Course Descriptions — Communication

COM1550 Professional Communication 4 semester hours
Students learn principles for effective written and oral communication in professional settings, with significant in-class presentation and out-of-class topical research. Students analyze the needs of divergent audiences and craft messages using technology tools and media appropriate for effective professional communication. The course focuses on the structure and effective delivery of ideas, use of language, supporting evidence, reasoning and emotional appeals, diction, pronunciation and nonverbal communication, and listening. Topics include making effective informative and persuasive presentations, communication ethics, organizational and workplace diversity, interviewing, and conflict management.

COM2150 Human Relationships and Interaction 4 semester hours
Students will explore the nature of human relationships and interactions in interpersonal and group contexts. Special emphasis will be placed on the impact of communication in the personal, social and organizational relationships of individuals and on society at large. This course will provide an overview of the communication, psychological, and sociological literatures and theories that have been important in understanding how humans communicate with one another.

COM2200 Writing for Communication 4 semester hours
In this course students will learn the basics of writing for communication contexts (as opposed to academic), including journalism, public relations, broadcast, and online and social media environments. Interviewing techniques, writing leads, Associated Press style, and basic editing will be covered. This course will prepare students for more advanced courses in public relations, journalistic and broadcast writing.

COM2240 Public Relations 4 semester hours
This course will detail the ideas, skills and principles that underlie the public relations craft. Students will study the role and contributions of public relations practitioners in contemporary society; learn about potential legal and ethical aspects of the practice of public relations; study the communications process and how persuasion is used to shape public attitudes, beliefs and behaviors; and learn how to develop a strategic communication plan to achieve specific goals and objectives. The class will also introduce students to specialized practice areas within the public relations field, such as business and industry, government, non-profits and associations, and health care.

COM2250 Advertising 4 semester hours
Advertising is a creative communications process between messenger and consumer. This course offers an overview of advertising trends and developments in the U.S. and around the world. Students will study current and emerging advertising issues. 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.

COM2300 The Art of Film 4 semester hours
This is survey course outlining some of the principle theories and aesthetic techniques associated with American feature films from their inception at the end of the 19th century to present-day blockbusters. Evaluation of the “art” of film will be combined with a focus on the historical, social, industrial and legislative contexts of the times in which the films appeared.
Meets General Education “Aesthetic and Philosophical Expression” Group B requirement ( for students entering Aurora University prior to Summer 2014).

COM2850 Visual Communication 4 semester hours
This course is an introduction to the methods of analyzing and creating visual imagery. Students will also explore the role that visual imagery plays in constructing individual identity and societal ideologies. Special attention is given to modern visual media forms, such as contemporary art, advertising and comic books. Students will also gain skills in digital imaging, web development, and audio and video production through several media design projects. The class includes thorough practice with several widely used software applications. This is a useful course for students in all disciplines, many of whom will be expected to be competent with the basics of digital multimedia production in their careers.
Meets General Education “Aesthetic and Philosophical Expression” Group B requirement ( for students entering Aurora University prior to Summer 2014).

COM3000 Navigating Organizations 4 semester hours
This course will provide students with a solid grounding in the theories, principles, and strategies of organizations and group communication as it is applied in diverse contexts. Students will gain familiarity with relevant research and applications as well as the practical strategies and techniques of working in organizational and group contexts and will participate in coursework that relates to a wide variety of real-life communication situations and settings.
Prerequisite: COM1550 or ENG1000.

COM3140 Multimedia Journalism 4 semester hours
This course emphasizes newsgathering, writing and media production skills for print, broadcast and online media. Students will learn by writing and producing news and feature stories, podcasts and video news pieces, which may be selected for publication on the campus digital media outlet. How journalism functions in a democratic society as well as ethical and legal issues in journalism will also be covered.
Prerequisite: COM2200.

COM3200 Persuasion and Consumer Culture 4 semester hours
This course explores theoretical and applied approaches to the ways attitudes are formed and changed, the relationship between attitudes and behavior, and how messages transmitted personally and through the mass media are shaped to influence attitudes and behavior. Students will critically examine media theories and practices from diverse ethical, economic and political perspectives to further appreciate the relationship between media messages and society. Students will also study the rhetoric of persuasion established by Aristotle, which is foundational to our modern persuasive practices and applications in areas, such as public address, politics, propaganda, advertising and public relations.
Prerequisite: COM1550.

