Courses in Communication

General Foundation Courses

A COM 100 Human Communication: Language and Social Action (3)
Introduction to human communication in terms of an examination of the communication needs, processes, and results that typically occur in different social settings. Must be completed with a grade of C- or higher or S for the major in Communication.

A COM 203 Speech Composition and Presentation (3)
Introduction to the composition and presentation of speeches. Course includes guided practice in topic development, organization, and the oral presentation of various kinds of speeches.

A COM 212 Argumentation and Debate (3)
Study of and practice in the methods of argument. Special emphasis upon skills needed in oral argumentation.

A COM 238 Introduction to Mass Communication (3)
Survey of electronic and print media with emphasis on structural analysis, content analysis, and research.

A COM 265X Introduction to Communication Theory (3)
Approaches to the study of human communication. Consideration of major research findings, methods and conceptualizations in such areas as persuasion, interpersonal communication, group communication, organizational communication, and mass communication. For rhetoric and communication majors completing their major requirements as outlined in this bulletin or subsequent editions, A COM 265X is restricted to A–E grading after matriculation at Albany. Prerequisite(s): A COM 100.

Courses in Public and Mass Communication

A COM 260 Media in Everyday Life (3)
This course explores contemporary media and their economic, political, and sociocultural implications for individual consumers and society. Based on media literacy principles and theories, students will analyze, evaluate, and critique various genres of media, such as news, advertising, entertainment, and social media, interpret meanings embedded in messages, understand the structure and economics of the media industry, and examine their own media use habits. The goal of this course is to help students develop a constructive, critical attitude toward the media.

A COM 370 Theories of Mass Media (3)
The theories, research methods, and empirical research findings related to the effects of mass communication on individuals and society. Prerequisite(s): A COM 238 and 265, or permission of instructor.

A COM 372 Persuasion in Media (3)
The purpose of this course is to challenge traditional assumptions about persuasion with the everyday practice of persuasion in our mediated world, and vice versa. At the end of the course the student should have acquired an understanding of effective techniques of persuasion and propaganda, an appreciation for how these are applied in practices such as advertising and public relations campaigns, and an appreciation of the problems of persuasion that challenge contemporary corporations. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 374 Radio and the Public Imagination (3)
Radio is an essential component in understanding the shape and texture of contemporary American culture and identity. This course explores the medium of radio, its history and its influence in shaping the ways Americans have imagined themselves through the 20th century and into the 21st century. The course also explores listening and the distinctiveness of radio as a medium of mass communication; the role of radio in creating belief in national identity; the creation of radio audiences; the emergence of broadcast journalism; sports and talk radio as cultural practices; the music industry, commercialism, and corporate influence in radio; and, finally, the persistence of radio despite the emergence of TV and computers. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 375 Computer-Mediated Communication (3)
Possibly the most important technological innovation of the latter half of the 20th century, computer-mediated communication is revolutionizing interaction in the global village. This course explores how social life is accomplished in a variety of Internet CMC systems, including threaded email forums, instant messaging, chat rooms, videoconferencing, and World Wide Web pages. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 or permission of instructor.

A COM 376/376Z Empirical Studies of Persuasion (3)
Empirical approaches to attitude and behavior change brought about by communication. Only one version of A COM 376 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 or permission of instructor.

A COM 378/378Z Studies in Public Persuasion (3)
Application of the student’s critical skills to the rhetoric of a particular public figure or movement; or to the rhetorical practice of a particular historical period or genre of public persuasion, such as television advertising, propaganda in mass movements, American campaign rhetoric. May be repeated for a total of 15 credits when content varies. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 379 Rhetoric and Social Movements (3)
Social movements are unique because, lacking other financial and political resources, they must rely upon rhetoric and persuasion. This course surveys the major approaches for studying the rhetoric of social movements and uses a case study approach to identify, describe, and evaluate the rhetoric of current social movements. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 380 Political Campaign Communication (3)
This course examines from both a theoretical and a practical standpoint the planning, execution, and evaluation of campaign communication strategies. It focuses mainly on modern presidential campaigns—the organization, the candidate, the audience, and the media. Forms examined include speeches, debates, television commercials, polling, news stories, and interpersonal contact. This course often has a co-requirement of A COM 297 for 1 credit. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 381 Risk and Crisis Communication (3)
The dual aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of how risk and crisis communication is done and a knowledge base from which to critically assess such practices. This course addresses and assesses current thinking about the practice and make up of risk and crisis communication, including how risk and crisis are perceived by the public and how they are theorized by practitioners and critics. The course will critically engage with a variety of contexts - (cyber)security, social conflict, policing, environmental disasters - and examine a breadth of actors and technologies that are involved in communicating risk and crisis to the public: government officials, journalists and mass, digital and social media. Students will apply what they learn to current and past events/campaigns. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265X.

