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 503A: Practicum—Building Community through Live Streaming

(

McLean

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Mondays 1/8 – 3/11, 6:00pm – 8:20pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 22268

Note: Students enrolled in this practicum must be available all day Tuesday, February 13, 2024 to help produce a live stream of the annual Comm Lead Connects event.

Bridging the gap between brands and their audiences, interactive live streaming offers a transformative approach to deepening community ties and enhancing brand narrative. In this course, we focus on shifting from one-way broadcasts to immersive community-building experiences. Through hands-on experience with producing a live stream for the annual Comm Lead Connects event, students will experience the nuances of crafting a project that aligns with brand mission, values, and goals.

Drawing insights from seminal works like “Media Events” by Dayan and Katz and “Watch Me Play” by T.L. Taylor, we’ll understand the evolving dynamics of digital broadcasts and their potential for storytelling. Guided by principles from Charles Vogl’s “The Art of Community” and Priya Parker’s “The Art of Gathering”, we will emphasize the importance of purposeful engagement in virtual spaces.

By the course’s end, students will have a deep understanding of how live stream production can forge genuine community bonds. Leaving with a detailed guidebook, they’ll be ready to lead their own projects with confidence.

About Communication and Leadership Practicum:
Communication and Leadership Practicum courses can be taken at any time in your Comm Lead Journey. They 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. 

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 504: Communication Leadership Capstone

(

MacLaren

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Mondays 1/8 – 3/4, 5:30pm – 7:20pm | Online
Application Required

Course Description:

In the COMMLD504 Capstone class for MCCL students, you will refine and finalize your near complete capstone project, develop professional presentation skills, and hone your professional narrative prior to graduation. This course will help you learn how to target your audience, effectively support your ideas, and select and organize materials to prepare for a presentation or portfolio using multimedia tools. Students will think, reflect, respond, and provide/receive feedback throughout the course. Your interactions will be a learning experience as you engage with each other’s work, diverse perspectives, and presentation styles. 

Note: Registration for this class is add-code only after submission of an application.

More about the 504 Capstone

The Communication and Leadership Capstone project is the culmination of your MCCL journey in the Communication Leadership Program. Before graduation, students work to complete a project that responds to professional communities’ needs, using communication and leadership tools. 

Capstones are a chance to demonstrate your learning and build your portfolio through an in-depth, independent project done under the guidance of faculty and staff advisors. It’s also a chance to impact the world and help address the needs of real-life organizations. 

Completing your capstone and the accompanying credits is a multi-quarter process, usually done during the student’s second year in the program. Projects can be research-based, work done in a class, for a client organization, or even for your current job.

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COMMLD 510A: Persuading Ethical UX Design

(

Evans

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/9 – 3/5, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 12620

Course Description:

When you are in an ethical debate at work about a product or UX design that clearly focuses on business goals at the expense of customers, the experience can feel very isolating. What can you do?

In this course, you will learn how ethical debates have many moves in common, not unlike a chess game. You will learn moves you can make to stop debates before they start, like responsible setting of KPIs and brainstorming unintended consequences. You will also learn common arguments from folks in business, legal, executive, and product roles and how to counter them. Finally, you will learn all-new moves involving research, brand equity, and the psychology of moral judgments that give Comm Leaders an edge. 

This course is about learning how to do well by doing good. Assignments include weekly 5-slide persuasive decks and a final group-project making a storyboard of a full ethical debate. Readings will alert you to societal issues around:

Dark patterns in UX design
Privacy and employee surveillance
Socially-responsible marketing
Ethical uses of AI

Meets Law & Ethics requirement.

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COMMLD 510B: Listening Skills for UX

(

Crofts

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Tuesdays 1/9 – 3/5, 6:00pm – 7:50pm | PCAR 297
Registration SLN: 12621

Course Description

While there are many skills that contribute to being a successful UX researcher, one of the most foundational is being a superb listener. Strong UX design relies on listening at many stages of the process: focus groups, client sessions, and 1:1 user interviews to name just three environments where these skills contribute to excellent deliverables.

Using UX researcher Ximena Vengoachea’s book Listen Like You Mean It as the core text, students in this class will learn techniques to actively engage with users, particularly in the 1:1 environment, by listening to their needs in order to glean meaningful data which then inform UX decisions. To do so, this class will spend the quarter hearing from UX practitioners about their listening habits, engaging in listening exercises, and in groups producing an original listening methodology proposal, all to refine essential listening skills required to conduct superior user research and to create user-centered deliverables.

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COMMLD 510C: User Interface and Visual Design

(

Gordon

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Mondays 1/8 – 3/4, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | DEN 113
Registration SLN: 22225

Course Description

In today’s digital age, user interface (UI) and visual design have become integral components of the modern user experience (UX). Whether it’s a website, mobile app, or software interface, UI design plays a pivotal role in shaping how people interact with digital products and services. The way it looks, feels, and functions profoundly impact user satisfaction and engagement.

