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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: COMM 354
Course Title: Social Media and Virtual Communities
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

This course examines the ways humans communicate via social media and virtual communities. Grounded in communication theory, students  appropriately engage, first-hand, with social media technologies to explore the manners of electronic communication maintenance, manipulation, and community building. Technologies pertaining to this course include: smart mobs, blogs, collaboration tools, podcasts, viral video, social bookmarking, and other evolving technologies. Prerequisites: COMM 214.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

COMM 214.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places
By Reeves & Nash
Computer Mediated Communication
By Thurlow, Lengel and Tomic
Communication at Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds
By Pearce, Boellstorff, and Nardi
Course Objectives
  • To become familiar with the forms and methods of communicating with social media and within virtual communities.
  • To acquire formal technology for new media forms and methods.
  • To identify ethical forms of social and virtual communication.
  • To understand theoretical approaches to virtual and social communication.
Measurable Learning


  • Recognize and articulate the evolution of mass communication forms.
  • Identify various social media and virtual communication outlets.
  • Develop critical thinking and writing skills in social and virtual communication analysis.
  • Apply communication skills in a variety of social and virtual communities.
Topical Outline:
  • Mass media forms
  • Temporal progression of new media
  • Forms of new media
  • Social media
  • Virtual communities
  • Ethics of social and virtual communication
  • Blogging
  • Technological platforms
  • Smart mobs

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Amy Darnell Date: September 5, 2012
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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