Online Master's Degree Curriculum
Master of Arts in Mass Communication Specializing in Web Design and Online Communication
The Web Design and Online Communication program offers hands-on training with industry leading design and web development software along with examination of principles for producing effective online communication strategies.
The master’s degree specialization includes 37 credit hours: 34 hours of coursework plus three final credits earned through the capstone project.
Students take two to three courses at a time, with each course lasting 16 weeks (13 in Summer). Full-time students complete the curriculum in as few as 18 months.
Design and Management Courses
VIC 5326 Digital Media Layout and Design (3 credits)
Monday, 6 – 9 p.m. Eastern time (Fall 2016 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.)
There is little doubt that the effectiveness of a mediated message is, in part, determined by its design and execution. For this reason, layout principles are as important in digital media as they are in the world of print. This course introduces you to the skills and concepts that will help you create documents for both print and interactivity. Using Adobe InDesign, you will apply your understanding of color, type, layout, and design to create a portfolio project. While InDesign permits several possible workflows, this course will focus on those that most readily translate into digital design.
MMC 5277 Web Design Principles (4 credits)
Tuesday and Thursday, 8 – 10 p.m. Eastern time
By the end of this course you will be comfortable creating, coding and posting basic HTML and CSS files to the Internet. Equipped with a historical understanding of the web’s evolution and key industry-standard design guidelines to ensure strong online presentation, you will have a foundational knowledge of website creation and apply it to the planning, design and development of your own web page over the course of the semester. Critical thinking will be encouraged through your class interactions, projects, and online postings.
VIC 5325 Digital Imagery in Web Design (4 credits)
Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Eastern time
This course will familiarize students with the development and impact of imagery in interactive media. Students will learn how visual ‘language’ is the basis for developing contextual symbolic meanings that are shared throughout a culture. Semiotics, information design and persuasive communication will be explored in this course. Students will develop communicative images using their knowledge gained through lectures, discussions and Photoshop training.
VIC 5315 Corporate and Brand Identity on the Web (3 credits)
Wednesday, 6 – 9 p.m. Eastern time (Fall 2016 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.)
This course synthesizes two different but complementary tools of communication: graphic design and assembly (both print and electronic). You will learn the fundamental design principles and techniques for effective visual communication. These principles and techniques are applied, through projects, to achieve a communication objective across different platforms. Students can expect a practical, hands-on experience. A key tool for creating your digital work in this course is Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is an effective tool for creating original artwork, designing logos, banners, icons and navigational elements for online and print. The artwork can then easily be exported to the Web or imported into other programs.
COM 6338 Advanced Web Topics 1: Programming and Specialized Topics (4 credits)
Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Eastern time (Summer 2016 time: 7 – 9 pm)
MMC 6278 Advanced Web Topics 2: Advanced Design (4 credits)
This class is asynchronous.
There will be a few live meetings during the semester. Live class meetings will be designated by the instructor.
This course concentrates on the importance of responsive design and how it has changed the way websites are designed to adapt to a wide variety of devices. Expanding from Advanced Web Topics 1, students will learn Jquery as well as designing with advanced CSS and HTML5.
MMC 6145 Web Interactivity and Engagement (3 credits)
Monday, 6 – 9 p.m. Eastern time
The purpose of this course is to provide you with an understanding of the most practical tool of a web manager, the content management system (CMS). Using WordPress, you will gain an understanding of CMSs and how they are valuable tools for saving time and handling large amounts of data. You will also learn more about server scripting using PHP and database integration with MySQL.
MMC 6949 Professional Internship (3 credits)
This class is both asynchronous and live. Live meetings are Tuesday, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Eastern time
There are two components of this course. The first component is participating in an internship, which will allow you to complete projects related to your career goals under the supervision of a web design practitioner in the field. By the end of the internship, you should be aware of trends in the field, the skills necessary to be employable after graduation and the importance of networking. The second component of the course is attending the lecture, where you learn job-search skills specific to the web design field such as writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, networking and negotiating a salary. By the end of the course, you should also have a fundamental understanding of using career research tools, proposing ideas to non-technical co-workers and creating e-portfolios to showcase your work. Specifically, the course will connect your internship experience to your job search so you feel confident marketing your skills after graduation.
*This class can be taken in lieu of 6936 Strategic Communications. This class can be taken in conjunction with the capstone for financial aid credit requirements. There are prerequisites for this course. The internship must be approved by the professor and the program director.
Core Theory and Methods Courses
MMC 5427 Research Methods in Digital Communications (3 credits)
Wednesday, 6 – 9 p.m. Eastern time
This course is designed to make you think strategically about how, why and with whom you interact via digital media. By the end of the course you should have fundamental understanding of research tools that will help you both plan for and evaluate the effectiveness of online communication methods including a multitude of social media and web tools. You will understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the consequences – costs and benefits – of local and global messaging and interactivity.
MMC 6400 Digital Communication Theory (3 credits)
This class is asynchronous.
There could be a few live meetings during the semester. Time and date will be communicated by the instructor.
The purpose of this course is to explore the theoretical foundations of new media communication. We will trace the development of communication theories. We will also look at how the communication theories apply to new media research. In this course, you will: develop a working knowledge of theories that explain the world of mass media and users of the media, develop a working knowledge of theories that explain digital media communications, critically evaluate theories as applied to digital media communication problems, and develop a detailed understanding of a particular theoretical approach.
MMC 6213 Strategic Communication: Ethics and Concepts (3 credits)
This class is both asynchronous and live. Live meetings are Tuesday, 7 – 8 p.m. Eastern time
This course introduces you to the discipline of strategic communications and the ethical issues that can arise from its practice. Students are given a background in important concepts in strategic communication, including branding, target audiences, technologies of strategic communication, the history and evolution of strategic communication, and other topics. Armed with this knowledge, students are introduced to the schools of ethical thought, and apply these to real-world strategic communications contexts.
MMC 6936 Capstone (3 credits)
Monday 7-10 p.m. Eastern time
The goal of the capstone course is to combine all of the skills learned throughout the Web Design master’s program into a final semester-long project for a real world client. Students compete as teams to develop a fully functioning website and communications campaign that meet the client’s expressed needs.