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Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles Syllabus


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Syllabus for Communication Seminar on Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles (Spring 2015).

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Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles Syllabus

  1. 1. Course Policies and Meeting Schedule: Spring 2015   CMAT 490 Senior Seminar: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles | Dr. Agarwal ‘ Course Website: [QR Code below]| @vinitaagarwal | My Classes Course Twitter Hashtag: #VASocialMediaPR _____________________________________________________________________________ Instructor Contact Information: Dr. Vinita Agarwal Assistant Professor of Communication Arts Office: Fulton Hall 272 Email: OH: T/TH: 1:45PM—4:15PM and by appointment _____________________________________________________________________________ Prerequisite CMAT 101 and 102 with grades of C or better. Course Description CMAT 490—Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles. Designed for the advanced student, the course will teach theory and principles of digital communications management and its application in developing digital strategy, conducting analytic audience research to design messages and drive behavior, and selecting from a multitude of social media channels to achieve their goals as a digital communications consultant. Students who successfully complete the course will demonstrate a fundamental understanding of leveraging digital communication principles and data-driven audience insight to increase positive sentiment and create innovative social media programs. CMAT 490 is an enhanced course, requiring intensive study in any one area of speech or communication studies, ideally in the student’s track. Substantial research paper/academic project and class presentation are required. Learning Objectives The course presumes familiarity with basic social engagement etiquette and protocol on social networks. As an advanced seminar on digital PR for students who have successfully completed the pre-requisites, core curriculum, and electives in the field of public relations, the course provides students with the knowledge of ethical digital communication principles and advanced analytic inquiry. The course will also provide you with the ability to utilize this knowledge base Spring 2015: CMAT 490 – Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles Tues/Thurs, 11:00AM—12:15PM | TETC 110B Course Policies  
  2. 2. Course Policies and Meeting Schedule: Spring 2015   CMAT 490 Senior Seminar: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles | Dr. Agarwal in the design, implementation, and engagement with real-world audiences to achieve outlined objectives. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to: a. Critically evaluate the digital communication principles of corporations, nonprofits, and advocacy groups among others to identify best practices b. Articulate meaningful research questions to guide their digital engagement goals c. Successfully create, implement, and manage your digital strategy d. Build strong professional relationships based on ethical principles with key audiences e. Proficiently utilize digital platforms to communicate, connect, and build community f. Utilize SMO to increase visibility across channels. Required Textbooks (Available through the Salisbury University Bookstore) Ø DiStasio, M. W., & Bortree, D. S. (Eds.) (2014). Ethical practice of social media in public relations. New York: Routledge. (Abbreviated: DB) Ø Luttrell, R. (2015). Social media: How to engage, share, and connect. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. (Abbreviated: L) Recommended Ø Goldstein, N. (Ed.). (2011). The Associated Press stylebook and briefing on media law. Fully revised and updated Ed. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books. Equipment Policy Extensive use of technology is expected. Having a smartphone (iOS or Android) is strongly recommended. Your ability to participate in a range of social media networks and make use of different tools as discussed in class is expected. You may use the Marantz audio flash recorder for audio recordings or video flip cameras for video recordings. These will be checked out (using your SU ID) from Media Services (Room 334, TETC, Hours: TR, 9 AM—11 PM, Fridays, 9 AM—5 PM and closed on Saturdays). This is available only for a day (late returns fined). Copyright Statement The content (lectures, assignments, handouts) are the property of the instructor and protected under copyright law. You may not publicly distribute or display or share my course materials or lecture notes without my written permission. Individual Work/ Teamwork You will have much freedom and control over your output this semester. However, with that, the seminar entails a great deal of individual responsibility. These will require you to engage with the many factors that impact your digital presence, engagement, and output in a creative, unique, yet consistent manner. Second, in simulating a PR environment, part of your grade will come from teamwork. Successfully navigating the responsibility of delivering team-based projects is part of the course skills you are expected to gain experience in through the semester. Attendance and Participation Attendance is mandatory. Absences will negatively impact your grade. Please discuss with me in advance for any unique or special considerations that may impact your participation. If you must have a doctor’s appointment during class time, I will need to receive advance notice before the concerned class via email and see documentation during my office hours upon your return to class. Where allowed, you are responsible for coordinating and submitting make-up work with me within a week of your return to class in order to receive make-up credit. Similarly, for university or sports related responsibilities, please make arrangements with me in advance in order to receive credit for missed class work. If an unforeseen issue necessitates prolonged absence (i.e., greater than two missed weeks of class during the semester), evaluate your course standing and/or consider dropping the course in a timely manner. This is particularly important if you are a senior and this is your final semester.
