Course Descriptions

COMM 107 Effective Speaking (Gen. Ed. Domain I-A)
An application of the principles of speech and language in oral communication. Students practice different types of speech-communication situations and analyze their speaking and language skills. The course incorporates written critiques and may include videotaping of oral presentations and panel discussions. Note: Students may not receive credit for both 71.107 Effective Speaking and 71.111 Speech and Language Communication (offered prior to Fall 1992). Note: Communication Arts majors who elect to take COMM 107 Effective Speaking may not receive credit for this course if taken concurrently with or after COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication. This course may not be used to satisfy major requirements in Communication Arts.

COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication
An introduction to the theories and practice of human communication in interpersonal, small group, and public communication situations. Students apply principles of communication to the content and delivery of messages in a variety of speaking and listening situations. Note: Students may not receive credit for both COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication and COMM 107 Effective Speaking.

COMM 130 Introduction to Visual Communication (Gen. Ed. Domain I-B)
An introduction to ways visual media are used as communication tools in contemporary society. Students are introduced to design fundamentals, graphic illustrations, photography, typography, political cartoons, advertisements, and multimedia both in print and on screen. Daily newspapers, weekly magazines, museum collections, and the Internet are used as the primary text. Students may not receive credit for both 71.110 Introduction to Visual Communication and COMM 130 Introduction to Visual Communication.

COMM 140 Introduction to the Internet, Graphics, and Multimedia
An introductory course exploring fundamental concepts, vocabularies, and techniques related to graphic design, digital cameras, photo editing, scanning, web design, interactive design, animation and multimedia using a variety of software programs. Students gain a broad foundation that can be applied to more advanced concepts and skills in the Information Technology discipline. Students cannot receive credit for both this course and either CSCI 140 Introduction to the Internet, Graphics, and Multimedia or INTD 140 Introduction to the Internet, Graphics, and Multimedia. Students in the Communication Arts major can only take this course for credit toward the Minor in Information Technology or as a free elective.

COMM 200 Design for Integrated Media
An introduction to the computer as a tool for creating visual images for the web, animation, photography, advertisements, graphic design, video, and film. This class focuses on developing students’ computer graphic skills, including basic design issues. Computer concepts and practices are covered in detail, such as file formats, scanning, color theory, and image preparation for digital displays. Students are introduced to a variety of software programs currently used by professionals in the interactive design and advertising industry. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both this course and COMM 200 Introduction to Computer Graphic Design.
Prerequisite: COMM 130 Introduction to Visual Communication or permission of the instructor.

COMM 201 Oral Interpretation of Literature (Gen. Ed. Domain I-B)
A study of literature as a speech art emphasizing the reader’s response to the meaning of the spoken word within different literary works, practice in and evaluation of reading aloud, storytelling, and choral speaking. Selections from prose, fiction, and drama are studied.

COMM 205 Small Group Communication
An exploration of the theories, concepts and skills that improve speech communication in group contexts. Leadership and group skills are developed through practical application (group work) aimed at accomplishing shared tasks and facilitating positive interaction. Students study the principles of group dynamics, decision-making, problem solving, interpersonal conflict, consensus, leadership and team building. The course incorporates elements of conflict management and also emphasizes issues relevant to membership diversity. Students have the opportunity to evaluate group members’ interactions critically and constructively.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication or COMM 107 Effective Speaking, or permission of the instructor.

COMM 207 Interpersonal Dialogue
A course that fosters a broad level of awareness in regard to interpersonal communication. While it does not offer a formula for interpersonal success, it invites the student to ask questions about the primary issue of the “other” and how the “other” necessarily affects the “self.” In so doing, the course centers on issues such as self-awareness, self-disclosure, nonverbal communication, listening, authenticity, power, and conflict. Students become aware of the speech communication processes that both disintegrate and nurture the dyadic human relationship.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication or permission of instructor.

