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COM 441 | Social Media and Community Engagement | Fall 2020 | Aimée Knight, PhD  

2:00 - 3:15 Tuesdays and Thursdays | Office hours Wednesdays 1:00-4:00 (online)  | Contact:

Course Description

Looking for passionate students for our in-house studio with a depth of experience in digital design and storytelling. This role
requires confidence in working across a variety of mediums. One week you might be creating compelling content across
mobile and web. Another week you might be shooting video that brings a creative concept to life. You have a passion for
building brands, visual storytelling, and movement building, and love pushing your skills to new heights to tackle challenges
in fresh and creative ways. You are fluent in the design process - from research to strategy to implementation. You stand up for
beauty and are adept at telling stories that transcend language and culture through emotion and human connection.
Creativity is a must. Desire to fight racism, global poverty, and inequality is absolutely critical.

Course objectives

Objective 1: Collaboration

Students will develop their ability to work collaboratively on a variety of activities and settings both in and outside of the
Objective 2: Effective Communication

Students will be able to identify and employ a range of effective communication strategies to navigate audience, purpose, and
Objective 3: Community Engagement

Students will expand their understanding and appreciation of the importance of being an actively engaged
community member, especially in terms of the role of non-profit organizations and society.
Objective 4: Reflection

Students will develop their understanding of the important role of reflection during the investigation, design, and
communication process.
Objective 5: Risk-taking

Students will know what it feels like to step out of their comfort zones and take risks with their approaches to and
understanding of digital media and non-profit communications.
Course Readings - PDF excerpts on Canvas

Duarte, Nancy. Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences. Wiley, 2010.
Handley, Ann. Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content. Wiley, 2014.
IDEO, editor. The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design: Design Kit. 1st. ed, IDEO, 2015.
Engeström, Jyri. “Why Some Social Network Services Work and Others Don’t - Or: The Case for Object Centered
Sociality,” 2005.
Kanter, Beth, et al. Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World. First edition, Jossey-Bass, a
Wiley Imprint, 2012.
Kanter, Beth, and Allison H. Fine. The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change. 1st ed, Jossey-
Bass, 2010.
Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl.” The New Yorker, June 1978.
Knight, Aimée. Students as Agents of Change, A Field Guide for Writing with Communities, 2020.
Lambert, Joe, and H.Brooke Hessler. Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community. Fifth edition, Revised and
updated, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.
Meehan, William F., and Kim Starkey Jonker. Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector.
Stanford Business Books, an imprint of Stanford University Press, 2018.
Sinek, Simon. Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for You or Your Team. Portfolio/Penguin, an imprint
of Penguin Random House, LLC, 2017.

Course Materials

Adobe Creative Cloud Our classroom computers have this installed already, but you may wish to purchase a CC license). In
this course, we will primarily be using Photoshop. In a pinch, you can use this open source method editor or this one for
some activities.

Course Assignments and Evaluation

Assignments Due Date Evaluation

Reading and Writing Responses Weeks 1 - 14 20%

Media Activities Week 1 - 13 20%

Community Partner Project Weeks 2 - 15 40%

Final Exam Reflection Week 16 20%

Reading responses, writing activities 20%

Individual evaluation. Reading responses are pre-class writing activities which demonstrate your engagement with the
ideas in the assigned weekly course material. Your responses will contain observable signs of notable effort, thinking, and
involvement with the texts. Think of it like a reading journal. An effective response demonstrates that you have thoroughly
read and understood the material (or that you ask and attempt to answer compelling questions that reveal careful
reading). The responses will develop connections between the material and the themes of the course and demonstrate
that you have considered the implications of the materials. Although these are not formal academic papers, they should
be carefully written and cited nevertheless. Include direct quotes from the readings that support your integration of the
material. Be specific about the works you’re discussing, give details to back up any assertions you may make, include
references, page numbers, when appropriate. Finally, pay attention to grammar and mechanics. Reading responses are
short answers (typically between 200-300 words). These are due before class onTuesdays. Late work is dedicated 20% per

Media activities, group-work, worksheets, peer reviews 20%

Group evaluation. To promote the integration of theory and practice,  we will engage in various writing activities, some
private, some public. Use vocabulary, concepts, and ideas from the reading material and any additional course material
to link theory with practice. Make it a habit to thoroughly relate your work with the readings. Assessment of writing
activities is ongoing throughout the semester. Late work is deducted 20% per day.

Community partner project 40%

Group evaluation. Throughout the semester, groups will work on a digital media research project with a community
partner. Each project may differ in its goals and outcomes and will be evaluated on an individual basis. Mentoring by both
fellows and professor will lead each groups through a series of revisions, resulting in a completed project which is
acceptable to all. During the last weeks of the semester fellows and the instructor will review each group’s portfolio of work
from this course. Each group will create a Case Study to be posted online on the B:Social archive on the website. During
the last weeks of class, groups will also present their final case study and research outcomes to their community partners
and to the class.

