Course Descriptions Communication and Emerging Media

Oral Communication Requirement

Students seeking a baccalaureate degree must complete an applied course in oral communication as part of the general education requirements. The following two courses are considered applied oral communication courses: COMM A201 and A241. Some majors may require a specific course, so students should consult the requirements for each major.

General Education Humanities Requirement

Certain communication classes will meet the General Education Humanities requirement. These classes are designated by the last two digits of the course number, and end in the 50’s and 60’s; for example, COMM A351, Persuasive Communication, will meet the requirement but COMM A385, Group Communication, will not.

COMM A190 Introduction to Communication. (3) An introduction to communication as a field of study, including the concepts, ideas, issues, methods, and theories associated with the discipline.

COMM A201 Interpersonal Communication. (3) (Sophomore standing or departmental permission) A study of communication in one-on-one and small group situations. Emphasis is on applying the theories and principles toward becoming a more competent interpersonal communicator. This course may satisfy the applied speech communication requirement.

COMM A241 Public Speaking. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102 or departmental permission) A course in the principles, preparation, delivery, and evaluation of public speaking. This course may satisfy the applied speech communication requirement.

COMM A303 Media Law. (3) (Grade of C or better in ENGL A102; Junior Standing) This course examines both constitutional and statutory laws with emphasis on the regulation of communications media, including newspapers, broadcast media, and new media. Focus will be on best practices for professional communicators to navigate the current laws and policies related to media creation and distribution.

COMM A305 Editing Skills. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) Techniques required in preparing materials for publication.

COMM A311 Media Lab. (1-6) (Prereq: Instructor Permission). This is a hands-on, applied media production/content creation course that will utilize resources in the Media Learning and Research Lab. In this course, students enhance their understanding and use of experimental new media tools to create strategic communication.  Students will learn cutting-edge communications and media/mass communication industry practices using new communications and media technologies.  Topics covered include emerging media use in news reporting, media narratives, augmented reality, live-streaming, 360-degree cameras, immersive media, 3D imaging and audio, 3D printing, interactive video, video integration, geo-tagged content, animated storytelling, and other emerging media tools and their applications.  With hands-on media lab work, students will also drive innovation in media research and content creation. 

COMM A320 Research Methods in Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in COMM A190) This course will introduce students to quantitative (e.g., measurement, sampling, design, analysis) and qualitative research methods (e.g., interviewing, focus groups, ethnographic, and participant observations). At the end of the course, students should be able to formulate significant research questions after reviewing existing relevant research, conduct systematic data collection, use appropriate tools to analyze data, and organize and write research results to share with others.

COMM A324 Integrated Marketing Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102 or departmental permission) Study of the history, theory and practice of strategic message development and transmission through multiple media platforms to create unified and compelling campaigns to engage the desired audience.

COMM A325 Principles of Advertising. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102 or departmental permission) Advertising and its relationship to media, marketing, and consumers.

COMM A328 Principles of Public Relations. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in COMM A332 or better or departmental permission) History, theory, and principles of public relations including an analysis of how business, government, and other groups work to influence public attitudes toward their activities. Class requires practice in writing, including press releases and public relations campaigns.

COMM A329 Crisis Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) This course focuses on key elements of strategic crisis communication, from preventing, preparing for, responding to, and dealing with the long-term effects of a crisis. Students learn and apply crisis communication theory, using case studies to examine the strategies and tactics of organizations that have dealt with crises. The course provides learners with principles and procedures for handling multiple stakeholders and publics under crisis conditions and offers training in dealing with media during crisis situations.

COMM A332 Writing Across the Media I. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) Basic instruction in writing for different media forms, such as print, broadcast, websites, public relations, and presentations. Includes development of researching and interviewing skills.

COMM A340 Media Technologies. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) This course focuses on the history, theory, and experience of old and new media technologies, examining the emergence and implementation of media technologies. Students also gain an understanding of media technology by exploring areas of computer, consumer, and networking technologies. Additionally, students learn about the cultural consumption and the creatin of content that utilizes media technologies.

