Communication and Media Studies 426

COMS 426
Digital Media

1. Catalog Entry

COMS 426
Digital Media

Credit hours (3)
Prerequisites: COMS 130, 330

This course focuses on developing theoretical knowledge and proficiency in the creation of various media content and distribution through social media. Students will critically examine various examples of online content and learn how to create their own audio and video podcasts, short animated pieces, and web sites. Students will learn how to promote their media through various social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and other large online communities. Current readings on theoretical and practical perspectives on creation and consumption of digital media, including social media, will be reviewed through blog posts. Development of a web site with links to social media will give students more web site design skills as well as provide an active portfolio for their work.

2. Detailed Description of Course

The content for this course will be derived from several texts and academic articles related to interactive media technologies. Several videos and tutorials will also be utilized in the course.  Lon Safko’s Social Media Bible will provide basic knowledge of each form of digital and social media discussed in the course. In-depth analysis of Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations theory, Computers as Social Actors theory, media literacy, and Henry Jenkins’ perspective on convergence culture will provide a basis for examining the development of digital media. Articles on social networking, mobile media, virtual world technology, content management systems, and podcasting will place each form of media in its proper social context, while providing insight into how to effectively create and distribute for each medium. Finally, a review of media ethics will allow students to confront modern ethical quandaries in the changing world of digital and social media, further preparing them to be ethically strong media creators and consumers.

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This will be taught as a hybrid course. Students will be required to attend lectures as well as watch several videos and tutorials that coincide with the readings and assignments.  They will also be required to complete several practical assignments and participate in discussion boards and blogging with the instructor and their peers.  

The learning activities will include, but not be limited to, the following:
    1) Development of a web site for blog posting and presentation of media projects
    2) Blog entries to discuss concepts from the readings and to further develop an online voice
    3) Creation of a tutorial to learn basics of screen capture and audio recording
    4) Creation of an audio and video podcast to learn the basics of interviewing, writing for a web audience, video capture,
        and audio/video editing
    5) Creation of Adobe Photoshop assignments to advance digital imaging and basic animation skills
    6) Recorded lectures, tutorials, and online readings to enhance understanding of theoretical and practical perspectives of interactive
    7) Analyzing a web site and providing a critique based on theoretical background and best practices discussed throughout the semester

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

This course is designed to give students the basic skills necessary to critically examine and create various forms of digital and social media. Students across the various sub-fields of communication can use the skills learned to create digital media and devise strategies to best take advantage of social media to disseminate the media. Understanding of theory behind digital media will allow students to better understand the social context of digital media and how to best utilize it for various purposes.

5. Assessment Measures

Students will be assessed according to their performance in various participation assignments (e.g. online discussion and blog postings) and the overall quality of their podcasts, Photoshop assignments, and the final paper. The following methods will be used to assess student learning throughout the semester:
    1) Blog and discussion posts may be used to measure students’ understanding of the reading assignments and lecture material.
        Students must be able to effectively deconstruct the theories discussed and apply them to development of digital media,
        as well as, provide current examples of the theories and practices in the media examined.
    2) Podcasts, Photoshop assignments and creation of tutorials may be used to measure students’ application of the practical
        knowledge attained in constructing digital media and properly preparing for consumption on the web. Students will need to
        show they have the basic production skills necessary to create web appropriate content.
    3) The web site may be used to examine students’ skills in producing a professional quality web site. The student web site
        will need to demonstrate effective labeling of pages and projects, a functional web design, presence of various media created
        by the students, and appropriate and well written blog posts.
    4) A final exam may be used to examine students’ understanding of the theoretical and practical background of interactive media
        and its growing use in all aspects of communication.

6. Other Course Information


Review and Approval

April 23, 2014