Undergraduate Courses

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COMM 101: Majors and Careers in Communication (Fall Semester)

  • Catalog Description: This course serves as an introduction to the Department of Communication at NDSU. Students will learn more about their major, their career options, and relevant extracurricular opportunities, along with the skills, techniques, and resources that will help them achieve their professional goals.
  • Faculty Description: In COMM 101, students learn more about the four majors in the Department of Communication – agricultural communication, journalism, management communication, and strategic communication – and the career options associated with each. Students research different careers and create a LinkedIn page to begin networking with faculty, alumni, and employers.

COMM 110: Fundamentals of Public Speaking (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Theory and practice of public speaking with emphasis on content, organization, language, delivery, and critical evaluation of messages.
  • Faculty Description: Students in COMM 110 learn how to become effective public speakers and communicators. How do people raise awareness about important issues? How do people help audiences understand complex topics? How do people gain an audience's acceptance for what they believe is important? These are not only questions discussed in COMM 110, but also practiced and implemented through various speaking formats: on video, in person, and through visual designs.

COMM 112: Understanding Media and Social Change (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Exploration of the purpose, function, and impact of media on society.
  • Faculty Description: The overall goal of COMM 112 is to increase students' understanding and interest of communication media. COMM 112 is an overview of topics associated with the use of technology, starting with the notion that we use technology to communicate, and as such, we use them for the same reasons as other forms of communication. In the course, students also explore how technology impacts communication.

COMM 114: Human Communication (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Introduction to writing in the styles and forms required in journalism and strategic communication. Prereq: ENGL 120.
  • Faculty Description: COMM 114 provides an overview of communication theories in many different subfields of communication, including media, interpersonal, family, group, and organizational communication. Students are introduced to these theories and gain a basic understanding of each. The class is interactive lecture and uses frequent smaller exams to assess student knowledge.

COMM 133: Introduction to Agricultural Communication (Fall Semester)

  • Catalog Description: This course provides an introduction to agricultural communication as a professional field. The course will also provide an overview of career options and professional skills and competencies required of agricultural communications.
  • Faculty Description: Description forthcoming.

COMM 200: Introduction to Media Writing (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

  • Catalog Description:Introduction to writing in the styles and forms required in journalism and strategic communication. Prereq: ENGL 120.
  • Faculty Description: Students in COMM 200 will learn how to write simple mass media-style stories for journalism and most public relations settings. Included is an introduction to mass-media style leads, attributions, quotes, and AP style. Students write about 20 articles throughout the semester, both during class and outside of class.

COMM 212: Interpersonal Communication (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Theory and practice of communication in interpersonal relationships. Includes aspects of self-expression and relationship communication.
  • Faculty Description: The overall goal of COMM 212 is to increase students' understanding of the interpersonal communication process; students learn relevant theories and research that they can apply to become a more skilled interpersonal communicator in vareity of settings.

COMM 216: Intercultural Communication (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Exploration of the definition, models, and verbal processes of communication between different cultural groups.
  • Faculty Description: COMM 216 covers concepts and models that can be used to make sense of the cultural differences in the world. It aims to cultivate students' competence in communicating effectively and appropriately in an intercultural setting. The course assessments include homework assignments, in-class case analyses, and a group presentation.

COMM 220: Persuasion (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Exploration of the role and function of persuasion in personal, professional, and civic life. Provides an overview of critical, rhetorical, and social scientific theories of persuasion.
  • Faculty Description: Students in Persuasion study how to craft and use persuasive messages ethically and effectively. The course covers multiple dimensions of persuasion, including language theory, message design, social psychology, and strategies for refutation.

COMM 245: Introduction to Video Production (Fall Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Creation, critique, and analysis of audio production and single camera video productions with special emphasis on radio and television news. Restricted to Communication professional majors and minors.
  • Faculty Description: In COMM 245, students learn how to plan, research, shoot, edit, and produce videos with professional qualities. Students are also introduced to the ethics pertinent to video production. By the end of the course, students produce two stand-alone news packages on an event and an issue in the local community.

