Academic Catalog

Communications (COMM)

COMM 200 Communication Research and Methods3 cr

Develops knowledge about the role of communication research in academic and professional disciplines, preparing students to better analyze data and critically engage with research findings. It introduces quantitative, qualitative, and combined communication research methods so students can begin primary research of their own.

COMM 201 Media Writing and Production3 cr

Introduces students to multiple ways of storytelling through various types of writing and working with audio, video, and interactive media. Students become familiar with audio and video recording and editing, as well as producing stories for the Web. Introduces script writing and storyboarding as part of an overall emphasis on clear and engaging writing within creative writing and journalistic frameworks.

COMM 204 Media Self-Identity & Society3 cr

Introduces the concept of self-identity, examining it within the contexts of gender, sexuality, health, and ethnicity across media and society. Using interdisciplinary approaches, this cultural studies course focuses upon themes and theories that explore identity through analyzing meanings in media and social/cultural texts. It questions how these develop across history and questions identity in everyday common sense discourse and its relationships to media and society at local and global levels.

Attributes: Core Self & Society (CSS)  
COMM 205 Introduction to Photography3 cr

Introduces students to photography, digital cameras and photo editing programs. Topics include various forms of composition for communication including documentary photography. Combines lectures and discussion with hands-on experience. Instruction includes camera functions, exposure control, technical and creative control, basic computer manipulation of images and digital output options. Students must provide a digital SLR or point and shoot camera.

COMM 211 Introduction to Mass Media3 cr

Surveys the range of types of communication, focusing on the context of mediated mass media and their characteristics, history, evolution and the socio-cultural forces that shape them including newspapers, magazines, film, radio, television and the Internet.

COMM 212 Audio Production3 cr

Introduces students to the recording and editing practices involved in producing audio stories. Explores the range of programming, both live and recorded, for an FCC-licensed non-commercial radio station. Includes news, music shows, interviews and sports. Students produce live and recorded shows for WJJW, MCLA's radio station. Adobe Audition is used for digital recording and editing.

COMM 214 Basic TV Production: Theory and Practice3 cr

Examines how digital video and audio and writing help produce effective storytelling in television production. Develops theoretical and practical knowledge of television production in both studio and in-the-field settings while also considering the audience. Students work on individual and group projects that include basic level introduction to cameras, audio, Avid editing, control room technologies and studio protocols.

COMM 220 Media Theories3 cr

Examines the key themes among media theories and how they help explain important aspects of modern and postmodern society, including political, social, and cultural life, means of communication, and the changes between audiences and media institutions in the digital world. Students will learn about media effects, medium theory, symbolic interactionism and structuration, political economy, critical theory, feminism and gender studies, and postmodernity and the information society.

COMM 239 Writing and Reporting the News I3 cr

Teaches basic principles and skills involved in news reporting and writing. These include interviewing, identification of news values, formal and informal research, story organization, lead writing, transitions, attributions, and grammar and style, including application of the AP Stylebook and Libel Manual. Students develop their skills by writing several practice stories. They are invited to contribute stories to The Beacon, the weekly newspaper of MCLA.

COMM 281 Special Topics in Communications3 cr

Studies introductory topics in media production and/or mass communications. Designed to provide foundational frameworks in communication subjects, including but not limited to media analysis, interpretation, research, media production, and media-specific writing. Content identified by subtitle.

COMM 305 Magazine Writing and Editing3 cr

Studies the art of writing and editing articles for magazines. Students will analyze current publications, write articles on subjects of their own choosing and practice editing skills. Class will include group critiques of written work and individual conferences.

Prerequisite: COMM 239 or dept approval  
COMM 306 Business Writing and Presentation3 cr

Provides practice in writing strong, clear, and creative business communication.

COMM 309 Technical Writing3 cr

Emphasizes principles of technical communication, particularly document design and readability, and gives students the opportunity to apply these principles in writing reports, instructions, descriptions, and abstracts for science, business and communications. .

COMM 310 Avid Editing3 cr

Learning basic video and audio editing, this course teaches students the fundamental skills of Avid Media Composer and knowledge about networked server-systems. The course also grounds students in understanding the editing software; learning about inputting media, trimming, the smart tool, customization; and organization as well as examining the crucial area of sound in significant detail. Special effects along with titles and color correction are also examined.

