Syllabus

COMSTRAT 381: Creative Media Strategies & Techniques – Spring 2018

Instructor: Chris S. Cooney, MBA
Office: Murrow 215
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-5pm (by appointment)
Phone: (509) 335-5452
Email: chris.cooney@wsu.edu


Course Syllabus (.pdf)


Course Information

Overview: COMSTRAT 381 Creative Media Strategies and Techniques (Washington State University, The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication) is designed to help students apply writing, design, persuasion skills, and critical thinking skills to the practice of advertising and promotion, in a variety of media outlets. Students will explore various digital media tools and technologies to study their effective and ethical application in advertising.

Credits: 3 credits
Prerequisites: Course Prerequisite: COM 210; COM 300 with a C or better; certified in any major in the College of Communication.
Semester: Spring 2018
Course Delivery: Students meet on MWF on the Pullman campus

Textbook and Course Materials

  • No textbook is required for this course
  • Required readings will be provided as links on the course blog as part of the course schedule.

Course Overview

Creative Media Strategies and Techniques is a creative writing and design course for undergraduate students to gain expertise in persuasive writing and creative concept creation for marketing and advertising on multiple media platforms including traditional media (print, broadcast, outdoor) and digital media (online advertising, web content, and social media). Think of this course as “creative concept creation and customer engagement across multiple platforms” using best practices and industry standards for advertising, promotional communications, storytelling, and campaigns. When you leave this class, you will have a series of written and visual pieces worthy of your portfolio, as well as the confidence to tackle any task handed to you.

My goal for the course is to help you become a stronger story-teller and empower you to tap into your creativity and intelligence, to become a strong creative collaborator, a critical thinker, and an innovator.  You will also walk away with solid best practices and industry standards knowledge in terminology, tips, tools, and techniques for all channels.

Course Description

This course addresses digital content and social media campaigns from both a PR and advertising perspective. In general, the work created and submitted is meant to prepare students for real-world application. Assignments include content creation and promotion of campaign elements using both emerging and established new media technologies, including social media, podcasts, viral videos, social media news releases and website analytics.

Students work in teams aligned with a fictional brand, product or organization for the duration of the semester. Students are expected to conceptualize and create specified elements of a promotional campaign, which includes brand platform, website, social media channels, HTML email and digital assets. Students learn to optimize and promote their campaigns and content for distribution and discovery on search engines, social networks, mobile devices and other non-traditional outlets. Best practices are explored for digital storytelling, tagging, metadata creation, social network seeding, community engagement and more. Students learn basic data interpretation techniques of the website and social media analytics services (such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights) that track visitor behavior, page views, keyword and third-party site referrals.
Students close out the semester with a solid understanding of digital content tactics, tools, and resources available for ongoing professional development, exploration, and mastering.

Skills Learned

  • Advertising in a digital world
    • Advertising as a profession – roles, agency types
    • Media types – paid, earned, owned
    • Technology and tools for Advertising
    • Function and purpose of Advertising
    • Creative process, team roles, and collaboration
    • Client engagement and presentations
  • Traditional Advertising Media and Practices
    • Broadcast – television, radio
    • Print – newspaper, magazine
    • Outdoor & environmental (OOH)
  • Digital Advertising Media and Practices
    • Online advertising – Video, display, SEM, social media (paid)
    • Message optimization for digital metrics – SEO, keywords, KPIs
  • Writing and Creative Development for Advertising
    • Advertising copywriting fundamentals
    • Advertising design fundamentals
    • Storytelling in advertising and communication
    • Client research
    • Customer research
    • Branding and positioning
    • Messaging and value proposition
    • Customer decision process (awareness, consideration, purchase, loyalty, advocacy)
    • Creative Briefs – use and development
  • Advertising Campaigns & Strategy
    • Campaign success measures (KPIs)
    • Creative strategy
    • Brand awareness campaigns
    • Product and promotional campaigns
    • Customer engagement (advocacy) campaigns
    • Integrated campaigns

Course Learning Goals and Assessment

Course Learning Goal 1

Develop skill sets essential to the creation of persuasive messaging for advertising, marketing, and promotional communications.