COMM 208 Basic Photography (Gen. Ed. Domain I-A)
An exploration of the discipline as an aesthetic medium, a documentary mode of communication, and a vehicle for personal expression. Students are expected to achieve basic technical competence in the practice of black and white digital photography, while expanding their aesthetic vision. At the end of the semester each student submits a portfolio of photographs demonstrating their command of photographic composition, lighting, and basic printing skills. Students are also introduced to historical traditions of the medium through lecture presentations, films, and gallery/museum visits. Each student is required to have access to his/her own SLR camera for use in this course.
Prerequisite: COMM 130 Introduction to Visual Communication or permission of the instructor.

COMM 210 History of Photography (Gen. Ed Domain I-B)
A course which traces the development of the medium from its inception in 1839 to the present. The growth of photography is related to the other major visual arts and communication movements of the nineteenth and twentieth century. Form, content, philosophy, and technique are discussed and analyzed in slide lectures and reading assignments. Each student completes a major independent research project on a particular photographer, group of photographers, or style of work.
Prerequisite: COMM 130 Introduction to Visual Communication or permission of the instructor.

COMM 212 Drama Workshop (Gen. Ed. Domain I-A)
A study of playmaking and production. Special attention is given to spoken drama and translation of the play into performance. This course provides students with the criteria for the selection of a play to be performed. Each student participates in acting, directing, and production-related experiences. There may be opportunity for trips to theaters and for private and/or public presentations.

COMM 213 Advanced Public Speaking
An application of the principles of speech and language in the delivery of speeches to larger audiences. The class emphasizes organizational techniques, language adaptation, audience analysis and clarity of expression. Students learn the distinctions between preparation and practice of the four major categories of public discourse: informative, deliberative, forensic and epideictic. Oratory skill, confidence, and fluency in speech are primary focal points of this course.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication or COMM 107 Effective Speaking, or permission of instructor.

COMM 220 Principles of Mass Communication
A study of the various infrastructures of mass media systems from national and global perspectives. Current trends and philosophies are discussed from the perspectives of history, culture, and social responsibility. Each student researches and discusses major problems and issues in mass communication.

COMM 225 Interactive Design
The study of concepts and techniques using a variety of software programs in the design of websites and interactive multimedia. Projects include web layout and the development of interface and interaction design on the computer. Students develop skills with flowcharting, storyboarding, scripting, and interactive design basics such as: screen design, optimizing images, and working with color and type. Note: Credit will not be given for both this course and 71.225 Multimedia Design.
Prerequisite: COMM 200 Design for Integrated Media, or ARTS 361 Graphic Design I, or permission of the instructor.

COMM 226 Writing for Visual Media (Gen. Ed. Domain I-A)
A study and practice of writing for all forms of digital and electronic mass communication. Students study various approaches to, and formats and techniques for, writing for the Internet, broadcast news, public and media relations, commercials, comedy, and drama. Using theoretical models and case studies, students develop unique and creative solutions for a variety of “real-world” writing and communication problems.
Prerequisites: ENGL 110 Expository Writing.

COMM 230 Organizational Communication
Designed to evaluate the role that communication behavior plays in the emergence, sustenance and deterioration of organizations. Examination of theory, concepts, principles and research renders a deep understanding of extensive challenges that organizations face to achieve and maintain success. Appraisal of leadership, teamwork, goals, conflict management, diversity in the workplace, technology and employee satisfaction substantiate organizational complexity. Lecture, class discussion, class presentations, guest speakers and simulations prepare students for the intersection of communication and the organizations with which they affiliate throughout their lives.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication.

COMM 234 Intercultural Communication
An exploration of communication patterns exhibited when individuals and social groups from different cultures and national identities interact. Communication within interpersonal, social, organizational, and political contexts are examined. Attention is directed to the ubiquitous role that culture-specific communication plays in the struggles that cultures endure to preserve their integrity in a world increasingly confounded by globalization. Writing assignments, role-playing exercises, and cultural simulations allow students to consider theories and taxonomies that explain patterns of learned behavior reflected in a culture’s symbols, identity politics, and resistance to change.

