Digital Communication & Design is a New Degree for a Digital Age. It’s a Communication Studies program for the new millennium where creativity and technology meet. It’s a place to learn the skills that are indispensable for every organization, every business, and every ministry.
A digital world demands that universities today offer something beyond the traditional Communications Degree— a program that occupies the unique intersection of creative visual content and the contemporary media channels that allow any individual to reach the world through a keystroke or the click of a mouse.
Digital Communication & Design courses will give you the ability to design messages and deliver them to an inter-connected planet. Social Media & Journalism combine with Digital Imaging & Interactive Media to teach skills that are as essential as I.T. in today’s world.
Leading Jessup’s first communications degree is broadcasting veteran Paul Robins. His 35-year media career includes Emmy Award winning work on the Discovery Channel, PBS, and locally in San Francisco and Sacramento. Paul has anchored television newscasts for over 10 years, and hosted morning drive radio broadcasts in Sacramento, Detroit and Dallas.
Introduction to Mass Communication
The story of Mass Communication is the story of revolutions in technology, from the printing press to the internet. Understanding this history is key to understanding the current revolution and our rapidly evolving digital world today. This course studies the changes in communication technology over time, surveys the various mass media today, and examines the impact this technology has on business and society from a Christian worldview. This class is a prerequisite to other classes for Digital Communication and Design majors.
Storytelling: Analog to Digital
All communication is storytelling, and there are universal principles to be discovered in great stories and great characters. This course takes students from ancient myths to Netflix and Hulu, identifying the elements of effective storytelling. As they study stories from the Old Testament to contemporary films, students will learn to develop their own stories and characters for use in the digital world.
Every concept, idea or story you see is constructed using the grammar of how we perceive visual form. This course builds a vocabulary of visual composition grounded in the fundamentals of design. Students will learn how this visual language effectively communicates messages by studying real-world examples. The class explores the elements of design and principles of composition with emphasis on color, typography, imagery and grid. Students will practice visual design skills to convey meaning through form.
Writing for the Media
Effective writing skills are essential for every communicator. This course gives students the opportunity to examine and practice the types of writing that are produced across the various media. The fundamentals of style, voice and structure will be applied to a wide variety of writing platforms, including, web and social media, advertising and public relations writing, print and broadcast journalism, scriptwriting, blogging and more.
New Media, Technology & Society
We are living in a time of digital revolution. This course covers the history and development of Internet and digital communication technologies, and the ways these changes impact society. This includes topics like new media’s relevance for identity formation, interpersonal relationships, social networks, news and media production, local and global cultures, media freedom, privacy, and surveillance. Applying a Christian worldview to these concepts, students are encouraged to think critically about the current and future impacts of digital technologies, both in their everyday life and in their future careers.
Critical Thinking and the Media
The ability to critically examine and construct messages is a fundamental communication skill. It goes beyond the identification of fallacious reasoning to also understand what assumptions and values underlie a logically sound argument, and how to combat weak or false assumptions with persuasive arguments. This course teaches students how to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of arguments; recognize common fallacies; apply basic rhetorical criticism methods; and construct well-reasoned arguments that will be persuasive to a particular audience. Students will practice their critical thinking skills on a variety of message types and will learn to be thoughtful consumers and ethical, effective producers of content in contemporary media.
An education in Digital Communication & Design should be both theoretical and practical, and this course is all about “practical.” More than simply learning how tools work, it’s applying tools to tell a story. It’s an opportunity for “doing” and “making” across a broad spectrum of media: Blogging, Podcasting, Web Design, Digital Image Editing, Video Production, Digital Marketing, Game Design, Crisis Management Communication, etc. 15 weeks of hands-on projects will prepare students for future internships and future careers.
Media Law and Ethics
The digital world is full of legal and moral questions. This course covers the legal principles that apply to all media professionals and the ethical responsibilities of organizations and individuals who work in those fields (and anyone with a Facebook page or Instagram account). Topics covered include privacy, use of copyrighted material, libel and defamation, and issues of particular application to the rapidly evolving digital space. Students will identify the current ethical standards of the communication professions and practices, and discuss any areas where acceptable professional standards may be in conflict with a Christian worldview.
