Summer 2019


DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. This course uses communication and interdisciplinary perspectives to explore interactions involving technology. May include the study of impression formation, identity, surveillance, privacy, distributed teams, trust and deception, online gaming, social support, and uses and impacts of new information and communication technology.


This course carries the Independent Inquiry Flag.

DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. This is a course about how to analyze the rhetoric of popular culture. We will be learning ways to understand how movies, television, popular music, sports, games, and so forth influence the ways we act and think. We move toward your own original research project and paper, based on independent research. The course assumes some familiarity through previous study with issues of culture, media, rhetoric, and persuasion. The course is web based, which means we do not meet in person but instead conduct all our business through Canvas. This course allows and encourages a lot of independent student work, guided by readings, discussions on Canvas, and instructor explanations. This course may be counted toward the independent inquiry flag requirement.


This course carries a Cultural Diversity flag.

DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. This is a course in film theory and history, which is taught from a rhetorical perspective and organized around three themes: 1) the mode of production, or industry; 2) the apparatus, or the technology of cinematic experience; and 3) the "text," or the network of filmic elements (narrative, image, and sound). While exploring each theme we will also work through and examine a set of concepts that have become established as the basic interpretive tools available to those studying and analyzing film as a rhetorical artifact: modes of production, the star, the spectator, narration, enunciation, the gaze, sexual and racial difference within the visual field, the soundtrack, and the disembodied voice. Our emphasis in the course is not on the appreciation of film art, but rather, in theory about film and film criticism. In other words, we are concerned principally with what is at stake in a critical or rhetorical reading. The course is open to a limited number of graduate students with extra assignments under independent study. This course may be counted towards the cultural diversity flag requirement.

CMS F367 Politics and Protest in Sports

DESCRIPTION: Cultural scholars have argued that sport is the most universal form of popular culture. Sport influences our identity positions, consumption choices, interpersonal relationships, and media options. Professional and intercollegiate athletics employ thousands, entertain millions, and generate billions in revenue. In short, no profile of contemporary culture is complete without the inclusion of sport. How we communicate about sport, how sport is communicated to us, and what is communicated by sport each represent critical opportunities to evaluate, critique, and improve our public culture. This course is grounded in a rhetorical approach to sport that views it as an institution through which culture is produced, maintained, and contested. In particular, the course is arranged around distinct sporting contexts in which a range of community, identity, and political matters can be addressed.

CMS F367 Identity in Relationships

DESCRIPTION: Every individual brings a complex set of identities with them into their social lives. “Who we are” is influenced by the unique combination of our gender, ethnicity, age, education, income, ability, and much more. This course will examine the influence of these identities and many more as they relate to our relationships with our friends, families, colleagues, partners, and selves. 

CMS S313M Organizational Communication (WB)

DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. As a broad overview to the study of organizational communication, this course covers theories and practices relevant to communication in organizations. The class addresses issues of structure, motivation, leadership, informal communication networks, culture, socialization, decision-making, stress/burnout, conflict, diversity, globalization, and external communication as they relate to organizations. The theory and research in class are made more applicable to students through case studies of actual organizational problems/issues.


DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. Have you ever felt manipulated by a smooth-talking politician, a slick TV commercial, or a sweet little Girl Scout selling cookies? This course is a survey of prominent perspectives on persuasion and social influence that inform our understanding of compliance-gaining episodes such as these. We will focus on the source, receiver, and message features that affect the nature of persuasive attempts and outcomes, and we will devote attention to what makes persuasive communication behaviors successful and unsuccessful in both interpersonal and mass communication contexts.

CMS S338 Leadership Stories (WB)


DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. There are several components to this course. First, as represented by the title of the course are stories of leadership.  But in this instance the title refers to your stories of leadership instead of tales of famous leaders. Rather than relating tales of celebrated women and men and what they achieved in dire circumstances, we will ask you to compose leadership stories of your own making—stories that place you in the role of the actor and doer in the drama. You will be constructing and presenting these stories during the course of the semester. The conceptual base for this course is narratology, which is the study and theory of narratives, or complex stories—what they’re made of, how they’re structured, and what we gain from using them as a vehicle for communication.  Narrative (or story) is a way of knowing, understanding, and appreciating the world, and we will be asking you to develop and display your understandings via stories throughout this course.

Second, there is a leadership principle for each section of the course that will be distilled from the research and theories of leadership. The principles will be communicated in story form and embedded in the discussion of different sections of the course.  Ideas related to leadership will be loosely coupled with the other concepts covered in the section. The goal will be to capture a key understanding of the nature of leadership without necessarily presenting the idea front and center in the section’s material, but at the same time tying it to other ideas that result in a compelling narrative.


This course carries the Ethics and Leadership, Writing, and Independent Inquiry flags.

DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. It will cover such questions as: How do you handle fights with your significant other? When you avoid fighting, does it make the relationship stronger or weaker? Do you make the relationship better or kill it off? How do you handle disagreements with your family? Do you find yourself handling things well on one day and making a mess on the next? What makes the difference? Do you have people in your life who make no sense to you? Do you find yourself in conflict with them? How does it go? What happened the last time you had a conflict with a store? Were you satisfied with the outcome? How about problems with a teacher or classmates? Were you satisfied with the outcome in those conflicts? Were you proud of yourself? What makes you proud of the way you handle yourself? (What makes you embarrassed?) When you look at movies and TV shows, do you think what you see is realistic? Do you get ideas about how to handle your own conflicts from there? Do these ideas work? When you look at the President and Congress or North Korea and the US, do you see any similarities between your life and how nations handle conflict? Do things like gender, role, ethnicity, nationality, and even family background make a difference in your conflicts? Do other things matter more or less?

Activities for learning in this class include reading about conflict and communication, analyzing conflicts (including, possibly, your own), and experiencing and evaluating communication behaviors that are said to be effective in conflict talk. Because we will be online, we will also look at some of the electronic contexts for conflict and new designs for dialogue. Materials include assigned reading, teacher lectures (delivered live and posted to Canvas, as well as other video and web materials. You’ll write two taut papers, one on a relationship conflict and one on a less personal, more of a policy conflict. There will be two quizzes to cover the reading and lectures. You will also try your advising and analyzing skills on real life conflicts by applying what you are learning for an additional set of grades.


CMS and NON CMS Majors

DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. This course is being taught in the summer to utilize students’ opportunities to get work experience in a variety of settings in and out of Austin, Texas. As a result, communication between the professor and the students, as well as the writing assignments for the course, will be handled entirely online. This course places students in communication positions with public and private organizations.This course is open to students from UT Austin, regardless of major, for students interested in interning at a site that requires credit.


CMS majors ONLY

DESCRIPTION: This class will be conducted entirely online. This web-based upper-division internship course is ideal for you if you’re ready to apply what you’ve learned in CMS courses to a hands-on work experience.  As the instructor, I’m here to be a resource; I’ve taught this course almost 10 years and I spent a decade in industry prior to my academic experience.  Students in this class are at vastly different places in their career development, and my objective is to allow you to customize your learning experience to achieve your goals. You will choose one of the College-to-Career Activities that will help you the best: 1) optimizing your resume, 2) perfecting your LinkedIn profile, or 3) conducting informational interviews for potential careers or graduate school options.  You’ll also write two brief reflection papers to both update me on your internship and reflect on your experiences.  Finally, your supervisor will evaluate your performance and I’ll teach you how to be actively engaged in that process starting with negotiating your contract.  Along the way, I’ll provide many optional resources to help you turn this class into a life-long learning experience.