COM 106 Introduction to Technical Communication (4)
An introduction to the field of technical communication focusing on technical writing. Students will create technical documentation of a current project or concern on campus, usually in the form of a proposal for changes. The class is highly writing-intensive; students review and edit each other’s work in class. Restricted to Professional and Technical Communication majors.
COM 206 Ethnographic Writing (4)
Uses writing to explore cultures. Students will study the observation and research of human behavior and will do field writing, reflective writing, and formal reports. A semester-long ethnographic project, conducted by small teams, will be presented to the class. Prerequisite: ENG 101 or equivalent.
COM 212 Digital Photography and Imaging (4)
Explores concepts and techniques in electronic photography and imaging. The class will build and reinforce critical digital imaging skills such as image manipulation, light effects, scanning, color correction and special effects. Combines design theory and hands-on work, introducing students to basic aesthetic issues in photography and image manipulation and the ethical concerns associated with the medium. Students will generate a portfolio of images based on specific themes. Meets the General Education Art requirement.
COM 213 Digital Animation (4)
Using a mix of theoretical and practical assignments, students will develop an understanding of the conceptual issues regarding animation while also producing an animation project. Students will create a set of storyboards, a simple animation with images, graphics, sound and special effects, and produce a video on various media, including a Web site. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of computer operating systems and will be expected to learn computer animation software while in the course. The animation software will be determined by the instructor at the time the course is taught.
COM 219 Introduction to Video Game Design and Culture (4)
Students will relate game experiences, play games and build a game relating to their interests. Different game design frameworks will be discussed, analyzed and implemented. The course will cover table top games, serious games and gamification of different fields. Students will also complete a final project in which they will create a game mod using an existing game engine. Students will keep a game journal logging their experiences playing video games. Programming experience and artistic ability are not required.
COM 240 Writing for New Media (4)
The ability to write clearly and elegantly is a difficult skill to acquire, especially when new media such as the web and/or video are added in the mix. COM 240 is a writing course that covers both the practice of creating well-written and engaging text in a traditional format, as well as the art of shaping words that can harmoniously co-exist with evolving media. Students will learn to write effectively, to connect with their own inner voice, and to translate this voice into powerful and effective writing. This course will also place a strong emphasis on peer editing and will demand that students learn to not only make the distinction between good and mediocre writing but to formulate clear arguments that support their opinions. Assignments will cover the following types of writing: Hypertext, Web/Intranet writing, Video scripting, Non-linear creative writing, Weblog writing, Electronic literature, and Polymedia (digital environments that explore new ways to use language). Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.
COM 262 Online Politics (4)
The emergence of the Internet, and especially the Web, as a significant factor in American and global life has challenged traditional views of communication and politics. In this course, we use some core concepts of political communication, information design and technology, and deliberative democracy to examine the role of information technologies in candidate and issue campaigning, online voting, protest and advocacy movements, law-making and electronic governance. Students will be required to engage as participant-observers of a Web-based political activity using a methodological approach appropriate to their analysis. Cross listed with POS 262. Meets the General Education Social Sciences requirement.
COM 300 Oral Communication (4)
Designed to train students’ capacity for oral communication, this course emphasizes research, organization, and presentation of speeches which inform, persuade, and entertain. Delivery, style, and audience analysis will be stressed. Small group discussions will aid the students to interact with others, and to apply the theories and techniques of debating. Extemporaneous speeches are also required and evaluated by the group.
COM 302 Presentational Speaking (4)
Students will submit a proposal and present a paper just as they would at a professional technical communication conference. Public speaking skills will be augmented with the latest graphic presentation skills and software. Students will research, write, and organize a talk to either persuade or inform an audience of technical communication professionals. This course is designated for technical communication majors; others on a space available basis. Students may not receive credit for both COM 302 and COM 300.
COM 306 Report Writing and Technical Communication (4)
Students will learn to communicate more effectively in a professional environment through ample practice with individual as well as group composed documents (i.e. memos, letters, instructions, proposals, and analytical reports) and the oral presentation of a formal report. Since the course is usually taught in a computer lab, word processing and computer graphics are used to enhance the reports. Meets Upper Division Writing.
COM 307 Business Communications (4)
Business communication will give students preparation for effective writing in business and related fields. Because an understanding of persuasion is key to effective business communication, students will practice and master both audience and rhetorical analysis for all formal assignments, and the standards of formatting for various business documents. Specifically, students will write single and multiple audience routine and specialized correspondences using direct and indirect organization patterns, resumes and job letters, proposals, annotated bibliographies and multi-part research papers. Students will write graded and ungraded work individually and in teams, and part of the course will be devoted to self and team evaluation. A graded oral presentation will also be part of the class. Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.