Course Topics & Dates Evaluation of Outcome
Industry formats of print production, broadcast scripting, OOH, digital channels, and promotional writing.

Analyze market variables that impact assigned product/services in order to create advertising messages that differentiate from competing products/services.

Individual advertisements as well as an integrated campaign complete with copy platforms/creative briefs for print, broadcast, OOH and promotional media.

Multiple hands-on assignments that include preliminary copy platforms that accompany recommended format/script advertisements.

Copy platform/creative brief preparation supporting recommended advertising messages.

Overall quality of messaging created.

Course Learning Goal 2

Ability to prepare the creative messaging component of a multi-media advertising campaign.

Course Topics & Dates Evaluation of Outcome
Create advertisements for assigned products/services based on challenges currently in the marketplace.

Work in agency teams to conduct all elements of a creative messaging platform for campaign development.

Create messaging components of a multi-media advertising campaign.

Assessed by ability to identify messaging opportunities, unique selling proposition(s)

Overall quality of writing, strategy, and creativity.

Course Learning Goal 3

Ability to present the creative messaging component of a multi-media advertising campaign.

Course Topics & Dates Evaluation of Outcome
Campaign Implementation: Monitoring and Adjusting

Campaign Implementation: Metrics and Analysis

Assessed in hands-on assignments, primarily group in scope

Overall quality of project presentation

How 381 Works

Where you find information:  Most of the course content is housed within the course blog at https://comstrat381.wordpress.com/

This includes lesson overviews, assignment links, instructions and due dates, digital syllabus, course schedule and everything else you will need to be successful as a 381 student. A few other resources:

  • Access the 381-course space in Blackboard to turn in assignments in drop boxes and My Grades so you can stay on top of your progress
  • Access myWSU for the course roster and enrollment status, midterm grades, final grades

Announcements:  Announcements will be posted in the course blog and via emails sent to your WSU account to help keep you on track, remind you of critical deadlines and provide you with helpful resources and tips and other information related to the course.

Assignments & Grading: In 381, students work both independently and in teams. Individual assignments include weekly readings and select activities within various lessons. Most other assignments are managed in teams. Details about assignments will be posted on the Course Schedule page of the course blog.

I try to be efficient in grading – reviewing and providing feedback within one week of the assignment due date. If I am running behind I will let you know!

Teams: Students work in teams of 2-5 students on most assignments.

What’s in it for you?: Students learn to write and develop creative concepts for marketing and advertising on multiple media platforms including traditional media (print, broadcast, outdoor) and digital media (online advertising, blogs, web content, and social media). When you leave this class you will have a series of written and visual pieces worthy of your portfolio, as well as the confidence to tackle any creative task handed to you. It is my goal to aid in your success and growth as a marketing professional.

Instructor Interaction: I am on campus throughout the week. The best place to catch me will always be during class time, but you can email or leave a voice message (voice messages are also sent to email). Office hours are “by appointment” so students have uninterrupted time. I also meet with teams during class time regularly throughout the semester.

Course Setting & Student Expectations: The course is held in a computer lab setting but students have the option to bring their own laptops. Cell phone use and access to social media or other online research are permitted during breaks in dialog or free time. The classroom climate is designed to be relaxed yet organized, fun yet professional.

381 is rooted in professional preparedness – giving students the insight, tools, and confidence needed to be successful in an internship experience or junior level position. In the spirit of teaching and training, professional conduct is required at all times. This means that students:

  • Arrive to class on time and do not leave early unless otherwise arranged
  • Respect others when they are speaking
  • Demonstrate respect, candor, and maturity when responding to peer student posts and interactive discussions
  • Participate in group discussions
  • Demonstrate their ability to be fully present throughout each class session

Attendance & Participation: Attendance in COMSTRAT 381 is mandatory. The class is slated to meet 3x/week or about 42 times over the 15 weeks (first week of class thru Dead Week). This includes WSU holidays. If classes are canceled due to instructor illness or another conflict – or if a class is designated as an open-lab, optional attendance day – students will be given full credit for that class session.

