Spring 2018 Syllabus

The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

COM210: Multimedia Content Creation


Prof. Chelsea Newman
Office: Murrow 233
Office Hours: By appointment
Email: newman6@wsu.edu
Phone: 509-335-1305

Find all contact information for the instructor and teaching assistants on the course website About page.

Materials & Resources

This course does not use a traditional hardcopy textbook. Instead, we will use a variety of online readings and videos that include design concepts and software tutorials. Course materials will include external resources accessible at no cost.

Course website: https://com210.wordpress.com
All course readings, assignments, videos and supplementary information will be available at no cost on the course website.

Blackboard Learn: http://learn.wsu.edu
Grades, instructor/TA feedback and announcements will be posted in the course space on Blackboard Learn, WSU’s Learning Management System. Students will also submit assignments and participate in discussion forums using Blackboard.

Adobe Creative Cloud software
This course requires the use of Adobe Creative Cloud software programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition and Premiere Pro. Pullman and Everett students can use the software in campus computer labs, or download the software to their personal computers. Online students will need to download the software for use on a personal computer. Each software program includes a free trial, and then requires purchase after the trial runs out. Detailed information about acquiring the software will be provided during Week 1 of the course.

Adobe software used for this course requires a 64-bit operating system and other specifications such as sufficient memory. It is the student’s responsibility to verify the requirements and seek alternatives if necessary. Full technical specifications are available here on the Adobe website.

Course Overview

In this class, you will learn to develop and communicate ideas clearly, concisely, and effectively through digital media content. Students will create and manage a public course blog where they will post multimedia assignments and interact with fellow students through project critiques.

A digital media perspective involves purposeful design incorporating text, graphics, audio and video into a cohesive message and/or story. It also requires critical thinking, information literacy, communication proficiency, and self- and peer-evaluation.

Creating digital media content requires proficiency in content creation software, and this course focuses on the professional-standard Adobe Creative Cloud suite of programs. To develop these skills, students will be guided through tutorials and then use skills from the tutorials to complete creative digital media storytelling assignments.

However, skill without an understanding of the underlying principles and theories is not enough. The best communicators practice their skills within a framework derived from principles, theories and research. Therefore, as foundation, principles and theories will be offered in three areas: aesthetics, design and interactivity, including user-centered design and social interactivity.

Course Learning Goals

  • Effectively communicate using digital media, through multi-modal designs and multimedia stories.
  • Determine the type of information needed to communicate effectively through multimedia content.
  • Create digital media content appropriate to various, diverse audiences.

Course Curriculum Mapping

Program SLOs (Student Learning Outcomes)

Course Learning Goals:

SLO1: Demonstrate knowledge of Communication Concepts SLO2:
Acquire and analyze information per communication objectives
Create communication products via multiple platforms
Effectively communicate using digital media, through multi-modal designs and multimedia stories

Specifics: Use Abobe CC programs to develop graphic designs, vector illustrations, audio stories and video stories. write clear descriptions of content creation processes.

Skill level: Introduce

Students learn how to apply narrative and design principles to develop graphic designs, vector illustrations, audio stories and video stories.

Assessed in each of four units through a series of tutorials and a final unit project.

Skill level: Introduce

Students research and gather digital assets required to produce effective multimedia communications.

Assessed in each of four units through asset collection assignment, draft project and final unit project.

Skill level: Introduce

Students learn to develop multi-modal designs and stories using the Adobe CC software and explain their creative process using a WordPress blog.

Assessed through draft and final projects.


Determine the type of information needed to communicate effectively through multimedia content.

Specifics: Gather materials by utilizing online resources and personally produced content, while considering relevant copyright and fair use laws. Appropriately cite information sources.

Skill level: Introduce

Students learn to assess and define the communication objectives for a digital media project and apply communications theory and best practices based on readings and research.

Assessed in each unit through asset collection assignment, draft project and final unit project.

Skill level: Introduce

Students learn to define the requirements for a digital media project, acquire and reference these assets appropriately, then incorporate them into their media projects.

Assessed through copyright quiz, and asset collection assignments,

Skill level: Introduce

Students learn and apply best practices for producing digital media for a variety of communications channels and platforms.

Assessed in each of four units through a series of tutorials and a final unit project.

Create digital media content appropriate to various, diverse audiences.