  3. 3. Course Policies and Meeting Schedule: Spring 2015   CMAT 490 Senior Seminar: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles | Dr. Agarwal As this is a social media course, professionalism with your seminar participants, colleagues, and target audiences is an important element of your contribution. Participation will obviously take many forms that will necessarily include, but also go beyond your in-person, face-to-face class engagement. Your creativity, enthusiasm, and contribution value on different platforms as well as frequency of engagement and resonance with your target audience will count toward participation. This includes, for example, responding to your class colleagues’ posts on your content as well as being responsive to other’s content via useful and relevant feedback. It also includes taking a proactive approach to your learning and being self-directed in critical application of learning content to your professional goals. You will enjoy near total freedom in tailoring your participation style and content to the context, the interaction, and the audience you choose. Correspondingly, you will in part be evaluated based on how successful you are in resonating with your target audience and engaging with them. Course Ethos As advanced PR students, I will expect professional behavior standards corresponding to those expected of new hires in the industry. From my end, I will strive to provide each of you with the resources and guidance necessary to achieve the course objectives and toward your development as members of a globalized, cosmopolitan community of professionals. Do make use of my office hours and availability to assist you with your learning objectives. Your participation in this course indicates your commitment to gaining knowledge, to applying it in demonstrable ways, to demonstrating pride in your daily work, and to consistency of application. PR professionals work in team-based, networked environments. Thus the team projects will push you to accomplish those challenges successfully. I am always available to guide, but I expect you to take the initiative to seek my help in a timely and professional manner. Any personal accommodations made during the semester will be at my discretion weighing individual circumstances against the principle of fairness and justice to other class members. Deadlines, Late Policy, and Make-Ups Deadlines are critical for professional success in today’s work environments, and paramount for PR professionals. Here are a few general guidelines: ⇒ Monitor your grades. ⇒ All grade assignments will be taken as final one class period after the graded assignment has been entered on Grade book in My Classes. ⇒ Do not discuss grade-related matters at end of class or via email. Please stop by my office to do so. ⇒ Where allowed, late assignments will be assessed a late penalty downgrading it by a letter grade for each class period it is late and will not be accepted after two class periods from the due date. ⇒ You are responsible for obtaining permissions (when allowed) or making up any missed work. Grading Policy I strive to enter your grades within a week of their submission. You are responsible for monitoring your grade on My Classes. All grades are considered final after one week of being returned to class. You have up to one week from the day grades are returned to you to bring any concern to my notice. Requests that bring up grade-related concerns more than a week old will not be reviewed. The review process assumes you accept the possibility the grades can be revised upward/downward upon review. I do not keep records of in-class assignments more than a week after grades are made available. In general, my grading is based on the following broad rule-of-thumb: “C” work meets the basic outlined criteria, “B” work does a great job of meeting the outlined criteria, and “A” work not only
  4. 4. Course Policies and Meeting Schedule: Spring 2015   CMAT 490 Senior Seminar: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles | Dr. Agarwal does an excellent job of meeting the outlined criteria, but also surpasses expectations to demonstrate innovative applications of the content that go beyond the outlined criteria. “D” work does not meet one of the basic criteria outlined for the assignment at an acceptable level, and “F” work is substandard and does not meet basic expectations on two or more of the outlined criteria. Community Engagement Ethos Given the service-learning ethos of the course, your responsible conduct with a community issue/partner will be a large part of your out-of-class commitment. As you represent Salisbury University on these projects, your