  • Attendance is worth 3 points per graded session
  • Full points will be awarded to students who arrive to class on-time and are engaged in class discussions and activities
  • Students can have two unexcused absences classes without penalty
  • Upon the third unexcused absence, students may lose 3 points for every session missed.
  • Students who have more than two unexcused absences in any given lesson will face an additional penalty of 10% of their overall points possible for that lesson

Tentative Class Schedule

LESSON 1: Advertising, Agencies, and the Advertising Profession

WEEKS TOPICS & LECTURE MATERIALS ASSIGNMENTS & TUTORIALS
W1: Jan 8-14 Course Overview: Syllabus, topics, course schedule, assignments, and how 381 works

Advertising as a Profession: Roles, agency types

Assignment #1A: Interests and Strengths Survey
W2: Jan 15-21

Mon, Jan 15 is a holiday

Why Advertise: Function and purpose of Advertising Assignment #1B: Personal Professional Assessment

Tutorial #1: Adobe Spark

W3: Jan 22-28 Technology & Tools for Advertising: Knowledge and skills required for professional success Presentation #1: Personal Introduction

LESSON 2: Advertising Design and the Creative Process

WEEKS TOPICS & LECTURE MATERIALS ASSIGNMENTS & TUTORIALS
W4: Jan 29 – Feb 4 Media Types: Paid, Owned, Earned

Advertising Media: Traditional and Digital

Assignment #2: Advertisement Design
W5: Feb 5-11 Advertising Design: Fundamentals and design elements Tutorial #2: Adobe InDesign
W6: Feb 12-18 Creative Process: Collaboration, critiques, and team roles

Creative Briefs: Use and development

Client Engagement

Presentation #2: Advertisement Design

LESSON 3: Storytelling and Customer Engagement

WEEKS TOPICS & LECTURE MATERIALS ASSIGNMENTS & TUTORIALS
W7: Feb 19-25

Mon, Feb 19 is a holiday

Branding & Positioning

Narrative & Story

Assignment #3: Brand Story Design
W8: Feb 26 – Mar 4 Customer Decision Process

Customer Research

Tutorial #3: Adobe Photoshop
W9: Mar 5-11 Measuring Success: KPIs for advertising and customer engagement Presentation #3: Brand Story Design

SPRING BREAK: March 12-18

LESSON 4: Storytelling Across Platforms

WEEKS TOPICS & LECTURE MATERIALS ASSIGNMENTS & TUTORIALS
W10: Mar 19-25 Basic Formats of Advertising

Creative Strategy

Customer Decision Process

Assignment #4: Brand Campaign
W11: Mar 26 – Apr 1 Video Design

Measuring Campaign Success

Tutorial #4: Adobe Premiere
W12: Apr 2-8 Interactive Design Tutorial #5: Adobe Experience Designer
W13: Apr 9-15 Presenting Your Work Professionally: Preparing for the transition from student to professional  
W14: Apr 16-22    
W15: Apr 23-29   Presentation #4: Final Brand Campaign

Note: COMSTRAT 381 does not meet during finals week.

Important Dates & Deadlines

Reference WSU Academic Calendar for a comprehensive list of dates.

Mon, Jan 8 First day of instruction
Mon, Jan 15 Martin Luther King Jr Day – all university holiday
Mon, Feb 19 President’s Day – all university holiday
March 12-16 Spring Break
April 23-27 Dead week
Sat, May 5 Spring Commencement (Pullman, WA)
April 30 – May 4 Finals week
Tues, May 8 Final grade submissions due

Assignment Summary

Lessons Assignment Title Points Due Date
LESSON 1:

Advertising, Agencies, and the Advertising Profession

W1: Jan 8-14

W2: Jan 15-21

W3: Jan 22-28

Assignment 1A: Interests & Strengths Survey 10 Fri., Jan 12
Digital Competency & Interests Survey 0 Fri., Jan 26
Tutorial 1: Adobe Spark Tutorial 15
Assignment 1B: Personal Professional Assessment 50
Presentation 1: Personal Professional Introduction 30
LESSON 2:

Advertising Design & the Creative Process

W4: Jan 29 – Feb 4

W5: Feb 5-11

W6: Feb 12-18

Tutorial 2: Adobe InDesign 20 Fri., Feb 16
Assignment 2: Advertisement Design 50
Presentation 2: Advertisement Design 30
LESSON 3:

