COMSTRAT 562

Creative Media Strategies & Techniques

Course Instructor: Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka

Office: 200A Jackson Hall

Office Hours - schedule here; https://calendly.com/c-hawkins-jedlicka/30min

E-mail: c.hawkins-jedlicka@wsu.edu

Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka has more than a decade?s worth of experience as a content producer and strategic communicator specializing in digital advertising strategy, with an emphasis in social media and online communities. Throughout her career, Hawkins-Jedlicka has developed and paired social media strategies to broader marketing campaigns, and used social media to identify and connect diverse publics as well as to promote organizational brands. She teaches courses in which students learn about integrated communications, writing for public relations, digital marketing campaigns, brand and consumer insights, employee communications, and advertising.

 
Hawkins-Jedlicka joined the Murrow College of Communication faculty in August 2018 following four years at the University of Idaho, where she most recently served as Marketing and Communications Manager in the College of Law. Before arriving on the Palouse, she gained experience in both corporate and start-up organizational settings, developing point-of-purchase campaigns as an account manager at GSP, Inc. (a national retail branding and marketing services firm) and building clients? online communities at Social Distillery (a boutique social media marketing agency). Hawkins-Jedlicka got her start in advertising with Flocasts (now FloSports, Inc.), an online sports broadcasting company. She earned an M.A. in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, and received her undergraduate degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Overview

COMSTRAT 562 is an advanced writing course for graduate students interested in refining and advancing their expertise in writing for promotional materials including public relations, advertising, digital media (blogs, web content, email, social media), print publications, company messaging and business papers.

The course will be taught to address writing techniques and best practices for both digital and print platforms and will encompass standards from both a PR and advertising perspective. In general, the work you create in this course is designed to prepare you for immediate application, as well as serve as featured pieces in your coursework portfolio. The course is broken into multiple lessons representing each week of class and covers a series of topics from writing for public relations to reputation management.

Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of strategic, entrepreneurial communication skills such as managing online presence, self and organizational presentation, and collaboration in an increasingly global world.
  2. At the end of this course, students should be able to gather and assess strategically relevant information using analyses and research.
  3. At the end of this course, students should be able to provide evidence of possessing professional skills to develop strategic communication campaign materials and implementation of campaign through administration and management, planning, leadership, teamwork, and customer relations.

How COMSTRAT 562 Works

Where you find information:  The majority of the instructional content for the course is housed in the WSU Blackboard learning management system. Students should refer there for announcements, discussion forums, information and support materials for deliverables and other information.

Announcements:  Announcements are posted in Blackboard regularly to help keep students on track, remind students of critical deadlines and provide them with helpful resources and tips and other information related to the course.

Discussion Posts:  Each week a discussion topic is posted designed to keep students connected and engaged with each other. Participation is part of your grade and everyone is encouraged to contribute as a way for students to support and learn from each other + give the instructor a place to interject and provide timely references.

Office Hours & Direct Communication: I am active and engaged throughout the semester - checking in regularly and providing feedback in a timely manner. I will respond to emails and be available for phone or video calls by appointment related to course topics, assignments and other aspects of the course. If you have a question about grades or personal/private matters, you can email me and I will make every effort to respond within 48 hours.

Questions for the Instructor:  Students are encouraged to post questions not related to grades or personal/private matters in the Questions for the Instructor thread within the discussion forum. Students are expected to regularly view the Instructor's Comments thread of the discussion for matters of general interest to the class.

Assignments:

  • Assignments and readings are to be completed and turned in individually (non-collaborative)
  • Assignments include weekly readings with discussion posts, practice activities and end-of-lesson micro-projects
  • Assignments are designed using the TILT model (Transparency in Learning and Teaching) ? a model from UNLV providing students with a clear framework for assignments including purpose, task list, and criteria for assessment.
  • All assignments have rubrics attached so students understand criteria for success up front

Grading: I try to be efficient in grading ? reviewing and providing feedback within one week of the assignment due date. If I am running behind I will let you know! All grading is managed in Blackboard using a combination of rubrics, in-line edits, and written feedback. Students can view their progress in My Grades.

