Classes

Classes are designed to challenge your thinking and develop your professional skills. You’ll leave each class with a unique set of tools to approach new communications challenges.

Tailor your experience to your career goals by focusing on one of eight areas of specialization. Use the search widget below to sort classes by quarter, specialization, instructor and degree track for each quarter. Get a comprehensive view of the full academic year in our Course Guide.

View the University of Washington Academic Calendar for important dates, including quarter start and end dates, registration dates and deadlines, and campus holidays.

Registration numbers (SLNs) are located on the Time Schedule. Please read the Department’s statement on internet resource requirements for access to courses.

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COMMLD 503: Practicum in Marketing Campaign Strategy and Creative Assets

(

Baltus

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Mondays 1/9 – 3/6, 6:00PM – 8:20PM | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12773

Course Description:

In this practicum, students will design and deliver a marketing campaign strategy with creative assets for a real client: Meditation for Actors [meditationsforactors.com](MFA), an app “where wellness meets tech for the benefit of performing artists.” The purpose of the marketing campaign strategy is to help MFA be less ad hoc and more strategic in growing and engaging potential audiences. Students will map current outreach approaches, learn from some marketing research currently underway, and proactively identify and work through the process of understanding the needs of the client, who will provide real-time feedback. By the end of this practicum students will develop a pitch deck for the client with some potential creative assets.

About Communication and Leadership Practicum:

Communication and Leadership Practicum courses give you the opportunity to engage in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations, and focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs.

Designed to mirror a professional setting, our Practicum offer you the opportunity to work at a higher level and with greater responsibility than what you might encounter in an internship or in entry-level work. In the span of a quarter, you will enhance highly-desirable professional skills, produce work that you can include in your own professional portfolios, and most importantly, leave with a story–your story – of what you did in this project to create value for your client.

Credit/No Credit Only

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COMMLD 510: Persuading Ethical UX Design

(

Evans

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 12774

Course Description:

It doesn’t matter who you are, at some point in your UX career someone will come to you with an idea that feels wrong–in fact, you know it’s wrong.  And as soon as that happens, you are part of an ethical problem. What can you do? 

In this course, you will learn avenues of action, with tools that are available to all communication professionals. You will learn how to persuade companies to adopt ethical principles on which to self-regulate and how to use research to engage in ethical debates and effect beneficial change.

Using common scenarios in UX contexts and through discussion and practice you will:

Know how to spot “dark patterns” in UX design that achieve company goals at the expense of user goals 
Improve the design of cybersecurity systems that monitor trusted workers
Understand how regulation works 
Become conversant in the history and current events in regulating privacy
Explore movements of “socially responsible marketing” (SRM) and “transformative consumer research” (TCR)

By the end of the course you will plot out a communication leadership strategy for a publicly known ethical misstep, including a research plan, a 1-page PR crisis-response article, and a 5-page thought-leadership paper to differentiate your organization as the more ethical choice.

Meets Law & Ethics requirement.

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COMMLD 511: Introduction to User Centered Design

(

Gordon

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 12775

Course Description:

This course focuses on the fundamentals of user experience design, identifying the skills and concepts needed to successfully design products and services for humans. We will learn the principles of design thinking so that students come away from the class with a framework for understanding how to identify real user problems, design solutions for how to solve those problems, and then test those solutions with real people.

Meets Research Methods requirement.

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COMMLD 512: User Research and UX Strategies

(

Porter

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/5 – 3/9, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12776

Course Description:

This course focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of user interfaces from a usability perspective. The aim of the class is to study the concepts, methods, and techniques of usability engineering, with a focus on the artifacts where user experience is essential. Historically, usability has covered aspects of efficiency, learnability, and ease of use. Today, a large number of other measures for success rely on elements such as playability, engagement, entertainment, immersion, and aesthetics.

The above concepts will be detailed with the expectation that by the end of the quarter, students will recognize the aspects of each of the following deliverables within Interface Design and User Research. At the completion of this course, students will have portfolio-ready, end-to-end work examples. The work examples are designed for students to demonstrate they can: understand basic principles of user interface design, implementation, and evaluation, design and conduct usability studies, select an appropriate evaluation method and articulate its advantages and disadvantages, establish useful test objectives, and prepare reports and presenting results.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 515: Advanced User Design: UX Studio

(

Levine

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 104
Registration SLN: 12777

Course Description:

In this class, students will work in small groups to design and prototype innovative user-centered solutions to real-world problems and develop an application. Students will develop their projects from a user experience (UX) design perspective and produce a strong piece for their portfolio.

The course emulates real-life aspects of UX design teams, including in-depth experience with user research, usability testing and iterating on the product with real-life users. By the end of the course, students will construct a map of a product’s full customer journey, develop personas with use cases, design a working prototype, and build a proposal with requirements for the concept.