Storytelling & Customer Engagement

W7: Feb 19-25

W8: Feb 26 – Mar 4

W9: Mar 5-11

Tutorial 3: Adobe Photoshop 20 Fri., Mar 9
Assignment 3: Brand Story Design 50
Presentation 3: Brand Story Design 30
SPRING BREAK: March 12-18
LESSON 4:

Advertising Across Platforms

W10: Mar 19-25

W11: Mar 26 – Apr 1

W12: Apr 2-8

W13: Apr 9-15

W14: Apr 16-22

W15: Apr 23-29

Tutorial 4: Adobe Premiere 20 Fri., Apr 6
Tutorial 5: Adobe Experience Designer 20 Fri., Apr 13
Assignment 4: Brand Campaign 100 Fri., Apr 27
Presentation 4: Brand Campaign 80
ATTENDANCE

42 class sessions @ 3 points each
(-1 for first day of class)

Attendance is taken every class session

125
  TOTAL POINTS: 610

Grading

Points and Percentage Breakdown

Graded Activity Points Percentage of Grade
Assignments 260 40%
Digital Media Tutorials 95 15%
Presentations 170 25%
Attendance & Participation 125 20%
Total Points for COMSTRAT 310 650 100%

Evaluation Criteria

Students will have a clear set of evaluation criteria for each specific assignment. Each rubric will involve content criteria (your product adhering to conventions discussed in class), organization criteria (your product organized in a way that reaches the intended audience), and grammar criteria (your product being free of grammatical errors)

  • Assignments must be submitted to Blackboard Learn to receive credit. If instructions specify the assignment URL should be submitted in Blackboard Learn, it is not considered complete until the drop box submission is complete.
  • Grades of “Incomplete” will be given only in cases of documented medical or family emergencies.
Grade Points Grade Points
A 93-100% C 73 – <77%
A- 90 – <93% (90 to below 93%) C- 70 – <73%
B+ 87 – < 90% D+ 67 – <70%
B 83 – <87% D 60 – <67%
B- 80 – <83% F 0 – < 60%
C+ 77 – <80%

Critical Policies & Procedures

Academic Integrity Statement

Washington State University, a community dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, expects all students to behave in a manner consistent with its high standards of scholarship and conduct. Students are expected to uphold these standards both on and off campus and acknowledge the university’s authority to take disciplinary action. Cheating is defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010(3). It is strongly recommended that you read and understand these definitions:  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010.

University instructors have the authority to intervene in all situations where students are suspected of academic dishonesty. In such instances, responsible instructors retain the authority to assign grades to students considering, from an academic standpoint, the nature of the student action. Violation of academic integrity on any assignment will involve (i) an academic penalty ranging from a minimum of both a zero on that assignment and the reduction of a full letter grade on your final grade to failure of the entire course, (ii) filing of case with the Office of Student Conduct, and per university regulations, (iii) inability to withdraw from the course.

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-010(3). You need to read and understand all of the definitions of cheating: http://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010.  If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, you should ask course instructors before proceeding.

If you wish to appeal a faculty member’s decision relating to academic integrity, please use the form available at conduct.wsu.edu.

Attendance & Participation: Attendance in COMSTRAT 381 is mandatory. The class is slated to meet 3x/week or about 42 times over the 15 weeks (first week of class thru Dead Week). This includes WSU holidays. If classes are canceled due to instructor illness or another conflict – or if a class is designated as an open-lab, optional attendance day – students will be given full credit for that class session.

  • Attendance is worth 3 points per graded session. Full points will be awarded to students who arrive to class on-time and are engaged in class discussions and activities
  • Students can have two unexcused absences classes without penalty
  • Upon the third unexcused absence, students may lose 3 points for every session missed
  • Students who have more than two unexcused absences in any given lesson will face an additional penalty of 10% of their overall points possible for that lesson

Excused Absences

As stated by WSU Academic Regulations 73, “Absences impede a student’s academic progress and should be avoided.” The following categories constitute “excused absences”:

University-Sponsored: Any student who is required to participate in off-campus, university-sponsored activities such as field trips, musical performances, judging teams, intercollegiate athletic events, etc., should obtain an official Class Absence Request form from the faculty or staff member supervising the off-campus activity.