COM 308 Analytical & Research Writing (4)
Students pursue a research project of their own design, using primary sources. Statistical and theoretical sources are analyzed in class and used in the research essay. Students keep a research log and practice a variety of research methods. Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.
COM 310 Technical Editing (4)
A study of the principles of editing and their application to a wide variety of documents. Students will complete two major projects, one in copyediting and one in comprehensive editing. For both projects, students work with documents and clients from off campus. Students edit many sample documents and review each other’s work in class. Prerequisite: COM 306 or equivalent. Cross listed with IDT 531.
COM 311 Public Relations Writing (4)
Designed to teach students the basic concepts of effective public relations writing and to give them a solid foundation in the use of multiple communication tools that are used in the public relations industry. The emphasis is on media techniques, preparation of materials, and the dissemination of them through appropriate channels. Meets Upper Division writing requirement.
COM 316 Media and Communication (4)
The impact of the mass media (television, radio, journalism, film) upon American society is well‑documented. Emerging technologies (computer-mediated communication, cable video, satellite communications) will further change the ways in which we communicate. Through study of communication theory, survey of traditional and new media, and creation of original media projects, students will explore the relevance of the new technologies to their own disciplines. Meets new General Education Humanities requirement.
COM 320 Information Design (4)
Students will be exposed to the nature of visual language and how designers use and readers process such information. Theories and research that relate to visual communication will be covered. Students will analyze and evaluate selected readings and examples; and students will use modern desktop publishing techniques to design and produce printed material. Additionally, the theory of design of online material will be discussed with particular emphasis on publication of World Wide Web home pages. Projects will include home page design and publication. Concepts covered earlier in the course will be applied to computer screen design. Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic computer skills.
COM 341 Video and Communication (4)
Examines the role of video in the new communication technologies through projects which use video for various applications: education, training, sales promotion, etc. Emphasis is placed on the design process and the many choices available to deliver a video-based message. The course will draw upon the Institute’s Instructional Media studio capabilities. Pre/Corequisite: COM 342 is recommended, but not required.
COM 342 Field and Studio Video Production (4)
Covers the fundamentals of basic video and audio production. The student develops skills necessary to serve on production crews and operate a digital video camera. Also covers the fundamentals of video production with emphasis on direction, and operation of associated field equipment, developing the various skills necessary to produce quality video.
COM 350 Visual Thinking and Online Documentation (4)
Teaches students to evaluate, design, and develop online information. Students design an online tutorial that addresses human-computer interface and design issues covered in the course. Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.
COM 353 Newswriting (4)
Provides an introduction to the field of journalism. Students will participate in a group discussion about the newswriting process, from story ideas and development through to a close review of the final product. Students will develop story ideas and write articles suitable for publication. Prerequisite: Any Upper Division writing course.
COM 360 Product Design and Testing (4)
The only way to judge the usefulness of a document product or interface in the marketplace is by usability testing. Students will study various evaluation methodologies and practice the basics of test design and analysis for hypothetical or real products. Students will refine testing methodology and administration, in addition to understanding the factors affecting information and product quality.
COM 380 Communication Theory (4)
Exposes students to a range of communication theories, including those allied to systems theory, rhetoric, linguistics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. Students will explore a single theorist/theoretical position in depth.
COM 400 Computer Software Documentation (4)
Explains how to write professional computer documentation, from writing a proposal, to gathering data, to designing a document and related visuals, to running a usability test on the material, to revising style and polishing the final reference. Discusses the nature of visual language and considers the utilization of modern desktop publishing techniques to develop communication ideas and transfer them onto the printed page. Student teams develop a software documentation package using the school’s desktop publishing hardware and software. Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.
COM 411 Communicating on Computer Networks: Issues and Implications (4)
Examines the various facets of computer networks; their history, the reasons for their existence, their use, operation and design, collaborative issues, and concerns regarding copyright and intellectual property. Emphasis is placed on the nature of networks, how they can and will affect our world, and how they are best utilized. Although there will be hands-on training and use of the Internet throughout the semester, this is not a “tools” course on using the Internet. Rather, we will use our experiences on the network to write about and discuss the underlying social, political, legal, and educational aspects of networking. Students will become familiar with issues involved with networking as well as associated terminology and jargon.