Final Reflection 20%

Individual evaluation. Using Ryan Holiday’s first chapter in The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to
Advantage, reflect on your experience of the course. This final assignment asks you to write a 400-500 word piece that tells
a story about your growth and development this semester, whether that be professionally, ethically, civically, morally,
academically, psychologically, internally, intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. Prompts will be provided.

Weekly Agenda

- By Tuesdays: Have reading responses prepared before class

- On Tuesdays: In class discussion; media activity
- On Thursdays: Team meetings with fellows to work on Community Partner Project; finish activities
- By Fridays: Submit group media activities; upload completed worksheets

What we are up to Tuesdays Thursdays Fridays

Week 1 We begin this course with learning 8/25 8/27 8/28

about community engaged
A Culture of research projects and starting to Reading: Reading Activity and
Changemaking build a learning community in the Introduction Chapter 2: The completed
classroom. We will will lay the and Chapter 1, Liberatory worksheets due
foundation for this semester-with Introduction to Classroom;
an introduction to B:Social and the course ; Chapter 2;“Girl”
how design can be a tool to Activity; Fellows
amplify, support, and extend speak with
communities. partners via

Week 2 We will begin to discuss how to 9/1 9/3 9/4

build an active learning
Getting Started; community where everyone Reading: Team meetings: Activity and
Establishing participates in making the class Chapter 3: Establishing completed
Teams “work." We will also choose a Getting Started teams; worksheets due
community partner and form Brief partner Establishing
groups. presentations + roles on teams;
survey Initial email

Week 3 9/8 9/10 9/11

This week we begin to understand
the issue or opportunity at hand Reading: Meet with Activity and
The Community and put it into question format Chapter 4: The partners via completed
Partner Project; with group members. We then Community Zoom; worksheets due
The Design meet our community partners and Partner Project reflection;
Question engage them in conversations refining the
about their needs, gaining research
valuable insight into all facets of
our projects.

Week 4 9/15 9/17 9/18

In this activity, groups observe and
describe the state of their Reading Team meeting Activity and
Social Media
community partner’s social media Chapter 5: completed
platforms. This activity serves as an Social Media worksheets due
introduction and lays the Analysis
foundation for future analysis.

What we are up to Tuesdays Thursdays Fridays

Week 5 A comparative media analysis 9/22 9/24 9/25

allows groups to better identify
Comparative with our community partners by Reading Day: Reading: Activity and
Media Analysis locating “mentor accounts” or no class Chapter 5 completed
kindred spirits. A mentor account Comparative worksheets due
helps groups to explore potential Media Analysis;
strategies and possibilities for our Team meeting
community partners.

Week 6 The Golden Circle serves as an 9/29 10/1 10/2

introduction to what our partners
Golden Circle are trying to accomplish in the Reading: Team meeting Activity and
Analysis world and how their mission as a Chapter 5 completed
nonprofit or community Golden Circle worksheets due
organization translates to their Analysis
social platforms.

Week 7 Looking at the nature of social 10/6 10/8 10/9

objects gives us a way to write and
design for a more engaging social Reading: Team meeting Activity and
Social Object web experience.  Chapter 5 Social completed
Analysis Object Analysis worksheets due

Week 8 10/13 10/15 10/16

This week we focus on how to Reading: Team meeting; Activity and

Storytelling support individuals and Chapter 5 Team blog post completed
Strategies organizations in using storytelling Storytelling and takeover worksheets due
and participatory media for Strategies; Blog scheduled
reflection, education, and social

Week 9 The purpose of this report is to 10/20 10/22 10/23

share with the community partner
some of our more academic Media report Team meeting Activity and
Media report
conversations around social media, draft due; peer completed
social objects, and storytelling. reviews worksheets due

What we are up to Tuesdays Thursdays Fridays

Week 10 In this report, you will discuss 10/27 10/29 10/30

some of the theories we have read
Media report and discussed in class, citing the Media report Team meeting Activity and
authors throughout. final completed
worksheets due

Week 11 11/3 11/5 11/6

Project time Project time Activity and

worksheets due

Week 12 By creating a case study when we 11/10 11/12 11/13

finish a project, we get the chance
to showcase that project and record Chapter 6: Case Team meeting Activity and
Case studies
its process. Case studies are a Studies completed
snapshot of our work with a discussion; worksheets due
partner and have a variety of Finding a Story

Week 13 Data is one of the best ways to tell 11/17 11/19 11/20
a story within the case study and to
showcase the results of our work. Case study draft Team meeting
Finding a story
Done effectively, using data as a due; peer
centerpiece for the case study can reviews,
create a compelling narrative and feedback
demonstrate value.

Week 14 Case study for the website due; 11/24 11/26 11/27
revise case study, prepare Reading:
presentation Chapter 7 Thanksgiving
Reaching in,
Reaching Out;

Week 15 Groups present their research 12/1 12/3 12/4

deliverable, case study, or their
social media analysis Presentations Presentations

Week 16 12/8 12/10 12/12

“The obstacle is the way.” Final
reflection due at scheduled exam Reading: The Last day of finals
The obstacle is
time Obstacle is the
the way

Course Policies

Community Agreements (Borrowed from the Allied Media Conference)

- Stay flexible and patient around any technology needs, changes, cancellations or schedule shifts as we navigate the
semester between hybrid and online formats.