COMM 260: Introduction to Web Design (Fall Semester)

  • Catalog Description: This course aims to orient students to Web concepts, design, presentation, and evaluation. Prereq: CSCI 114, TL 116 or CSCI 160.
  • Faculty Description: In COMM 260, students are introduced to HTML/CSS coding, and in the second half of the course, students learn about UX/UI concepts: design elements, UX lifecycle, and prototyping.

COMM 261: Introduction to Web Development (Spring Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Introduces the tools used by Web Development professionals, including HTML, Web editors, imaging software, Javascript, and Acrobat pdf format. Prereq: COMM 260.
  • Faculty Description: In COMM 261, students continue honing their HTML/CSS coding skills. The course also introduces students to Javascript, frameworks, and custom theming a CMS (like WordPress).

COMM 308: Business and Professional Speaking (Spring Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Oral and written communication skills for professional and business settings. Includes resume, cover letter and memo writing; interpersonal and group applications; and interviewing and professional presentations emphasis. Prereq: COMM 110.
  • Faculty Description: Description forthcoming.

COMM 310: Advanced Media Writing (Fall Semester)

  • Catalog Description: Construction of professional quality messages for the modern media landscape. Prereq: B or better in COMM 200.
  • Faculty Description: Students in COMM 310 build on the skills developed in COMM 200 by writing longer and more sophisticated stories. In addition to review of AP style and grammar, techniques include developing attention to detail, use of quotations, strong beginnings and endings and professional interview techniques. Student learn how to request/obtain data from public and governmental sources, analyze and visualize the data, and write a coherent investigative news story that contextualizes the data. At the end of the semester, students are able to write basic stories at a near-professional level.

    COMM 313: Multimedia Editing (Summer Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Principles of copy-editing, headline composition, and layout for media publications. Prereq: COMM 200.
    • Faculty Description: Students in this practical, hands-on class will learn a variety of basic skills useful in writing, editing, public relations and publishing careers. Covered are copy editing, headlines and headings, photo editing, design, and makeup. Content will include work with basic InDesign and Photoshop software.

    COMM 315: Small Group Communication (Spring Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Focus on group processes, methods of problem solving, parliamentary procedures, and relational components of group interaction.
    • Faculty Description: COMM 315 explores the best techniques that group members can utilize to accomplish complex tasks. The class investigates many group processes, just as decision making, conflict management, and meeting facilitation. Students will work in teams to help a local nonprofit organization as part of their final project.

    COMM 316: Conflict Communication (Fall Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Exploration of conflict interaction in business and public sectors; application of negotiation strategies, decision-making, problem-solving, and bargaining.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 316, students become business consultants, as they learn how to diagnosis conflict, create remedies, and implement solutions. As part of the class, students engage in a negotiation exercise to try and reach the best settlement for their client.

    COMM 318: Argumentation and Advocacy (Fall Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Theory and process of argumentation with practical experience in preparation and delivery of formal and informal arguments. Prereq: COMM 110.
    • Faculty Description: Description forthcoming.

    COMM 320: Communication Research Methods (Spring and Summer Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Overview and application of basic methods used in communication research.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 320, students are introduced to the fundamentals of research about various communication phenomena. This is a hands-on skill-building course that helps students distinguish between academic and industry research.

    COMM 330: Photography for Media (Spring Semester)

    • Catalog Description: An introduction to digital photography techniques for students who plan to specialize in preparing visual images for print and online media.
    • Faculty Description: Students in COMM 330 learn basic visual communication skills for mass media professionals. This includes using a DSLR camera, understanding light, color, and composition for photojournalism and public relations, and extensive work in Photoshop software. Aspects of history, law and general approaches of photography for mass media are also covered. Access to a DSLR camera is required.

    COMM 362: Principles of Design For Media (Spring and Summer Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Introduction to design techniques for the development and publication of a variety of media.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 362, students learn and apply principles and techniques of graphic design to a variety of projects, including flyers, posters, newsletters and websites. Extensively covered are skills using InDesign and Photoshop software. At the end of the semester, students create simple designs at a near-professional level.

    COMM 375: Principles of Strategic Communication (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Introduction to principles, practices, and professional pathways in advertising and public relations. Prereq: COMM 200.
    • Faculty Description: Why do brands spend on advertising? How does public relations work? How can students succeed with social media branding like an influencer? COMM 375 provides students with answers! In COMM 375, students learn basic principles in advertising and public relations, including consumer psychology, strategic campaign planning, digital and influencer marketing, and media planning.

