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Communication and Digital Media


In courses offered by the Carthage Communication and Digital Media Department, students are trained in written, oral, and visual communication. Special emphasis is placed on ethical considerations, and on the ability to communicate using electronic and digital media. Scroll down to read descriptions of the CDM courses offered at Carthage, or click on the following links for additional resources.

  • CDM 1150

    Human Communication

    This course provides a broad grounding in the history and current interdisciplinary understandings of human communication. Students will explore the role of identity/self and perception, verbal and nonverbal communication, listening, and culture in human interaction. These concepts will be further applied to the study of relationships, small groups, organizations, rhetoric, and media.

  • CDM 1200

    Public Speaking

    A study of the role, rights, responsibilities, and ethics of the speaker, medium, and audience in a variety of speech situations in a democratic society. Speaking techniques examined include the processes of invention, organization, and presentation in informative, demonstrative, persuasive, and ceremonial settings. Students must demonstrate effectiveness in integrating media (e.g., presentation software or other video or audio elements) into their speech communications. Targeted instruction is arranged as necessary to ensure basic competency in the technical use of presentation software.

  • CDM 1300

    Visual Communication

    An introduction to the practice of critical observation and analysis of static, dynamic, and interactive visual information. Students develop theoretical and applied skills in interpreting a wide range of visual information, and demonstrate their own abilities to design and produce visual information.

  • CDM 2000

    Graphic Design I

    This studio course serves as an introduction to the practice of graphic design. Basic design and communication principles, along with the processes and techniques associated with the creation of effective visual communication, will be emphasized. Students will also be instructed in the use of digital drawing and painting programs for the production of graphic design solutions. Projects will range from visual exercises addressing basic principles of two-dimensional design to practical design problems requiring conceptual and critical as well as compositional evaluation. Exploration of materials and creative ideation, along with industry trends, issues, and significant practitioners, will also be discussed.
    Prerequisites: CDM 1300 and ART 1070

  • CDM 2100

    Health Communication

    The primary purpose of this course is to investigate the phenomena of communication, theoretically and practically, as it occurs in health care contexts. Private and public messages, internal and external to health institutions, will be examined to explore how those messages affect health care decisions and outcomes. Health communication includes many diverse cultures and communities of practice, including patient-provider communication, marketing and public health campaigns, use of technology in health care, and communication within and across allied fields.

  • CDM 2200

    Principles of Public Relations

    An introduction to public relations as the theory and practice of effective communication between organizations and their diverse publics. Explores the role of public relations in organizational culture and in society, with particular emphasis on ethics, corporate integrity, and local and global contexts. Case studies provide opportunities for students to engage in research on the public relations of actual organizations, and to develop writing and presentation skills required of public relations practitioners.

  • CDM 2300

    Interpersonal Communication

    Theories and research of one-to-one human interaction. Topics include communication models, identity, social roles and expectations, self-disclosure, listening, conflict, trust, and the development, maintenance, and termination of relationships. Survey and application of intra- and interpersonal communication in friendships, families, romantic partnerships, and other social and professional contexts.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1150

  • CDM 2400

    Gender Communication

    In-depth study of interaction within and between groups with regard to gender, sex, and sexuality. Topics include the continua of gender and sexuality, gender development, cultural roles and expectations, verbal and nonverbal communication, rhetoric of gender/sex-based social movements, power and violence, and gendered communication in education, close relationships, organizations, and media. Cross-listed as WMG 200R.

  • CDM 2450

    Nonverbal Communication

    Comprehensive study of nonverbal codes and systems, including kinesics, proxemics, haptics, vocalics, olfactics, chronemics, oculesics, facial expression, and environments. Foundations of nonverbal communication will cover innate and socialized behavior development, and the role of perception on interaction expectancies. Particular exploration of the relationship between nonverbal and verbal interaction in social, intimate, professional, educational, and mediated contexts.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1150

  • CDM 2500

    Basic Digital Photography (FAR)

    An introduction to photography in which students practice the art of photography, introducing them to the technical and stylistic aspects of digital photo making. Students are required to supply their own digital camera, which has manual capabilities such as aperture and shutter speed priority mode. Using Photoshop software, students will also work with their own photos in the digital realm, applying what they learn to select, manipulate, display, and print work.

  • CDM 2600

    New Media Theory and Aesthetics (FAR)

    Students will learn and apply a variety of critical methods for understanding and evaluating the current landscape of new media. The course will investigate mobile technology, social networks, streaming, the internet and its cultures, as well as various other forms of emerging media (including VR, AR, and interactive technologies). The course is designed to provide students with a knowledge base for future work in emerging arts and sciences, digital production, screen arts and cultures, and other communication-related fields.

