P. Anand Rao, Communication and Digital Studies Program Director
The Communication Program
Communication courses enhance understanding of and skill in oral communication by introducing students to communication theories and by providing opportunities to practice communication in a variety of settings. Courses on the 200-level are performance courses, kept small to allow for individualized instruction.
Courses on the 300-level offer a historical and theoretical approach to the study of human communication behavior and examine how communication activities affect society. Students interested in more intensive training in persuasive speaking can join the University debate team and receive academic credit for participating in regional and national tournaments. Communication courses at the 300- and 400-level may count toward the English major.
Students who pursue the Communication and Digital Studies major will develop the critical tools to study and use digital technology to effectively communicate in a dynamic new media environment. The interdisciplinary major, which leads to a general liberal arts and studies degree (Bachelor of Arts), provides students with the means to navigate the rapidly changing nature of both communication networks and the world they live in. The course work in this major focuses on new theoretical directions in the field of digital studies, and provides students with a dynamic understanding of how communication practices currently work through digital means and how those practices can be adapted to meet their future needs.
Requirements for the Communication and Digital Studies Major
The major includes thirty-six (36) credits in communication and digital studies courses as follows:
1. Communication core (15 credits)
Two courses drawn from COMM 205, 206, 209; COMM 340; COMM 341; and COMM 460
2. Digital Studies Core (9 credits)
DGST 101; ARTS 104 or CPSC 106 or CPSC 110; and DGST 395.
3. Electives (12 credits)
Four of the following, with at least two at the 300 or 400-level: ARTS 341, 454; COMM 353, 357, 370, 491, 499; DGST 201; ENGL 203, 245, 252, 253, 300, 301, 314, 345, 350, 359, 386, 451; HISP 303; HIST 325, 427, 428; MUTC 100, 170, 320, 330, 370; PSCI 363, 450; or SPAN 413. The following courses may be taken as electives if not used in the Communication Core: COMM 205, 206, 209. The following courses may be taken as electives if not used in the Digital Studies Core: ARTS 104, CPSC 106, CPSC 110.
Communication Course Offerings
Communication course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of COMM in the course listings.
205 – Public Speaking (3)
Study of the basic principles of public address; emphasis is on developing a theoretical and practical understanding of oral communication through practice in preparing, delivering, and criticizing speeches in class.
206 – Small Group Communication (3)
Study of the theories and principles of effective communication and decision making in small group contexts. Emphasis is on understanding communication dynamics and on improving one’s communication capabilities as a participant in and leader of small groups.
209 – Argumentation (3)
Study of the use of reasoning in persuasive communication with emphasis on the construction, evaluation, presentation, refutation, and defense of oral arguments.
340 – Introduction to Rhetoric and Communication (3)
Introduction to human communication studies, focusing on the history, theory, criticism, and mediation of persuasive messages to discover their roles in human society, culture, and contemporary life.
341 – Communication Research Methods (3)
Prerequisites: COMM 340 or permission of instructor. This course introduces students to the study of the qualitative, quantitative, and rhetorical methods used to conduct communication research. Topics covered include research design, data collection, data analysis, and a review of the major sources for publication of academic and professional research in communication. Students will complete a communication research project and present their results.
351 – Communication and Political Campaigns (3)
Study of persuasive communication in political campaigns, emphasizing the evaluation and criticism of campaign speeches, televised debates, and political advertising.
352 – American Public Argument (3)
Study of the rhetorical features of American public argument. This course examines how affirmation, contestation, and intervention work their way through rhetorical systems to become the basis for conventional wisdom and public policy in the American experience.
353 – Visual Rhetoric (3)
Study of the rhetorical use of visual texts with an emphasis on the development and use of visual arguments.
354 – Environmental Rhetoric (3)
Study of persuasive strategies used to discuss environmental issues with an emphasis on the interface between the scientific community, policymakers, and the public.
355 – Rhetoric of Science (3)
Study of the rhetorical features of the scientific enterprise.
356 – Rhetoric of Controversy (3)
Study of the rhetorical features of public controversies.
357 – Social Media (3)
Study of the communication theory and practice of social media as used by individuals and groups.
370 – Topics in Speech Communication (3)
Studies in major figures, movements, and problems in speech communication theory and practice. Consult Schedule of Courses for specific topics.
450 – Studies in Rhetoric and Communication (3)
Study of rhetoric and human communication; consult Schedule of Courses for specific topics.
460 – Seminar in Digital Rhetorics (3)
Prerequisites: COMM 340 or permission of the instructor. Study of the contemporary function of rhetoric in the context of our globally networked society.
481 – Policy Debate Practicum (1)
Credit for satisfactory work on the University’s intercollegiate policy debate team. Enrollment by permission of instructor and the department. No more than 8 credits of Practicum (481, 482, 483) may count toward the 120 hours required for graduation.
482 – Public Debate Practicum (1)
Credit for satisfactory work on the University’s public debate team. Enrollment by permission of the instructor and department. No more than 8 credits of Practicum (481, 482, 483) may count toward the 120 hours required for graduation.
483 – Communication Consulting Practicum (1)
Prerequisite: COMM 205 or permission of the instructor. Students will review, study, and apply the principles of public speaking, rhetoric, peer tutoring, and instructional communication. In addition, students will reflect upon, discuss, and write about the application of these principles to their tutoring process. No more than 8 credits of Practicum (481, 482, 483) may count toward the 120 hours required for graduation.
491 – Individual Study (3)
Individual study under the direction of a member of the staff. By permission of the department. Only three credits of individual study may count toward the Communication and Digital Studies major.
492 – Individual Study (1-6)
Individual study for variable credit under the direction of a member of the staff. By permission of the department. Only three credits of individual study may count toward the Communication and Digital Studies major.
499 – Internship (1–6)
Supervised experience, typically off-campus, developed in consultation with the department. Credits variable. Up to three credits may be counted toward the Communication and Digital Studies Major.
Digital Studies Course Offerings
Digital Studies course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of DGST in the course listings.
101 — Introduction to Digital Studies (3)
Introduces an interdisciplinary approach to using technology and specifically provides a foundation for the Digital Studies Minor. Coursework may include digital approaches to creativity, historiography, media analysis and thinking critically about and through digital culture.
201 — Tinkering, Hacking, and Making (3)
This course introduces students to the process of making, from initial design to the finished product, and to the emerging maker culture. Students are introduced to a variety of tools and practices for the development and making of objects using innovative software and hardware.
301 – Special Topics in Digital Studies (3)
Variable topics in digital culture, digital creativity, or digital methodology. Consult the Schedule of Courses for specific course titles.
395 – Applied Digital Studies (3)
Prerequisite: DGST 101. Apply the skills and methodologies developed in the Digital Studies curriculum toward larger-scale, self-designed digital projects that contribute meaning fully to some cultural field, academic discipline, social issue, and other research question.
483 – Digital Project Consulting Practicum (1)
Students in the course will develop their skills with a variety of digital tools and technologies used at the University for the purpose of providing peer support on digital projects. Students will also receive instruction in effective tutoring techniques and creating technical documentation and support materials. No more than 4 credits of DGST 483 may count toward the 120 hours required for graduation; three may be counted in the Digital Studies minor.