Classroom Innovations in COMM

UPDATE: The COMM 760 report on 2018 political ads featured in an article on The Conversation, authored by Professor Shawn Parry-Giles and doctoral students Aya Farhat, Matthew Salzano, and Skye de Saint Felix.

Exciting things are happening in COMM classrooms--

In COMM 401-Interpreting Strategic Discourse, students coded about 3,000 Facebook advertisements planted by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. With help from the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), these ads are now publicly searchable in an online database in which they’re categorized by content and theme. COMM 401 was taught by Associate Professor Damien Pfister; their coding project was featured in Maryland Today.

In COMM 498O-Public Relations Research, Data, and Insights, the class presented their client proposals to UNICEF USA's Digital Engagement staff in NYC on Dec. 11, 2018 (pictured below). The course, taught by Professor Elizabeth Toth, and done in partnership with Ketchum PR, teaches digital research skills, in order to improve how social media can be used to build successful relationships between organizations and their stakeholders.

In COMM 760-Seminar in Political Communication, doctoral students examined 52 political commercials by 25 women challengers running for the House, Senate, or governor positions in the 2018 general election (29 ads by nine Republican women and 23 ads by 16 Democratic women) and explored a) how women challengers, nominated by their party, depicted their candidacy in the “Year of the Woman;” and b) how ads produced by Democrats compared to ads produced by Republicans. Their conclusions are published as a report from the Mark and Heather Rosenker Center on Political Communication & Civic Leadership. COMM 760 was taught by Professor & Chair Shawn Parry-Giles.

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