Military Service Members: Students who are members of the National Guard or a reserve branch of a military service are permitted to miss class for weekend drills, active duty, and related responsibilities.

Other Excused Absences: Students may sometimes miss examinations or other academic obligations affecting their grades because of illness, personal crises, mandated court appearances, parental responsibilities, and the like. As long as such absences are not excessive, the instructor will likely accommodate and excuse the absence. The instructor reserves the right to require the student to submit a written explanation of the absence (not necessarily direct from healthcare professional). Students who attempt to gain advantage through abuse of this policy (e.g., by providing an instructor with false information) risk referral to the Office of Student Standards and Accountability for disciplinary action.

Course Professionalism

For students…

381 is rooted in professional preparedness – giving students the insight, tools, and confidence needed to be successful in an internship experience or junior level position. In the spirit of teaching and training, professional conduct is required at all times. This means that students…

  • arrive to class on time and do not leave early unless otherwise arranged
  • respect others when they are speaking
  • demonstrate respect, candor and maturity when responding to peer student posts and interactive discussions
  • participate in group discussions
  • demonstrate their ability to be fully present throughout each class session

The course is held in a computer lab setting but students have the option to bring their own laptops. Cell phone use and access to social media or other online research are permitted during breaks in dialogue or free time. The classroom climate is designed to be relaxed, yet organized and professional.

For the professor…

As in business, it is reasonable to expect the professor will be respectful, responsive and receptive. Here is a general list of reasonable expectations students should have of the professor throughout the semester:

  • Phone and email inquiries – response within 48 hours even if an answer to a question is not yet known.
  • Grading of assignments – goal: grades with feedback one week (but no more than two weeks) after submission.
  • Meeting with students – as everyone’s schedule is full, it is best if most inquiries can be addressed during class time or via email. Office hours are available but students with specific mentoring needs or issues that require in-person discussion outside of class are encouraged to email the professor so a set meeting time can be scheduled that works for both professor and student schedule.
  • Integrity of content – the core themes of this course are relatively static – but the content is continually updated in order to ensure accuracy, relevancy, and timeliness of the industry standard or best practice as it relates to writing for the various channels. Students can expect that all material, references, and assignments have been reviewed, vetted, tested and verified to meet these standards.
  • Instructional style – the instructional style of this course is casual yet professional, accessible yet firm. Respect the professor and you will be respected in return. A mix of presentation and whiteboard sessions are used for discussions.

First Week Class Attendance (Rule 72)

Students who do not attend class during the first week of the semester will likely be dropped from the course. Students with extenuating circumstances should notify the Office of Student Affairs.[1]  Valid reasons for missing class do not relieve the student of their responsibility for that missed work.

Final Exam

There is no final exam in COMSTRAT 381. The Final Brand Campaign group project is the culminating assignment for the course.

Instructor Interaction

As you are expected to participate in this course daily, I also will be active in the course space on a daily basis. I expect to respond to emails within 48 hours. I am set up to receive notifications directly from Blackboard “Questions for the Instructor” thread or you can email me directly. I am also happy to set up separate times for phone calls or video conference as needed.

Instructional Methods

Work completed in the course is independent and non-collaborative. Students are expected to work independently on each task and assignment. The course is a combination of lecture review, readings, discussion forum contribution and graded assignments. Evaluation of your work will be completed by your instructor using established rubrics for each assignment. 

Late Work Policy

Late work is generally not accepted in this class.  Some consideration, however, might be given (at the discretion of the instructor) if there are extenuating circumstances such as prolonged hospitalization, family death, or extended individual sickness previously discussed. This course requires students to maintain strong organizational skills.  It is the student’s responsibility to complete all assignments by the due date.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. 

Additional WSU Policies & Procedures

Academic Calendar

Please review the current Academic Calendar to become familiar with critical deadlines on your campus. Visit the WSU Academic Calendar page: http://www.registrar.wsu.edu/Registrar/Apps/AcadCal.ASPX. and select your home campus from the drop-down menu.

Academic Complaint Procedures (Academic Rule 104)

Instructional faculty, chairs, deans, and students should be thoroughly familiar with academic complaint procedures.