This course will provide beginning students with a fundamental understanding of visual design principles (layout using typography, colors, images, and other graphic elements), and UI best practices (research, navigation systems, component libraries, accessibility, prototyping, testing, and much more).

By the end of this 10-week course, students will have the basic design skills and production knowledge to create user-centered digital interfaces.

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COMMLD 512: User Research and UX Strategies

(

Porter

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/4 – 3/7, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online
Registration SLN: 12623

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

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/3 – 3/6, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | CMU 104
Registration SLN: 12624

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.

Prerequisite: COMMLD 511, 512, or 517.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 520A: Communications in the Age of AI

(

Schiller

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Sundays 1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 9:00am – 5:00pm | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 12625

Course Description

This class will teach frameworks for thinking about AI’s impact on communications work across enterprise organizations, and practical applications for integrating it into daily work. Students will learn how to use AI strategically – to increase agility and accelerate work – while protecting key objectives of clarity, authenticity, security, and employee engagement.

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COMMLD 520B: Qualitative Research for Social Media Marketing

(

S.Kim

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/4 – 3/7, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | CMU 104
Registration SLN: 12626

Course Description

From selling the newest runway fashions to promoting donations to Greenpeace, successful online marketing campaigns and product launches often start with well planned qualitative research. This course offers a qualitative methodological perspective on how to conduct interviews and focus groups. This course explains the who, what, why and how of qualitative research with practical applications for those professionally interested in marketing, branding, and even user experience as well. Students will work throughout the quarter to design and implement their own qualitative research project.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 520C: Strategic Marketing Communication: Creating Integrated Solutions for Responsible Impact

(

Keyes, Ramos

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

Track Neutral | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/3 – 3/6, 6:00 pm – 9:50 pm | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 22325

Course Description:

How should a government agency respond in a Twitter war? How do you score a review for your new product in an online magazine? What’s the best way for a nonprofit to survive a communication misstep in our current cancel culture? This course is designed to help you obtain the knowledge and skills needed to apply a critical thinking approach to communication opportunities and marketing challenges. From creating mission statements to producing videos, this course will teach participants to anticipate the communication needs of an organization and develop effective solutions. We will use a variety of real-world scenarios, interactive discussions and guest lectures to provide practical insight, relevant theory and memorable learning. By the end of this class, you’ll have the knowledge, tools and techniques to understand the components of a strategic marketing communication plan and how to use it to get the right results and build your portfolio for future academic and professional endeavors.

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COMMLD 521: Digital Media Branding and Marketing

(

Mottola

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/3 – 3/6, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online
Registration SLN: 12627

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 of the course will be on how to build a brand online or extend a legacy offline brand into a relevant online brand by examining how the most interesting and dynamic brands operate today. We will explore how they utilize digital media marketing channels to reach target customers and address issues that may arise as the brands mature or uncontrollable events arise.

While digital has offered us many more opportunities and “shiny objects” to reach and communicate with customers, the fundamental marketing skills and theories don’t change much or quickly. Learning to be strategic about how to apply these fundamentals will allow students to remain flexible and relevant with change in the future.

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COMMLD 530A: Storytelling with Data

(

Mcghee

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/4 – 3/7, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 12628

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 531: Foundations of Video Storytelling

(

Christensen

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/9 – 3/5, 6:00pm – 9:50pm | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 12630

Course Description:

Approximately 183 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Video isn’t the future of marketing, the revolution is already here and how brands leverage that storytelling capability sets them apart from the competition.

Whether you want to create video content as a full time job or you want to have the skill set in your back pocket as you navigate your communications career, this class will provide a strong foundation for maximizing video content in your marketing endeavors.

We will go over basics of how to use cameras but we will also talk about why content is successful and how we can best emulate those formulas. 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

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Saturdays 1/13, 1/27, 2/10, 2/24, 3/9, 9:00am – 5:00pm | StartUp Hall (2nd Floor Condon Hall)
Registration SLN: 22254

Course Description

Emerging models of interactive and immersive storytelling are disrupting how we 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 part of the current and future Web 3.0 ecosystem. We will focus our design thinking on audience engagement, UX, built worlds for interactive experiences, and the role of AI as a tool, an assistant, and a platform– 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 decisions, develop 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 537: Storytelling for Social Impact

(

Kessler

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

Track Neutral | 5 Credits
Saturdays, In-Person 1/6, Online 1/20, 2/3, 2/17, In-Person 3/2, 9:00am – 5:00pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 12631

Course Description:

Storytelling for Social Impact 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

)

- 2023-2024 | Current Quarter | Winter 2024

Track Neutral | Meets Professional Writing Requirement (3 or 5 credit) or Research Methods Requirement (5 Credit) | 3 or 5 Credits | CMU 126
Sundays 1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 9:00am – 5:00pm | 3-credit section 540A | Registration SLN: 12632
Sundays 1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 2/18, 3/3, 9:00am – 5:00pm | 5-credit section 540B | Registration SLN: 12633

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.

3-credit class Meets Professional Writing Requirement.

5-credit class meets either Research Methods or Professional Writing requirement. Class cannot be used to meet both requirements.

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