COMM 245 Cultural Aspects of Media Representation (GenEd Domain III-C)
An investigation of media-constructed images of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation in the United States. After an initial background study of constitutional guarantees of free speech, students articulate responses to a variety of contemporary issues relating to the role and responsibility of media in representing society’s diverse voices and in shaping an American cultural identity. Credit will not be given for this course and 71.133 Media and Multiculturalism.

COMM 250 Media/Society/Self
A study of the impact of popular culture upon contemporary society. Students examine the historical interplay of influences between the mass media and society. The effects of the mass media are critically evaluated within the context of media arts, advertising, politics, public relations, and news.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication or permission of instructor.

COMM 255 Special Topics in Communication Arts
An in-depth examination of a current communication issue with particular emphasis on the contributions of recent research. Each student completes an assigned research project. Topic and instructor are announced each year.
Prerequisite: COMM 250 Media/Society/Self and permission of the chair.

COMM 260 Voice and Articulation
A study of vocal sound including the clarity and accuracy of articulation in the normal speaking voice. Students perform exercises to improve breath control, projection, and the variables of volume, pitch, quality, and pacing. Phonetic transcription and aspects of dialect and accent are explored.

COMM262 Television Studio Production (Gen.Ed. Domain I-A)
An introduction to the basic technologies, theories and production practices of studio-based multi-camera television programming. Through a variety of creative, team-based hands-on projects and in-depth critiques, students develop fundamental skills in all phases of television studio production. In addition to the operational techniques of video and audio production specific to television, the students gain experience in concept creation, script writing, acting, producing, directing and editing. Student research augments lectures and demonstrations on the aesthetics, ethics and methodological requirements of communicating ideas, information and cultural values via television programming. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both this course and COMM 262 Studio Production I.
Prerequisite: COMM 226 Writing for Visual Media or permission of the instructor.
 
COMM 264 Theatre Production
A hands-on practical experience in playmaking and production. Students are expected to spend 80 or more hours per semester working on a production at the university. Students work backstage or onstage to bring a production to fruition. Audition is required for performance roles. Students may earn two (2) course credits in succession by arrangement with instructor and chair. NOTE: A student may take the course a second time with the permission of the instructor provided that the student’s responsibility in the production is significantly different.
Prerequisite: COMM 212 Drama Workshop or permission of the instructor.
 
COMM 269 Creative Process: Inspiration and Sweat
A cross-disciplinary examination and exploration of the nature and role of creativity in a variety of fields, particularly as they relate to production and speech/performance. A wide range of source materials and exercises are consulted and utilized, and guest practioners from other fields such as art, literature, music, and science make presentations. Students gain greater understanding of the ways in which inspiration can be identified and harnessed in the successful pursuit and practice of their own work, and each completes an approved semester-long personal creative project of his/her own choosing and design.
Prerequisites: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication and COMM 130 Introduction of Visual Communications; or permission of instructor.
 

COMM 270 Advertising Techniques
An examination of the fundamental concepts and techniques of the advertising industry. Emphasis is placed on the study of the history, aesthetics, and practice of advertising, as well as its social aspects. Students create and develop their own advertising presentations.
Prerequisite: COMM 200 Design for Integrated Media or permission of the instructor.

COMM 272 Photography and Architecture
A study of the relationship of architecture and photography. Using photography to record and interpret architecture, students study the history of both photography and architecture and how these different visual disciplines work together. Students apply the principles and techniques of conventional and digital photography to create projects both documentary and expressive. The study of important examples of architecture in Eastern Massachusetts is emphasized. Both research and field photography are involved.
Prerequisite: COMM 208 Basic Photography or permission of instructor.

COMM 275 Public Relations
A survey of the function and practice of public relations. The course considers the history, concepts, research methods, and production processes of the industry. Specific examples and cases are studied in detail, and students create and develop their own public relations presentations. Credit will not be given for both this course and 71.241 Public Relations.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication, or permission of the instructor.