A COM 382 Introduction to Political Communication (3)
Course introduces students to fundamental areas of political communication, including campaigns, elected officials, the news media, popular culture, and citizen involvement in the political process. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 or permission of instructor.

A COM 385 Communicating Terror: Media and Political Violence (3)
This course begins from two basic assumptions about terrorism: it is a historical, political and ill-defined concept that takes many forms and it is a mediated phenomenon. The course will analyze the various ways that media, broadly defined, have been connected to terrorism, focusing on the media used in acts deemed terroristic (e.g., the mass media, the airplane, the bomb, the body and the internet), how terrorism is represented in popular media, and the media deployed in counterterrorism efforts. The aim of the course is to go beyond popular narratives of terrorism and foster a broader understanding of the history, politics and unequal social consequences of framing an increasing amount of actors, actions and utterances as terroristic. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265X.

A COM 386/386Z Persuasion and Film (3)
This course will examine cinema as a vehicle of persuasion. Cinematic themes will be analyzed for their manifest and latent advocacy of various positions and points of view. A variety of films will be critically evaluated, including those that raise issues about race, gender, power, and politics. Contemporary thinking about persuasive message design will be drawn upon to investigate the cinematic presentation of these and other issues. Only one version of A COM 386 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 465 Studies in Communication Theory (3)
Study of a selected topic in communication theory; e.g., nonverbal communication, consistency theory, or mass communication. May be repeated for a total of 15 credits when content varies. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, and junior or senior standing.

A COM 470 Methods of Communication Research (3)
Intermediate-level study of research strategies, design of experiments, and field methods in human communication. Prerequisite(s): A COM 100 and A COM 265, or permission of instructor. Statistics course recommended. May not be offered in 2017-2018.

Courses in Interpersonal Interaction/Cultural Practices

A COM 201 Interpersonal Communication (3)
Introduction to those aspects of communication which typify interpersonal relationships. Included are experientially acquired insights into, and theoretical considerations of, interpersonal communication.

A COM 340 Health Communication (3)
Students explore the role of communication in the delivery and receipt of health care, especially with respect to physician-patient encounters, organizations in the health care system, and the design and execution of health care campaigns. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 or permission of instructor.

A COM 367 Theories of Interpersonal Communication (3)
The theories, research methods, and representative research findings related to experimental and observational studies of interpersonal communication. Prerequisite(s): A COM 201 and 265, or permission of instructor.

A COM 371 Theories of Intercultural Communication (3)
Communication between people from different cultures and/or subcultures, including racial and ethnic groups. Focus is upon appropriate theories, concepts, research findings, and practice in intercultural settings. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, or permission of instructor

A COM 465 Studies in Communication Theory (3)
Study of a selected topic in communication theory; e.g., nonverbal communication, consistency theory, or mass communication. May be repeated for a total of 15 credits when content varies. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, and junior or senior standing.

Courses in Organizational Communication

A COM 204 Group Communication (3)
The theory and practice of small group interaction. Examination of both group dynamics and cognitive processes, as they relate to group deliberation.

T COM 250Z Communication in Organizational Life (3)
This course examines how individuals negotiate their relationships with organizations primarily as employees of organizations, but also as consumers of services offered by organizations. In the context of internal stakeholders, or employees of organizations, the course addresses topics such as organizational assimilation, identification, resistance, and the management of work and personal-life interrelationships, including the impact of new information and communication technologies. We will consider employing organizations as sources of identity, sites for entertainment and socializing, sites for enacting spirituality (broadly defined) and religion, sources of social relationships and support, and substitutes for different aspects of family (e.g., mentor-parents; co-worker spouses). Relationships of external stakeholders to organizations are also considered, focusing on consumers of health care services. Only one of T COM 250Z and A COM 412 can be taken for credit. May not be taken by students with credit for topics courses, “The Individual and the Organization” and “Interacting with Organizations.” Open to Honors College students only. May not be offered in 2017-2018.

A COM 304 Conference and Group Leadership (3)
Advanced study of small group deliberation, with special emphasis upon theories of group leadership as they apply in business and professional group communication settings. Prerequisite(s): A COM 204 and A COM 265, or permission of instructor.

A COM 369 Theories of Organizational Communication (3)
Theoretical models and empirical studies of communication within complex organizations. In-depth case study of one or more organizations. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, or permission of instructor.

A COM 377 Communication and Technology in Organizations (3)

This course reviews perspectives on technology, communication and work. Students will analyze the introduction and use of technology in organizations and its impact on daily collaboration and interaction practices. They will study the way organizational members negotiate and make sense of technology in their individual and collaborative work. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 or permission of instructor.