  • CDM 2620

    Film Analysis (FAR)

    This course will provide an introduction to the study of film. Students will learn about the history and economics of the film industry, engage in textual analysis of film, and/or consider film's cultural impact.

  • CDM 2650

    Photographing Nature: Investigating Biodiversity and Conservation (FAR)

    This course introduces the student to the use of digital photography to explore plant and animal species and their habitats. The course begins with instruction in digital photopraphy, and then moves outside where students will focus on organisms, learning to photograph them while exploring their biology. Photography will be used to engage students in making detailed observations and beginning the process of scientific discovery. After learning about species, their ecological interactions, and conservation, students will complete a final project that utilizes visual imagery to educate others about the value of biodiversity, ecology, and/or conservation issues.
    Prerequisite: None

  • CDM 2700

    Film and New Media Production (FAR)

    This course engages students in the process of developing, writing, producing, shooting, and editing content for audio, video, virtual reality, and new media. Students study the process of media production by critical analysis of film texts and by active participation in the production process.

  • CDM 2800

    Exploring the Documentary Form (FAR)

    Film is an important and intrinsic medium for understanding our culture and its values. More specifically, nonfiction film has played a critical role in educating society on important issues and histories, often shaping public policy and opinion through production processes. Students will learn about the components of documentary and its production, while exploring the form's history and various modes of representation that have been cultivated and conceptualized over the past century.

  • CDM 2850


    This studio course is a hands-on introduction to typography, or the use and design of type. Students will become familiar with the history, classification, and anatomy of type. This course will emphasize the abstract visual design principles critical to the effective use of type in graphic design, and will consider the expressive, communicative potential of typographic form. Course projects will include exercises, studies, and formal design problems. Throughout the course, students will be exposed to a variety of design-related practitioners, publications, ideas, methods, and objects.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2000

  • CDM 2900

    Sports Media

    This course will be a broad survey of sports and the communication media. The course will explore the history of media and sport, sports journalism, sports marketing, and technology's influence on the sports marketplace. The course is a study of sports media, as well as a course where students write sports journalism and investigate careers in sports organizations and media.

  • CDM 3000

    Rhetoric and Persuasion

    A study of rhetorical theory as it provides models for the construction and criticism of public discourse. Classical and contemporary writings on rhetoric are explored in the context of theories of language, representation, communication, and ethics.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1150 or consent of instructor

  • CDM 3150

    History of Graphic Design

    This course provides students with the knowledge and understanding of the places, people, and events; historical and cultural factors; and technological innovations that have influenced the development of graphic design into the practice that it is today. Historical awareness provides a meaningful context for students to evolve and to contribute in positive ways to the cultures in which they live and work. Students will also be asked to apply what they are learning and design several projects, incorporating the styles they are observing.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1300 or consent of instructor

  • CDM 3200

    Words and Images in Motion

    This course addresses the creation of motion graphics for graphic design students. Students will be introduced to strategies for communicating with kinetic visual elements that focus on form, speed, rhythm, orientation, color, texture, and quality of motion. The course will include lectures and screenings of the history, techniques, and applications of motion graphics, as well as demonstrations using modern software such as Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. Additional topics include basic animation principles, screen design and composition, timing, story-boarding, sound and music development and synchronization, as well as project management and organization. Students will learn to make informed design decisions, and will draw on the basic principles of visual communication, graphic design, and motion literacy in the creation of time-based work that is expressive, dynamic, and inventive.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2000

  • CDM 3250

    Graphic Design Practicum

    This course will introduce graphic design students to the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the field of graphic design as a professional. Students will embark on a path leading toward the compilation of an entry-level design portfolio. Topics will include self-promotion, creative briefs, client relations, print production, fee estimates, and presentation skills. Students will typically work with one or more real-world clients during the course of the semester. They will learn to effectively market themselves through the creation of a visual identity and a branded basic website. Class discussions and presentations will also address current graphic design techniques, trends, and trendsetters as well as topics more directly related to the student's individual creative practice, such as effective brainstorming, critical analysis, and reasoning in the evaluation and development of their design solutions.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2850

  • CDM 3310

    Journalistic Writing

    This course develops awareness and understanding of the conventions and practices that lead to effective writing for various media outlets. Emphasis may include newspapers, magazines, television, internet, and radio. The focus is on developing writing skills through exercises in a variety of formats and styles appropriate to specific media. Students will also understand the history of the journalism industry and the contemporary changes in the environment.

  • CDM 3320


    Screenwriting introduces students to writing for film, television, the web, and other mass media outlets. Students will identify and develop a script for short film, long form, documentary, broadcast news, commercials, the web, and the other types and formats of screenwriting. Students will also apply the concepts of copyright, fair use, licensing, and creative commons.