Since this class takes foundational concepts to the next level, students who register must have either already taken one of our intro courses (511 or 512) or Psychology of UX (517). To apply to take this class based on completed or in progress prerequisites, or equivalent work experience, please complete the form here starting at Noon (12:00pm PDT) on Friday, November 4: https://forms.office.com/r/1fvMGGAVCG.

This intensive course structure includes lecture, small and large group activities, and extended studio time for hands-on work on the projects. Several guest speakers from the UX design field are planned throughout the quarter.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 521: Digital Media Marketing and Branding

(

Mottola

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | Online
Registration SLN: 12778

Course Description:

This course is designed for students that will be utilizing their MCDM education and experience in the marketing arenas in businesses and organizations (including non-profits) or in leadership functions where an understanding of marketing is an important skill. The focus on the course will be on how to best utilize digital media vehicles along with more traditional forms of communications and advertising (and other marketing or Research and Development functions). Because of the ever changing nature of the advertising world with the advances and acceptances of digital media platforms, we will showcase industry “heavy hitters” from local marketing and advertising agencies to discuss the trends and issues the industry faces, using real life situations to explore alternatives and solutions. We will also explore how new media can be used with traditional channels of distribution (clicks and bricks), as well as in the R & D functions by encouraging and mining information from current and potential customers. Students that have not had a basic marketing class will be assigned pre-course supplemental readings and we will do a quick review at our first session so that everyone has a common understanding of the subject before we move into the more cutting edge concepts.

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COMMLD 522: The Future of Marketing

(

Salkowitz

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12779

Course Description:

Rapid evolution of digital media and technology continues to disrupt the business of marketing, making it essential for professionals in the field to keep abreast of trends in a number of areas. This class focuses on the technologies shaping marketing, advertising, media, public relations and communications in the 2-4 year horizon and explores strategies of successful marketing organizations, both digital and traditional.

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COMMLD 530A: Storytelling with Data

(

Mcghee

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/5 – 3/9, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 12780

Course Description:

This course teaches students to assemble visual evidence in service of a narrative story. It reflects the new reality that information graphics, maps, and data visualizations are no longer a supplement to text stories created by dedicated service desks, but are free-standing items produced by cross-disciplinary journalists with skills in data reporting and visual presentation.

This course leads students through the process of reporting, analyzing, and presenting a data-driven infographic feature story. Students will explore the gamut of influential and impactful visual stories: an explainer on Covid-19 transmission (the Washington Post’s most popular story of all time); articles exploring California wildfires and street protests in Hong Kong; and stories exploring larger historical and cultural themes like the rise of Confederate statues and such cultural questions as: why are women’s pants pockets so small and K-pop bands so big?

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COMMLD 530B: Ethics of Storytelling

(

Graney-Saucke

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

Track Neutral | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12781

Course Description:

Ethics plays a critical role in how we tell stories. What values are behind the story? Who is telling the story, and for whom? What is the intended outcome, and what could the potential impact be? What are the ethics around new media technology like deep fake as we continue to take stories at face value?

Ethics and subjective bias in storytelling can also be complex, and thus they require our attention and reflection in responsible and responsive creative communications. This course will address various storytelling mediums and scenarios where ethics in storytelling are actively at play. Students will engage in critical discourse and assignments to assess values that impact ethical decisions personally and professionally. Assigned media and reading material as well as student sourced case studies will be used in order to ensure diverse and current content. As a conclusion to the class, students will create a final video, audio, web or UX project that engages an ethical challenge.

Meets Law & Ethics requirement.

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COMMLD 530C: Engaging Interviews

(

Dalch

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Wednesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 7:50PM | CMU 242
Registration SLN: 22223

Course Description:

Being a great interviewer takes a combination of preparation, presence, and curiosity––whether that interview is with a subject for a published piece or a fact-finding mission with a client. In this class you will learn how to prepare without over preparing, create rapport with your interview subject, and cultivate curiosity and presence while in an interview––so that you can get what you need while creating an engaging experience for both subject and listener/viewer.

The art of inquiry will be approached through a coaching lens in which the interviewer is both directive and actively listening/responding to allow for discovery. Students will also learn about different scenarios in which interviewing skills will be useful (eg, client consulting, podcasting, video, etc.) with guest speakers from various industries invited to add their unique perspectives.

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COMMLD 531: Foundations of Video Storytelling

(

Christensen

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 12782

Course Description:

The landscape of web-distributed video can be broadly divided into two motifs: Entertainment and Information. From YouTube to Facebook, AR to VR, Twitch to Facebook Live, online video is a storytelling revolution.

Storytelling has been part of the human experience since the formation of language. Today, the technology that surrounds the “tell” of a story (the modes and channels of communication) directly shapes the immersive experience felt by the viewer.

This course focuses on the decisions we make when we tell our stories. This course is both theoretical and practical. Students will be afforded the skills to create and distribute video stories. Additionally, students will be expected to display critical thinking around point of view, audience targeting, ROI success criteria, methodology, and production standards. You are expected to exercise the craft of content creation while at the same time critically evaluating and deconstructing content you see in the marketplace.

