Syllabus – Summer 2015

COMSTRAT 381 – Creative Media Strategies & Techniques
Syllabus – Summer 2015
Learning Outcomes | Graded Tasks | Course Policies | Academic Policies & Procedures

Course Overview

Creative Media Strategies and Techniques is a writing course for undergraduate students poised to generate or improve expertise in writing for marketing  and advertising on multiple media platforms including traditional media (print, broadcast, outdoor) and digital media (online advertising, blogs, web content, and social media). Think of this course as “writing for multiple mediums” using best practices and industry standards for advertising, promotional communications, storytelling, and campaigns. When you leave this class you will have a series of written and visual pieces worthy of your portfolio, as well as the confidence to tackle any task handed to you. It is my goal to aid in your success and growth as a marketing professional.

My goal is to help you become a stronger story-teller and empower you to tap into your creativity and intelligence, to become a strong creative collaborator, a critical thinker, and an innovator.  You will also walk away with solid best practices and industry standards knowledge in terminology, tips, tools, and techniques for all channels including planning, execution, and measuring success.

Course Objectives

  • Introduce students to advanced writing techniques used in advertising and marketing campaigns in multiple platforms and media  – improving upon foundational skills already learned in COM 210 and other courses;

  • Reinforce the basics of audience definition and targeting;

  • Teach students how to write for a variety of assignments typically given to marketing practitioners;

  • Teach best practices for generating written work in a professional marketing or advertising setting – understanding fundamentals around messaging, research, outlining and drafting copy;

  • Introduce guidelines for working with clients, developing copy platforms, presenting creative briefs and finished creative materials.

Learning Outcomes

  • Testing of learned and applied knowledge through assignments and drills;

  • Confidence in presenting work in traditional media platforms;

  • Confidence in presenting work in digital and online platforms;

  • Completion of writing (and re-writing) of writing assignments;

  • Completion of a final that incorporates various aspects of course teachings;

  • Confidence working in a professional environment.

Learning Objectives & Outcomes


  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advertising and marketing theories and principles;

  • Create content and develop advertising and marketing campaigns to meet stated business and/or promotional objectives;

  • Reaching and meeting needs of different audiences;

  • Proficiency in variety of contemporary advertising & marketing tools and techniques;

  • Terminology related to advertising and marketing communications;

  • Develop professional skills for advertising careers through experiential learning.


  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advertising and marketing theories and principles;

  • Understanding of balancing priorities, politics and personalities of clients, personnel, creative partners and audiences;

  • Self-promotion, career-planning and understanding how to celebrate strengths and put energy into improving on weaknesses;


  • Creativity
  • Confidence
  • Reliability
  • Integrity
  • Collaboration


  • Understanding old vs. new rules for marketing and advertising;

  • Use of technology tools used by practitioners to create, execute and measure campaigns;

  • Writing for social media channels including online advertising, blogs and social networks;

  • Ability to develop creative and write marketing copy under tight deadlines;

  • Marketing techniques and best practices;

  • Creating and pitching creative concepts;

  • Writing for broadcast, print, outdoor media;

  • Writing for online advertising, html emails and promotions;

Student Learning Outcomes  – The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of journalism or communication theories, principles, issues and social responsibilities;

  • Identify journalism or communication objectives and acquire, analyze and synthesize information to address the objective;

  • Create content and develop communication campaigns or journalistic products to address specific objectives;

  • Communicate effectively in writing, speech, and presentations via multiple media platforms;

  • Develop professional skills for communication careers through experiential learning.

Graded Tasks – Summer 2015


1 50 Personal summary, personal brand & blog creation Sunday, May 17
2 50 Ad agency analysis & message platform development Friday, May 22
3 50 Client research & evaluation Friday, May 29
4 50 Campaign Planning & Creative Concept development Friday, June 5
5 50 Campaign and Creative Execution Friday, June 12
6 100 IMC Plan Development & Creative execution Friday, June 19
350  TOTAL POINTS (Assignments)

Peer Feedback

Feedback 90 Every Wednesday we will have an in-class review of the current drafts of that week’s assignment. Each feedback assignment is worth 15 points. Wednesdays @ 11:59 p.m.


30 classes 60 We meet 30 times over 6 weeks. Each class session is worth
2 points.
  Monday-Friday 12-1 p.m.

Summary of Graded Tasks

Assignments 350 70%
Peer Feedback 90 18%
Attendance 60 12%

Grading Scale

A 100% 93% 500 465
A- 92% 90% 464 450
B+ 89% 87% 449 435
B 86% 83% 434 415
B- 82% 80% 414 400
C+ 79% 77% 399 385
C 76% 73% 384 365
C- 72% 70% 364 350
D+ 69% 67% 349 335
D 66% 60% 334 300
F 55% 0% 299 0

Course Policies & Procedures

Student Academic Conduct Statement

Attendance in 381 is simple. We meet 30 times over 6 weeks. Each class session is worth 2 points. Miss class and you get “0” (zero) points for that session. Over time this can add up.

Excused absences are reserved for WSU Athletes with written verification from their athletic advisor, students with letters from a WSU club, organization or department who is formally requesting permission for the student’s absence and for those students with medical issues who bring in a doctor’s note. I will address  any “Courtesy Notifications” from the Dean of Students office on a case-by-case basis.

Unexcused absences are basically everything else. You are sick, your dog has a thorn in its foot, you got a flat tire, you missed the bus. I get it.  Stuff comes up.  SO… at the end of the semester I will throw out two unexcused absences per student – but not if it falls on a Fire Drill day. Missing those and you lose a total of 12 points (2 for class, 10 for the activity).

