2016-2017 Catalog

Writing in the Discipline - Communication


Our mission is to prepare students to communicate effectively as professionals and citizens in our state, nation, and the world community. All majors from the following concentrations are required to take COMM 200: Research Methods in Communication as a writing intensive course.


  • Mass Media Communication 
  • Public and Professional Communication 
  • Public Relations/Advertising 
  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Science 

COMM 200: Research Methods in Communication 

Students in the course learn about the nature of communication research and the process of research writing. The course introduces the students to different research methodologies, styles, and fundamental research theories and protocols. They learn how to identify a research topic, write an introduction (thesis statement and significance of the topic), formulate research questions or hypotheses, write a literature review, and select appropriate research designs and methodologies. 


In addition to COMM 200, each concentration provides additional concentration-specific writing intensive course(s). 


Mass Media Communication 


COMM 243: Writing for Digital Media 

Students are introduced to the concepts and techniques used to develop digital media products and learn how to write for a variety of digital media distribution channels. At the end of this course, fully successful students should be able to (1) identify and describe the various types of copy used in the electronic media industry; (2) distinguish between writing for print and electronic media (radio, television & web); (3) critique various electronic media writing products; (4) explain key media writing concepts and topics; and (5) create effective copy for electronic media projects such as treatments, scripts, rundowns, executive summaries, and project proposals.


COMM 340: Mass Media Ethics 

Students develop an understanding of key ethical issues facing media practitioners and formulate strategies and guidelines for confronting ethical challenges in journalism, advertising, public relations, and entertainment media through writing (1) position papers on media ethics cases; (2) critical comments/questions/refection/responses to each chapter; (3) papers demonstrating how various media values and ethical principles may or may not be at work; and (4) a research paper on a chosen case. 


Public and Professional Communication 


COMM 351: Persuasion 

Persuasion teaches social science and rhetorical theories of influence. Students demonstrate knowledge and skills through both oral and written experience. Writing assignments include 1) fully developed speech outlines, 2) several short reaction papers and 3) a final analytical and critical paper of substantial length requiring scholarly research and a two draft writing process. 


Public Relations/Advertising 


Public Relations: 


COMM 302: Writing for News and Public Relations 

COMM 312: Advanced News and Public Relations Writing 


The courses cover "the fundamentals of composition using the AP style guide. Topics include news values, basic reporting, public relations formats, and techniques for achieving high-quality news and public relations writing (COMM 302). Students build on their news and media writing skills and become more proficient at public relations writing for digital and traditional outlets. Applications include news conferences and crisis communication (COMM 312). With the frequent writing exercises and critical review students taking the introductory and advanced courses are able to express themselves in both personal and professional application. Heavy emphasis is placed on developing style and clarity. Proper grammatical structure is stressed throughout. 




COMM 339: Advertising Creativity 

This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop and apply strategic, creative thinking ability to solve communication problems in the process of an advertising campaign. Emphasis is placed on creative thinking, strategic writing skills, and visualization of ads in various forms of traditional and nontraditional media. The writing instruction focuses on how to write effective advertising copy and how to integrate copy, visuals and ideas into persuasive messages in ad campaigns. 


Speech, Language, and Hearing Science 


COMM 255: Introduction to Language 

A central component of this course is a paper (and class presentation) on an aspect of language of interest to the student. Using skills introduced in Communication 200, students identify a topic, write an introduction, formulate a research question, write a literature review, and choose one of two options: choose an appropriate methodology for investigating their research question, and present results and interpretation; or write an in-depth literature review, including analysis of the literature. They are required to read, discuss and cite sources from peer-reviewed journals, using APA format both in the body and at the end of the paper. Students participate in small group tutorials, critiquing one another’s papers; they then submit revised papers, incorporating feedback from fellow students and the instructor. 


COMM 320: Speech and Language Development 

This course is one of the core courses that future speech-language pathologists and audiologists are to have before they begin a graduate program, and it is intended to provide a baseline understanding of normal language development before students begin a in-depth study of communication disorders. Students in this class have already taken an introductory research course (Communication 200) as well as an introduction to language (Communication 255). As preparation for writing in the discipline, students are required to do close reading of four peer-reviewed articles in the discipline. In addition, the course is organized around a project investigating a single child’s language development, replicating the research methods used in articles read as a class. Students are required to report the results of their mini replications according to APA format. Students participate in small group tutorials, critiquing one another’s papers; they then submit revised papers, incorporating feedback from fellow students and the instructor.