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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "COM 221"
COURSE NAME: "Writing Across the Media"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session I 2017
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Saul Rubin
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MTWTH 9:00 AM 10:45 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
The course introduces students to the various kinds of writing they will encounter in the media professions and in digital multimedia production, and prepares them for more advanced media courses in the Communications and Media Studies program. Students will also be introduced to basic legal and ethical issues, such as libel, copyright, privacy. Activities include writing for online media, press releases, strategic campaigns, and short scripts for visual and audio media as well as exercises to pitch their ideas. They will also explore issues concerning style, communicability, and effective storytelling.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
Students will be introduced to skills required to produce and write a variety of digital story formats through readings, lectures, in-class writing exercises, discussions and group projects. Students will demonstrate an understanding of these skills by completing a series of digital writing projects. These projects will include the creation of a blog, a blog post about a local feature story with relevant links and images, an audio script, an alternative story format post, a press release, and a social media post.  The class will mostly be a project-based learning environment offering practical skills to prepare students for further study in digital story production as well as professional careers.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Upon completing of the course, students will be able to:

Create a blog and blog post with relevant links and uploaded images
Demonstrate an understanding of how to interview a relevant sources for a story
Utilize Wordpress tools to produce an effective digital story
Develop an effective feature story idea
Conduct research to produce a well-reported story
Understand how to write an effective audio script
Gather sound elements to include in an audio story
Conceive and develop a press release promoting a local feature story
Understand the role of entrepreneurship while working as a digital storyteller
Understand the role of social media in story telling and story promotion
Demonstrate an understanding of the role of ethics and the law related to being a digital storyteller
TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Online Journalism, The Essential GuideSteve Hill and Paul LashmarSage Publications978-1-4462-0735-2  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Story IdeaResearch and write a pitch for a feature story idea.15%
Blog PostResearch and write a blog post on a local feature story.15%
Audio ScriptWrite an audio script for a local feature story.15%
Press ReleaseCreate a digital post promoting a local feature story.15%
Ethics or Legal AnalysisSelect current ethical or legal issue involving journalists and analyze merits of each side.15%
Online DiscussionsParticipate in four graded online discussions.20%
ParticipationAttend and participate regularly in class activities5%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Attendance is very important as key concepts related to class assignments will be presented and discussed. I will take attendance every class. Each time you are late to class by more than 10 minutes will count as half an absence. If you are absent more than 4 times during the term your final grade will be lowered one grade level.

Absences due to a religious holiday will not count against your attendance for the semester.

ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

We will explore the following topics:

Introduction to multimedia storytelling

Writing for the web

Blogs and blog posts

Writing for audio

Social media and audience engagement

Promotional writing and press releases

Ethical issues related to journalism

Legal issues related to journalism