A student having complaints about instruction or grading should attempt to resolve those issues directly with the instructor. If that fails, the student should send an email to the instructor using his or her official WSU email account no later than 20 business days following the end of the semester. This email should briefly outline the complaint and be copied to the chairperson of the academic department.

If the complaint is not resolved with the instructor within 20 business days of sending the email, then the student may work directly with the chairperson of the academic department in which the course is offered. The chair’s decision shall be rendered within 20 additional business days.

After the chair’s decision, the student or the instructor may appeal to the academic college Dean’s Office. Complaints must be presented in writing to the college dean within 20 business days of the chair’s decision. The written statement should describe the complaint, indicate how it affects the individual or unit, and include the remedy sought from the college dean. The decision of the college dean is the final step and shall be made within 20 business days.

At the campuses other than Pullman, the procedure is identical except that the program leader shall substitute for the department chair, and the campus chancellor or his or her designee shall substitute for the college dean if the department chair and/or the college dean is not located on that campus.

The University Ombudsman is available at any stage for advice or assistance in resolving academic complaints.

Note: Though chairs and deans (and academic area coordinators and campus chancellors) may resolve complaints about instruction and grading, they may not change a final grade without the consent of the instructor, except as provided by Rule 105.

Academic Freedom

WSU supports the faculty’s academic freedom, right to freedom of expression, and responsibility to fulfill course objectives that are approved by the Faculty Senate. This is fundamental to who we are as an institution. Along with these rights comes the responsibility to protect the freedom of expression of all members of our community, including students.

“As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly standards of their disciplines. They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides and counselors…They protect students’ academic freedom.” (Source: Faculty Responsibilities section of the WSU Faculty Manual)

“Freedom of expression is recognized as one of the essential elements of academic freedom. On a healthy campus, there is respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the campus community and a concern for the rights of others. …It is the policy of Washington State University to support and promote the rights of all individuals to express their view and opinions for or against actions or ideas in which they have an interest… The above rights exist in equal measure for each member of the University community.” (Source: Section IIB of the Faculty Manual – page 14)

At WSU, the faculty has a strong interest in promoting respectful dialogue in the classroom setting. Speech and conduct that disrupts the educational process and creates a hostile environment, as that term is defined in WSU’s non-discrimination policy (Executive Policy 15), is not protected. If concerns arise, faculty will consult the WSU’s Office for Equal Opportunity at 509-335-8288 or oeo@wsu.edu. We aim to protect the freedoms and rights of every member of the WSU community and to promote learning about diverse perspectives while ensuring that students experience a safe, constructive learning environment.

Academic Regulations

Students enrolled in online courses are subject to the same University academic regulations as on-campus students. Students may only repeat a course graded C- or below one time at WSU during fall or spring semesters.  Additional repeats are allowed from another institution or at WSU during summer terms or by special permission of the academic unit offering the course. Learn more at http://www.catalog.wsu.edu/General/AcademicRegulations/ListBy/73.

Appeals: Student Appeals Process

“The Appeals Board is composed of employees who review a decision made by the University Conduct Board, or a conduct officer, that a student violated the University’s Standards of Conduct for Students. When a student disagrees with a decision of the Conduct Board or a conduct officer, he/she may appeal the decision to the University Appeals Board.” – WSU Office of Student Conduct University Appeals Board

Campus and Classroom Safety Statement

Classroom and campus safety is of paramount importance at Washington State University and are the shared responsibility of the entire campus population.  WSU urges students to follow the “Alert, Assess, Act” protocol for all types of emergencies and the “Run, Hide, Fight” response to an active shooter incident. Remain ALERT (through direct observation or emergency notification), ASSESS your specific situation, and ACT in the most appropriate way to assure your own safety (and the safety of others if you are able).

Please sign up for emergency alerts on your account at MyWSU. For more information on this subject, campus safety, and related topics, please view the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight video and visit the WSU safety portal.

Critical Thinking

The ability to think and write critically is an essential skill in many walks of life. Critical thinking skills are developed and refined through practice, self-reflection, and the critique and support of peers and instructors. Throughout this course, you will have many opportunities to exercise your analytical thinking, synthesize information, and apply knowledge to real-life situations. The course developer or your instructor may have provided a critical thinking rubric in this course space, if applicable, to assess your own writing and that of other students. Please review it carefully before completing each activity.

