Philosophy of Communication (COM520) - This course is a survey of the genealogy of communication and how communication creates shared experiences between people. Through a collection of readings, students will examine how and why society thinks about communication the way it does. Philosophy of Communication is generally concerned with analytical, theoretical and political issues that cross different discipline boundaries. It explores how people live their lives and deal with the conflicts that are inevitable whenever communication occurs in a society, whether in person, in groups, electronically or through the mass media. Throughout the course, students are exposed to the broader study of the field and how it relates to contemporary philosophical arguments, positions and concerns. By studying the historical and social contexts for communication, students will come to understand and appreciate how meaning is created through human interaction, more about themselves and how they relate to others.
Logic, Reasoning, and Persuasion (COM522) - This course studies the development of reasoning and formal logic and its relationship to persuasion and argumentation. It provides an overview of logical thinking, distinguishing rational inquiry from mythological inquiry and regulative thinking from associative thinking. Students will learn to articulate logical thinking or reasoning as a process of making logical argument and will discuss 3 basic modes of reasoning in persuasion and argumentation: deduction, induction, and abduction, explaining their practical applications in the studies of humanities. Students will also be introduced to possible world semantics and thought experiments, which help participants to build logical foundations for developing rational, independent, critical, and creative thinking.
Transmedia Storytelling (COM531) - Transmedia storytelling engages audiences across media multi-dimensionally. Students learn to provide critical information, back story and details of an ongoing narrative through multiple media means such as comic books, films, television programs, web content, mobile content, social networks and games, creating a more expansive and immersive experience for the audience. The course examines the role and structure of narrative in audience engagement and who dynamic new trends in media content development impact consumers. Students will analyze case studies, and upon completion of this course, evaluate and develop a transmedia story-strategy.
Documentary Film (COM532) - Documentary films have emerged as a popular medium for non-fiction storytelling. This course will give a conceptual overview of the form, strategies, and conventions of documentary films and videos. We will screen historical and contemporary documentaries to examine questions of defining the genre, ethical dilemmas, the debate over objectivity, and the ways that documentaries can stimulate critical thinking about the construction of our social world. Students will need to join a movie subscription service to gain timely access to the films for each week. Please note that it will be very difficult to access these films outside of the U.S., and so students living internationally are advised to check on the accessibility of the films before registering for this course.
Politics and the News (COM580) - This course will critically analyze how the news media influenced public discussion of political and social issues in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as examine how these issues were debated in the news. Drawing on readings from political science, communications and history, students will also examine how political powers in mass democracies use the news media as a mechanism of persuasion and social control.