Curriculum:BA in Journalism and Mass Communication - Digital Communication


Time to completion for the Drake 100% online BA in Journalism and Mass Communication – Digital Communication will vary depending on the number of credits transferred and number of credits taken each semester. With 60 credits transferred in from an associate program, 64 credit hours will be taken in the following areas:

  • SJMC courses: 44 credit hours
  • Elective courses: 20 credit hours

All courses are six-weeks, 100% online and asynchronous. There are no in-person requirements or scheduled online class meetings.

SJMC Courses

JMC 030: Mass Media in a Global Society – 3 Credit Hours

Introduction to the role and functions of mass media in an increasingly global society. Survey of newspapers, magazines, books, radio-television, advertising, public relations, digital media and the Web. Seeks to foster an understanding of how media either facilitate or inhibit understanding of various racial, cultural and gender issues. Students will critically analyze a variety of media and their messages, focusing on explicit and implicit messages about race, gender and ethnicity. Appreciate the role of mass media, both historical and contemporary, in a global society.

JMC 040: Pre-Professional Workshop – 1 Credit Hour

This workshop-style short course is designed to introduce journalism and mass communication students early in their college careers to the professional environment. This course will advise and coach students in the tools and best practice techniques for acquiring jobs and internships including evaluating their skills, abilities and defining their personal brand.

JMC 041: Financial Fundamentals for Communication Professionals – 1 Credit Hour

This one-credit course provides an introduction to basic business principles and terminology for non-business majors, with an emphasis on communications professionals. Topics include fundamentals of business organizations; reading and interpreting business financial statements; investment basics; understanding economic indicators; writing a business plan; and basic applied math.

JMC 054: Reporting & Writing Principles – 3 Credit Hours

Information evaluation, fact-gathering methods and journalism writing style, with extensive practice.

JMC 055: Digital Media Strategies – 3 Credit Hours

Digital technology is constantly evolving. And while the web has grown into a hub of innovation, and social media has allowed the world to communicate in new ways, it’s extremely difficult to attract and retain a loyal audience across a bevy of digital platforms. The noise can be deafening. Digital Strategies will introduce students to the tools and best practices to cut through the din. Students will understand how to grow, engage and maintain a digital audience, creating effective native social content and email newsletters while also using analytics to drive and adapt a multi-platform plan. Students will also delve into the complexities of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), data journalism and data visualization, as well as investigate the latest tech advances popping in Silicon Valley, on the Silicon Prairie, and from the world at large.

JMC 058: Foundations of Visual Communication – 3 Credit Hours

Survey of visual communications, including basic page/screen design, type and typography, color, illustrations, and concepts. Each topic is approached both analytically and aesthetically. Laptop required (minimum: i3 processor, 4 gigs of ram, 200 gigs of free storage space, Wireless N.) subscription to the Creative Suite. Prereq: JMC 031


JMC 059: Visual Communication Methods – 3 Credit Hours

This course helps students master the fundamental principles of good design, color, balance and contrast using different media to convey a message. Photography, print, and web will be explored. Instruction on using digital cameras, Photoshop, InDesign and other software will illustrate the elements of design and communication for each medium.

JMC 070: Media Editing – 3 Credit Hours

Editing for newspapers, magazines and websites. Heavy emphasis on grammar, usage and Associated Press style. Also includes editing for accuracy, organization, structure, clarity, cultural sensitivity and fairness; headline and cutline writing; coaching writers; and law and ethics.

JMC 080: Foundations of Strategic Communication – 3 Credit Hours

This course explores the role of communication in today’s organizations. Students will develop an appreciation for and understanding of the critical thinking, research, planning and communication skills necessary for successful strategic communication campaigns. Using the current media environment as a foundation, students will learn the strategies and tools needed to successfully advocate on behalf of a client, utilize a database of millions of records of consumer demographics and buying behaviors to plan and execute an integrated campaign, and acquire a solid foundation in the basic theories and concepts of communication, persuasion, motivation and learning which are integral parts in the success of engaging diverse audiences. Students will also analyze the implications of ethical communication practice in a diverse society and will understand the different skills required to build a successful career in communication fields.

JMC 091: Magazine Staff Writing – 3 Credit Hours

Professional approach to writing as part of a magazine staff includes story pitches, interviewing, research, writing, peer editing, rewriting, fact-checking and proofreading. Students identify an audience and develop an editorial philosophy and formula to serve that audience. Article writing includes briefs, blogging, profile, travel, features and multimedia production.

JMC 104: Communications Law & Ethics – 3 Credit Hours

Press freedom, ethics, social responsibility, pressures and problems; legal limitations, including libel, privacy, intellectual property and obscenity.

JMC 105: Web Page Design – 3 Credit Hours

Introduces students to the basics of designing pages for the web. Students will learn to write HTML and CSS. They will create a website using a content management system (WordPress). Topics explored include search engine optimization, social media, web analytics and current trends in digital media.

JMC 107: Persuasive Writing – 3 Credit Hours

Students in this course will practice writing for paid, earned, shared and owned channels. Audience differentiation, media and creative strategy are all considered. Emphasis is on concept development, persuasive writing and execution, culminating in a professional portfolio presentation.

JMC 120: Magazine Freelance Writing – 3 Credit Hours

Article writing for specifically targeted media outlets, from print magazines to consumer websites. Includes intensive editing of student work in and outside of class; critiques and analyses of professional work; and strategies on targeting and pitching of potential outlets. Students research, write and rewrite multiple pieces, from profiles to features, essays to reviews.

JMC 137: Applied Communication Research – 3 Credit Hours

This course builds upon the introductory concepts of research, strategic planning and advertising media planning to prepare students with both knowledge of and practice in appropriate research skills used in the profession. While original, high-quality research will be expected, the emphasis of this class is on the development of sound research method design and the strategic decisions behind implementation.

JMC 149: Strategic Communication Planning – 3 Credit Hours

This course explores the role of strategic planning in communication, helping students gain essential skills needed in the workplace. Students design and defend a comprehensive strategic plan and build a professional portfolio.

JMC 159: Online Communication Capstone – 3 Credit Hours

This capstone experience will require students to put their coursework into action in a meaningful way. In this final course of the online communication major, students will apply their learning from throughout the program to a specific communication or public policy issue or produce a digital publication, including all editorial, multimedia, design, production, marketing, promotion and distribution activities.

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