Specifics: Exhibit sensitivity to diverse social, cultural, and intellectual interests; interact with diverse content authors in critiquing peers’ work.

Skill level: Introduce

Students analyze and define the communications requirements based on audience characteristics.

Assessed in each of four units.

Skill level: Introduce

Students assess and define diverse audiences and their needs specific to the communication format and channel in the assignment.

Assessed in each of four units.

Skill level: Introduce

Students learn the various considerations, sensitivities and practices to consider when producing digital media for a variety of audiences.

 Assessed in each of four units.

Select University Policies


This syllabus and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the intellectual property of course instructors and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes through commercial note taking services, without the instructor’s 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.

Discriminatory Conduct Statement

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).

Academic Integrity Statement

Washington State University, a community dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, expects all academic integrity will be strongly enforced in this course. 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. Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for academic misconduct.

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.

When two or more students are found to turn in identical or overly similar work, all students will be penalized. If a student steals or copies your work against your will, you should report the incident immediately to your instructor. You may collaborate with other students to share knowledge, but you must not share completed or partially completed files. All assignments and files you submit for this course must be your own work from start to finish.

Please note that self-plagiarism is still plagiarism and everything you turn in for this class should be created for this class, in this semester. That is, you cannot turn in any materials you submitted in a prior attempt at this course, or in a different course, or any materials previously created for a job, internship or personal project.

Find out more about acceptable and unacceptable collaboration and use of resources on the Recommended Resources & Collaboration page.

Reasonable Accommodation Syllabus Statement

Reasonable accommodations are available in online classes for students with a documented disability. All accommodations must be approved through your WSU Disability Services office. If you have a disability and need accommodations, we recommend you begin the process as soon as possible.

For more information contact a Disability Specialist on your home campus:
• Pullman or WSU Online: 509-335-3417,
http://accesscenter.wsu.edu, access.center@wsu.edu
• Spokane: 509-358-7534,
• Tri-Cities: 509-372-7352,
• Vancouver: 360-546-9138,

All students with Access Center accommodations must meet with the COM210 instructor during Week 1 or Week 2 of the semester, or within one week of receiving accommodation if this occurs later in the semester. If you are not sure whether a particular accommodation is applicable to this class, please bring this up with the instructor so all options can be discussed.

Campus and Classroom Safety Statement

Classroom and campus safety are 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 for 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.

First Week Class Attendance (Rule 72)

Students who do not attend class or make contact with the instructor 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. Valid reasons for missing class do not relieve the student of their responsibility for that missed work.

Academic Regulations, Rule 34a

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.

Service/Emotional Support Animal Guidelines

Pets are not allowed on campus and service animals must be registered with the WSU Access Center. Please contact the Access Center at 509-335-3417 with any questions.

No Early Examinations (Academic Regulation 79)                                                                  A student will not be granted special examinations for the purpose of leaving the institution before the close of the semester. Any departure from rule 78 or 79 should have the prior written approval of the area dean and should be reported in writing to the Office of Provost before closed week. Departures from rule 78 or 79 that are not so approved are serious violations of the academic regulations.

No regulation requires a final examination and no policy prevents the introduction of new material during closed week.

Select College & Course Policies


The guiding principle for all course policies is an expectation of professionalism. Students in this course come from many backgrounds and levels of experience, and can expect respect from their instructors. In turn, students are expected to treat their participation in this course the way they would treat a job. This includes being proactive about asking questions, making all attempts to complete work well and on time, and gracefully accepting the consequences to your grade if your performance does not meet requirements.

University Communication with Students

Absolutely NO communication will be sent to external addresses (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail, and so forth). All communication will be sent to students’ WSU email accounts or sent through Blackboard, and students must use their WSU email accounts to contact instructors.

Instructor-Student Interaction

Instructors and Teaching Assistants will generally respond to emails within 24 hours during the week. The expectation is the same for students. You need to check your official WSU email regularly and respond within 24 hours. For emails received during the weekend, instructors will respond by the end of the next business day.

Professors and TAs do not discuss grades or any student records issues via email unless specifically requested by the student. Please schedule a meeting to discuss these issues. The classroom is typically not an appropriate place for these discussions.

Students are expected to follow the Student Code of Conduct in all interactions with fellow students, their TA and instructors.

