Courses


These courses apply to students admitted after Spring 2012.

Please click on course titles below to see course descriptions.

First Semester
Second Semester
Third Semester (Summer)
  • Students choose two elective courses
Fourth Semester
Capstone Project (Second and Fourth Semesters)

SCOM K4101 Audience, Communication, and Persuasion. 3 pts.

Description

This course examines some of the fundamental components of strategic communications—how to communicate, how to persuade, and how to do so ethically. Your assumptions about communications will be challenged as we explore the intersections between information, communication, and meaning in today’s social media world. We examine various theories of persuasion in order to learn how persuasion works in changing our attitudes and behaviors, and we apply ethical reasoning to real-world strategic communications issues as we consider the effects of our communications on relevant stakeholders.

Students will learn theories of communication, persuasion and ethics. Students will practice their ability to write for multiple audiences, with each assignment presenting increasingly complex challenges to students. The group exercises will involve the discussion of sample communications forms and concepts from reading while assignments will demonstrate mastery of both.

Social strategy is executed through workshops in the residency and Saturday Sessions, as well as four group exercises conducted in online forums on the course website.

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SCOM K4104 Organizational Strategy and Leadership. 3 pts.

Description

This course focuses on the language and underlying theories of strategic management and their use in communicating critical organizational messages to key internal and external constituents and stakeholders. The course helps communications professionals enhance their capacity to partner with other members of executive leadership of corporations, nonprofits or governmental entities (including “c-level” leaders) to ensure clear messaging to key constituencies regarding the organization’s mission, vision and strategy. It empowers communications leaders to “translate” the “languages” of organizational strategy and leadership into clearly articulated communications strategies and tactical plans. The course emphasizes practical application in real-world settings through the use of simulations, case analyses and related publications.

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SCOM K4112 Strategic Storytelling. 1.5 pts.

Description

In this half-term course, students will learn how to combine strategic thinking with storytelling to create presentations that engage, motivate and inspire audiences. Students are introduced to the concepts of audience analysis, obstacles and barriers, theme/message, and behavioral goals, and how they are used to help construct strategic presentations. We will also examine the ways in which presenters can use the power of story to evoke emotion and drive decision-making. Students will get an opportunity to develop their storytelling skills by developing a persuasive, story-based Pecha Kucha presentation, a six-minute presentation composed of slides that advance automatically every twenty seconds and are accompanied by a live narration.

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SCOM K4113 Persuasive Presenting. 1.5 pts.

Description

One of the main mistakes presenters make is not taking the time to understand their audience. If you want to change an audience’s thinking about a particular issue and motivate them to take a specific action — the goal of all persuasive presentations — you need to understand how your audience thinks and what is important to them, what is preventing them from taking the desired action now, and what might persuade them to take this action in the future. In this half-term course, you will learn techniques for conducting in-depth audience interviews and creating a persuasive argument built around insights derived from those interviews. The argument will be presented in a team presentation that employs the foundational principles learned in the first semester and that skillfully interweaves an evidence-based argument with effective storytelling.

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SCOM K4116 Strategic Writing Part 1. 1.5 pts.

Description

In this 1.5 credit course, students will learn how to assess an organization’s identity, imagine its audiences, develop messages for those audiences and select tools and channels to deliver those messages. Students will practice their ability to assess organizational identity, audience, tools and channels via group exercises in online forums, and will execute assignments to demonstrate their fluency with writing messages in standard communications forms.

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SCOM K4117 Strategic Writing Part 2. 1.5 pts.

Description

In Strategic Writing II, the second half of a three-credit course, we will round out our study of communications strategy with units on communications tools and channels, internal communications, external communications (public relations), and strategic execution. We will continue to explore communications strategy in an analytical framework while practicing writing skills and mastering specific written communications tools.

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SCOM K4125 Setting Strategic Direction. 3 pts.

Description

An effective strategic communications program begins with the answers to four fundamental questions: (1) With whom should we communicate? (2) What does she or he do now that represents an opportunity or a problem for us? (3) What would we like her or him to do differently? (4) How can communications change what she or he feels, so that she or he will change her or his behavior the way we would like? Setting the Strategic Direction introduces students to a process for thinking systematically about these fundamental questions as a foundation for the formulation of communications strategy.

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SCOM K4128 Insight Discovery. 3 pts.

Description

Research plays a central role in defining strategies to drive communications efforts, because it allows you to define who your target audience might be and gain a rich understanding of what they think, feel and believe about your product/issue/organization, your competition, and the environment in which you operate. In this course, we combine theory and practice to see how you can use research to find true insights about your target, and how you can translate these insights into effective strategy and persuasive communications. We focus on understanding both the principles and the process of conducting good market research for communication development and the opportunity for hands-on practice. The course will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to become educated users and purchasers of research, in order to develop strategic communications plans that are rooted in solid consumer and market understanding.

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SCOM K4201 The Practice of Leadership. 3 pts.

Description

The overall objective of The Practice of Leadership is to help each student develop his or her own style of leadership that embraces ethical behavior and fosters a culture of transparency and collaboration. The course will explore best practices in leadership skills such as hiring, mentoring, team-building, and collaboration. Students will understand the purpose of inspiring staff, encouraging creative thinking, supporting professional development and embracing an organization’s values.

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SCOM K4301 Channel Architecture. 3 pts.

Description

The overall objective of Channel Architecture is to help each student develop a conceptual approach for creating integrated communications programs. This approach will help the communications strategist select, within resource constraints, the optimal channels mix for reaching a target audience with a given strategic message, and for engaging the audience with that message. This approach can serve commercial, non-profit, social, or political goals; it can accommodate the full array of communications channels and disciplines.

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SCOM K4302 Capstone Part 2: Creative Expression. 4 pts.

Description

The overall objective of Creative Expression and Innovation is to allow each student, individually, to explore in depth a) how to execute a communications strategy creatively using one communications channel, and b) how to integrate that execution with creative executions of the same strategy using other channels.  The team will fit all of its individually-developed, single-channel executions together into one fully-integrated, multi-channel campaign.

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Capstone Project. 7 pts.

Description

Combining SCOM K4301 Channel Architecture and SCOM K4302 Capstone Part 2: Creative Expression., the Strategic Communications Capstone Project is an opportunity to demonstrate understanding of strategic communications. Working in small teams with a real-world client, students put their strategic mindset into practice to propose a fully developed communications solution to a business problem or opportunity. Clients benefit from the applied research, analysis, and insight from students who, guided by faculty, bring their considerable professional experience and academic credentials to solve complex challenges.

In the spring and final fall semesters, four to five person student teams work on projects to research and propose a communications strategy and an optimal target audience for communications. Students will develop a strategic message that can move the audience, recommend a multi-channel communications program for engaging the audience with that message, and design an integrated creative campaign concept. Throughout the project Columbia faculty and experts from the New York communications field will advise students.

Each student team will develop:

  • Fully-researched recommendations for a communications strategy that accomplishes the client's goal, including a defined audience, behavioral objective, role for communications, critical insight into the attitudes and emotions of the audience, and a strategic message for the communications campaign.
  • Recommendations for a multi-channel communications plan-- budget, people, capabilities.
  • Original, on-strategy, multi-channel, integrated creative campaign concepts.

 

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