NEW Option Courses for Spring 2017

The following courses will be offered during the Spring 2017 semester. The locations and times of each course are still to be determined.

Course Descriptions:

COM 473: Privacy and Surveillance in the Digital Era, TR 2PM-3:15PM, Professor Parry

Based on your cell phone history researchers can predict where you will be 24 hours from now. You can download and install software onto a computer to monitor and capture everything a user does. Nearly every thing you buy is recorded in a database. Corporations track every page view and click. Your email is easily read by third parties. Target knows when a customer is pregnant. Even the post office scans and digitally images every piece of mail it sends. It is impossible to not leave a digital trace, and all of these traces are being collected. In this class we will look at how our digital lives intersect with and effect our privacy. Is privacy dead in the age of constant surveillance? Should we even care? And who benefits from all this data collection? We will look to answer these question both on a technological level, what is possible, and a critical level, what does this mean for democracy and society. We will also seek to put this knowledge into practice, understanding and using what tools and techniques citizens can employ to regain privacy both in their lives as individuals and citizens.

COM 473: Crime, Justice, and Media, MW 3:35PM-4:50PM, Professor Lyons

Crime and justice have been in the news a lot in recent years, from videos of police-involved shootings to “tough on crime” speeches on the presidential campaign trail. Students in this course will learn how media narratives about crime and justice are shaped and how those narratives, in turn, have shaped public policy debates on issues like mass incarceration, policing and sentencing. We will examine several case studies, such as the “Central Park Five,” to better understand how narratives are shaped, consumed and perpetuated. A substantial part of the course focuses on devising media production strategies aimed at social justice issues in collaboration with vulnerable populations. We will do this by devising and producing projects for The Redemption Project (, a multimedia site I founded with three incarcerated men that disrupts narratives about people in prison. This course has a substantial component outside of class that is required. Two visits outside of class – to Philadelphia’s “murder court” in Center City – and to Graterford Prison (about an hour away) are required. Transportation will be provided.

COM 442: Non-Profit Communications, MWF 1:25PM-2:15PM, Professor Wolff

Not-for-profit and community-based organizations rely on strategic digital communication to create positive social change. Students will gain in-depth knowledge of communication theories and practices while conducting research projects with local organizations through the Beautiful Social Research Collaborative. Those who complete this course will know how to apply a variety of social media theories and practices to help organizations achieve their communication goals. Students in the course will actively participate as a member of a project team to complete projects with clients in the Greater Philadelphia area and, from time to time, beyond. Local travel is required.

COM 402: Advanced Web Design, MWF 12:20PM-1:10PM, professor TBA

The class will be a mixture of web design theory and practical front-end techniques. Students are expected to have experience hand-coding websites using HTML and CSS, a basic understanding of using Git, and be familiar with basic principles of design such as color and typography. Topics covered will include: usability, accessibility, git, Javascript/jQuery, designing for content management, and using WordPress as a CMS. By the end of this course, students should have a solid understanding of the web design industry and modern web design techniques.

Information on Fall 2014 Registration

Registration is rapidly approaching, below is a host of crucial information regarding registering for classes in the Fall. I realize you all hate long reads, and probably are inclined to ignore this and hope for a tl;dr version. But please don’t. Take time and read this, it will help answer many of your questions about registration.

Most Important

We will be having two pre-registration meetings for majors and minors. You should make every effort to attend these. At these meetings advisers will be able to give you your pin, we will be there to answer questions about registration, answer questions about the classes, and offer direction on what you should enroll for.

Sophomores and Juniors:
Thursday, March 20th
Merion 174

Tuesday, March 25th
Merion 174

Major Restriction: All of the courses will initially be major restricted. This is to ensure that students who are majoring in COM have the chance to take these courses, as they need them to graduate. We have tried to offer enough classes to accommodate both majors and minors, but we want to make sure that the majors have the opportunity to register for the classes they need.

COM 200: COM 200 is the only course that will not be major restricted, as a minor you will be able to register for that class during your registration time. Note though that some of the sections will be reserved for the entering first year class of majors as they will now need to take it their first semester as a COM major. So, while there will certainly be enough spaces for all current majors and minors in 200, not all sections will be an option for you.

Registering as a COM Minor: After next years sophomores have had a chance to register we will then open up all of the courses for minors. You will still need to be a minor or a major to register for a COM course. So if you are a minor and want to take Web Design or Civic Media which will initially be major restricted once all of the majors have had a chance to register on (insert date) we will then have the registrar remove the major restriction and allow minors to fill the remaining spots.

Internship: If you are taking a Fall Internship you must register for the COM internship, COM492. This class will not be major restricted, as a minor or a major you can register for it. Please see this guide for more answers about the Internship. If you want to do a summer internship please see this guide. Note that while you can do a summer internship, you can’t do it for COM492 credit. The summer internship is just a one credit class.

Upper Level Electives: There are four Upper Level COM electives next semester. Note you can repeat these for credit even though sometimes they have the same number, as long as the content is different. You can see this for a description of these courses. Note, that Aimme Knight’s course requires an application to enroll in the class (you can fill out an application here). You can see all the upper level offerings on the post below (or later at a link in the sidebar).

Mystery Class: So if you look at the schedule you will note that there is one upper level COM course that has a sort of nebulous, less than detailed description. That is because we don’t quite know what it will be yet, right now it isn’t certain. But we promise like all COM classes it will be teh awesome. So if you are looking for an upper level COM course and it fits your time, consider this class.

Prerequisites: Note that COM200 and COM201 are now prerequisites for all other COM courses.

Summer and Fall Internships

Interested in a Summer or Fall Internship? You should read the Communications Department Internship Policy.

Internship Policy for 2014-2015:

General Requirements:

  1. Students must have completed COM200 & COM201.
  2. Students must have at least Junior academic standing.
  3. Students must be a Communications Major.
  4. Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher.
  5. Students may take COM491 once, which counts as a COM option course.
  6. A second internship may be taken under COM49X, which counts as a general elective, but which does not count toward the core COM graduation requirements. Students taking a second internship still must attend the Internship class.
  7. Internships must involve at least 150 hours of work (across the semester) and must be related to the larger fields of Communications or Digital Media.
  8. All internships requires two letters from your employer. The first letter should be submitted with the application (at the time of course registration) and should include the following:

* Title of the internship position

* Description of the position

* Typical daily or weekly duties

* Weekly & Total hours of work

* Outcomes for the internship: What will the intern learn?

* Name & contact info for the supervisor

* Compensation: Is a stipend offered? Is there reimbursement for travel or meals?

The second letter should be submitted at the completion of the internship and should evaluate the student’s performance and professional gains.

Spring/Fall internships:

 All credit-bearing internships must be registered through COM491. This is a once-weekly 50 minute course that focuses on discussion, guest speakers, and pronominalization activities. To apply for COM491, you should:

  1. Be sure that you meet the requirements (listed above).
  2. Submit a letter from your employer (listed above).
  3. Print the internship application form. Submit the letter and form to the internship coordinator.
  4. After your materials are processed you will be able to enroll in the internship class.

Summer internships:

Summer internships are available via COM49X, a 1 credit course. We offer this course only as a way to offer academic credit for outstanding internship opportunities that require academic credit. This will not help your progress toward graduation; it is simply a means of meeting employer requirements. We encourage most students to search for paid summer internships or, if unpaid, to simply pursue non-credit bearing summer internships. That said, we understand some employers require academic credit, and we want to support students who choose that path. If you are considering a summer internship that requires credit, talk to your advisor about enrolling in the single credit COM49X. You will not be required to do any academic work during the internship; however, at the completion of the internship, you will need to submit a letter of evaluation from your supervisor and a 1500 word reflection essay describing your work and experiences.



Looking for an ILC?

If you registered for classes, but still need an ILC. Professor Ewald in Linguistics has indicated there is room in LIN. See below:

LIN 101 Section D02:  Thursdays, 5:30-8:10
LIN 201 Section D01:  Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:15

You can also take

THE 372 D01 Technology Ethics

And this semester there are also two POL Classes that will count as ILCs:

POL 115 Intro to International Politics

POL 113 Intro to Comparative Politics

Spring and Summer Internship FAQ

So You Wanna Take an Internship . . .

