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Online Learning

Online Courses in the SOC

Online Learning

SOC offers an array of online courses, providing students the flexibility to continue their studies off-campus.

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Summer 2012 Courses

COMM 535-F01L: Building Interactive Web Sites
Instructor: David Johnson

This online, hands-on class covers new media trends and technologies including Flash, Drupal, and frameworks, used to build platforms and engage audiences in the digital media space. Student gain the tools and knowledge they need to build, launch, and run their own interactive community site, even if they have little previous experience in programming or interaction design. Prerequisite: COMM-438/638 Web Design/Development or COMM-535 Online News Production, or permission of instructor.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

David Johnson

David Johnson is a professor at the American University School of Communication

Johnson is a full-time professor of Journalism. He teaches courses in digital journalism, interactive storytelling and convergence media. His research interests include social networking and media, behavioral economics and serious games.

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COMM-396: Brand You in a Digital World
Instructor: Scott Talan

This online course explores the concept of online/digital branding as it relates to individuals and their careers. Proper digital branding is especially critical as more and more employers are searching for their employees on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Having the right brand attributes and online persona gives people the advantage needed to stand out and succeed. Digital branding means constantly managing and monitoring the web so as to avoid personal and professional brand erosion, while also improving brand performance and value. The course builds on the concept of "Brand You" and updates it to apply to the 24/7 online world we now live and work in. Students gain insight, understanding, and the ability to create, maintain, and manage their digital brand as they seek internships, job positions, and embark on professional careers upon graduation.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Scott Talan

SOC Scott Talan

Talan, MPA, is a full-time professor of Public Communication. He has worked in media, PR, and communications in four distinct fields: TV News, Politics, Nonprofits and Higher Education. Scott worked at the United Nations, Harvard University and the New Mexico Legislature. He recently served as the Dir of Communications for the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs.

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COMM-350 and COMM-650: Digital Imaging
Instructor: K. Brannon

An introduction to the technical aspects of digital imaging and basic techniques such as selection and retouching tools that challenges students to create effective visual communication designs. The course includes how to effectively use layers, channels, and masks to edit and composite images with discussions focusing on creating and recognizing effective visual communication concepts and carrying out these concepts through design. Students should expect to spend additional time in the lab outside of the scheduled class time. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: COMM-105, film and media arts major, and minimum 2.5 GPA.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Kylos Brannon

Kylos Brannon

Brannon mixes video projections at a monthly DC event, BLISS, and has VJ'd for such international DJs as Moby, MSTRKRFT and DJ Tittsworth.

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COMM-603 N01L: Basic Web Development
Instructor: Edwin Mah

Students learn an overview of the theoretical structures behind informational design for the Internet. In addition, they learn basic HTML programming and static site development, as well as how the skills can be applied as a communication medium. This course provides students with an overview of web development using code and development tools. Students create their own online content and website. Prerequisite: COMM-602.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Edwin Mah

SOC Edwin Mah

Mah is an adjunct professor of Film and Media Arts. He is an MFA candidate in film and electronic media with interests in documentary filmmaking, multimedia, and photography and teaches courses on web design and dynamic websites.

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COMM-535 N02L: Special Topics in News Media: Backpack Journalism Abroad
Instructor: Bill Gentile

This course is an online version of the highly successful course Foreign Correspondence first taught in 2004. This course is a new model for producing and distributing public media from abroad and, in fact, a new model for the contracting role of the "traditional elite" foreign correspondent. This course will be taught in conjunction with the production of a documentary film about the work of foreign correspondents (location of field work to be determined and will depend, in large part, on current events).

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

COMM-560: Backpack Documentary
Instructor: Bill Gentile

(FM) This course reflects the transformation in visual storytelling made possible by technological advances. It is built on the premise that a properly trained practitioner can tell powerful character-driven stories using hand-held cameras for more intimate, more immediate communication than with conventional camera and crew. It includes the tools and techniques used by journalists and documentary filmmakers for effective backpack journalism. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Bill Gentile

Bill Gentile in Afghanistan shooting a documentary for PBS NOW

Gentile is a full-time professor of Film and Media Arts. He is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker at American University, where he brings 30 years of field experience and professional contacts to the next generation of communicators.

