Course Design

I enjoy designing learning experiences and developing course curriculum.  What follows are course descriptions and syllabi for university courses I have taught.  Many include examples of student assignments and student work.


MEDIA STUDIES COURSES

MEDIA CRITICISM
In this course, students will learn advanced techniques in media criticism. Students will practice close textual analysis, will examine critical issues in media economics and the globalization of media, and will explore how mobile digital technologies are affecting mass communication.

MEDIA AND SOCIETY
The course examines the economic and social organization of mass media, the content of media messages, the relationship between media and the public, the growth of new media technologies, and current dilemmas facing media policy makers.

MEDIA REPORTING & WRITING
Introduction to basic reporting and writing skills for print, broadcast, and online media. Includes news and feature reporting and writing, as well as writing for promotional and public relations purposes.

PRINCIPLES OF PAGE AND DIGITAL DESIGN
A study of basic principles of page and digital graphic design, specifically as they apply to print and web-based publication. Students in the course will analyze the use of typography, visuals, space, and color in order to create continuity, variety, and brand identification in publications. Students will learn the software applications InDesign, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop and gain an understanding of the importance of collaboration in the design process.

DOCUMENTARY: BEYOND THE EVENING NEWS
In this course, students will explore a range of documentary work in still photography, writing, filmmaking and online formats.   To gain an historical understanding of documentary work and a fluency with ethical issues documentarians face, students will read, listen, view, and critique a range of documentary creations.   Course goal includes having students develop a critical vocabulary for assessing the range of documentary approaches and media, as well as an appreciation for the variety and range of choices available to documentary artists.

RADIO AND THE INTERNET (a service learning course)
In this course, students will survey the history of American radio and explore how the Internet and advances in digital technologies are changing the landscape of radio broadcasting.  Students will also explore a range of approaches to sound documentary work, both significant historical examples and innovations in contemporary audio programming. An important component of the course is a service-learning experience with WRIR 97.3, a low-power, community-run radio station located a few blocks from VCU’s Monroe Park campus.

THE RECORDED HUMAN VOICE
In this five-week course, we will explore a range of approaches to sound documentary work, paying particular attention to work emerging from interviews.  We’ll read about and listen to historically important documentarians like Edward R. Murrow and Studs Terkel and we will explore interesting contemporary work.  Students will have the opportunity to focus on aspects of the course that are relevant to their interests in written and oral assignments.  They will also have the opportunity, in small groups, to produce a brief audio documentary project of their design, drawing on what they are learning in class.



COMMUNICATION STUDIES COURSES

INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION STUDIES
Introduces students to Communication Studies as an academic discipline and to opportunities within the field. Students will explore how meaning is created and shared in multiple contexts such as interpersonal, small group, organizational, public, mass mediated, and intercultural.


CONFLICT RESOLUTION
This course introduces students to the field of conflict resolution and to current communication-oriented perspectives in a wide range of arenas – from intimate relationships to group, organizational, national and international conflict resolution. Students will explore theories and methods for conflict management, including collaborative problem solving, negotiation, mediation, and nonviolent protest.



CORE ACADEMIC SKILLS COURSES

PUBLIC SPEAKING
The course introduces students to the basic concepts of human communication, with special emphasis on competencies in public speaking.


UNIV200: WRITING AND RHETORIC WORKSHOP II
In this course, students will learn how to formulate questions for academic research and how to analyze scholarly and substantive sources for rhetorical argument. Students will then undertake a researched writing project that will undergo several drafts and will result in a well-documented academic essay. In that final essay, the writer’s own voice and authority are informed and enriched by the ideas, examples, and methods of others.

From the careful and thorough researching and writing required in this course, students will develop analytical, interpretive, and critical thinking skills necessary for, and transferable to, all disciplines in the academic community and beyond. Students will also learn the importance of the principles underlying, as well as the proper practice of, academic documentation.


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