COMM A345 Workplace Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) Students will apply Communication theories, principles, and concepts to workplace challenges to expand the verbal and nonverbal communication skills needed for success in business and professional settings. Possible topics include managing conflict, selecting and appraising employees, handling meetings and presentations, analyzing audiences, taking advantage of electronic media for business purposes, and eff effectively presenting your organization to media outlets.

COMM A351 Persuasive Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grades of C or better in both COMM A190 and COMM A241 or consent of instructor.) This course focuses on expanding the student’s ability to recognize persuasive messages, and analyze and act as competent, critical receivers of those messages, whether written, oral, or mediated.

COMM A352 Media and Culture. (3) Situated in historical contexts, this course examines the role of media in constructing national and global cultures. The course takes a cultural studies approach by examining media production, text, and audience to provide students with critical analysis skills and broad understanding of media research. (Students who earned credit for COMM A300 may not take COMM A352 for credit.)

COMM A353 Media Literacy. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) This course develops the knowledge and skills students need to navigate and critically examine images and messages in our media saturated society. The course focuses on behaviors and practices of media consumption, in addition to interpretation of media products. Students will critically engage, assess, analyze, and evaluate media content to practice and demonstrate media literacy.

COMM A355 Video Games, Media, and Culture. (3) In this survey course, students will examine specific aspects of the video gaming industry and media, including the emergence of video games in the United States and current industry practices. Students will examine the impact of video games on culture, society, social values, visual aesthetics, and the portrayal and treatment of marginalized groups. The course will also provide students with opportunities to analyze, interpret, and evaluate the influence of video games as an independent medium and in comparison to other media.

COMM A358 Sports, Communication, and Culture. (3) (Prereq: Junior Standing or Permission of Instructor) In this course, students explore the role of sports in communicating cultural values, beliefs, and norms, and examine the impact of sports on interpersonal, group, and mediated communication. Students will review the communication history of sports as well as its current landscape, and will critically analyze how communication in and about sports manifests, influences, and perpetuates communication practices, human behavior, and beliefs about race, gender, social issues, myths, sports narratives, and nationalism.

COMM A361 Communication and Public Advocacy. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) 62 University of South Carolina Aiken Examination of how symbols are used in public advocacy from both applied and theoretical perspectives with emphasis on rhetorical uses of language and nonverbal symbols in the creation and transmission of public messages. More specifically, the courses focuses on opportunities for public protest and develops effective communication skills in verbal advocacy, written advocacy, use of visuals and social media in advocacy, and use of the body in protest.

COMM A362 African American Rhetoric. (3) This course offers a theoretical alternative to traditional Western/ Classical theories by examining the tradition of African American Rhetoric. The course will focus on case studies and other materials such as traditional spirituals, abolitionist rhetoric, 20th Century civil rights rhetoric, contemporary rap and hip-hop culture, music, and film. Study will also include rhetors and griots.

COMM A363 Media Ethics. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) An exploration of the ethical practices and challenges encountered as a professional communicator. By reviewing best ethical practices involving print, broadcast, and new media, this course informs future ethical considerations.

COMM A365 Computer Mediated Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) Computer mediated communication (CMC) is the human-to human interaction that takes place via computer networks, such as the Internet as well as via mobile digital media. This course covers practical and theoretical issues associated with CMC, with a focus on the influence of CMC on identity, language, interpersonal relationships, community and group interactions, and the social structures that emerge when people use CMC.

COMM A376 Visual Communication I. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in COMM A190). Basic instructions on design and layout with emphasis on visual communication principles for design, layout, and production of printed materials. Introductory practice using computer desktop publishing.

COMM A379 Data Visualization. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102 and HSSI A220) Visual analysis and presentation of quantitative information. Examines the planning, design, and preparation of statistical graphs, charts, timelines, diagrams, and maps for static and interactive display. Direct work with data from social media and other big data sources to visualize an analysis

COMM A385 Group Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in COMM A190). A study of the theories, principles, and practices associated with effective communication in the small group setting. The course relies on both theoretical and experiential approaches to understanding group communication.

COMM A386 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. (3) (Prereq: Junior Standing or Permission of Instructor) A study of theories and practice of negotiation and conflict resolution. Topics may include planning and preparing for negotiations, recognizing cognitive biases, collecting and sharing information, building trust, managing emotions, understanding the influence of power and individuals’ cultural backgrounds, making ethical decisions, and reaching goals while maintaining relationships. Completion of COMM A201 is recommended but not required.

