511
Qualitative Research Methods

Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m., 3 Carnegie Building
Dr. Stephanie Madden
This course is designed to introduce students to the wide range of qualitative social science methodologies that fuel academic inquiry in the field of mass communications. We will evaluate the broad theoretical paradigms on which qualitative research is based. Through readings, students will become familiar with the design and conduct of qualitative research. The course will provide students with a solid grasp of several methodologies, including focus groups, structured interviews, and ethnographic approaches. Students also will be introduced to some ways to effectively analyze qualitative data. Finally, students will design a qualitative research
project and run a pilot study.

COMM 516
Data Analysis

Tuesdays, 3:00-6:00 p.m., 6 Sparks Building
Dr. Mary Beth Oliver
This introductory course in quantitative data analysis is designed to provide students with 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 in 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

Fridays, 10:10 a.m.-1:10 p.m., 24 Carnegie Building
Dr. S. Shyam Sundar
This graduate seminar will provide an extensive overview of theory and empirical research on psychological aspects of 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. Contexts include interactive media, social media, mobile devices, ubiquitous computing and artificial intelligence. Topics to be covered include social scientific research on: 1) social responses to communication technologies, 2) the uses and effects of unique technological features on human thought, emotion
and behavior, 3) the nature and dynamics of computer-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 technology use, among other topics. The instructor is the former editor-in-chief of JCMC, the premier journal for computer-mediated communication in the fields of Communication and Information Science. He also edited the firstever Handbook of the Psychology of Communication Technology (Wiley, 2015).

COMM 582
Ethics and Emerging Media Technologies

Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:05-10:20 a.m., 3 Carnegie Building
Dr. Patrick Plaisance
This course provides a grounding in ethics theory and the philosophy of technology needed to effectively explore these questions. We will examine key media ethics issues raised by social networks, AI, data management and other digital media developments. While the course will provide a grounding in 20th-century ethics theory as it relates to communication and media, we will primarily focus on the intersection of new media technology and traditional ethical principles such as justice, autonomy, minimizing harm and cultivation of community. The course will bring various normative approaches (deontology, communitarianism, distributive justice) to bear on communication techniques used in journalism, public relations and media-based marketing. This course will provide graduate students with an appreciation of how contemporary ethics intersects with our data-driven information culture, and how our social values increasingly are influenced by the pervasive “technique” of mechanization and science. This course is interdisciplinary and will be of interest to graduate students of communication studies, political science, sociology, philosophy, and information science, among others. No background in ethics or philosophy is required. Master’s and doctoral students are welcome.

COMM 597
Science Communication

Thursdays, 2:30-5:30 p.m., 3 Carnegie Building
Dr. Juliet Pinto
Science communication as a field of study in recent years has garnered much scholarly, professional and public interest. This course is designed to expose you to various theoretical frameworks and intricacies of science communication research and practice from a variety of approaches and fields. Focusing on health, environmental, public and strategic communication thematic areas, this course will allow you to explore areas of research and deepen conversations of the interfaces among science, media industries and communication processes, public opinion and policy outcome.