professionalism and work ethos are paramount at all times. As the course simulates a real-world professional environment, as with any business partner, client, or team relationship, you should plan for and be ready to work around unanticipated factors in the course of successfully designing and implementing your goals or minimizing their negative impact on your desired outcomes. These could include, for example, unexpected changes to yours, your colleagues, or your community partners’ scheduling times, establishing communication channels that apply to your context, appropriate goal-setting, and working to manage stakeholder expectations satisfactorily. Through learning and implementing social media principles during the course of this project I expect you will be a responsible, proactive, and productive member of your team, class, and community. Support Services For trouble with your connection, access to the course website or the materials therein please contact IT at 410-677-5454, at TETC Room 113 or via email at Emergency Policy In the event of an emergency, announcements and information will be communicated via instructor email, My Classes course website, and SU’s home page. Course-related information will be updated by the instructor on My Classes and course website and via university email. Office of Student Disability Support Services (OSDSS) The OSDSS provides guidance, access to resources, and accommodations for students with documented disabilities including: medical, psychiatric, and/or learning disabilities, and/or mobility, visual, and/or hearing impairments. They can be reached at 410-677-6536. Academic Integrity The CMAT department expects you have read and understand the University’s policy as described in the Student Policy on Academic Integrity in your SU Student Handbook ( and thereby agree to honor these standards. Academic dishonesty as a serious offense and ALL incidences are subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, separation from the university. Assignment Description Through each of the following specially designed applications, you will apply the digital communication strategies and principles you will learn through the semester in a range of single, daily, weekly, or semester-long projects. Each project uniquely hones your knowledge into competencies that you can demonstrate to the seminar and professional community (and perhaps to the university community). Detailed instructions will be provided at appropriate times in the semester. ⇒ Hoot Suite Certification (25 points): Working individually, you will successfully complete the Hoot Suite Social Media certification.
  5. 5. Course Policies and Meeting Schedule: Spring 2015   CMAT 490 Senior Seminar: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles | Dr. Agarwal ⇒ Social Network Management (100 points): Designate yourself the PR digital consultant/ambassador for an issue, cause, or content area (e.g., climate change, yoga, mountain climbing, sports management, fitness, health, civic engagement) that connects with your daily activities or career track. Ideally it would combine both but it has to be something unique to you and that personally do (blog and Tweet), can talk knowledgeably about (e.g., in your podcasts), can do expert demonstrations (in your Vlogging), or can build a successful networking collaboration with for the semester (e.g., promote a local cause for a civic body/individual). Your networks are your tools to demonstrate your success as the PR brand ambassador for the goal you set yourself. Your semester- end e-portfolio will be showcased on the course website and are your professional demo for your employers. Excellent examples may also be showcased on related publicity materials (university, department, course etc. related). Essential networks you will employ include: o Twitter (Includes Vine) o Blog (Includes Vlogging via YouTube and Podcasting via Sound Cloud and Pinboards) o Instagram o Facebook page ⇒ Discussion Circle (25 points): One day each week a team of three students generate and lead discussion around the reading for the day [20 min]. The discussion circle members prepare questions, examples, conversation starters, and ideas around the reading. The seminar members are participants in the discussion circle and each member comes prepared with a question on the reading for the presenters and an illustrative case study. Only seminar members who are present in class for participation in the DC either as members or participants can earn these points. ⇒ Pop Quizzes (5 points each): Can be a short answer, definition, or multiple choice. Can be given on any day, at the start or end of class. Lowest score