COM 414 Advanced Digital Graphic Design (4)
Designed to increase the student’s ability to creatively design within the digital domain. Major topics include: essentials for successful digital design, color and color accuracy in the digital world, symmetric and asymmetric layout techniques, creative use of shapes and space, large file management techniques, theoretical and applied typography, professional production methods to increase workflow, and stereographic imagery. Prerequisite: Basic Photoshop knowledge.
COM 416 Advanced Digital Animation (4)
This course builds on the design, layout, and basic animation features learned in previous courses by adding more advanced interactivity and user input as well as development of more complex 3D-like imagery and storyline techniques. Where the previous course focuses on object-oriented directed imagery and sound, this course involves more advanced scripting techniques to develop a vocabulary of concepts, skills, and aesthetic practices for producing more meaningful animation. The course blends direct technical instruction — including programming in ActionScript and server-side file and scripting access — with narrative and aesthetic development and discussion with the goal of moving past linear animation to more evolving and interactive animation practices.
COM 417 Visual Identity and Branding (4)
A studio course in visual communication. Brand identity is the use of design to project a memorable graphic image of brands, services, corporations, institutions, organizations or other groups. Branding experiences include brand identity, promotion and advertising. The course will include logos, multiple design, and advertising applications with coordinated visual elements. Prerequisite: COM 320
COM 418 New Media Theory and Digital Culture
Studies the meaning of “New Media” and its influence on culture. Through readings, discussions, analysis of cultural artifacts as well as a longer hands-on project, we will reveal the underlying ideas of our digital historical moment. As we analyze various modes of representation, we will investigate the impact electronic media have had on society and explore it implications for activities such as online learning and education. Using a series writings by pioneers in new media theory, we will place our current 21st century culture in a larger framework of established theoretical perspectives.
COM 419 Video Game Design Studio (4)
Students will apply video game industry frameworks to build and “gamify” information products in areas such as health care, network security and journalism. Students will learn skills related to game creation that can be used in real world settings to design and market a full-featured product. Programming and design skills common to the video game industry will be covered. The students will be expected to engage in teamwork, promotion of their game, creation of their game’s assets and engagement into the video game industry.
COM 420 Web Site Design (4)
Provides instruction in various processes that involve innovation, planning, analysis, design, implementation, and promotion of Internet-based information publishing, especially on the World Wide Web. Introduces students to the theoretical principles of visual language and also affords the practical opportunity to apply the principles using modern Internet publishing tools.
COM 460 Advanced Web Site Design (4)
This course builds on the design, layout, and development principles learned in previous courses by teaching students to approach web site design and structure in a new way. Where previous courses focus on designing the front end of a static web site, COM 460 focuses on developing the back end of a dynamic web site. Students will produce an interactive commercial web site, incorporating specific data structures, web elements, and web technologies, while employing the design principles learned in previous courses. Prerequisite: COM 420.
COM 490 Special Topics in Communications (Variable 1-4)
An in‑depth treatment of a selected topic not normally treated extensively in other communication courses. The subject matter will be related to current trends in communication. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
COM 491 Independent Study (Variable 1-4)
Extensive study and research on a particular topic of student interest under the supervision of a faculty member. The student is required to submit a written proposal which includes a description of the project, its duration, educational goals, method of evaluation, and number of credits to be earned. Prerequisites: Matriculated students only, permission of instructor and dean of subject area. Standard grading or S/U option at discretion of faculty supervisor. Options must be chosen no later than last day to add/drop.
COM 492 Technical Communication Internship (Variable 2‑8)
The internship, for qualified senior Technical Communication majors, is designed to provide practical work in the field of computer documentation, editing, public relations, graphics, or Web design. Students either work on or off campus under the direction of a qualified communication specialist. Prerequisites: 3.0 GPA in major; permission of program faculty and internship corporate sponsor. Only S/U grades are awarded for this course.
COM 495 Senior Practicum in Communication (4)
Integrates academic and practical experience by placing students in an industrial, corporate or professional writing setting. Students will choose clients in various businesses and industries, and they will work either on and off site in completing their major projects. As students work through the documentation process, they will be given detailed classroom instruction about writing and editing in the corporate culture. This course is designed as a one semester practicum where students will meet with the instructor in the classroom and with their clients on a weekly basis. Prerequisites: COM 306 and COM 320, and permission of instructor.
COM 499 Portfolio Review and Professional Development (4)
Gives Communication and Information Design majors a first‑hand
look at the job search process (professional development) and portfolio
development. Students will be expected to research some aspect of the
field, complete and write up an informational interview, submit a portfolio
for review, and go on an actual interview. Prerequisite: COM 302, COM
306, COM 320, COM 380. Corequisite: COM 495. Student must be in his/her last or next to last semester in the program.