Course Instructor

Instructor: Rebecca L. Cooney
Office: Jackson/Murrow 200D, Pullman campus
Office Hours: By appointment only for online courses
Messages: (509) 335-3911
Email: rebecca.cooney@wsu.edu 


Textbook & Resources:

Barker, D., Barker, M., Bormann, N., Neher, K. (2016) Social Media Marketing: A strategic approach. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing. ISBN 978-1305502758 (Available at the Bookie or on Amazon)

Additional suggested readings provided as links within the learning management system as part of the course schedule.


Course Overview

COMSTRAT 563 is designed to help students apply writing, critical thinking, and persuasion skills to the practice and promotion of PR and advertising, in both digital and social media outlets. Students will explore various digital promotion technologies, as well as the use of emerging social media to study their ethical application in both advertising and PR.

Credits: 3 credits

Prerequisites: Admitted to an online degree program or graduate certificate in communication

Course Delivery: Course is delivered online, asynchronously through WSU?s Learning Management System (Blackboard Learn).

Course Description

The main goal of this course is to introduce students to key ideas, principles, and tactics for writing for digital content, creating and executing a digital campaign and understanding core concepts in tracking and measuring the effectiveness of digital communications. Students are introduced to digital campaign planning and project management ? challenged on how to establish purposeful and measurable outcomes and trained on the setup, design, delivery, and measurement of various online tools used by practitioners for web development, email outreach, social media engagement and online advertising.

Each student will be aligned with a fictional brand, product or organization for the duration of the semester. Students will be expected to conceptualize and create specified elements of a promotional campaign, which will include social media press releases and web- and social media-distributed multimedia content.

Students will learn to optimize and promote their campaigns and content for distribution and discovery on search engines, social networks, mobile devices, and other non-traditional outlets. Best practices will be explored for press release writing, tagging, metadata creation, social network seeding, community engagement and more.

Students will learn the basic data interpretation techniques of the website and social media analytics services (such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights) that track visitor behavior, page views, keyword, and third-party site referrals


Course Learning Outcomes and Assessment

Course Learning Outcome 1: At the end of this course, students should be able to develop and manage online content promotions and branded digital campaigns.

Course Topics

Evaluation of Outcome

 

  • Overview of Social Media Marketing (aka Digital Marketing)
  • Ethics in the Digital Space
  • Presentations and Reporting
  • Overview of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)
  • Earned, Owned, and Paid Media
  • Target Audience and Audience Persona
  • Customer Experience
  • Brand Platform
  • Core Messaging
  • Overview of digital tools, platforms, and channels
  • Lead Management Process and Customer Relations Management
  • Web Development
  • Blogging for Business
  • Social Media Engagement
  • Other Digital Tactics: Mobile Marketing, Email Marketing, and Online Advertising
  • Content Creation and Sharing: Blogging, Streaming Video, Podcasts, and Webinars
  • 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.
  • Semester-long project planning
  • Audience persona
  • Situation Analysis, Culture, Brand, and Core Messaging
  • Customer Decision Process
  • Digital Asset Planning
  • Initial Setup and Content Population for Digital Assets (website, blog, social media channels)

Course Learning Outcome 2: At the end of this course, students should be able to develop and execute social media engagement and user-oriented content strategies.

Course Topics

Evaluation of Outcome

 

  • Overview of Digital Media Metrics
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Web Analytics
  • Social Media Metrics
  • Digital Marketing Plans
  • Overview of Integrated Digital Campaigns
  • Campaign Planning and Messaging
  • Content Strategy
  • Campaign Implementation
  • Campaign Metrics
  • Tools for Managing Digital Marketing Efforts
  • 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.
  • Metrics Setup on Digital Assets: Web Analytics and Search Engine Optimization
  • Report-Out #1: Digital Marketing Campaign Strategy (goals, strategy, objectives, deliverables)
  • Digital Content Creation
  • Baseline Metrics and Key Performance Indicators
  • Report-Out #2: Campaign Concepts, Tactics, and Desired Outcomes

Course Learning Outcome 3: At the end of this course, students should be able to evaluate campaign success in execution using key performance indicators and online tools for web development, email, metrics, and multimedia management.

Course Topics

Evaluation of Outcome

 

  • Campaign Implementation: Monitoring and Adjusting
  • Campaign Implementation: Metrics and Analysis
  • 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.
  • Campaign Implementation, Monitoring, and Adjusting
  • Report-Out #3: Final Campaign Report and Reflections

Instructor Interaction

Questions for the Instructor:  I am in the Blackboard course space regularly and have a ?questions for the instructor? forum set up on the discussion board that sends me a notification any time a student posts a message.

Office hours and direct communication: I am active and engaged throughout the semester - checking in regularly and providing feedback in a timely manner. Email is my preferred method of communication. I will respond to emails within 48 hours. 

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 weekly 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.

Weekly 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.