COM3245 Strategic Writing and Production 4 semester hours
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.
Prerequisites: COM2240; COM2250; COM3240; MKT2300 or instructor approval.

COM3250 Digital Design 4 semester hours
An introduction to the practice and principles of graphic design for print and electronic media. This lab-based course covers the basics of typography and layout, as well as the technologies and techniques of interactive media production. Students will use modern digital imaging and publication software to create effective informational and promotional materials.
Prerequisite: COM2850 or instructor approval.

COM3310 Media Criticism 4 semester hours
An introduction to theoretical approaches and practices used to analyze the content, structure and context of media in society. Students will explore factors shaping modern media texts, including politics, economics, technology and cultural traditions. The course will examine a wide spectrum of traditions, theories, and debates central to the field (including Marxism, political economy, semiotics, psychoanalysis, reception, feminism, critical race theory and postmodernism) in relation to a range of media texts (radio, film, television, popular music, print, advertising, music videos, sports and the Internet).
Prerequisite: COM1550 or instructor approval.

COM3350 Interactive Media 4 semester hours
This course is an introduction to the design and use of interactive media. Students will explore the creation of narrative using digital programs and will analyze the communication process used in online digital formats. Additionally, students will discover effective use of message design. Activities in this course will focus on the creation of narratives, websites and virtual environments. Students will also gain skills in advanced digital design.
Prerequisite: COM2850 or instructor approval.

COM3410 Survey of European Film 4 semester hours
This course will examine the rich legacy of European cinema. Special attention will be paid to the interaction between the political and social history of Europe and the impact on its national cinemas. Topics covered will include the origins of European cinema, German Expressionism, Soviet Montage, French film between the wars, Italian Neorealism, Post-World War II Polish and Swedish cinema, the French New Wave and contemporary transnational film. This course examines the
aesthetics of European film as well as its industrial history.
Prerequisite: COM2300 or instructor approval.

COM3420 Survey of Non-Western Film 4 semester hours
This course will be an overview of the aesthetics, history, and industrial origins of non-Western cinema. Special attention will be paid to the cultural and national cinemas of Japan, Korea, China, India, Iran and sub-Saharan Africa. This course will investigate the differences in storytelling in western and non-western forms of filmmaking.
Prerequisite: COM2300 or instructor approval.

COM3500 Intercultural Communication 4 semester hours
The course focuses on effective communication of ideas, theories, and practices in a diverse, multicultural world. Differences in perception, world views and values will be explored, and both verbal and nonverbal messages will be examined. The course will encourage the discovery and analyses of experiences that occur when people from different cultures communicate different ideas, feelings and information.
Prerequisite: COM1550 or ENG1000.
Meets General Education “Aesthetic and Philosophical Expression” Group B requirement (for students entering Aurora University prior to Summer 2014).

COM3630 Social Media and Digital Culture 4 semeser hours
Social media have profoundly changed not only online communication, but also societal definitions of community and how those communities effect social change. With the advent of new tools and platforms, more and more people are maintaining relationships via new forms of mediated interaction. The result: former audience members becoming content creators, corporations and media organizations losing control of their marketing messages, and individuals facing new challenges regarding privacy, identity, and how their ideas and information are spread. This course will explore the opportunities, challenges, and implication of social media on society in general and the communications professions in particular, including journalism, public relations, advertising, and marketing. Grounded in theory, the course is equally rooted in practice, with some of the class discussion taking place in online and virtual environments. Students must be willing to participate in social networks, forums, blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, and more. Readings, class discussions, presentations by students and guest speakers will analyze effective strategies and applications of social media. No prior experience with social media is required for the course.
No prerequisites.

