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Writing and Digital Communication Courses

WDC 610 Content Strategy and Digital Porfolio Design
This course covers principles of content strategy, the methodology digital communicators use to craft content that reaches their intended audience on their chosen platforms in order to achieve organizational or creative goals. Students will learn the fundamentals of user-centered text, and how to select optimal technical platforms as they plan and build websites to house their digital portfolios. They will learn to analyze web design and content, employ analytics to evaluate content, explore pathways of innovation, follow the law regarding intellectual property and fair use, and create effective web-based content. Along the way, they will consider the rhetoric and ethics of personal branding and representing the professional or creative self online. A completed, professional quality digital portfolio aligned with their stated goals is a requirement for the master’s degree, to be submitted for evaluation in the final semester following guidelines established by the program.

WDC 612 Creative Writing in the Digital Age
This course explores traditional genres of creative writing—poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and dramatic writing—as well as cross genre, multigenre, and experimental forms—as they are embodied in or augmented by digital media. Students will seek an expanded understanding of text and of genre as they analyze and practice creative writing. The course emphasizes deep revision, line-editing, oral interpretation, and multimodal presentation of final work.

WDC 614 Grant and Proposal Writing
This course covers the complete process of grant and proposal writing and the contexts and strategies of the philanthropic environment. Students will learn how to research funding opportunities, identify and plan successful projects, devise achievable goals and budgets, write proposals for public and private foundations, follow up on both successes and rejections, and incorporate digital technologies. This course satisfies an elective for the evaluation and assessment methods graduate certificate.

WDC 616 Emerging Media
Existing digital media evolve rapidly, and new media are constantly emerging. This course explores current and emerging media, as well as broader trends, paying particular attention to the specific contexts from which they were developed and to patterns and pathways of change. Students briefly explore the evolution of writing as a technology as a basis for examining current and future trends in digital communication.

WDC 618 Technologies of Social Change
Students will learn to analyze the impact of digital technology on the formation and effectiveness of social movements and on social change. Focusing on both historical and current events, this course examines the roles of rhetoric and technology in collective action whether in the form of social movements or as embodied and enacted by individuals. We will also study the role of digital communication in promoting behavioral change, such as in the fields of public health or politics.

WDC 620 Developing Content for the Web and Social Media
This course covers principles of writing, editing, and developing multimedia content for the Internet and social media, as well as emerging media forms, and creates opportunities to put these principles into practice. Students explore media technologies and their impact on writing, communication, identity construction, and culture as they learn to anticipate, lead, and adapt as media change over time. This course also examines rhetorical conventions associated with media and digital citizenship. Students will develop and pitch measurable multi-platform content strategies to address a central communication challenge set by the instructor.

WDC 630 Visual Thinking and Web Design
Students will learn to expand their digital design skills to resolve visual problems, implementing line, texture, color, spatial illusion, materiality, compositional frameworks and subject matter. Emphasis is on the design process and conceptual development relating to web and mobile platforms. This course equips students with a working knowledge of industry-standard creative software and Cascading Style Sheets and acquaints them with principles of accessibility and UX.

WDC 640 Critical Communication
How do communications theories and research apply to or evolve in a digital world? This course examines the multifaceted role of communication in the formation of social bonds, identities, and communities in digital spaces. The course draws on insights from rhetorical theory, visual rhetoric, performance studies, public memory studies, critical cultural studies, film studies, and audience analysis (demographics and psychographics) to understand how communication works in digital environments.

WDC 6xx Digital Media Production
This course will provide an overview of the research, strategies and methods that go into producing accessible audio and visual media for consumption via a variety of delivery technologies. Students will learn lighting, camera, and sound design techniques for video and audio production, including streaming content. Students will examine principles of digital filmmaking, film analysis, and sound design, along with how to use common sound and video-editing software, as they produce a multi-episode podcast around a common theme, as well as a short standalone video.

WDC 622 Persuasive Writing and Speaking
Through case studies of communication practices spanning public health, political, and crisis communication, advertising, public relations, and propaganda, this course illuminates major theoretical perspectives and concepts related to persuasion in the digital age. Students will become familiar with qualitative and quantitative approaches to persuasion and will explore the opportunities, limitations, and ethical implications of persuasive communication by developing original content for a digital media campaign.

WDC 624 Transmedia Storytelling
This course explores transmedia storytelling as a form of communicating ideas across a range of digital delivery platforms. Students learn to produce unique but connected stories for diverse audiences and for multiple purposes, including entertainment, marketing, and social change. Students identify and analyze the ways in which themes acquire a new aesthetic and social significance as distinct stories are developed for the different media.

WDC 695 Topics in Writing and Digital Communication
Special Topics allows faculty to develop unique courses that reflect their individual research and interests and that represent important current directions in the field of writing and digital communication. The course topic, requirements, and learning outcomes will be determined by the instructor.

APT 6xx Ethical Use of Technology and Data
In this course students will research, identify, formulate perspectives, and discuss ethical challenges in the use of technology and data. Ethical challenges investigated may include, but are not limited to: environmental impacts, privacy considerations, public safety, workplace exposure, data gathering and sharing, and intellectual property. Students analyze a range of case studies related to ethical issues in emerging technologies and data collection and use.

EAM 640: Project Management
Successful interventions and evaluations depend on strong planning and project management skills. This course covers skills and strategies related to budgets, planning, stakeholder engagement, staff supervision, and fundraising. Additionally, students will learn about different leadership styles and will work to develop leadership skills.