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Special Topics Courses

Advanced Social Media

This course builds off of the Social Media in PR Special Topics course and continues the intensive study of social media, focusing more on trends, measurement, and analytics.

Digital Media

This is a crash course in how to produce, manage, and optimize digital media to dramatically improve your visual communication for web, broadcast, and presentations. The topics covered in this course were chosen because they are important across many fields of communication. The class is designed to help you make high quality, visually compelling work and understand the parameters of your tools. We will develop best practice workflows so you can be organized, efficient, fast, and productive. In addition, it also provides theoretical perspectives on topics like Creative Commons licenses, open source code, color theory, data visualization, elements and principles of design, glitch, generative art, and exposure to a wide variety of media artists.

Introduction to Digital Media is designed to give you an accelerated starting point for lifelong learning and a foundation for helping you navigate your next steps with digital media. In this course, we will be answering questions like What is the difference between raster graphics and vector graphics? What file format should I save an image as for a website? How should I go about choosing a color scheme for a project? How do you create a favicon? How can I produce a responsive design Web site for mobile and tablets users? How do I create an Alpha channel to use in a video project? How do I increase Web site traffic? When should I use a CMS?

Hip-Hop Audience

This course explores audience studies methods for analyzing Hip-Hop music and culture. We will study various theoretical traditions (ideological, semiotic, economic, sociological, psychoanalytic, cultural studies, etc.), with a focus on their utility for interpreting the meanings of Hip-Hop and its relationship to society and everyday life. These conceptual tools will provide the basis for analyzing Hip-Hop and its relationship with audiences and fans. Combining theory with practice, the course emphasizes critical thinking and writing about Hip-Hop in its varied dimensions and forms.

Magazine Journalism

This course will give you a broad overview in the field of magazine journalism. We will take an in-depth look at weekly as well as monthly publications, general interest as well as niche magazines. We will look at the content and pacing of magazines, the words, and the graphics. We will explore all the steps taken to put together a magazine and how each department works, including editorial, art, circulation, advertising, and reader service. We will generate story ideas and write several magazine articles, both short pieces and long. Each student will be assigned one magazine to study throughout the semester and will be required to make occasional classroom presentations. Students will create prototype magazines in small groups. Class projects will be done in small groups, overseen by the instructor. By the end of the semester, all students will write a query letter and submit an article to the magazine of their choice.

Social Media in PR

This course is an intensive study of social media with regard to the field of public relations. This course will introduce students to new contexts and forms of social media, an ever-growing area of study. We will define and explain basic social media terms and principles that promote strategic practices of social media in the public relations field and study new methods of online communication and how social media can engage audiences and be used to strengthen business reputation. In the course, students will analyze various uses of social media and effective strategies for communication through a variety of mediums.

The Art of PR Speechwriting

Speechwriting is a powerful and essential skill for public relations practitioners. This class will build on some of the foundations learned in courses such as Critical Discourse, Public Speaking, and Public Relations Writing with a focus on writing with influence and care on behalf of public personalities and business entities. In this course, students will refine their listening, researching, writing, and oral presentation skills, learning how to evaluate and professionally critique recent and historical speeches from politicians, military leaders, corporate executives, humanitarians, athletes, celebrities, and other public figures. This course will expose students to past and current national and global news and public speeches relating thereto. Students will craft speeches and other written communication in response to current events and identify ways to research issues and trends, relate to key publics, convey civic messages effectively, and evaluate public response.