- Ask questions before assuming. The best way to understand the choices, actions, or intentions of one another is by

- When offering critical feedback, do so with the belief that people can change; when receiving critical feedback, listen to
others with a willingness to change.

- Mute your mic while not speaking on Zoom.

- You decide whether your video is on or off in Zoom sessions.
- Use may a digital background in video sessions for privacy.
- Avoid ableist and other harmful language
- Learn about identity-first language
- This is an anonymous feedback link that goes to the professor and cannot be traced back to you.

Expectations Come to class fully prepared to engage in the exchange of ideas. It is your responsibility to be ready to
discuss the materials each week. You will also need to access (and use) Canvas and email. Save and backup all work at all

Attendance You are expected to attend class each week and be well prepared. We will often have discussions, work on
projects, watch videos, conduct group work, and other activities during class time. There is no substitute for your presence
during class. Please note, if you are absent, it is your reasonability to make up the work in a timely manner.

Late Work Late work is deducted 20% for each late day. If an assignment or project is posted after a deadline, it will be
deducted 20%. If you are ill, please let me know.

Office Hours and After Hours I hope you will take advantage of my office hours. I am available to offer extended
feedback on your projects (beyond the written feedback you formally receive). You don’t need to have a problem to
schedule a visit, but if you do find yourself having some difficulty or questions, then I certainly want to see you sooner
rather than later. If you cannot make scheduled office hours, arrange to see me at another time. Office hours are on Zoom
this semester.

Equipment to check out The COM Studies department has most of the equipment what you will need to complete
course assignments. Everyone in the department, including faculty, use the gear for their work, so it’s important that we all
treat it kindly and return it on time. More details here.

Writing Center Fall 2020 Virtual appointments. The Saint Joseph’s University Writing Center is free to all members of the
SJU community. The undergraduate and graduate student writers who make up the staff can assist you in any stage of the
writing process, from brainstorming to organizing and developing your ideas, to citing sources to proofreading. They work
with students from across the university on a variety of assignments and projects: lab reports, business policy papers,
poems, essays, research papers, dissertations, resumes, and personal statements for graduate school applications, among
many others. You name it; they’ve helped writers write it. Both appointments and drop-in sessions are available. The main
Writing Center is located in 162 Merion Hall. The Center also has a satellite location in the Post Learning Commons (room
128). For more information, including hours of operation and instructions on how to make an appointment, please visit
the SJU Writing Center website at

Academic honesty If you use ideas or information that are not common knowledge, you must cite a source. This rule
applies to all the course activities and projects including reading responses, multimedia projects, and essays. How to cite a
source will be discussed in class. St. Joseph’s University’s academic honesty policy can be found here.

The penalty for plagiarism is an automatic Fail for this class and a letter of notification to the Committee on Discipline. If
you are suspected of plagiarism or an act of dishonesty, action will be taken. In all courses, each student has the
responsibility to submit work that is uniquely his or her own. All of this work must be done in accordance with established
principles of academic integrity. Specific violations of this responsibility include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Cheating, copying, or the offering or receiving of unauthorized assistance or information in examinations, tests,
quizzes, reports, assigned papers, or special assignments, as in computer programming, studio work, and the like.

- The fabrication or falsification of data, results, or sources for papers or reports

- Any action which destroys or alters the work of another student;The multiple submission of the same paper or report
for assignments more than one course without the prior written permission of each instructor;

- Plagiarism, the appropriation of information, ideas, or the language of other persons or writers and the submission of
them as one’s own to satisfy the requirements of a course.

Plagiarism thus constitutes both theft and deceit. Compositions, term papers, or computer programs acquired, either in
part or in whole, from commercial sources or from other students and submitted as one’s own original work shall be
considered plagiarism. All students are directed to the standard manuals of style or reference guides for discussions of
plagiarism and the means by which sources are legitimately acknowledged, cited, quoted, paraphrased, and footnoted—
whether presented in an oral report or in writing.

Rules regarding the use of information in this course 1) If you use the language of your source, you must quote it
exactly, enclose it in quotation marks, and cite the source. If you use the language of your source, quote the wording
exactly. This is called a direct quotation. A direct quotation is either enclosed in quotation marks or indented on the page. If
you omit part of the wording, use an ellipsis (three periods, four if necessary for punctuation to indicate the omission).

2) A paraphrase employs source material by restating an idea in an entirely new form that is original in both sentence
structure and word choice. Taking the basic structure from a source and substituting a few words is an unacceptable
paraphrase and may be construed as plagiarism. Creating a new sentence by merging the wording of two or more sources
is also plagiarism.

Services for students with disabilities Reasonable academic accommodations may be provided to students who
submit appropriate documentation of their disability. Students are encouraged to contact Dr. Christine Mecke in the Office
of Student Disability Services, Bellarmine, B-10, at; or at 610.660.1774 for assistance with this issue. The
university also provides an appeal/grievance procedure regarding requested or offered reasonable accommodations
through Dr. Mecke's office. More information can be found at: