Catalog Description

This introduction to communication and digital media studies focuses on various ways people employ language, image, and more cinematic means for communicative purposes. Through a series of hands-on projects students learn to research and analyze contemporary issues and trends in the field of communications, with an emphasis on digital media. In doing so, students examine how communication technologies are impacting the relationship between media audiences, producers, and content.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will: Learn how to create multimedia content and produce engaging content for digital media. Become proficient at finding, verifying, compiling, and organizing information.
 Develop collaborative learning and production skills and learn tools that facilitate collaboration.
 Understand the way in which digital media informs and affects communities and culture.

Required Text & Materials

  • Chris Barr The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World. ISBN: 978-0312569846
  • Reclaim Web Hosting ($25 a year-you will use this throughout your major/minor classes in COM)
  • 16GB or higher SD Card


For this course you might need from time to time to check out equipment from the COM department to produce media. The equipment room is located in Bronstein. You will want to familiarize yourself with the COM Gear Room Policies and Procedures


As this course is highly interactive and practice/discussion-driven, your success is absolutely tethered to your presence and participation. The course will move quickly, and each successive meeting will build upon the concepts of the previous. Missing a class puts you at a serious disadvantage in terms of the larger semester arc. This is not the type of course where you can “ask for the notes” from a classmate and get the same learning experience. If you miss class you will miss something important.

Please come to class on time, prepared, having completed the assigned reading and writing, and ready to contribute to class discussions, to listen seriously and respectfully to the thoughts of others, and to participate in all in-class activities. Missing more than three classes will affect your grade. More than five absences can result in failing the course. If you need to miss class for religious reasons, please speak to me ahead of time. Absences for religious purposes do not count against the permitted number (as long as prior notification is given). Latenesss is also unacceptable; if you arrive late to class you can be marked as absent. Leaving early also will count as an absence.Your primary responsibility is to be in class and fully present.

Course Requirements & Grading

Reading Notes (25%): One of the most important things you will do in class is prepare for the class discussions, as part of this you will–through Google Documents–share with me your reading notes and class prep materials. I will evaluate these based on the thoroughness of your preparation. (During the first week of class we will discuss the specifics of this evaluation method.)

Hawk Chill (40%): The major project for this course involves producing content for Hawk Chill, an online project of COM 200 students. This project is not only for our class, but is coordinates across all sections of COM 200. Working in groups you will be required for weeks 4-13 to produce weekly content. Details on this and grading will be covered during the first weeks of class.

Website/Portfolio (25%): Using the experience from the class, as a final project each of you will produce your own website that will feature the best work you produced throughout the semester. This site will not only showcase your work from this class, but serve as a place to host your work throughout your major/minor. You will design your site, produce the content, and write a reflection piece about your choices.

Final Exam (10%): You will have a final exam in this course that covers the readings from class.

Collaborative Work

This course is highly collaborative in order to simulate professional production situations you may encounter after the semester. Sometimes, part of that experience is frustration, conflict, and/or unequal workloads. If you experience conflicts you are unable to resolve by communicating with one another directly, please contact me.

Course Website

The course website for this class can be found at You should get in the habit of checking this regularly as I will post suggestions and thoughts about the readings here, as well as links to other things that might interest the class. The syllabus can be found here as well, and any changes to the syllabus will be posted here. Please note: The syllabus might change throughout the course of the semester, indeed it probably will as we adjust to meet the needs of the class, so please develop a habit of checking the class website. If you forget the web address you can always find it from a much easier url to remember.

A Note on Technology

Because at its core this class is about how technology changes our culture, we will necessarily engage with a range of computer tools and web based applications. You do not need any prior skill, however; you merely need a willingness to engage and learn. A majority of the tools we will be using in class are web-based, thus you will not need any special software.

One further note about technology. As much as technology makes life easier, at times it can also be difficult (computer crashes, deleted work, slow internet connection, etc.) Plan accordingly: “the computer ate my homework” or “the internet was down” are not reasons to forgo doing the assigned work. It is in your best interest to leave extra time, and back up frequently, especially at first to ensure that technology does not get in the way of your work.

Digital Etiquette

Many of the assignments throughout the semester will require participation in online spaces. Students should work to preserve the same atmosphere of respect and consideration that occurs in the classroom. Disagreements may arise and consensus is not always possible (indeed disagreements are productive). However, name calling, harassing, flaming, trolling etc. is antithetical to the goals of this course.

How to Reach me

The best way to reach me is by email or you can find me online at I check email frequently throughout the day. If you email me and do not receive a response within 48 hours please feel free to email me again (I might not have received your first one) and give me a reminder. I promise not to consider this harassing. Don’t call my office phone, though; voice mail is annoying and I tend to check it far less frequently than email.

My office hours are TR 10:00-11:00. My office is on the second floor of Bronstein.

University Policies

Academic Honesty: Please familiarize yourself with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

Disability Support: In accordance with state and federal laws, the University will make reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. For those who have or think that you may have a disability requiring an accommodation (learning, physical, psychological) should contact Services for Students with Disabilities, Room G10, Bellarmine, 610-660-1774 (voice) or 610-660-1620 (TTY) as early as possible in the semester for additional information and so that an accommodation, if appropriate, can be made in a timely manner. You will be required to provide current (within 3 years) documentation of the disability.

For a more detailed explanation of the University’s accommodation process, as well as the programs and services offered to students with disabilities, please see the Student Resources Page. If you have any difficulty accessing the information on-line, please contact Services for Students with Disabilities at the telephone numbers above.

A Final Note

Should any aspect of class confuse/concern/trouble you, or if you have questions about any of this, please see me.