Respectful Engagement

Respectful engagement applies to all course collaborators including the instructor, teaching assistants, students, secondary graders, and virtual mentors (reference (verbatim) Global Campus Online Safety: https://online.wsu.edu/currentStudent/supportTeam/CampusSafety.aspx)


Online collaboration

The essence of education is exposure to diverse viewpoints. In your threaded discussion posts, you?ll meet students with vastly different opinions and backgrounds. You?re encouraged to disagree with the substance of others? ideas and opinions but do so with respect, and without losing focus on the topic at hand. Personal attacks and inflammatory statements do not have a place in academic discourse. Please review these tips and academic regulations.

At Washington State University, netiquette is governed by both conduct rules and common-sense guidelines:

Conduct Rules Your instructors will promote high-quality academic discussions by removing posts they view as disruptive of the educational process and alerting students whose posts have been removed that they have violated course expectations. Students who continue to misuse the discussion boards after a warning may be subject to removal of access rights, course failure, and referral to the Office of Student Conduct.

Postings must comply with university policy on the use of computing resources, including those regarding harassment and discrimination, as well as conform to the Standards of Conduct for Students. Students are encouraged to review the standards, particularly WAC 504-26-218, 504-26-220, and 504-26-222. 

Netiquette guidelines

  • Be polished and professional. Write your post in a word-processing program, such as Word. Reread your post for spelling, grammar, tone, clarity, and relevance. After using spell check, cut and paste into your group discussion.
  • Treat others with respect. Encourage conversations by asking questions and explaining your position: "I didn't understand what you meant by this. Can you explain it more clearly?" "I found your argument unconvincing because..."
  • First, be nice. Before you raise a concern with someone else?s idea or work, first point out something positive: ?That?s a good point, but ??
  • Discuss issues or concerns, not individuals or personalities.
  • Be specific. Responding to individuals by name, commenting on specific ideas and approaches, and providing specific suggestions encourage learning.
  • Set clear deadlines that allow time for editing, questioning, and revising. If someone cannot meet the deadline, discuss how the group would like to manage the situation.
  • Use humor cautiously. Someone else may interpret what is funny to you as disrespectful or negative. Sarcasm and irony often fail to be humorous online.
  • Avoid using jargon and acronyms. If someone uses terms you don?t understand, ask for clarification. If you don?t understand the terms, others may not.
  • Avoid judgmental responses such as, ?That doesn?t make any sense.? Try phrasing it as a question: ?How do you reconcile that with what we read in Chapter 2??
  • Be tactful. Read your communications carefully, and try to imagine how they could be interpreted by other people. Be more tactful than you would be in person
  • Encourage others. Your role is not only to learn, but also to help others learn.
  • Be open to being wrong. Remember that you may be wrong, and there?s no shame in that. Nobody is right all the time, and everyone is here to learn.

Online Harassment

The definition of harassment includes a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. For more information, please visit the WSU cyberstalking webpage. 


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.


Late Work Policy

This course requires students to maintain strong organizational skills.  It is the student?s responsibility to complete all assignments by the due date. Students who miss a deadline for a graded task are subject to a 10% penalty for every day the task is late. If a graded task is not received within 72 hours of the deadline, students are at risk of receiving a ?0? zero for the graded task for failure to complete. 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

Related notes:

  • Reading assignments and related discussion posts are worth 41% of your grade and count toward participation
  • The semester-long project is broken out into 6 parts that build on each other. The semester-long project is worth 59% of your grade.
  • Unless otherwise previously arranged, please note that the instructor will not retroactively accept any graded task past 10 days. 

Tentative Course Schedule and Lesson Plan

See COURSE SCHEDULE in left column


Grading

Tasks Points % of Grade
Reading and discussion forum contribution 140 41%
Semester-long project parts 1-6 200 59%
  340 pts 100%


Grading Table

Grade Points Percentage Grade Points Percentage
A 316-340 93-100% C 248-261 73-76%
A- 306-315 90-92% C- 238-247 70-72%
B+ 296-305 87-89% D+ 228-237 67-69%
B 282-295 83-86% D 204-227 60-66%
B- 272-281 80-82% F ? 203 0-59%
C+ 262-271 77-79%      


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.


Policies & Procedures

Academic Calendar

Please review the current Academic Calendar to become familiar with critical deadlines on your campus. Visit the WSU Academic Calendar page: http://www.registrar.wsu.edu/Registrar/Apps/AcadCal.ASPX. and select your home campus from the drop-down menu.


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.


Academic Integrity Statement

Washington State University, a community dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, expects all students to behave in a manner consistent with its high standards of scholarship and conduct. Students are expected to uphold these standards both on and off campus and acknowledge the university's authority to take disciplinary action. Cheating is defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010(3). It is strongly recommended that you read and understand these definitions:  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010

University instructors have the authority to intervene in all situations where students are suspected of academic dishonesty. In such instances, responsible instructors retain the authority to assign grades to students considering, from an academic standpoint, the nature of the student action. Violation of academic integrity on any assignment will involve (i) an academic penalty ranging from a minimum of both a zero on that assignment and the reduction of a full letter grade on your final grade to failure of the entire course, (ii) filing of case with the Office of Student Conduct, and per university regulations, (iii) inability to withdraw from the course.

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-010(3). You need to read and understand all of the definitions of cheating: http://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010.  If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, you should ask course instructors before proceeding.

If you wish to appeal a faculty member's decision relating to academic integrity, please use the form available at conduct.wsu.edu.


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.


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