Digital Media Concentration
Writing for Digital Platforms
Excellent, strategic writing skills are particularly vital for any media-related career. This course teaches students how to hone existing writing skills and pair them with the technical skills relevant to digital settings. Topics include becoming proficient in current digital publishing tools; writing for search engine optimization; writing with word count constraints; developing strategies for embedding links; providing appropriate attribution for sources; and incorporating multiple media types to create an effective post, article, or webpage. Students will work with personal and professional blog posts, podcasts, digital news and magazine articles, social media posts, and other forms of new media communication.
This course provides a general exploration of the concept of marketing. Throughout, we will emphasize the importance of the use of marketing to develop a deep and meaningful relationship with customers. The course will discuss the basics of market analysis, the role of: email marketing, content marketing, online analytics and other digital concepts. Students investigate practical control of the marketing effort within the context of social and ethical responsibilities of marketing from a Christian perspective.
Journalism in the Digital Age
With more and more people getting their news online, this course teaches the effective consumption and production of digital news. Students will learn and practice the fundamentals of gathering, evaluating, and reporting information on multiple contemporary media platforms. This course covers how news production and consumption has evolved in the digital age and the related implications for the news industry, democracy, and society. Students will help develop news judgement; hone research, reporting, and editing skills; and produce multimedia news content crafted for digital environments. The history, philosophy, ethics, and major criticism of the news media are covered. Major topics include copyrights, libel, privacy, sourcing, and First Amendment freedoms and responsibilities from a faith-based perspective.
This course is a practical application of contemporary methods for gathering, analyzing, and developing market research for use in business decision making. Research methodology includes specific topic areas as the research process, primary and secondary data, qualitative and quantitative research methods, statistical analysis, and utilization of technology. Questionnaire and experimental design, attitude measurement, sampling and data analysis are emphasized along with applications to marketing decision-making.
Digital Design Concentration
Video and Sound Design
This course is a practice-based introduction to sequencing image and sound into purposeful stories and content. This course explores storytelling through the lenses of both video and audio with emphasis on story formation, planning, lighting, script management, continuity, capture, assembly and editing. Students practice workflow collaboration across disciplines and learn industry standards.
Digital Imaging & Composition
Acquire the foundational skills to take a creative vision from concept to completion of high-quality digital imagery. In this course, students will learn planning (fundamentals of art direction, prop styling, and mood), through execution (coordination, camera technique, composing) and editing (curating, image correction, export) for composition use (resizing, asset management). Students will learn foundational editing principles for producing image-based content across mediums
Animate your ideas. This course gives a framework for using motion to join and convey relationship between the elements of a composition or story. Through traditional animation theory and motion principles, students learn to meaningfully structure movement from one state to the next with thoughtful pacing, style and consistency. Students will also explore motion as a component of interaction design.
Interactive Media Design
What is the goal of your audience and how will they interact with your work? This course focuses on designing for the participation of others. By first developing a sensitivity to the needs and goals of various people who might interact with a message or story, students learn the fundamentals of user experience design (UX) and the foundations for interaction design (affordance, error prevention, iterative design). Students will practice the process that takes them from simple concept sketches to interactive prototypes for a real context based on the most relevant medium for interaction (such as web, mobile application, AR/VR, etc.).
This concentration is based on consultation with the Digital Communication and Design Department to determine courses for specific career direction.
After completing the Digital Communication & Design Program, students will be able to:
- Articulate how a variety of careers in their field of study, whether religious or secular, should be influenced by a Christian Worldview, and explain how their field of study is useful in service locally and globally.
- Demonstrate proficiency in critical thinking and professional writing skills, so as to be able to both produce and consume messages critically, including an understanding of how these skills can be effective across cultures.
- Create engaging messages on contemporary media platforms, demonstrating the skills necessary for successful employment in the digital/online/mobile world.
- Understand the research methods and measurement tools used to evaluate the effectiveness of messages of a variety of media platforms.
- Collaborate with others, both as leader and participant, to produce work of high quality.
- Website Editor
Faculty & Staff
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