    COMM 376: Advertising Creative Strategies (Fall Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Introduces students to creative ideas in advertising and their translation into words and images. Emphasis is on strategic approaches to creative decision-making across all media. Prereq: COMM 375.
    • Faculty Description: Students in COMM 376 explore the creative development process in advertising, with specific attention to how advertising messaging strategies and tactics connect with various audience needs. Through practical application, students learn about various topics relating to advertising creativity including the history of advertising design, layout, and typography. The course also guides students though the entire creative process from visual brainstorming and concept development in the form of thumbnail sketches to the final digital production process.

    COMM 377: Media Planning (Fall Semester)

    • Catalog Description: This course introduces students to the basic concepts of media planning and buying. Emphasis is placed on strategic approaches to the media placement process across all forms of media. Prereq: COMM 375.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 377, students learn about selecting, buying, and scheduling media across a variety of classes including social media, mobile media, out-of-home media, print media, and broadcast media. Students also evaluate data and metrics to inform buying decisions and to select media to fit various client goals and audience needs. The course culminates in developing a comprehensive media plan that fits a client’s goals. 

    COMM 383: Organizational Communication I (Fall and Summer Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Exploration of the theory of management communication practices in organizations. Emphasis on the formal structure and interpersonal aspects of supervisor-subordinate relations. Prereq: Junior standing and restricted to Communication majors and minors. Cross-listed with BUSN 383.
    • Faculty Description: Description forthcoming.

    COMM 412: Gender and Communication (Spring Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Exploration of philosophical and theoretical issues surrounding gender construction, communication, and culture. Focus on ways in which communication in families, schools, media, and other institutions create and sustain gender roles.
    • Faculty Description: COMM 412 considers the literal and symbolic meanings of sex, gender, and sexuality. The relationship between these ideas and society is discussed and explained through lessons and course materials.

    COMM 421: History of Journalism (Spring Semester, Odd Years)

    • Catalog Description: The history and development of journalism as shaped by the political and social environment.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 421, students consider how past developments in journalism and other mass media have contributed to the approach and influence of mass media as practiced today. Covered will not only be journalism, but also history of public relations, advertising and photography. Students typically undertake a group research project that includes examining primary documents in the university archives.

    COMM 425: Specialty Writing (Fall and Spring Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Methods and practices of effective written communication in a variety of genres used by advertising and public relations professionals. Prereq: COMM 200.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 425, students learn how to communicate effectively in a variety of genres used by strategic communication professionals; students practice writing media pitches, news releases, social media postings, backgrounders, letters, and blog posts. The culminating project for the course is a professional website that students can use to demonstrate their writing and design skills to potential employers.

    COMM 431: Communication Ethics and Law (Fall Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Analysis of ethical and legal issues affecting communications and communication industries.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 431, students examine ethical perspectives covering journalism, public relations and advertising, and legal aspects related to these areas. Course work includes a review of ethical philosophies from ancient times to the twentieth century. Topics considered include truth, confidentiality, stereotypes, conflict of interest and other areas of particular application to mass media professionals. Professional ethical codes will be considered, and students will be encouraged to establish personal ethical codes based on professional standards. The class includes frequent discussions of ethical cases.

    COMM 435: Critical Approaches to Popular Culture (Spring Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Analysis of popular cultures as a reflection and influencer of social values. Explores how media representation, industry, economics, globalization, and the overlap between politics and entertainment affect American popular culture.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 435, students examine how popular culture can generate and articulate our understanding of gender, race, sexuality, class, and disability. Throughout the course, students watch popular TV series and films and reflect via journals how the content is linked to larger stories in our society. For their final project, students analyze a pop culture artifact of their choosing and present their findings via an essay, video, TedTalk, poster, or podcast.

    COMM 442: Digital Media and Society (Spring Semseter)

    • Catalog Description: Explores the impact of technological developments on media and mediated culture.
    • Faculty Description: COMM 442 offers an in-depth look at technology and how it informs what and how we communicate; course topics may vary depending on the semester. Previous semester topics include: fandom and online communities, information spread and memes, telepresence, and social networking and relationships.