COM3700 Broadcast Media Production 4 semester hours

Students will learn the fundamentals of broadcast journalism and live multimedia production. A primary topic of the course is non-fiction storytelling, and students will engage in hosting and interviewing, as well as producing and directing news-style radio and video content. After completing a series of individual and collaborative writing and reporting projects, students will participate in the planning and production of an episodic news program. The course also features an introduction to the genre of documentary film as a primer to the techniques of multimedia news writing and editing.
Prerequisite: COM2200 or instructor approval.

COM3710 Screenwriting and Cinema Production 4 semester hours
This course is built around the production of narrative cinematic films, with an emphasis on the integration of audiovisual elements with story components and character development. Students will gain extensive practice in screenwriting, digital cinematography and editing through the production of several individual and collaborative film projects. Students are involved in all stages of the film production process, from conception and scripting to shooting and editing. This class will also delve into areas, such as video technology, lighting and staging. The course culminates in the production of a comprehensive narrative short film.
Prerequisite: COM2850 or COM2300 or instructor approval.

COM3810 Special Topics in Communication 4 semester hours
This is a periodic course reflecting faculty research interests. Students may repeat the course on a different special topic for a maximum of 12 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Will vary with special topic. May require instructor approval.

COM4100 Communication Research 4 semester hours
This course guides students in the methods of inquiry found in the communication and media studies research literature. These methods include experiments, surveys, textual analysis and participant observations/ethnographies. The course examines the underlying philosophical assumptions associated with these methodologies as well as their unique strengths and limitations. Students’ conceptual understanding of these methodologies and their ability to become critical consumers of research findings are the major objectives of the course.
Prerequisite: COM3200 or instructor approval.

COM4240 Strategic Campaigns 4 semester hours
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. This course also explores career opportunities.
Prerequisites: COM3240; MKT3350 or instructor approval.

COM4940 Communication Internship 4 semester hours
The purpose of the Communication Studies Internship is to enable Aurora University students to acquire work experiences in the communication professional’s business world. This experience is designed to expand on the learning experience and to integrate and reinforce skills and concepts learned in the classroom. The internship provides a practical experience in a structured employment environment. Students may repeat this course involving a different internship experience for a maximum of 12 semester hours.
Prerequisites: Major in communication or media studies or minors in speech communication, strategic communication, graphic design, multimedia journalism or film studies. Must meet university requirements of at least junior-level standing. Students must seek advance approval from a communication faculty mentor prior to registering for the communication internship.

COM4990 Communication Project Management 4 semester hours
Using a holistic approach, this course is designed to provide communication students with an understanding of what is necessary for successful communication project management. Students are introduced to all phases of the project management process, including planning, scheduling, organizing and controlling projects. The course includes major topics of strategy, priorities, organization, project tools and leadership. Students will gain experience in project management through the completion of an individual communication project plan.
Prerequisites: Senior-level standing or instructor approval. Students must be enrolled in the Adult Degree Completion Program to be eligible to enroll in this course.

COM4992 Communication Project Planning 2 semester hours
Students will complete the initial phases of planning and coordination of their own individual senior project. This course centers on project planning and development and includes student-led discussions of the issues and research indicative of their selected areas of study. The course also guides students through the first stages of career or graduate study preparation.
Prerequisites: Senior-level standing and COM3200.

COM4994 Communication Project Implementation 2 semester hours
Students will complete individual senior projects planned in COM4992 that will demonstrate their ability to integrate theoretical and practical aspects of their chosen area of study. The focus of this is the management and implementation of communication projects. Students will be required to demonstrate effective time management, problem-solving skills, and interpersonal leadership in order to orchestrate a significant, self-directed communication project.
Prerequisites: Senior-level standing and COM4992.

COM4996 Media Production Seminar 2 semester hours
This course constitutes the first half of the senior year experience for communication and media studies majors. Students will begin their residency as a member of the university’s digital media outlet, completing reporting, writing, design and multimedia production assignments.
Prerequisites: Senior-level standing and COM3200.

COM4998 Media Production Management 2 semester hours
Students in the course will also complete their digital media residency begun in COM4996, serving in leadership roles as editors and producers of news content. In addition, the course continues the students’ career planning process, through the production of a comprehensive learning portfolio.
Prerequisites: Senior-level standing and COM4996.