Weekly Course Schedule: [see Course Schedule in left column] It is strongly suggested not to work ahead.

Course Assignments: [see Course Schedule in the left column]

Course Goals

The core objective of this course is for students to exhibit proficiencies in various writing skills expected of a communications professional across multiple industries from agency to nonprofit organization;  healthcare to high-tech. The goal is that successful students will move forward in confidence with the ability to showcase their newfound skills, speak intelligently about strategy and tactical aspects of the field and illustrate job preparedness through writing samples and portfolio-worthy work.

Overarching Course Questions

  1. What does it mean to be a communications professional with an emphasis in strategic communication?
  2. How can a new and seasoned professionals demonstrate ?exceptional writing? skills as noted in many job postings?
  3. What key skill sets (both strategic and tactical) should practitioners master as they advance in their careers?
  4. As a professional communicator, how do I foster relationships with media, create story ideas that are unique and inspire engagement?
  5. As an evolving professional, how will I demonstrate my ability to conceptualize, create, execute and measure effectiveness of a content strategy and integrated communication program for an organization?

Course Learning Outcomes and Assessment

Course Learning Outcome 1: Demonstrate knowledge of strategic, entrepreneurial communication skills such as managing online presence, self and organizational presentation, and collaboration in an increasingly global world.

Course Topics

Evaluation of Outcome

  • Communication as a profession
  • Optimizing content
  • SEO and SEM
  • Digital campaign design, implementation, tracking and measurement
  • Lead management process
  • Awareness campaigns

 

  • Discussion posts that synthesize information students have been learning, apply information to different settings or populations, describe relevant examples of course information, and/or engage with various resources and respond.
  • Practice activity in search engine optimization
  • Creating SEO-optimized content
  • Social media engagement planning and message design
  • Research and reflection ? success in awareness campaigns
  • Exercise in integrated digital campaign development

Course Learning Outcome 2: At the end of this course, students should be able to gather and assess strategically relevant information using analyses and research.

Course Topics

Evaluation of Outcome

  • Customer decision process
  • Earned, owned, paid media
  • Branding and messaging
  • PR and advertising writing overview
  • Preliminary research process
  • Inverted pyramid and 5Ws
  • Narrative platform
  • Online newsroom
  • Corporate/brand journalism
  • Blogging for business
  • Corporate communications
  • Employee relations
  • Internal messaging
  • Presentation design and delivery
  • Generating reports
  • Pitching ideas
  • Discussion posts that synthesize information students have been learning, apply information to different settings or populations, describe relevant examples of course information, and/or engage with various resources and respond.
  • Inverted pyramid
  • 5W?s
  • Research and reflection in corporate journalism
  • Writing a suite of PR materials
  • Pitching ideas
  • Exercise in employee relations

Course Learning Outcome 3: At the end of this course, students should be able to provide evidence of possessing professional skills to develop strategic communication campaign materials and implementation of campaign through administration and management, planning, leadership, teamwork, and customer relations.

Course Topics

Evaluation of Outcome

  • Digital campaign design, implementation, tracking and measurement
  • Lead management process
  • Awareness campaigns
  • Building a campaign ? research, discovery, and planning
  • Designing a campaign ? creative process and meeting audience where they are
  • Executing a campaign ? content strategy
  • Presenting campaign concepts to stakeholders
  • Discussion posts that synthesize information students have been learning, apply information to different settings or populations, describe relevant examples of course information, and/or engage with various resources and respond.
  • Social media engagement planning and message design
  • Research and reflection ? success in awareness campaigns
  • Exercise in integrated digital campaign development
  • Awareness campaign design


Final Exam

There is no final exam in COMSTRAT 562. The final awareness campaign serves as the cumulative task for the course.

Expectations for Student Effort

For each hour of lecture equivalent, students should expect to have a minimum of six hours of work outside of class. Therefore, students should expect to devote 6-10 hours/week on course readings, lecture reviews, discussion posts and assignments.