Prerequisite: COMM 214  
COMM 312 Radio Practicum1-6 cr

Teaches the daily operation of an FCC-licensed non-commercial educational radio station, WJJW, 91.1 FM. Topics include compliance with FCC regulations, digital streaming copyright, use of Adobe Audition for advanced audio recording and editing, producing live and recorded shows for broadcast, and producing news and interview shows and podcasts. A weekly live on-air shift is part of the class requirements. Students may assume management positions at WJJW. Repeatable for a max of 15 credits.

Repeatable: Maximum of 15 credits  
COMM 314 Advanced TV Production: Theory and Practice3 cr

Develops advanced understanding about written, video and audio communicative elements in either broadcasting or documentary forms via practical and theoretical applications of television production. Via group work in the studio and in-the-field projects, specialized attention to program form facilities understanding about different journalism and storytelling practices. Students write stories at more advanced level and use technologies that are more complex in filming, editing and studio work.

Prerequisite: COMM 214 or instructor approval  
COMM 315 Social Media Strategies3 cr

Gives students a broad-based understanding of the fundamental trends and dynamics taking place in the digital media landscape today. Students learn about new measurement metrics, how to conduct social media campaigns, and are able to practice skills that they can use when working in a range of organizations that utilize digital and social media. Guest speakers from the industry are invited, and we work with real-world clients that want to have strategic media campaigns.

COMM 316 Broadcast Delivery3 cr

Focuses on the analysis and development of techniques and skills needed for performance of news, commercials, editorials and live reporting. Also emphasizes voice quality, diction and presentational skills and culminates in the production of professional audition videotapes.

COMM 319 Global Issues in Communication3 cr

Studies in depth a specific aspect of global communication and provides the students a general knowledge of the geopolitical issues of international communication, including technological, economic and political/ideological patterns.

Prerequisite: COMM 211 or department approval  
Attributes: Cross-Cultural and Social Justice (CCSJ)  
COMM 321 News Media Practicum1-6 cr

Concentrates on writing, editing, and producing news stories in a convergent newsroom. Fills the junior staff position of the college newspaper to refine writing, design, and editing skills in print, video, audio, and online, as well as advertising sales and public relations for the Beacon. Repeatable for a max of 15 credits.

Prerequisite: COMM 239 and instructor approval  
Repeatable: Maximum of 15 credits  
COMM 323 Publication Design and Typography3 cr

Studies contemporary layouts and design principles, with special emphasis on creating and integrating logos, content, typography and design for visually appealing communications packages. Includes basic typography and an overview of printing processes. Students create layouts for flyers, brochures, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines, and learn Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.

COMM 324 Broadcast Journalism3 cr

Emphasizes investigative reporting as it relates to gathering, writing and presenting news and documentary for television. Also examines the practical and theoretical concepts of electronic news gathering (ENG) and electronic field production (EFP) including analysis of broadcast journalism standards.

Prerequisite: COMM 214 and instructor approval  
COMM 328 Issues in Journalism3 cr

Discusses issues and problems central to the practice of journalism and the role of the media in a democratic society. Issues may include environmental journalism; media, law and ethics; investigative reporting; government, politics and the press; covering popular culture and others. Students may be required to produce journalism articles and/or commentaries based on those or related issues.

COMM 337 Advanced Photography3 cr

Builds upon skills learned in Introduction to Photography to include sophisticated camera techniques and advanced darkroom developing and procedures. Students are encouraged to develop various forms of composition such as photography for science, art or publication. Some consideration will be given to digital photography and related procedures.

Prerequisite: COMM 205 or department approval  
COMM 338 Photojournalism3 cr

Concentrates on photojournalism as a form of composition. Designed to help students to understand and master a number of techniques such as story-telling and photo editing. The subject of ethics will also be covered, as will digital camera applications. Students will be encouraged to submit work to The Beacon for consideration.

Prerequisite: COMM 205 or department approval  
COMM 339 Writing and Reporting the News II3 cr

Offers writing and reporting experience through the writing of advanced news stories and features. These include covering campus community meetings, reporting on police, fire and safety news and concerns, dealing with local courts and investigative level-two reporting. Students expand their knowledge of ethics, libel, privacy and freedom of information laws. Students may submit stories to The Beacon.