I am thinking of taking an internship next semester what should I do? First you should start applying to internships. But second, you should do the COM Paperwork for the Internship and submit it. Finally you should register for COM 491 which is the internship class.

What if I am planning on doing an internship in the summer? If you will be doing an internship in the summer you should still fill out the form as best as possible, with what you think your internship will be. And then you should enroll in COM 491 the internship class.

Wait what there is an internship class? Yes all students who are taking a COM internship need to be enrolled in this class which meets once a week.

But what if I have something else I want to take at that class time? Do I have to take the internship class? Yes, you have to take the class. See above.

Okay but what if the class fills? We think we have enough room for students at the current cap, but if we need to we will find room for all students who have a spring internship.

Are there pre-reqs for the internship? Yes. You need to have completed both COM 200 and 201, and be a junior or senior.

What if I have already done an internship, can I still take this class? Yes. If you want to take an internship for COM credit you have to take this class.

Do I need to take this class for each internship I do? Yes.

So I can’t take an internship as a sophomore? No. Internships are limited to students with advanced standing who have completed the core requirement for the major/minor.

Lab Schedule


Below is the updated lab schedule for the rest of the semester. We tried to make a schedule that reflects the interests you all expressed to us, and to spread out topics on different times and dates so that you should be able to attend the ones that will be most meaningful to you. Keep in mind that you should attend four of these over the course of the semester. There will also be open lab during the remainder of the semester should you want to get individual help with your blog project.

The topics are:

  • Basic Photoshop
  • Making Presentations
  • Making Images, logos, .gifs and visuals
  • Hacking Your Browser and Automating Everything
  • Using Evernote for Research
  • Basic Video Editing
  • Introduction to Creative Cloud
  • Audio: Recording, Editing, Podcasting

Lab Schedule

Week One

Oct 28th, Monday

  • 2:30 Erika: Photoshop
  • 3:35 Erika: Photoshop

Oct 29th, Tuesday

  • 3:30 Mike: Audio: Recording, Editing, Podcasting

Oct 31st, Thursday

  • 5:00 ATDL: Making Better Presentations

Week Two

Nov 4th, Monday

  • 4:40 Erika: Photoshop

Nov 5th, Tuesday

  • 11:00 Aimee: Making Images, logos, .gifs, and Visuals
  • 3:30 Dave: Hacking Your Browser, Automating Everything

Nov 6th, Wednesday

  • 5:30 ATDL: Making Better Presenatations

Nov 7th, Thursday

  • 5:30 Dave: Hacking Your Browser, Automating Everything

Nov 8th, Friday

  • 11:00 Tim: Evernote for Easier Research

Week Three

Nov 11th, Monday

  • 3:35 Aimee: Making Images, logos, .gifs, and Visuals
  • 4:40 Erika: Basic Video Editing
  • 6:00 Dave: Hacking Your Browser, Automating Everything

Nov 12th, Tuesday

  • 3:30 Erika: Basic Video Editing
  • 5:00 Mike: Audio: Recording, Editing, Podcasting

Nov 13th, Wednesday

  • 5:30 ATDL: Making Better Presenatations

Nov 14th, Thursday

  • 11:00 Mike: Audio: Recording, Editing, Podcasting
  • 3:30 Erika: Basic Video Editing

Week Four

Nov 18th, Monday

  • 4:40 Aimee: Making Images, logos, .gifs, and Visuals

Nov 19th, Tuesday

  • 5:00 Tim: Evernote for Easier Research

Nov 20th, Wednesday

  • 5:30 ATDL: Creative Cloud Basics

Nov 21st, Thursday

  • 11:00 ATDL: Creative Cloud Basics
  • 3:30 Tim: Evernote for Easier Research

Week Five

Nov 25th, Monday

  • 3:30 Erika: Basic Video Editing
  • 4:40 Erika: Basic Video Editing

Dec 4th, Wednesday

  • 5:30 ATDL: Creative Cloud Basics