COMM 280 Introduction to Film Production (Gen. Ed. Domain I-A)
An introduction to the basic technologies, theories and production practices of single-camera, “short subject” location filmmaking. Students write scripts, choose shots, direct actors and use a variety of devices and techniques to record motion picture and audio elements. Projects are edited using professional computer software and all student works are screened and critiqued by the class. A significant hands-on laboratory component is augmented by in-depth lectures and discussions that explore film aesthetics, design and the cultural-historical context of film as a communication medium. Possible field trips and guest lecturers may further enhance the learning opportunities. Note: Students may not receive credit for this course and COMM 266 Field Production I
Prerequisite: COMM 226 Writing for Visual Media.

COMM 308 Media Criticism: Principles and Practice
An advanced course which explores in social, ethical, and aesthetic terms what it means to take a critical stance toward a variety of media texts. While a number of critical perspectives and schools of thought are examined and compared, the course’s ultimate objective is the development and articulation of each student’s personal standards concerning quality and value. Careful reading, watching, and writing is required, along with active classroom participation.
Prerequisite: COMM 250 Media/Society/Self or permission of instructor.

COMM 309 Video Editing and Effects
An exploration of the tools, techniques and theories associated with the disciplines of motion picture editing and special effects creation. Executing numerous hands-on exercises and projects students gain experience using professional computer software to communicate thoughts, feelings, and information through the arrangement and manipulation of visual and auditory elements. Students also practice the generation of special visual effects, from the subtle to the fantastical. Instructor presentations, demonstrations, film screenings, readings and student-guided assignment critiques further lead the students to a comprehensive understanding of the importance of pacing and juxtaposition in motion picture storytelling.
Prerequisite: Comm 280 Introduction to Film Production or permission of the instructor.

COMM 312 Screenwriting
An advanced course that examines the craft and the business of screenwriting. The course explores the theoretical and the practical perspectives involved in creating, developing, and marketing scripts based on original ideas or those adapted from existing stories. Students study classic as well as modern approaches to the process of writing for feature-length as well as short film. Guest lecturers, screenings, group discussions and critiques, along with selected readings supplement the learning process as students progress toward completion of semester-long writing projects. Note: Students cannot receive credit for this course and COMM 312 Screen and Teleplay Writing
Prerequisite: COMM 226 Writing for Visual Media or permission of the instructor.

COMM 314 Acting
An exploration of the physical and emotional resources that must be developed by the actor for any medium or style of dramatic expression. Workshops focus on exercises to develop the student’s range of physical and vocal expression, creative imagination, and ability to respond to and communicate emotions freely. Readings from the work of outstanding modern actors and directors, together with class discussions, provide an intellectual and theoretical framework.
Prerequisite: COMM 212 Drama Workshop or permission of the instructor.

COMM 315 Intermediate Photography
An exercise in the creation and production of color photographic images. The focus of this course is on the control of color design, technical parameters, personal vision, documentary requirements, and special effects as applied to color photographic imagery. Each student acquires the ability to select and to critique photographic work based upon a developed aesthetic of color. Students are required to have access to their own SLR camera for use in this course. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both this course and COMM 315 Color Slide Imagery.
Prerequisite: COMM 208 Basic Photography and permission of the instructor.

COMM 316 Advanced Interactive Design
An advanced study of interactive digital media. Students evaluate contemporary trends and production techniques while creating professional projects on the computer. Students build skills using the latest interactive technologies and develop stronger aesthetic sensibilities. Discussion and production of multimedia structural elements, user-interfaces, and scripting are an integral part of the course. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both this course and either COMM 316 Advanced Multimedia Design or 71.316 Interactive Digital Media.
Prerequisite: COMM 225 Interactive Design.