Late/Missed Work

Late assignments receive a 10% deduction per day and after five days will receive a zero. Feedback Assignments receive a 20% deduction per late day and after two days late will receive a zero. Quizzes may not be taken for credit after the deadline. Some other assignments, such as assignments due at the end of the semester, may have different late work penalties specified in the assignment instructions.

Every student receives one Late Work Pass for the semester, explained in detail in the course Late Work Policy. No exceptions to the Late Work Policy will be made except in rare cases of unexpected extenuating circumstances, at the discretion of the instructor.

It is the student’s responsibility to verify that all assignments are submitted correctly. Note that all assignments must be published on your course WordPress blog AND submitted with all required materials to the correct assignment dropbox on Blackboard.
If both of these steps are not completed your assignment will be considered incomplete and late penalties will apply.

Strive to complete your assignment well before the deadline to allow for the possibility of technical issues. Computer malfunctions, loss of internet connection and other technical issues happen, but in such cases late penalties still apply. If you experience any issues while submitting your assignment, contact your TA before the assignment deadline.

Class Participation Credit

Pullman: Students in Pullman are required to make contact with their TA by attending their section lab hours at least once per unit. Students should use this contact to ask a question about using the software, design choices or any other aspect of assignments. Be sure your TA records your name for your first contact in each of our four units.

Online-only: Global Campus and Everett students in the online-only section must contact their TA a minimum of once per unit. This contact may include sending an email, scheduling a Skype meeting or participating in other virtual sessions as determined by your TA.

Read all information about participation requirements on the Participation Credit Policy page.

Public Nature of Coursework

To learn and practice web publishing skills, students are required to maintain a blog for the course that is available and visible to the public. All multimedia content produced for this course is expected to be suitable for a general public audience. Any students with privacy concerns must contact the course instructor during Week 1 of the semester to discuss options that will not interfere with course requirements.

Media Use Policy

All four unit projects produced for this course must be publishable outside academia. This means all images, audio files and other media that you use in your assignments should either be:

  1. Created by you, or
  2. Shared under a free-to-remix license like the Creative Commons license

If any materials do not meet one of the two criteria stated above, you must be given permission by the copyright holder to use the image or media. You must provide proof of this permission to before you turn in your completed assignment. This includes materials produced by someone you know, such as a photo your roommate takes of you at your request.

Withdrawals and Incompletes

Per the university registrar’s calendar, students may drop the course without record through February 6th. After this date, students may withdraw from the course with a “W” recorded on the transcript through April 13th. See Academic Rule 68 for more information.

Grades of “Incomplete” mean that a grade has been deferred because a student was unable to complete the coursework on time for reasons beyond their control. Grades of Incomplete will be granted in this course only in cases of documented medical or family emergencies, and must be requested and discussed by the end of Week 15. See Academic Rule 90h for more information.

Interruptions in Coursework

This course requires students to complete assignments every week of the semester. Each semester, some students experience interruptions that make it difficult to keep up with assignments and participate in the class. These interruptions are typically planned, foreseeable or unexpected.

Planned interruptions
This includes university-sanctioned activities such as trips for athletic events or clubs; scheduled health events such as non-emergency surgeries; and other planned events such as trips or weddings. The expectation is that students will plan ahead and complete coursework early as needed, and notify course instructors if assistance is necessary to accomplish this (for example, receiving an assignment description early).

Unexpected interruptions
This includes family/personal emergency, such as the death of a family member, and medical emergency such as a severe illness or accident. The expectation is that students will notify their TA and course instructor as soon as possible (the way you would notify a boss that you won’t make it to work) and continue to complete coursework remotely if possible. For extended interruptions, such as severe injury or lengthy recovery, the student should contact the instructor to discuss accommodation or the possibility of an “Incomplete” grade.

Foreseeable interruptions
This includes circumstances that a student knows going into the semester may cause interruptions. Such circumstances include a time-consuming student leadership position, caring for an ill relative, or a chronic health condition that fluctuates in severity (including mental health). If applicable, a student should arrange accommodation through the Access Center at the beginning of the semester so an approved plan is in place. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to plan ahead for foreseeable interruptions and balance obligations as well as possible. Get in touch with the instructor to discuss options if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Course Assignments & Grading