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COMMLD 533: Storytelling for Emergent Platforms

(

Cioffi

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Saturdays 1/14, 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | Startup Hall (2nd Floor in Condon Hall)
Registration SLN: 12783

Course Description:

Emerging models of interactive and immersive storytelling are disrupting the ways we can reach and engage with audiences. In this course  we will examine the unique ways that media and user generated content can tell one cohesive story across platforms in a distributed way; and how this is a pivotal a part of the current and future Web 3.0 ecosystem. We will focus our design thinking on audience engagement, UX, built worlds for virtual and interactive experiences, and the role of trust and truth in platforms – students will learn about best practice uses of VR/AR, branch narratives, game development and integration of traditional video in mobile UX.  We will be coupling a critical look at these emerging models while working through the technical aspects of story creation and the implementation of media production tools and platforms. This will be a project-based course through which students will acquire the strategy and skills to make informed design, development and use of immersive storytelling processes. Previous media production, web development or game design is not necessary, though a willingness to learn and play with the underlying technologies is a must.

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COMMLD 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling

(

Perry

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

Track Neutral | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 22243

Course Description:

Whether gathered around a radio in a living room or walking plugged in with headphones, the medium of audio storytelling has always offered the opportunity to build a mindset-shifting community around content. This course traces the evolution of audio storytelling from radio to podcasting that links to communities for various purposes: to educate, to entertain, and to inspire action — and the new golden age of podcasting that we find ourselves in means that audio storytelling has the potential for broad reach and powerful impact. Consideration is given to the core characteristics of strong storytelling, observed through an auditory filter. Class materials are twinned with a selection of cross-sector guest speakers who bring their own craft perspective. Students will experiment with designing their own short audio pieces.

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COMMLD 537: Storytelling for Social Impact

(

Kessler

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

Track Neutral | 5 Credits
Saturdays (In-Person) 1/7, (Online) 1/21, 2/4, 2/18, (In-Person) 3/4, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12784

Course Description:

Thinking Story is a foundational class that focuses on the art and craft of nonfiction storytelling to communicate ideas and emotion, build relationships and community, promote change and inspire action. The class reflects the need in all sectors for superb storytelling. The class explores, investigates and discusses the elements of narrative — what makes a story a story – and looks at examples of nonfiction storytelling across media (text, sound, still image, moving image and multimedia combinations). This platform-agnostic, birds-eye view of story is about learning how to reframe/ reconceptualize “information” and “report” as story, how to locate the small story that illuminates the larger issue, and what it takes to produce such work. At its heart, the class is about learning how to conceptualize issues, topics, brands, and ideas as narratives. Students will learn to “think story,” to pinpoint, pitch and gather material for the production of original, compelling and persuasive content.

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COMMLD 540A/B: Professional Longform Writing & Platforms

(

Crofts

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

Track Neutral | Meets Professional Writing Requirement | 3 or 5 Credits | CMU 126
Sundays, 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | 3-credit Section 540A | Registration SLN: 12786
Sundays, 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/19, 3/5, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | 5-credit Section 540B | Registration SLN: 12787

Please note: 540A is 3 credits, and 540B is 5 credits. These courses will run concurrently. Students registered for 540A (3 credits) will attend the first three dates, and students registered for 540B (5 credits) will attend all five dates.

Course Description:

Have you ever read an in-depth piece online that so moved you or shifted your thinking that you immediately sent it on to a friend or colleague? The “long-form” medium offers the writer ample space for synthesis, critique, and personal stories to capture the imagination, change the conversation, and inspire action. With a broad selection of writers, leaders, and cultural commentators as curricular guides, this course invites each student to hone their long-form professional writing skills (>1000 words) and deepen their understanding of the current professional communication long-form landscape. With scaffolded steps to refine their writing voice and scope, this course serves both students with writing experience, as well as those keen to develop this foundational skill. In addition, we will consider the evolution of platforms, from colonial-era pamphlets to today’s crowded community of digital newsletters, hosted by the likes of Substack, Mailchimp, or Ghost.

Meets Professional Writing Requirement.

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COMMLD 543: Leadership Approaches to Equity Initiatives in Organizations

(

Ross

)

- Current Quarter | 2022-2023 | Winter 2023

MCCN Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | DEN 213
Registration SLN: 12789

Course Description:

This course challenges and supports students to develop deeper self-awareness, hone stronger skills for learning across difference, and prepare themselves as organizational change-makers for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For better or worse, organizational change initiatives impact individuals, groups, organizations, and ultimately societies. Thus, courageous leaders throughout organizations must learn how to improve their relevant knowledge, skills, and awareness iteratively, in order to contribute effectively to genuine change-making. The course is designed to meet students where they are and coach them toward significant growth in self-awareness, skills, and understanding. Students learn collaboratively together in order to explore interconnections among the dimensions of our intersectional identities. Those who complete this course gain confidence in their ability to learn about uncomfortable topics and expand their understanding of the roles of individuals, groups, organizations, and societal structures in making real system change.

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