COMM 322 Persuasion and Social Influence
An advanced study of how people influence each other through speech and symbolic gestures. Students evaluate the strategies used to change others’ beliefs, attitudes, values and actions. The course prepares students to set persuasive goals for a variety of situations and audiences, generate motivational and logical appeals, and evaluate persuasive messages in the broader culture. Themes include democratic persuasion, the challenge of diversity, and social hierarchy. Controversial topics are selected to reflect persuasive discourses in a pluralistic society. Other issues investigated include methods through which one resists another’s attempts to persuade, the distinctions between choice and coercion, and the ways verbal aggression may facilitate or disable persuasion. Fear appeals, propaganda, and compliance-gaining techniques are other areas critically assessed.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication or permission of the instructor.

COMM 327 Computer Animation Techniques
The study of concepts and techniques using a variety of software programs in the creation of computer animation. Students evaluate contemporary trends and production techniques while creating professional animation projects on the computer. Students build skills using the latest technologies and develop stronger aesthetic sensibilities.
Prerequisite: COMM 200 Design for Integrated Media or permission of the instructor.

COMM 328 Argumentation and Advocacy
An introduction to the nature of argument and critical thinking, including methods of analysis, research, critical evaluation of reasoning and evidence, refutation, debate and advocacy. Students learn how to think about their positions critically, plan their communicative strategies effectively, and argue their cases forcefully. The course surveys the study of reasoning, evidence, case construction and effective presentation in bringing about belief and conviction. These concepts are explored in detail, often by applying them to various elements of the public sphere and considering various social and political questions.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication or permission of instructor.

COMM 330 Advanced Photography
A practicum in advanced photographic production where students gain a sense of context for their own creative choices through studying the works of past and contemporary photographers. Emphasis is on the development of the student’s personal photographic style and on the refinement of technical abilities. Lighting techniques and different camera formats are introduced, as well as other advanced photographic topics. The preparation of a coherent thematic portfolio of photographs is required. Students must have access to their own SLR camera for use in this course.
Prerequisite: COMM 315 Intermediate Photography or permission of the instructor.

COMM 338 Advanced Visual Communications
A comprehensive survey in which students examine the relationships of visual communications to the fine arts and mass communication. Through a series of thematic projects, students explore in depth how twentieth century artists, graphic designers, photographers, and filmmakers appropriate classical motifs and famous images from the past to visually communicate and comment upon current issues and controversies.
Prerequisite: COMM 110 Introduction to Visual Communication, or any course in the history of art, film or photography at the 200-level or above.

COMM 364 Aspects of Theatre
A study of selected technical and performance aspects in theatre. This course explores discrete topics in theatre. Topics may include set design, puppetry, digital media and theatre, storytelling, stage makeup, and acting Shakespeare.. Specific content varies by semester. NOTE: This course may be taken more than once for credit, provided a different topic is being examined.
Prerequisite: COMM 212 Drama Workshop or permission of the instructor.

COMM 366 Documentary Filmmaking
An advanced course that explores the numerous facets of writing, directing, and producing non-fiction stories. Students examine the history, theories and practices of non-fiction storytelling, while also studying the aesthetics, ethics, and other practical considerations inherent in the medium. Lectures and critiques encourage the analysis of non-fiction storytelling’s place in today’s society. Working in teams, students conceive an original idea and demonstrate competence by organizing and creating a non-fiction story. Additional emphasis is to be placed on the role of research, planning, marketing and distribution of these films. Demonstrations, guest lectures, field trips, screenings, and discussions supplement the study of this genre. One assignment resulted in an award-winning student documentary entitled "My Documentary: A Look Into MySpace." Note: Students cannot receive credit for this course and COMM 366 Field Production II
Prerequisite: COMM 280 Introduction to Film Production or permission of the instructor.