Course Topics

Professional Communication in a Digital World

  • Communication as a profession
  • Digital communication and optimization 

Communications Strategy

  • Customer decision process
  • Customer engagement
  • Earned, owned, paid media
  • Brand platform ? visual and editorial

Writing for PR & Marketing

  • Overview of PR and advertising writing techniques and tools
  • Preliminary research process
  • Inverted pyramid and 5Ws
  • Narrative platform
  • Digital journalism (aka brand journalism or corporate journalism)
  • Blogging for business
  • Online newsrooms and digital media kits

Corporate Communications

  • Employee relations
  • Internal messaging
  • Presentation design and delivery
  • Pitching ideas
  • Generating reports

Integrated Digital Campaigns

  • Campaign planning, implementation and metrics
  • Lead management process
  • Awareness campaigns

Late Work Policy

Late work is not accepted for full credit in this class.  Some consideration, however, might be given (at the discretion of the instructor) if there are extenuating circumstances such as prolonged hospitalization, family death, or extended individual sickness previously discussed. This course requires students to maintain strong organizational skills.  It is the student?s responsibility to complete all assignments by the due date. The standard penalty for late work is a 20 percent deduction per day up to two days past the deadline (20% deduction for one day late, 40% deduction for two days late). Weekly assignments more than two days late may be submitted through the Friday of Week 16 (Finals Week) for up to 50% of the assignment value. This is not a passing grade, but it is a way to earn some points for completing the work. Completing an assignment late is always better than not completing it.

Reasonable Religious Accommodation

Washington State University reasonably accommodates absences allowing for students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization. Reasonable accommodation requires the student to coordinate with the instructor on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for course completion. Students requesting accommodation must provide written notification within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course and include specific dates for absences. Approved accommodations for absences will not adversely impact student grades. Absence from classes or examinations for religious reasons does not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence. Students who feel they have been treated unfairly in terms of this accommodation may refer to Academic Regulation 104 - Academic Complaint Procedures.


Instructor Interaction

As you are expected to participate in this course daily, I also will be active in the course space on a daily basis. I expect to respond to emails within 48 hours. I am set up to receive notifications directly from Blackboard ?Questions for the Instructor? thread or you can email me directly. I am also happy to set up separate times for phone calls or video conference as needed.


Grading

Each Lesson includes specific requirements and instructions for the related readings, course content, and assignments. Should you need more clarification before handing in work, you can always post your questions for feedback in the Questions for the Instructor thread or email the instructor directly at the email address listed at the top of the syllabus.

I am happy to look at occasional in-progress work on what will eventually be graded if you find that you need extra help on developing ideas or a draft before a due date. But whether you are looking for classmate or instructor input, it would be best to post on the boards or email the instructor several days in advance of that requirement?s deadline, so that there is ample time for a response.

As communication professionals, checking your work and achieving an error-free status is critical to overall success and integrity. Evaluation of your work will be based not only on the quality of writing and applications of best practices - but a very critical eye will be given toward typos, grammatical errors, AP style inaccuracies and overall structure and appearance of each piece.

I try to be efficient in grading ? reviewing and providing feedback within one week of the assignment due date. If I am running behind I will let you know! All grading is managed in Blackboard using a combination of rubrics, in-line edits, and written feedback. Students can view their progress in My Grades.

Course Deliverables

Activity

Points Per Activity

Total Points

Percentage of Grade

Lecture Quizzes (x5)

5

25

8%

Lesson MicroProjects (x5)

25

125

38%

Final Awareness Campaign (4 parts)

25

100

30%

Discussion Forum Contribution (x8)

10

80

24%

 

 

330 points

100%


Grade

Points

Grade

Points

A

93-100%

C

73 - <77%

A-

90 - <93% (90 to below 93%)

C-

70 - <73%

B+

87 - < 90%

D+

67 - <70%

B

83 - <87%

D

60 - <67%

B-

80 - <83%

F

0 - < 60%

C+

77 - <80%

 

 


If a grade falls into a non-specified range (e.g. 89.5% or 89.2%), the grade will be rounded to the closest whole number. Therefore, if a grade was 89.5%, the student would receive an A-; if the grade as 89.2% the student would receive a B+.

Grade Disputes

Requests to reconsider a grade must be made within one week of receipt of the grade and should be accompanied by a detailed explanation or rationale that justifies reconsidering the grade. Such requests can be made in person or via email. The overall course grade will not be adjusted except to correct clerical errors. Emailed requests to change a student?s overall course grade will be disregarded.