will be dropped. These cannot be made up. ⇒ Lab work (10 points): Includes applications such as participation on Reddit, Infographs, Delicious, among others. Although these will each be worth the same number of points, it is fair to expect that some days will naturally be more lab-intensive than others. All lab work scores you earn will count, but as a bonus offer, you have the ability to choose to double the points on any one of your lab work grade. You have to be in class the day of the lab to earn lab work points for that day for those occasions when the work is due the next class. Grade Breakdown A= 90.0% & above; B= 80.0%-89.0%; C= 70.0%-79.0%; D= 60.0%-69.0%; F= 59.0% & below v Important Semester Dates: Jan 26th –May 12th : Session dates | Jan 26th : First day of classes| Jan 26th – Jan 30th : Add/drop| Mar 16th – Mar 22nd : Spring Break | Apr 3rd : Last day to Withdraw with a grade of (W)| May 12th : Last day of classes| May 13th : Reading day| May 14th –May 20th : Finals week| May 21st Commencement Grading Assignment Total Points Ø Hoot Suite Certification 15% Ø Social Network Management 25% Ø Discussion Circle (DC) 15% Ø Pop Quizzes (DB) 15% Ø Lab Work 30%  
  6. 6. Course Policies and Meeting Schedule: Spring 2015   CMAT 490 Senior Seminar: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles | Dr. Agarwal TENTATIVE SCHEDULE: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles * Schedule May be Adjusted Based on Semester Progress (Check In-Class or BB Announcements)   Meeting Readings Assignments (T) Jan 27th (TR) Jan 29th WEEK # 1 Introductions, Syllabus PR AND DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS Ch. 1 (L): The Four Quadrants of PR Discuss Hoot Suite Certification (T) Feb 3rd (TR) Feb 5th WEEK # 2 COMMUNICATING DIGITALLY Ch. 6 (L): Social Networks Social Network Management: Getting Started! Social Network Management: Set Up Discuss & Assign Social Networks Management (T) Feb 10th (TR) Feb 12th WEEK # 3 STRATEGY IS KING Ch. 3 (DB): Bank of America’s Facebook Engagement Challenges its Claims of “High Ethical Standards” Ch. 3 (L): Status: “It’s Complicated” Assign Discussion Circle (T) Feb 17th (TR) Feb 19th WEEK # 4 DIGITAL MEDIA RELATIONS Ch. 4 (DB): Natural or Not? A Case Study of Kashi’s Viral Photo Crisis on Facebook. Ch. 4 (L): Social Press DC1 E-Binders (T) Feb 24th (TR) Feb 26th WEEK # 5 ENGAGE, CURATE! Ch. 6 (DB): To Tweet or Not to Tweet: An Analysis of Ethical Guidelines for the Social Media Engagement of Nonprofit Organizations Ch. 5 (L): Sharing Expertise DC2 Reddit and Delicious (T) Mar 3rd (TR) Mar 5th WEEK # 6 IT’S A VISUAL WORLD: COMMUNICATING RESPONSIBILITY Ch. 7 (DB): Social Media as a CSR Communication Channel: The Current State of Practice Ch. 7 (L): Photo Sharing DC3 Instagram, Pinterest (T) Mar 10th (TR) Mar 12th WEEK # 7 PEER REVIEW Social Network Management: Individual Projects Social Network Management: Individual Projects (T) Mar 17th (TR) Mar 19th WEEK # 8 RELAX AND REFLECT! Spring Break! J Spring Break! J
  7. 7. Course Policies and Meeting Schedule: Spring 2015   CMAT 490 Senior Seminar: Advanced Strategic Digital Communication Principles | Dr. Agarwal (T) Mar 24th (TR) Mar 26th WEEK # 9 SPEAKING WITH MOVEMENT Ch. 8 (DB): Corporate Social Responsibility in Environmental Crisis: A Case Study of BP’s YouTube Response to the Deepwater Horizon Crisis Ch. 8 (L): Video DC4 YouTube (T) Mar 31st (TR) Apr 2nd WEEK # 10 FROM THE WATCHTOWER: ACTIVIST RELATIONS Ch. 9 (DB): Nestle and Greenpeace: The Battle in Social Media for Ethical Palm Sourcing Ch. 10 (L): Rules of Engagement: Developing an Effective Social Media Policy for Your Company and Employees DC5 Infographing (T) Apr 7th (TR) Apr 9th WEEK # 11 Peer Assessments Individual Review (T) Apr 14th (TR) Apr 16th WEEK # 12 TRUST ME, WE MATTER Ch. 10 (DB): Coca-Coal, Community, Diversity, and Cosmopolitanism: How Public Relations Builds Global Trust and Brand Relevance with Social Media Presenting paper at CSCA, Madison, WI DC6 Podcasting No Class. (T) Apr 21st (TR) Apr 23rd WEEK # 13 CAN WE COUNT THE LOVE Ch. 14 (DB): Government Gone Wild: Ethics, Reputation, and Social Media Ch. 12 (L): Measuring Social Media’s Impact and Value DC7 (T) Apr 28th (TR) Apr 30th WEEK # 14 Drop-in Report Feedback Individual Social Network Management Projects E-Portfolio due (T) May 5th (TR) May 7th WEEK # 15 Individual Social Network Management Projects Individual Social Network Management Projects *HS Certification access expires May 2nd | E-Portfolio due E-Portfolio due (T) May 12th WEEK # 16 FUTURAMA: Glimpses, Critiques, Predictions Finals Week May 14—21 Wed, May 20th , 10:45AM—1:15PM Finals Day (Brand/Consultant Report hardcopy due)