2009-11 Catalog


What courses do I need to take to graduate?

If you are a Communication & New Media major you will need to complete your general studies courses, the courses required for your major, and courses required for a minor to graduate.

When is each course offered?

To see when individual courses are offered, visit the Class Schedule.



Filming on the set

Professor Jason McKahan (center) works with students in his Advanced Production class.




Academics: Curriculum for a Major in Communication & New Media, Bachelor of Arts, 2014-2015 Catalog

Total hours required for the major: 39 + 12 Language Hours

In addition to the 39 required COMM credits, students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts must satisfy the BA Foreign Language Requirement. Students take core classes, elective practicum and capstone sequences, and choose one of three concentrations: 1) digital filmmaking, 2) new media, 3) media studies or 4) stratgic communication. Note: A Bachelor of Science degree is also available.

Required Core Courses: 18 hours

Students must complete lower-level core courses before taking 400-level courses. However, students are encouraged to begin taking their concentration courses concurrently.


Select One of FOUR Concentration: 12 HOURS

Click each concentration to view/hide details

1. Digital Filmaking Concentration: 12 Hours

Select 9 credit hours from the following:

  • COMM 329 Sound Design
  • COMM 350 Single-Camera Production
  • COMM 333 Music Video
  • COMM 354 Experimental Video
  • COMM 360 Studio Production
  • One elective course from the New Media or Strategic Communication Concentrations


2. New Media Concentration: 12 Hours

Select 9 credit hours from the following:

  • COMM 339 Public Relations Writing & Design
  • COMM 343 Graphic Novel
  • COMM 344 Game Design
  • COMM 345 Animation & Communication
  • COMM 346 Motion Graphics
  • One elective course from the Digital Filmmaking or Strategic Communication Concentrations


3. Media Studies Concentration: 12 Hours

Student selects any 9 hours of Digital Filmmaking, New Media and Strategic Communication courses.


4. Strategic Communication Concentration: 12 Hours

Select 15 credit hours from the following:

  • COMM 321 Public Relation Principles
  • COMM 322 Social Media
  • COMM 435 Communication Research OR one elective course from the New Media or Digital Filmmaking Concentrations
  • COMM 470 Strategic Campaigns


Required Practicum: 3 Hours

One course from the following:



Required Capstone Courses: 6 hours


Communication & New Media
While we live in the self-proclaimed age of information, communication, digital media and technology, these phenomena are not always defined, described or discussed in theoretical terms or treated in an academic context. Communication and new media is a course that examines mediation and technology and seeks to bridge theory and practice by using digital media to discuss information-age questions. The course is designed to survey the field and provide students with an introduction to many facets of communication and media production from boardroom presentations to digital videography and internet-communication.

Narrative Scriptwriting
This course is designed to educate students in the technical and aesthetic practices of fictional narrative screenwriting. Students will become proficient in the analysis of dramatic structure and synthesis of methods and ideas into original student short scripts. Students will learn to develop ideas into stories, to professionally compose a screenplay, and finally, to present creative work favorably to potential producers and contacts through compelling spec scripts, "pitches" and other methods of professional communication. Assessment of progress will be evaluated by active participation in class discussions, written analysis of professional screenplays and feedback of classmates’ work, mastery of story development process (logline, character development, pitching, treatments), and script and revisions.

History of Film
Historical and critical survey of the development of motion pictures as an industry, art form and a distinctive medium of mass communication.

History of Television
Historical and critical survey of U.S. television as an industry, mass medium, and cultural form.

Computer Mediated Communication
This course focuses on the study, practice, and criticism of computer-mediated communication. Students will develop projects using a variety of digital technologies, focusing primarily on the Web. The course is designed to teach students to effectively use these technologies, to study the impact on society, and to think critically about that impact.

Sound Design
Sound provides the depth to "visual" media such as film and television. Sound Design is a course in aural communication and audio production for web, radio, television, theater and cinema. The course examines how sounds communicate ideas, context, and emotion, and students learn how to record and edit voice, music and sound effects.

Single-Camera Production
A course in video production that investigates the theory and practice of single camera projects such as the news piece, the documentary, the teleplay, the commercial, the music video, the industrial video, and the public relations video.

Music Video
This course outlines the history, significance, and impact of music video as a commercial commodity and aesthetic style. Music video constitutes a style of videography whose presence can be traced across the contemporary scene. It is a form of video (and cultural) production whose surface of sights and sounds, imagery and music has transformed and reorganized the limits of television and music, lm and video, advertising and fashion. We will discuss the cultural impact of music videos and popular culture, and engage in music video production as a form of "writing" and inscribing experience.

Experimental Video
Introduction to experimental theory and production practices that radically challenge dominant conventions of representing the body, sexuality, spirituality, gender, family, race, class, language, politics and power in film and video. Students will learn about alternative media by viewing a mix of classic and contemporary work, reading essays that interpret, theorize on, and give the history of this form and, most importantly, students will create video productions that utilize experimental production aesthetics and techniques. Assessment of progress will be evaluated by active participation in class discussions, theoretical response journals, and three short video productions (including treatments, scripts, storyboards and log sheets, as well as group and instructor evaluation of productions).

Studio Production
Overview of the functioning of the studio production system, production equipment, and the functions of production personnel.