Students who have questions/complaints not addressed by the above procedures, or who are dissatisfied with the available remedies for resolving grade disputes, should follow the steps outlined in Academic Regulation 104.


Critical Policies & Procedures

All academic regulations described in detail at https://registrar.wsu.edu/academic-regulations , apply to this class. We encourage you to pay particular attention to the regulations regarding Conduct (45), Penalty for Academic Dishonesty (46), Attendance (71, 72), Closed Week (78), Accommodation for Religious Observances in the Administration of Examinations (82), Accommodation of Disabilities in the Administration of Examinations (83), and Academic Complaint Procedures (104).

All standards of conduct for students found at http://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26 apply in this class.

Some regulations and laws are summarized below. For complete details, please refer to the links provided.

Reasonable Religious Accommodation

Washington State University reasonably accommodates absences allowing for students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization. Reasonable accommodation requires the student to coordinate with the instructor on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for course completion. Students requesting accommodation must provide written notification within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course and include specific dates for absences. Approved accommodations for absences will not adversely impact student grades. Absence from classes or examinations for religious reasons does not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence. Students who feel they have been treated unfairly in terms of this accommodation may refer to Academic Regulation 104 - Academic Complaint Procedures.

Academic Complaint Procedures (Academic Rule 104)

Instructional faculty, chairs, deans, and students should be thoroughly familiar with academic complaint procedures.

A student having complaints about instruction or grading should attempt to resolve those issues directly with the instructor. If that fails, the student should send an email to the instructor using his or her official WSU email account no later than 20 business days following the end of the semester. This email should briefly outline the complaint and be copied to the chairperson of the academic department.

If the complaint is not resolved with the instructor within 20 business days of sending the email, then the student may work directly with the chairperson of the academic department in which the course is offered. The chair?s decision shall be rendered within 20 additional business days.

After the chair?s decision, the student or the instructor may appeal to the academic college Dean?s Office. Complaints must be presented in writing to the college dean within 20 business days of the chair?s decision. The written statement should describe the complaint, indicate how it affects the individual or unit, and include the remedy sought from the college dean. The decision of the college dean is the final step and shall be made within 20 business days.

At the campuses other than Pullman, the procedure is identical except that the program leader shall substitute for the department chair, and the campus chancellor or his or her designee shall substitute for the college dean if the department chair and/or the college dean is not located on that campus.

The University Ombudsman is available at any stage for advice or assistance in resolving academic complaints.

Note: Though chairs and deans (and academic area coordinators and campus chancellors) may resolve complaints about instruction and grading, they may not change a final grade without the consent of the instructor, except as provided by Rule 105.


Academic Freedom

WSU supports the faculty?s academic freedom, right to freedom of expression, and responsibility to fulfill course objectives that are approved by the Faculty Senate. This is fundamental to who we are as an institution. Along with these rights comes the responsibility to protect the freedom of expression of all members of our community, including students.

?As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly standards of their disciplines. They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides and counselors?They protect students? academic freedom.? (Source: Faculty Responsibilities section of the WSU Faculty Manual)

?Freedom of expression is recognized as one of the essential elements of academic freedom. On a healthy campus, there is respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the campus community and a concern for the rights of others. ?It is the policy of Washington State University to support and promote the rights of all individuals to express their view and opinions for or against actions or ideas in which they have an interest? The above rights exist in equal measure for each member of the University community.? (Source: Section IIB of the Faculty Manual - page 14)

At WSU, the faculty has a strong interest in promoting respectful dialogue in the classroom setting. Speech and conduct that disrupts the educational process and creates a hostile environment, as that term is defined in WSU?s non-discrimination policy (Executive Policy 15), is not protected. If concerns arise, faculty will consult the WSU?s Office for Equal Opportunity at 509-335-8288 or oeo@wsu.edu. We aim to protect the freedoms and rights of every member of the WSU community and to promote learning about diverse perspectives while ensuring that students experience a safe, constructive learning environment.