Assignment Drafts & Rewrites

For the main writing assignments you will be given an opportunity to complete a revised draft to improve on your grade. I will edit and provide feedback your assignment, then if you want to improve on your grade, you can make the edits and resubmit.

As advertising professionals, checking your work and achieving an error-free status is critical to overall success and integrity. Evaluation of your work will be based not only on the quality of writing and applications of best practices – but a very critical eye will be given toward typos, grammatical errors. Points will be taken off for sloppiness, carelessness and especially blatant typos.

It is my goal in this course to avoid busy work and focus your energies on producing and practicing with the industry standards and contemporary tools used by today’s practitioners. For the curriculum I have created a mix of practice activities, interactive tasks, knowledge challenges and writing assignments to get you to the ultimate goal of giving you the confidence needed for the workplace – no matter what the challenge.

Late Work Policy

Deadlines for each graded assignment will be given and students are expected to meet them. Work  will be due at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on the specified due date. Late work will be accepted the following day, but will be subject to a loss of 10% of the total points for the assignment. Work turned in two days after the due date will lose one full letter grade for each day it is late. Work will no longer be accepted five days after the due date and the student will receive a ‘zero’ for the assignment. If you would like to request special exception or additional time for any assignment, please discuss your needs with me in advance of the due date.

Academic Policies & Procedures

Student Academic Conduct Statement

Cheating and academic misconduct are defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010, which can be found at  It is your responsibility to read and understand these definitions.  Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for academic misconduct.

     One of the common violations is plagiarism, which is misappropriation of intellectual property without giving due credit to the author. Instructors in the Murrow College use Turnitin ( , a software application that is specifically designed to detect plagiarism.

     Anyone who violates WSU’s Standards of Conduct for Students will be reported to the Office of Student Affairs.  When academic misconduct charges are brought against a student, she or he no longer has the option of withdrawing from the class, and can be retroactively re-enrolled in the class.

    Copying is a form of academic dishonesty and will not be tolerated.  Do not copy or allow others to steal or copy from your work. When two or more students are found to turn in identical or overly similar work, all students will receive equal punishment.  If a student steals or copies your work against your will, you should report the incident immediately to your instructor.

    The penalty for a violation of WSU’s Standards of Conduct for Students is a zero on the assignment or test without an option to make up the points lost. In addition, a full letter-grade will be deducted from the final grade earned in the class. Penalty ranges from this minimum to an F in the course. Instructors may consider mitigating circumstances and have some latitude in assigning sanctions.  In addition, the Office of Student Standards and Accountability may impose other punishments, including expulsion from the University.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the cornerstone of the university. You assume full responsibility for the content and integrity of the academic work you submit. You may collaborate with classmates on assignments, with the instructor’s permission. However the guiding principle of academic integrity shall be that your submitted work, examinations, reports, and projects must be your own work. Any student who violates the University’s standard of conduct relating to academic integrity will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and may fail the assignment or the course. You can learn more about Academic Integrity on your campus using the URL listed in the Academic Regulations section or to Please use these resources to ensure that you don’t inadvertently violate WSU’s standard of conduct.


This course provides opportunities to investigate and practice strategies that can be used in business and professional presentations and communication interactions. While there is no single business environment or common understanding of professionalism, we will work to create a professional environment in class. Attendance and participation are assumed. Be prepared to discuss and to present. And, language choices matter. Language can intentionally and unintentionally communicate sexist, racist, ethnocentric and other stereotypes. In accordance with University policy, the use of sexist and stereotypical language is discouraged.

Multiple Submissions

Multiple submission includes, but is not limited to, submitting the same paper or oral report for credit in two courses without the responsible instructor’s permission; making minor revisions in a paper or report for which credit has already been received and submitting it again as a new piece of work.

WSU Reasonable Accommodation Statement

Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. For more information contact a Disability Specialist at 509-335-3417 or visit,

Revision Policy

Students have the option of making at least ONE revision to each of TWO required assignments. The revision should not only reflect the recommended changes and address the evaluation or constructive criticism provided – but also demonstrate the student’s commitment to improving upon the previous work and taking the assignment to the next level, showing the instructor their understanding of the subject matter and ability to articulate it through writing and editing. If students turn in the revision by the designated deadline, they will have the opportunity to make up the full credit of the assignment. Revisions submitted past the deadline will not be accepted therefore result in the original grade standing as final.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation criteria are consistent with the goals of the assignments and are included with the assignment prompts. An effort will always be made to provide a rubric and grading criteria for each assignment so students understand what is being evaluated and how they can earn optimum points.

Incomplete Grade Policy

Incompletes are granted only with permission of the instructor and are subject to the following guidelines:

– Students must request an incomplete in writing or by e-mail from the instructor before the end of the semester;

– The request must be signed and dated by the student (or identified by student’s e-mail address), and must explain the reasons behind the request for the incomplete.

In order to be considered for an incomplete, there are two main conditions:

– a student must complete a minimum amount of the assigned course work. Specifically, a student must complete 75 percent of the course work;

– a student must have a mathematical possibility of passing the class. A passing grade is 60 percent or above for the entire course.

If extraordinary circumstances (e.g., family emergency, serious illness) are involved and are documented to the instructor’s satisfaction, the professor/ instructor retains the discretion to grant an incomplete even if the minimum conditions outlined above are not met.


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