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COMM-380: Public Communication Research
Instructor: Dotty Lynch

(PC) In this course students gain an understanding of why research is an essential aid for decision making in strategic communications. It is an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methods. Students learn how to formulate a research questions and execute a research design, including the basics of sampling, data collection and analysis, and interpretation of results. They conduct research projects such as secondary research, focus groups, content analysis, and surveys and learn how to apply the results to strategic communication situations. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: COMM-301 with a B or better, public communication major, and minimum 2.5 GPA.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Dotty Lynch

Dotty Lynch

Lynch is an executive in residence in the School of Communication and a political consultant for CBS News.

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COMM-535 E02L: Visual Strategies for News
Instructor: Lynne Perri

This online course offers a comprehensive approach to explaining information visually using charts, maps, graphics, lists, timelines, tables, polling, quizzes, schematics and photography. Students study the history of graphics, analyze current trends, do original reporting and create visual presentations. Prerequisite: COMM-320 or COMM-621, or permission of instructor.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Lynne Perri

SOC Lynne Perri

Perri is a freelance designer and leads visual workshops; recent clients include the washingtonpost.com and the Kaiser Media Fellows.

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COMM-546: Foreign Policy and the Press
Instructor: Alison Schafer

(BJ, PJ) (MS) The role of the American news media in the coverage of foreign policy issues. Philosophical issues include whether freedom of the press is adequately exercised in the foreign policy field and whether the national media sometimes serve as propagandists for the United States government. Students should be prepared to engage in adversarial debates over key issues. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Alison Schafer

SOC Alison Schafer

Schafer is an adjunct professor of Journalism. She is a strategic communications consultant, media trainer, and producer of visual content for broadcast and the Internet.  Her areas of expertise are international communications and education, and she has helped develop social media strategies and outreach for or organizations with global reach.

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COMM-535 F01L: New Media Practices/Techniques
Instructor: Nicholas Ray

This online course provides a survey of contemporary new media practices and techniques, which are being applied through broadcast, web, and mobile devices such as pod movies. From Saul Bass to Hillman Curtis, students study the methodology and apply what they learn to their new media projects. Students also engage in contemporary reading by new media makers in the field. This course is oriented to any student in the school of communication who is interested in learning new media language and applying it to their own work. Students blog, smash, mash, and apply the techniques to a production-oriented main project within their selected field.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

COMM-604: Dynamic Content
Instructor: Nicholas Ray

In this course students learn about creating, publishing, modifying, and maintaining a blog as a dynamic publishing platform. The class uses XHTML and CSS knowledge to create, edit, and customize a blog focused on an area of interest. Prerequisite: COMM-603.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Nicholas Ray

SOC Nick Ray

Ray has two professional passions: Learning, and sharing that information with others. Through use of web development technologies, social media and filmmaking, Nick has fostered several projects geared towards discovering new and effective ways of engaging students with information and cultivating a passion for learning.

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COMM-520: History of Animation
Instructor: Alexandria Katis

(CS, FM) (MS) A survey of the history, theory, and practice of animating visual imagery from the pre-cinematic forms to the present day. Lectures, screenings, and discussion examine the evolution of the medium in America, Europe, and Asia in terms of technology, artistic trends and national culture. Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

COMM-557: Art of Visual Storytelling
Instructor: Alexandra Katis

(FM) This course offers students a comprehensive approach to envisioning and communicating visual stories through a variety of techniques, from conceptual presentations to storyboards, to enhance students' preproduction skills in film, video, and media arts. The course focuses on building skills for visual media pitches, concept approval, film and video production, blocking shots, directing, envisioning re-creations, and adapting creative works to visual media. The course is geared to those working with narrative films, documentaries, historical re-creations, commercials, public service announcements, and other forms of visual storytelling. Some background in film and media arts terminology is recommended, but art and design skills are not required. Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA.

For registration information, contact the University Registrar at 202-885-2200 or registrar@american.edu

Alexandra Katis

Katis has been teaching animation for the Discover the World of Communication Program since 2006 and is also an adjunct professor in SOC where she teaches History of Animation.

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