Advanced Production
Advanced principles and practice of short film production including digital cinematography, sound, lighting, and editing.

Graphic Novel
Once the domain of sticky-fingered kids clutching nickels and dimes, comics have grown up and are establishing themselves as a fast-growing and respected literary genre. Even The New York Times has recognized the power of the art form by including a regular section devoted to graphic novels in its Sunday magazine. Students enrolled in COMM 399-2C The Graphic Novel will explore this cultural phenomenon by analyzing works like Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan. Students will also write and design their own graphic novels . And contrary to common belief, you don't have to draw to create. Even non-artists can produce compelling content using imaging and animation software provided in class.

Game Design
This course focuses on the structure/ theory of game design, and the analysis of games' role in modern society. Using readings, playing of games and in-class exercises students will explore what makes meaningful play. Rule systems, game culture and history will be covered. Students will learn game design by creating their own games. No programming knowledge is needed for this class.

Animation & Communication
Computer-generated animation has become standard fare in TV, film, advertising, forensics/court-room reenactment, education/training, gaming, web design and on-line media. This course explores the history and craft of computer animation via animation production with an emphasis on the discourses of animation as art and entertainment. Topics include Key-framing, story-telling, story-boarding, lighting, compositing, movie-making as well as working with motion capture, particle effects, dynamic simulation and sound design.

Motion Graphics
In today's digital environment, savvy communicators exploit the synergy of the written word in combination with sound and the moving image. This course will focus on the study and creation of motion graphics in fine art, film and advertising. How do motion graphics differ from other modes of communication? How does the introduction of text affect audience experience? While seeking answers to questions like these, students will explore groundbreaking work by visionaries like Saul Bass while learning software that allows them to express their own messages in a professional manner.

Advanced Internet Media
This course expands on the study, practice, and criticism of computer-mediated communication. Students will build upon skills developed in COMM 352, advancing their knowledge of Internet-based technologies.

Writing Across Platforms
Students learn to write effectively across various platforms in today’s computer-mediated world. Emphasis is given to clear and effective communication and professional standards as well as the need to tailor the message to the audience and the platform through which it is communicated.

Public Relations Principles
An introduction to the principles, concepts, theoretical underpinnings, and emerging trends in public relations. Students learn the responsibilities and functions of the public relations practitioner, examine various career paths, and are introduced to the strategic communication concentration in the Department of Communication. The course explores public relations impacts on organizations and society, the history and development of public relations, and key ethical considerations the industry faces. Emphasis is placed on the fundamentals of the strategic process of public relations.

Social Media
The course examines the pervasive impact social media is having on our society, with specific interest in the implications and applications of social media for strategic media professionals. Focus is given to investigating the theoretical and cultural aspects of social media with an aim toward understanding how this communication form has changed our relationship between individuals, organizations, and society.

Communication Research
This course examines the role of research as a critical component of public relations and strategic communications. Students learn skills necessary to plan, conduct, and interpret basic research. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques of data collection and analysis are explored. An emphasis is placed on both understanding audiences as well as analyzing media content. Students learn to conduct research across communication modalities including through interpersonal and computer-mediated means.

Strategic Campaigns
This course expands upon the study of public relations by examining and critiquing public relations campaigns. Students build upon skills developed in Public Relations Principles and Communication Research to advance their knowledge of the process of planning, executing, and evaluating strategic campaigns.

News Practicum
Students learn about radio and television journalism and news production by preparing news for Shepherd University media outlets such as WSHC-FM. May be taken three times.

Media Practicum
Students assist with the development and organization of the Department of Communication’s media resources and facilities. May be taken three times.

Radio Practicum
A course in which students work with the campus radio station, WSHC-FM, staff to produce our broadcast schedule for airwave and internet broadcasting. May be taken three times.

Media, Law & Ethics
Examination of legal and ethical issues in the media. Emphasis on freedom of the press, censorship, libel, privacy, information access, copyright, media regulation and ethical standards.

Media Studies
A course that investigates the significance of contemporary media, cultural ideals, beliefs, and values. The course considers the significance and impact of media on our experience of self, community, culture, society, and world. The course will engage students in the critical practices of reading, decoding, and interpreting cultural texts and practices.

Advertising & Imagery
This course explores the significance and influence of advertising, public relations, and public opinion on contemporary culture . The history, institutional practice, and aesthetics of advertising, public relations, and public opinion will be studied. The course will consider the social, political, cultural, and personal dimensions of interpreting advertising, public relations, and public opinion.

A capstone course in experiential learning. The student engages in writing a resume, interviewing, and participating in an intensive internship, externship, or cooperative with an appropriate agency. Students may elect to intern in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Washington Gateway program.

A capstone course involving all that the student has learned during enrollment in the program. Working through the Office of Cooperative Education and coordinating plans with the communications faculty, the student engages in an intensive co-op with an appropriate agency.

A senior year alternative to COMM 450, this course focuses upon topics faculty believe are of interest to those who intend to continue advanced study in the field. Topics for the seminar are announced during early registration.

Senior Capstone
A required course for all communication seniors that brings together communication theory and practical experience into a final project and presentation. Original projects may include, but are not limited to, videos, audio tapes, papers, web pages, and multimedia presentations. Projects will be presented before the communications faculty and students. Two faculty members, selected by the student, will serve as advisors for the project. The course will serve as a final assessment of communications skills.