Prerequisite: COMM 239 or department approval  
COMM 396 Public Relations3 cr

Introduces students to the broad career area of public relations. Principles, cases and problems of public relations will be studied through contact with local organizations. Topic areas include internal communications systems, applications of mass communications, researching public opinions and social responsibilities.

Prerequisite: COMM 239 or COMM 211 or department approval  
COMM 400 Intercultural Communication3 cr

Studies in depth the role culture plays in the communication process in various world cultures including Africa, Asian and Central American. Also examines the cultural differences in language, thought patterns and non-verbal behaviors.

Prerequisite: Junior/senior status or instructor approval  
Attributes: Cross-Cultural and Social Justice (CCSJ)  
COMM 405 Data Journalism & Infographics3 cr

Teaches how to do in-depth research with large datasets and how to find stories from numbers, crucial skills for today's journalists. Relevant statistical and computer-assisted reporting (CAR) techniques are learned and applied to stories, and software and apps are used to create powerful and meaningful data visualizations and infographics to accompany stories. Previous experience with statistics and design or production software is helpful, but not necessary.

Prerequisite: COMM 239 and COMM 339 or instructor approval  
COMM 410 From Semiotics to Significations3 cr

Develops knowledge about the field of semiotics from its inception to the contemporary practice of reading significations. Focusing upon reading signs/meanings across different media and culture, students learn about symbolic activities and different interpretative models and analytical approaches. These include: de Saussure, Peirce, Burke, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Irigaray, Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe, Levi-Strauss, Barthes, Althusser, Foucault, Williams, Hall and Lash and Urry.

COMM 415 Media Meaning-Making: Theory/Practice3 cr

Explores theory about genre and meaning-making practices across television. Focusing upon media history the course critically reviews transformations to television genres in drama, documentary, documentary-drama, comedy, news and reality TV. Concentrating on the development of genre the course examines how the nature of meanings have changed giving further attention to animation, popular entertainment forms like soap operas and video on demand.

Prerequisite: COMM 211 and junior/senior status  
COMM 420 Public Relations and Crisis Management3 cr

Provides an in-depth look into the Public Relations area of crisis management. Through case-book studies, other texts, and media portrayals, students will learn how communications experts conduct themselves in critical situations, and the ethical and other considerations involved. Students will conduct extensive research into the area in order to enhance their own knowledge of the subject.

Prerequisite: COMM 211 or department approval  
COMM 427 Senior News Media Practicum3-12 cr

Focuses on editorial and management roles of the campus newspaper in a convergent newsroom, including editorial writing, news editing, page design/layout, photography, newsroom and advertising management, and budgeting. Fills editorial board and other senior staff positions on the campus newspaper and its online properties for the purpose of expanding skills in team management and producing news.

Prerequisite: COMM 321 and instructor approval  
Repeatable: Maximum of 12 credits  
COMM 481 Advanced Special Topics in Communications3 cr

Studies in depth a specific aspect of mass communications. Designed to provide advanced work in media analysis, interpretation and research. Primarily for majors in the junior and senior year. Content identified by subtitle.

Prerequisite: Junior/senior status  
COMM 490 Senior Seminar3 cr

Provides a departmental capstone course in which majors meet in their final undergraduate year to explore a significant theme or topic. Students integrate what they have learned about communication and media, and together the students, polling their special knowledge in these areas, respond to the specific theme, concept, or topic.

Prerequisite: Communication major or department approval  
COMM 493 Teaching Assistantship in Communications1-3 cr

Provides the opportunity for a student to assist in preparation and implementation of a communications course. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

Prerequisite: Department approval  
Repeatable: Maximum of 6 credits  
COMM 500 Independent Study3 cr

Open to juniors and seniors who wish to read in a given area or to study a topic in depth within the fields of communications, media writing and production, or media and cultural studies. Written reports and frequent conferences with the advisor are required.

Prerequisite: Department approval and junior/senior status  
Repeatable: Maximum of 12 credits  
COMM 540 Internship in Communications1-15 cr

Provides a practical, hands-on field experience to supplement classroom courses. The student works with an on-campus faculty advisor and usually with an on-site supervisor, and the two jointly evaluate the student's work.

Prerequisite: Department approval and junior/senior status  
Repeatable: Maximum of 15 credits