Teaching experience

I have taught courses in multiplatform news writing and editing, social media, communication research, publication design, journalism history, and communication law and ethics. …

bluelineA list of the courses I have taught and accompanying materials. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like more information.

SHIPPENSBURG UNIVERSITY

COM 111: Introduction to Mass Communication

Explore the structure and functions of the mass media in the United States to help students become more critical media consumers and more responsible, informed citizens. The course introduces students to the history and operation of various media industries, as well as the mass media’s roles, ethical responsibilities and First Amendment protections in a democratic society. Students examine the mass media’s cultural, political and economic influence.

  • Key assignment/activity: Students complete a two-part oral history project. In Part 1, each student interviews someone age 50 or older about his or her experiences with the mass media in the 20th century in the areas of sound recording, radio, television and movies. In Part 2, the student researches the history of a media company or organization mentioned by the interview subject.
  • Syllabus: Fall 2020
  • Sample lecture videos: A playlist of lecture videos from Fall 2020, when the course was entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COM 112: Media Writing

Introduce the variety of media platforms that students may encounter in their professional careers. Focus on writing techniques used by the mass media, including techniques for newspapers, online news sites, radio and television, and public relations. Also provide instruction in grammar, spelling and Associated Press style.

  • Key assignments/activities: During the first half of the semester, students receive instruction and tutoring in the fundamentals of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. They must pass a proficiency exam as a condition for continuing in the communication/journalism major. During the second half of the semester, students learn to write for print, online and broadcast news media, as well as for public relations.
  • Syllabus: Spring 2020

COM 285: News Writing and Reporting

Familiarize students with the journalistic style of writing to prepare them for careers as reporters, editors or content creators. Provide instruction in the basic formats and strategies used in print and online media, including traditional and alternative news lead and story structures. Teach students to write with economy and clarity, to exercise sound news judgment and to consider the needs of their audience.

  • Key assignments/activities: Students complete weekly writing assignments, including inverted-pyramid, hourglass and focus structure news stories, personality profiles, speech and meeting stories, obituaries and live-tweeting.
  • Syllabus: Fall 2020
  • Sample lecture videos: A playlist of lecture videos from Fall 2020, when the course was entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COM 293: Editing

Teach students the basics of audience-centric editing for print and online media, including micro editing to fix spelling, grammatical and style errors; macro editing to improve clarity, flow and story structure; and editing for taste and fairness. Show students how to write effective headlines, photo captions and other display type for print and the web. Provide instruction in the fundamental principles of news design and the use of Adobe InDesign.

  • Key assignments/activities: Students complete a variety of editing assignments and drills. For the final project, each student designs a multipage newspaper spread using Adobe InDesign and is responsible for selecting and editing all stories and photos and writing all headlines, captions and other display type.
  • Syllabus: Spring 2021
  • Sample lecture videos: A playlist of lecture videos from Spring 2021, when the course was entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COM 345: Communication Law and Ethics

Familiarize students with the theories and concepts of mass communication law, including First Amendment protections, libel, privacy, free press/fair trial, copyright and indecency/obscenity. Also explore mass media ethics, equipping students with ethical theories and tools to help them exercise sound moral judgment and be responsible communication professionals.

  • Key assignments/activities: Students research and compare the legal protections for freedom of expression in the United States with those of three other countries around the world in regard to freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the rights to assemble and petition. Students also analyze an ethics case study involving journalists, public relations professionals, advertisers or other mass communication professionals, applying the Potter Box framework and ethical theories to arrive at an ethical decision or judgment in the case.
  • Syllabus: Fall 2020
  • Sample lecture videos: A playlist of lecture videos from Fall 2020, when the course was entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COM 381: Promotional Publication Design

Equip students with the design skills and and conceptual knowledge needed to develop effective promotional content and design strategies. The course examines practical applications of basic contemporary design to public relations materials such as newsletters, flyers, posters, brochures and business cards. Students gain extensive hands-on experience using Adobe InDesign software.

  • Key assignments/activities: Much of the course is structured around the four “CRAP” design principles in Robin Williams’ Non-Designer’s Design Book: contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. Students produce a variety of promotional materials in InDesign. For the final project, they design 4-page newsletters and trifold brochures for a fictional client.
  • Syllabus: Spring 2021
  • Sample lecture videos: A playlist of lecture videos from Spring 2021, when the course was entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COM 490: Selected Topics – Social Media Strategy

Introduce students to a variety of social media tools and platforms and their use by communication professionals for information gathering, publicity, promotion and audience engagement. Broaden students’ understanding of social media principles while providing practical experience in social media planning, content creation and analytics.

  • Key assignments/activities: During the semester, students maintain Twitter and Medium accounts and obtain Hootsuite Platform Certification. Students also use Keyhole for basic social media analytics. For the main team-based project, the students examine and critique the Shippensburg University Communication/Journalism Department’s social media activity, as well as the social media activity of similar departments at other universities, and recommend ways in which the department may improve its social media presence. The project includes a social media audit and audience analysis, a strategic plan and the creation of sample social media content.
  • Syllabus: Spring 2021
  • Course blog: Spring 2019

COM 520: Applied Mass Communication Research (graduate course)

Introduce graduate students to several common quantitative and qualitative research methods and their application to the mass communication field. Show students how to conduct surveys, focus group interviews and content analyses to examine communication messages and audiences. Students learn strategies for analyzing and interpreting data to find solutions to practical communication problems.

  • Key assignments/activities: During the semester, I guide graduate students through the research process: selecting a topic/problem, conducting a literature review, posing research questions or hypotheses, designing and carrying out a study, and performing basic data analysis. Students create online surveys in Qualtrics, perform content analysis coding and develop focus group protocols. They also complete CITI Program training in research ethics.
  • Syllabus: Spring 2021
  • Sample lecture videos: A playlist of lecture videos from Spring 2021.

SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

COMM 1421: Writing for the Media

Introduced students to writing, information-gathering and copy-editing techniques across media platforms.

Syllabus: Spring 2011

COMM 2135: Communication Research Methods

Provided an overview of scholarly communication research. Introduced journalism, public relations and communication studies majors to common quantitative and qualitative research methods, including surveys, experiments, content analysis, textual analysis, participant observation and in-depth interviewing.

Syllabus: Spring 2015

COJR 2431: American Journalism (history)

Presented a survey of the history of American journalism from colonial times to the present, helping journalism and public relations majors develop an understanding of journalism in a broader social and political context.

Syllabus: Spring 2015

COJR 3422: Social Media in Journalism and Public Relations

Proposed and developed the new elective course, which began as a special-topics offering for undergraduate journalism and public relations majors and later was approved as a permanent addition to the curriculum. Introduced students to a variety of social media tools and the ways in which they may be used by journalists, public relations professionals and citizens for information gathering, reporting, publicity and engagement.

Syllabus: Spring 2015
• Course blog: Spring 2014 (NOTE: Some links may no longer be functional.)

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

J8008: Qualitative Research Methods in Journalism (graduate course)

Provided an overview of mass communication research and introduced master’s students to common qualitative research methods.

Syllabus: Summer 2008

J2100: News

Introductory journalism lab course for undergraduates. Students produced print and broadcast news stories and completed multimedia convergence projects.

Syllabus: Fall 2006