Assignment Value

Unit Assignment Points
Orientation WordPress Blog Creation 25
Orientation Topic Introduction Post 25
Orientation Copyright Quiz 20
Unit 1: Graphic Design Photoshop Tutorials 30
Unit 1: Graphic Design Image Collection 10
Unit 1: Graphic Design Draft Graphic Design Project 25
Unit 1: Graphic Design Unit 1 Quiz 10
Unit 1: Graphic Design Graphic Design Project Feedback 20
Unit 1: Graphic Design Final Graphic Design Project 120
Unit 1: Graphic Design Unit 1 Participation Credit 10
Unit 2: Vector Graphics Illustrator Tutorials 30
Unit 2: Vector Graphics Logo Project Sketch 10
Unit 2: Vector Graphics Draft Logo Project 25
Unit 2: Vector Graphics Unit 2 Quiz 10
Unit 2: Vector Graphics Logo Project Feedback 20
Unit 2: Vector Graphics Final Logo Project 120
Unit 2: Vector Graphics Unit 2 Participation Credit 10
Unit 3: Audio Storytelling Audition Tutorials 30
Unit 3: Audio Storytelling Raw Audio Recordings 10
Unit 3: Audio Storytelling Draft Audio Story 25
Unit 3: Audio Storytelling Unit 3 Quiz 10
Unit 3: Audio Storytelling Audio Story Feedback 20
Unit 3: Audio Storytelling Final Audio Story 120
Unit 3: Audio Storytelling Unit 3 Participation Credit 10
Unit 4: Video Storytelling Premiere Tutorials 30
Unit 4: Video Storytelling Raw Footage & Storyboard 20
Unit 4: Video Storytelling Draft Video Story 25
Unit 4: Video Storytelling Unit 4 Quiz 10
Unit 4: Video Storytelling Video Story Feedback 20
Unit 4: Video Storytelling Final Video Story 120
Unit 4: Video Storytelling Unit 4 Participation Credit 10
Conclusion Reflection Blog Post 20
Total Points Available 1000

Since there are 1,000 total points in the course, a student must earn at least 600 points (60%) for a passing grade. A student must earn 925 points (92.5%) to earn an “A.” See the full grade scale below:

Grade Points Grade Points
A 925 – 1000 C 725 – 774
A- 900 – 924 C- 700 – 724
B+ 875 – 899 D+ 675 – 699
B 825 – 874 D 600 – 674
B- 800 – 824 F < 600
C+ 775 -799

Coursework & Assignments

Form of Instruction

COM210 uses a hybrid model of online instruction, with all course material presented online in the form of content chapters and assignments prepared by the instructor. Individualized assistance and instruction is available to all students from their section TA. All course materials, including lectures, tutorials, rubrics, and interviews will be posted online.

The course is organized into four content units. Each unit focuses on a different multimedia skill and software program, with the same progression of assignments leading to a final unit project. Each unit includes a software tutorial assignment, a draft and final project, peer feedback, a content quiz, and participation credit.

Evaluation Criteria

Most assignments in the course (520 points total) are graded for completion, meaning that students who complete all components correctly receive full credit. The final projects for each unit (480 points total) are graded to a challenging standard using a detailed rubric available to students in the assignment instructions and in Blackboard. Although it is difficult to earn a high grade on the final projects, this is balanced by the other assignments graded for completion.

All assignments include information about the specific grading criteria. In general, scores are based on the quality of content, including attributes such as creativity, design excellence, analytical thinking, attention to detail, thoughtful revision, and polished writing. All assignments include submission requirements, which must be followed correctly for an assignment to be considered complete.

Extra Credit

Students have the opportunity to earn up to 20 points of extra credit through participation in research studies conducted at The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Students will receive 5 points for every half-hour of participation, up to the maximum of two hours (20 points). You have two options to complete this extra credit:

Option 1: Participate in a research protocol. Study participation will be managed through the Murrow College’s SONA System. Each study is worth a certain number of credits, with 0.5 research credits equivalent to 5 points of COM210 extra credit. You can view a list of available studies and sign up to participate at https://wsumurrow.sona-systems.com

Option 2: Complete a 4-page research paper on the use of multimedia content in communication research. The paper must be single-spaced and include at least 5 sources to be considered for full credit (20 points), and must be completed by the end of Week 14. Students must request the full requirements from their TA or course instructor by Week 13.

View links and all extra credit information on the Extra Credit page.

Detailed descriptions of each assignment and a schedule for the semester are available on the Course Schedule page and on the pages for individual assignments.