Discriminatory Conduct Statement and Employee Reporting Requirements

Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information).

Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.  (Visit oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info). 

Email Policy

All official WSU email communication must be sent to students’ WSU email address.  Absolutely NO communication will be sent to external addresses (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail, and so forth). We will use either the email within Blackboard or “email.wsu.edu” system. 

FERPA

WSU students have legal rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for protection of their academic records. For a complete explanation of these rights, visit the URL associated with each home campus in the Academic Regulations section or http://www.registrar.wsu.edu/Registrar/Apps/FERPA.ASPX.

GPA, Academic Deficiency & Disenrollment

GPA: The Graduate School requires that all graduate students maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA throughout their graduate program. Students who are not able to maintain a 3.0 will be disenrolled from the program.

Academic Deficiency: A student who does not maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA will be considered academically deficient. A notice of deficiency will be sent to the student from the Graduate School. The student will have the option to request reinstatement, per the Graduate School’s instructions. The department will consider reinstatement requests but are not required to request readmission for any students below a 3.0.

Disenrollment: Students who do not maintain a 3.0 GPA and who are academically deficient are subject to disenrollment. If a student submits a request for reinstatement it will be reviewed by the committee. If a reinstatement request is not received by the department the student’s program will be terminated. Following termination, if a student wishes to return to the program they will have to go through the application process again.

Grade Change Policy

An instructor may not change a grade after it has been filed with the Registrar, except in the case of clerical error, which the instructor may correct by so certifying to the Registrar. Such change must be approved (signature required) by the chairperson of the department in which the course was offered. Grade corrections must be processed within one year of the end of the term for which the original grade was given. In extenuating circumstances, exceptions to the one-year limit for correction of grade errors may be considered by petition to the Registrar’s Office.

Incomplete Policy (Academic Rule 90h)

Incompletes are granted only with permission of the instructor and are subject to the following guidelines:

  1. Students must request an incomplete in writing or by e-mail from the instructor before the end of the semester.
  2. The request must be signed and dated by the student (or identified by student’s e-mail address) and must explain the reasons behind the request for the incomplete.
  3. In order to be considered for an incomplete, there are two main conditions:
    1. A student must complete a minimum amount of the assigned course work. Specifically, a student must complete 75 percent of the coursework.
    2. A student must have a mathematical possibility of passing the class. A passing grade is 60 percent or above for the entire course.
  4. If extraordinary circumstances (e.g., family emergency, serious illness) are involved and are documented to the instructor’s satisfaction, the professor/ instructor retains the discretion to grant an incomplete even if the minimum conditions outlined in item 3 above are not met.

If an incomplete is granted, the standard WSU policy applies (i.e., ALL work must be completed within one full year from the end of the enrollment semester at issue, unless a shorter time is specified by the instructor. Otherwise, an automatic grade of “F,” or failing, will be entered on the student’s transcript).

Intellectual Property

Syllabi and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the intellectual property of individual faculty (or the intellectual property of their references) and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes through commercial note-taking services, without instructor written advance permission, could be viewed as copyright infringement and/or an academic integrity violation, WAC 504-26-010 (3)(a,b,c, i). Further, the use of University electronic resources (e.g., Blackboard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU’s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218), a violation of WSU’s Electronic Communication policy (EP 4), and also violates the terms of use for the Blackboard software program.

Any course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the instructor’s intellectual property and may be protected by copyright. The use of University electronic resources (e.g., Angel) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU’s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218).

Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Faculty Manual, p. 31).

Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information).

Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.  (Visit oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info).

Student Privacy

As a University student, you have legal rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for protection of your academic records. For a complete explanation of these rights, visit the URL associated with your home campus in the Academic Regulations section or http://www.registrar.wsu.edu/Registrar/Apps/FERPA.ASPX.

Technical Support

If you need technical assistance in Blackboard, please expand the Content folder in the Map menu on the left by clicking the plus sign (+), then select Technical Support. 

Weather Policy

For emergency weather closure policy, see: http://alert.wsu.edu/

[1] The Office of Student Affairs can be found at http://www.studentaffairs.wsu.edu/.

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