COMM 370 The Rhetorical Tradition
An advanced study of the art of speech communication from the oratory of ancient Greece and Rome to the discursive studies of postmodern culture. Emphasis is placed on the ways in which beliefs about language correspond to a culture’s prevailing ideology. Students begin their study with the teachings of the Greek Sophists in ancient Athens and the works on rhetoric written by Plato, Aristotle and Isocrates. After surveying the rhetorical theories of Roman orators such as Cicero and Quintillian, students explore the trends of rhetorical discourse through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment. In the latter section of the course, attention is directed to contemporary authors such as I.A. Richards, Chaim Perelman, Wayne Booth, Stephen Toulmin, Kenneth Burke, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. By the end of the course students have a more sophisticated sense of the significance of rhetoric in addressing the relationship between speech communication and culture.
Prerequisite: COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication or permission of instructor.

COMM 380 Advanced Film Production
An advanced study of production practices, technologies, and theories associated with the planning and creation of motion pictures. Students explore and execute advanced techniques while producing a variety of individual and group film projects which may incorporate animation, effects, sound design, motion graphics, photography and either documentary, experimental or narrative storytelling elements. The hands-on, production-oriented learning experience is supplemented with methodology-based research, lectures, demonstrations and possible field trips and guest lecturers. All student works are screened and critiqued by the class.
Prerequisite: COMM 280 Introduction to Film Production or permission of the instructor.

COMM 405 Senior Portfolio in Integrated Visual Media
A study of all aspects of portfolio development including interactive media, photography, animation, and graphic design. Projects are based on self-promotion and professional design goals. This course provides students with an opportunity to further develop their conceptual and pragmatic skills in visual media design and to prepare their work in a professional manner. Students present their portfolio work in a final exhibition.
Prerequisites: Communication Arts Seniors in the Integrated Visual Media Concentration who have completed the production requirements in the Choose Three group and permission of the instructor.

COMM 410 Senior Portfolio in Film Production
The capstone course for students interested in moving image studies in the Integrated Visual Media concentration that offers students the opportunity to complete specialized projects and build and develop material for a professional portfolio while exploring advanced learning experiences and techniques. The course covers a variety of critical theories and affords students the opportunity to further develop their conceptual and pragmatic skills in motion image studies. Students work on production projects that are collaborative in nature, culminating in an end-of-the-semester screening or exhibit. Note: Students cannot receive credit for this course and

COMM 410 Senior Portfolio in Production
Prerequisite: This course is open only students with senior status in the Integrated Visual Media concentration of Communication Arts.

COMM 414 Advanced Acting
A focus on a creative project. Students continue their study of acting, exploring the various schools of acting to find the appropriate fit for each individual. Schools studied include Stanislavski, Meisner, and the Adler methods of study. The course culminates in a performance piece appropriate for use in an acting portfolio.
Prerequisite: COMM 314 Acting or permission of the instructor.

COMM 450 Seminar in Communication Arts
The capstone course for all Communication Arts concentrations, designed to accomplish two interrelated goals. The first goal is to prepare students for entry into the world of professional employment and/or graduate school. The second goal is to enlarge students’ understanding of the ethical, social, and political implications of economic and communication systems, and their impact upon students’ future roles as responsible employees, employers, and citizens.
Prerequisites: 71.250 Media/Society/Self and junior standing or permission of instructor. Communication Arts Majors only.

COMM 490 Independent Study in Communication Arts
An independent study for Communication Arts majors with a 3.00 average in departmental courses. A written proposal must be submitted to the faculty member who has agreed to be the supervising instructor. The student must investigate current research and participate in weekly conferences. A final written report is reviewed by the entire department. Open to Majors only.
Prerequisite: Junior standing and permission of the supervising instructor and the chair.

COMM 495 Internship in Communication Arts
An internship (minimum 140 hours) in a local business, industry or organization. Students are expected to be involved in the organization, administration, and production requirements pertinent to their area of specialization. Students may earn up to three (3) internship course-credits, which may be taken during three (3) separate semesters. Students may also choose to take a two (2) course-credit internship, consisting of 280 hours of service in one semester for two (2) course-credits, and, during a different semester, take a single internship of 140 hours for one (1) course-credit. Open to Communication Arts Majors only.
Prerequisites: COMM 250 Media/Society/Self and permission of instructor.

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