    COMM 445: Advanced Video Production (Spring Semseter)

    • Catalog Description: Development of skills in the creation, critique, and analysis of television productions in the studio and in the field. Prereq: COMM 245.
    • Faculty Description: In COMM 445, students develop advanced skills in the creation, critique, and analysis of video production. Students explore a variety of video genres, including news, PSA, commercials, music videos, and documentaries, etc.

    COMM 465: Convergence Media (Spring Semseter)

    • Catalog Description: Techniques for digital storytelling, multimedia content creation, and cross-platform production.
    • Faculty Description: COMM 465 provides an opportunity for students to learn techniques for multimedia content creation and become aware of the critical issues in today’s media landscape. Students develop media/information literacy in the multimedia environment, learn the best industrial practices for multimedia production, and produce their own stories with digital tools and storytelling techniques.   

    COMM 470: Research for Strategic Communication (Fall Semseter)

    • Catalog Description: Students in advertising and public relations must respond to changing contexts as they design and conduct campaigns. This course provides tailored strategies needed by our students as they move into the professional advertising and public relations environments. Prereq: COMM 375.
    • Faculty Description: Living in the digital age, students need to know how to work with data. COMM 470 trains students on collecting, analyzing, and interpreting consumer and marketing data to inspire strategic planning. Students work with real cases to solve real problems with interview, content analysis, survey, and experiment. No mathematics skills required!

    COMM 472: Public Relations Campaigns (Fall Semseter)

    • Catalog Description: Social science research as applied to public relations, case study analysis, construction, and implementation of public relations campaigns. Prereq: COMM 375 and COMM 470 as a prerequisite or corequisite.
    • Faculty Description: COMM 472 is the department's public relations capstone course, with an emphasis on developing media relations skills. Students complete weekly reflections that contribute to their work on several larger-scale projects that address publicity and digital marketing.

    COMM 476: Advertising Campaign Practicum (Spring Semester)

    • Catalog Description: This course challenges students to apply the knowledge they have gained in previous advertising classes. Specifically, students will design an advertising campaign including market research, creative execution, media planning, and account management. Prereq: COMM 376 or 377, COMM 470.
    • Faculty Description:COMM 476 focuses on developing an advertising campaign that integrates strategic audience research, digital and traditional media planning, and creative execution. The course typically culminates in the presentation of a campaign project for a nationally recognized client at the annual National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). This course serves as a capstone for the strategic communication major and the advertising and design certificate

    COMM 483: Organizational Communication II (Spring Semester)

    • Catalog Description: Examination of the structure and function of interpersonal communication networks in formal organizations, methods of network analysis. Prereq: COMM 383.
    • Faculty Description:COMM 483 is the capstone class for Management Communication majors; most students take COMM 483 in their final semester of school. In this class, students analyze case studies about communication in organizations using all the accumulated knowledge from their other communication classes. The goal is to help students think like consultants in applying their knowledge to solve organizational challenges. The class culminates in a project where students present their analyses to professionals from the local community.

    COMM 485: Risk and Crisis Communication (Fall Semseter)

    • Catalog Description: Crisis communication practices in organizations of all types with emphasis on planning, emergency communication, image restoration, and organizational learning. Prereq: COMM 110. Cross-listed with SAFE 485.
    • Faculty Description: COMM 485 covers concepts and models that can be used to make sense of the cultural differences in the world. It aims to cultivate students' competence in communicating effectively and appropriately in an intercultural setting. The course explores risk factors that lead to crises and discusses the best communication strategies for organizations in various crisis situations.

    COMM 487: Organizational Power and Leadership (Fall Semseter, Odd Years)

    • Catalog Description: This course emphasizes communicative dimensions of organizational leadership. Theory will be discussed as a foundation for leadership practices. Prereq: COMM 383.
    • Faculty Description:COMM 487 class focuses on theories of leadership. Students learn about the theories and apply them in a format where they are actively involved in each class. Students also spend much of the semester working on presentations about leadership. The final project is a presentation to an external audience on a leadership topic tailored to that audience.
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