A COM 388 Communication and Global Organizations (3)
Through a series of readings, case studies, and video programs, students in this class investigate what globalization is and how it is transforming organizations across the world. The course is designed to enable students to understand why and how communication is a critical process through which these transformations are taking place. Students will explore, for example, how new communication technologies have led to the emergence of network, virtual, and web organizations, and what the implications of these developments are for both organizations and the individuals that are part of them (e.g., as employees, clients). Moreover, this course aims to highlight those unique and often unexpected ways, in which the processes of globalization, communication, and organization intersect and affect our lives today. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 389 Ethnic Media: Producers, Consumers, and Societies (3)
This course explores how media produced by ethnic communities, for ethnic communities affect ongoing negotiations of identity, perceived lines of division between ‘us’ and ‘others,’ and how the production and consumption of ethnic media affects the character of the larger media and societal landscapes. Historical, policy, cultural, organizational, professional, social relations, community, migration, and globalization dimensions of the study of ethnic media will be addressed through readings, individual and group projects, as well as case studies from the U.S., Europe, Australia, and beyond. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 and junior or senior class standing, or permission of instructor.

A COM 410/410Y Organization Image Building (3)
Students will learn the fundamentals of integrated communication strategies and how they can be applied effectively to present and advance business, organizations, products, and issues. Topics covered include the basics of communication theory; the importance of clearly evaluating and defining organization objectives as the foundation of communication planning activities; how branding decisions affect a communication campaign, etc. Only one version of A COM 410 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, and junior or senior standing.

A COM 412 Communication, Work and Organization Life (3)
This course examines how individuals negotiate their relationships with organizations – primarily as employees of organizations, but also as consumers of services offered by organizations. Topics include organizational controls, employee identification and resistance, and the management of work and personal-life interrelationships, including the impact of new information and communication technologies. Organizations are considered as sources of identity, sites for entertainment and socializing, sites for enacting spirituality and religion, sources of social relationships and support, and substitutes for different aspects of family (e.g., mentor-parents; co-worker spouses). Only one of T COM 250Z and A COM 412 can be taken for credit. May not be taken by students with credit for topics courses, “The Individual and the Organization” and “Interacting with Organizations.” Prerequisite(s): A COM 265 or permission of instructor.

A COM 415 Persuasion and Public Relations (3)
This course combines the study of theories of persuasive communication with the practice of persuasive communication campaign. Through readings, lectures, and classroom activities, students will become acquainted with the nature of persuasion, and then apply the concepts in practical exercises. The goals are to develop an understanding of the nature of persuasion, theoretical approaches to influence, managing campaigns, measurement and research design in persuasion, free and paid communication modalities, and using mass media in public relations campaigns. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, and junior or senior standing.

A COM 465 Studies in Communication Theory (3)
Study of a selected topic in communication theory; e.g., nonverbal communication, consistency theory, or mass communication. May be repeated for a total of 15 credits when content varies. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, and junior or senior standing.

Courses in Applied Studies

A COM 297 Research Practicum (1–3)
Supervised participation in established research projects. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credits, but only a maximum of 3 credits may be applied toward major requirements. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor. S/U graded.

A COM 390 Internship in Communication (1–3)
Supervised participation in rhetorical or communicative practices. May be repeated for a total of 3 credits. This course is meant to provide practical experience and cannot be counted among the 12 additional credits in “A COM” courses at the 300 level required for majors. Open only to majors and minors in their junior or senior years with cumulative averages of at least 2.50. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, and permission of undergraduate director. S/U graded.

A COM 392 Internship in Operational and Applied Communication Theory (9)
Supervised field placement in an approved setting. Cumulative average of at least 2.50 required. (Open only to rhetoric and communication majors and minors, except with permission of instructor.) Student attends a weekly seminar (A COM 393) and prepares a major project and weekly reports in conjunction with that seminar. Does not satisfy major or minor requirements. Internships are open only to qualified juniors and seniors who have an overall grade point average of 2.50 or higher. Corequisite(s): A COM 393, and permission of instructor. S/U graded.

A COM 393Z Seminar in Operational and Applied Communication Theory (6)
Advanced applications of rhetoric and communication theory. Participants will complete a major project describing in detail each segment of their work. Each participant will also complete five ten-page analytical papers in addition to a series of weekly seminar papers. (Open only to rhetoric and communication majors and minors, except with permission of instructor.) Yields credit toward rhetoric and communication major or minor. Corequisite(s): A COM 392, and permission of instructor.

A COM 397 Independent Study and Research in Communication (1–3)
Directed reading and conferences on selected topics. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits. Prerequisite(s): A COM 265, and permission of instructor and department chair.

A COM 499 Senior Honors Project (3–6)
Design and implementation of an investigation of some clearly defined problem in rhetoric and communication, under faculty supervision. Students may repeat this course once, for a maximum of 6 credits, for those projects requiring two consecutive semesters of study. Prerequisite(s): admission to the honors program in communication; enrollment by permission of the director of undergraduate studies.