COMM A450 Intercultural Communication. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) A study of cultural differences in human communication with a focus on theoretical and experiential approaches toward gaining competence in communicating across cultures. (Satisfies non-Western world studies requirement)

COMM A451 Co-Cultural Communication. (3) (Prereq: Junior standing or permission of instructor) This course introduces students to cultural concerns of communication among co-cultures in the United States engaging a diversity of perspectives, fostering self-awareness, and development cultural competency as an imperative for enhanced communication. Students will learn to recognize and describe their own social-standing and identity as well as describe, analyze, and compare the array of co-cultures in the United States. Students will also identify and examine co-cultural communication concepts, systems, processes, and issues. Further, the course examines diverse discourse skills necessary to work through public forums and interpersonal conflicts as well as to communicate thoughtfully and effectively in co-cultural interactions.

COMM A455 Gender, Communication, and Culture. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102 or departmental permission) An exploration of the relationships among gender, communication, and culture from descriptive and critical perspectives with three focused themes: 1) communication creates, sustains, and sometimes challenges concepts of gender; 2) the conceptualization of gender is a cultural process; and 3) gender shapes communication.

COMM A460 Science Communication. (3) (Prereq: Junior or higher standing) The purpose of this course is to increase students' knowledge and awareness of the challenges and practices involved in communicating science. Special attention is paid to communication practices and channels related to the general populace and how the lay person understands, interprets, criticizes, and applies science and scientific messages to his or her own life. This course will bridge the science and communication disciplines to explore how humans communicate science, examine the problems in communicating science to diverse populations, and analyze the difficulty of crafting science communication messages. The course explores the development of science as a perspective to understanding our world. Students will evaluate science communication messages, science communication campaigns, and case studies. Students will also translate science information into science communication designed for the general public and create original science communication messages.

COMM A462 Political Rhetoric. (3) In order to become more sophisticated and critical participants in the democratic process, students will apply classical and contemporary models in the critical analysis of political and campaign rhetoric. The course also provides the opportunity to acquire and practice argumentation and debate skills.

COMM A476 Visual Communication II. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in COMM A376 or departmental permission) Advanced theory and methods for using graphics to communicate in a variety of media, including print and internet-based materials. Students gain experience in desktop publishing techniques to create visual communication materials from the concept stage to production.

COMM A477 Digital Storytelling Abroad. (3). (Prereq: Instructor Permission) This course provides students with an immersive experience in the world of multimedia storytelling, enhanced by a study abroad component; students will explore multimedia storytelling across national borders.  Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental elements that constitute compelling digital narratives from a cross-cultural perspective. Through hands-on projects, participants will craft news-driven multimedia packages tailored for diverse storytelling platforms and diverse audiences. These platforms encompass photography, audio, video, and data visualization, all of which play pivotal roles in modern communication and emerging media. 

COMM A478 Digital Storytelling. (3) (Prereq: Grade of C or better in ENGL A102) An introduction to writing and producing electronic video and audio materials, with a focus on preparing the student to produce entry level work suitable for live and recorded broadcasts and Internet media. Topics include video camera and audio recording, audio and field techniques, basic editing procedures, and distribution.

COMM A480 Organizational Communication. (3) (Prereq: junior standing and completion of COMM A190 and COMM A201 with grades of C or better in each) A study of how the context of the organization influences interpersonal communication processes. Emphasis on applying theory and research to identify effective organizational communication practices and strategic communication behavior within organizations.

COMM A482 Health Communication. (3) (Prereq: Junior Standing or Permission of Instructor) This course examines theory and research relevant to health communication, including interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication approaches. Topics include communication between patients and health care providers, the importance of social support for patients and providers, the role of communication in general models of health and illness as well as health campaigns. Prior completion of COMM A201 is recommended but not required.

COMM A497 Capstone. (3) (Prereq: departmental permission, COMM A190, A201, A241 with a grades of C or better in each, and USC system GPA of 2.0 or better) Supervised professional experience in communication and media. Students complete additional work under the direction of the faculty supervisor. Contract required.