Graduate Programs

Graduate Courses, Summer 2020

COMM 597
Biometric Approaches to Media Research. Maymester (May 11-June 8)

MTW 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 169 Willard Building
Jessica Gall Myrick

While self-reports are an invaluable tool for assessing media effects, researchers are increasingly interested in real-time and more objective measures of how audiences respond to media. As such, this course would examine the theory and practice of using non-deliberative measures to assess audience responses to media messages. Data collection and data interpretation related to electrodermal activity (also known as galvanic skin response), eye-tracking, and automated facial expression analysis will all be covered, including discussions of how to apply these methodologies to a variety of media-related stimuli. These three methods can be used to assess a wide range of emotional and cognitive responses to media. The theoretical rationales behind these data collection methods, their benefits and drawbacks, as well as strategies for successful biometric research implementation will be prominent parts of the course. The course will also take advantage of iMotions software training modules to help develop students' biometric
assessment and data visualization skills.

COMM 597
Video Games as Mass Media. 2nd Summer Session (July 1-August 12)

TWTh, 1-3:10 p.m., 112 Keller Building
Michael Schmierbach

This course explores the field of video game research from a communications perspective, integrating theories of mass media, psychology, technology and related areas. A central focus is not simply understanding research on video games per se, but also exploring how the relevant variables for researching video games reveal larger insights into theories of media writ large.
Topics include:

  • Enjoyment and affective responses to play
  • Identification, customization and avatar effects
  • Narrative involvement and the intersection of interactivity and narrative
  • Motivations for play and compulsive use
  • Difficulty and frustration
  • Defining games and gamification; persuasive and educational impacts of games
  • Aggression and violence
  • Cooperation, interpersonal interactions, toxicity and social capital