Appeals: Student Appeals Process

?The Appeals Board is composed of employees who review a decision made by the University Conduct Board, or a conduct officer, that a student violated the University's Standards of Conduct for Students. When a student disagrees with a decision of the Conduct Board or a conduct officer, he/she may appeal the decision to the University Appeals Board.? ? WSU Office of Student Conduct University Appeals Board 


Copyright

This syllabus and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the intellectual property of the instructors who designed and contributed to the course (or the intellectual property of their references) and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes through commercial note-taking services, without written advance permission, could be viewed as copyright infringement and/or an academic integrity violation, WAC 504-26-010 (3)(a,b,c,i). Further, the use of University electronic resources (e.g., Blackboard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU?s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218), a violation of WSU?s Electronic Communication policy (EP 4), and also violates the terms of use for the Blackboard software program.

Any course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the instructor's intellectual property and may be protected by copyright. The use of University electronic resources (e.g., Angel) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU's computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218).


Discriminatory Conduct Statement and Employee Reporting Requirements

Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information).

Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.  (Visit oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info).


Email Policy

All official WSU email communication must be sent to students? WSU email address.  Absolutely NO communication will be sent to external addresses (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail, and so forth). We will use either the email within Blackboard or ?email.wsu.edu? system.


FERPA

WSU students have legal rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for protection of their academic records. For a complete explanation of these rights, visit the URL associated with each home campus in the Academic Regulations section or http://ferpa.em.wsu.edu/.


Intellectual Property

Syllabi and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the intellectual property of individual faculty (or the intellectual property of their references) and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes through commercial note-taking services, without instructor written advance permission, could be viewed as copyright infringement and/or an academic integrity violation, WAC 504-26-010 (3)(a,b,c,i). Further, the use of University electronic resources (e.g., Blackboard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU?s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218), a violation of WSU?s Electronic Communication policy (EP 4), and also violates the terms of use for the Blackboard software program.

Any course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the instructor's intellectual property and may be protected by copyright. The use of University electronic resources (e.g., Angel) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU's computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218).


Netiquette

Just as in a physical classroom, a good discussion in an online classroom depends on everyone feeling safe and respected. Here are a few tips for creating an educational and enjoyable discussion space:

  • It is difficult to ?read? emotion in online discussions ? be clear, use emoticons or concisely express your feelings
  • Use of capitals sends the message that YOU ARE SHOUTING!
  • Give positive feedback (good idea, thanks), be polite, and avoid hostile or curt comments, stereotypes, and labels.
  • Apply the same standards you would follow in a face-to-face classroom discussion.
  • Maintain a sense of dignity and decorum (class is not the same place as your Facebook account or your email).
  • Argue not with emotion but with knowledge, facts, authority, and reason.

For more on the Core Rules of Netiquette visit http://coursedesign.colostate.edu/obj/corerulesnet.html


Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Faculty Manual, p. 31).

This policy expresses WSU?s commitment to maintaining an environment free from discrimination, including sexual harassment. This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, or others having an association with the University.


GPA, Academic Deficiency & Disenrollment

GPA: The Graduate School requires that all graduate students maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA throughout their graduate program. Students who are not able to maintain a 3.0 will be disenrolled from the program.

Academic Deficiency: A student who does not maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA will be considered academically deficient. A notice of deficiency will be sent to the student from the Graduate School. The student will have the option to request reinstatement, per the Graduate School?s instructions. The department will consider reinstatement requests but are not required to request readmission for any students below a 3.0.

Disenrollment: Students who do not maintain a 3.0 GPA and who are academically deficient are subject to disenrollment. If a student submits a request for reinstatement it will be reviewed by the committee. If a reinstatement request is not received by the department the student?s program will be terminated. Following termination, if a student wishes to return to the program they will have to go through the application process again.


Grade Change Policy

An instructor may not change a grade after it has been filed with the Registrar, except in the case of clerical error, which the instructor may correct by so certifying to the Registrar. Such change must be approved (signature required) by the chairperson of the department in which the course was offered. Grade corrections must be processed within one year of the end of the term for which the original grade was given. In extenuating circumstances, exceptions to the one-year limit for correction of grade errors may be considered by petition to the Registrar?s Office.


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