  • CDM 3350

    Public Relations Writing

    Writing plays an integral role in modern public relations. This course develops an understanding of the conventions and practices of effective public relations writing for contemporary media, with special emphasis on writing for social media, as they relate to public relations. Coursework includes extensive exercises designed to develop skills in a variety of formats, styles, and rhetorical strategies appropriate to public relations.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2200 or consent of the instructor

  • CDM 3400

    Social Media

    This course examines digital technology as a medium of communication. Issues covered include the social, economic, civic, and global implications of the information age.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1150 or consent of instructor

  • CDM 3420

    Communications Management

    This is an advanced course for public relations majors or other students who wish to understand the nature and management of effective communication within and among organizations. Students will develop insights and capacities in organizational communication leadership; careers and cultures in corporations, agencies, small business, and nongovernmental organizations; client relations; communication planning strategies and systems; stakeholder communication; stockholder and financial communication; reputation management; global communication; crisis management; change management; tracking issues and trends and managing communication about them; and funding and evaluating communications campaigns.
    Prerequisites: CDM 2200 and CDM 3350

  • CDM 3450

    Mass Communication

    An advanced survey of the media and their role in culture. This course examines the economic, textual, and cultural dimensions of several mass media.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1150 or consent of instructor

  • CDM 3500

    Advanced Digital Photography

    Advanced Digital Photography is an advanced class for participants who have taken basic digital photography and want to expand their photographic skills. The majority of the class time will be concentrating on the two broad goals of 1) thinking creatively about photography and 2) enhancing technical aspects of photography.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2500

  • CDM 3530

    Web Design I

    This course is an introduction to web design aimed at the graphic design major. The course will introduce computer technologies used in page and screen layout for web design. Students will become familiar with the basic technical tools, standards, and guidelines involved in web page design including the hand coding of HTML and CSS documents. In addition, students will be expected to apply the conceptual and technical design skills addressed in Graphic Design I. Coursework will include readings and exercises taken from texts and online sources, along with at least one more extensive project.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2000

  • CDM 3540

    Web Design II

    An advanced web design course that builds on the skills and topics addressed in Web Design I. The course will address advanced aspects of web design including the design of responsive websites for display on desktop and mobile media devices, and web app design. Topics addressed include user interface design, JavaScript library integration, and the use of a CMS (content management system). In addition, students will be expected to apply the conceptual and technical design skills addressed in CDM 1300 Visual Communication. Coursework will include readings, exercises taken from the texts, and online sources, along with more extensive web design projects.
    Prerequisite: CDM 3530

  • CDM 3545

    Communication Skills Assessment

    This e-portfolio assessment for every Communication major must be taken during the spring of the third/junior year. Assessment is pass/fail. Students are expected to revise and resubmit if necessary. Students may repeat the assessment until a passing grade is earned in order to take CDM 4010. The website will have been developed in a previous course. Students are expected to update their websites during their program to include new or improved content, including scholarly research and writing, speech content in presentation software form, current resume, and optional elements (creative pieces, etc.).
    Spring, taken during junior/third year

  • CDM 3550

    Communication Internship

    An internship enabling students to gain practical experience in communication. The internship is typically arranged by the student, and must be approved by a department faculty member and by The Aspire Center. Students meet regularly with the supervising professor, maintain a log or journal of the experience, and complete a major paper documenting, analyzing, and interpreting the internship experience.
    Prerequisite: None

  • CDM 3555

    Graphic Design Skills Assessment

    This e-portfolio assessment for every Graphic Design major must be taken during the spring of the third/junior year (the academic year prior to taking CDM 4020 Graphic Design Senior Seminar). Assessment is pass/fail, and the student will have to repeat the assessment with a pass to take CDM 4020. The assessment will contain a variety of focused graphic design skills and ensure students are prepared to continue their studies in the major. All of the items included in the assessment will be introduced in previous courses, but those skills must be sustained to pass the assessment.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2000
    Spring, taken junior/third year

  • CDM 3560

    Graphic Design Internship

    An internship enabling students to gain practical experience in graphic design. The internship is typically arranged by the student, and must be approved by a department faculty member and by The Aspire Center. Students meet regularly with the supervising professor, maintain a log or journal of the experience, and complete a body of professional portfolio pieces.
    Prerequisite: None

  • CDM 3565

    Public Relations Skills Assessment

    This e-portfolio assessment for every Public Relations major must be taken during the spring of the third/junior year (the academic year prior to taking CDM 4030 Public Relations Senior Seminar). Assessment is pass/fail. Students are expected to revise and resubmit if necessary. Students may repeat the assessment until a passing grade is earned in order to take CDM 4030. The website will have been developed in a previous course. Students are expected to update their websites during their program to include new or improved content, including scholarly research and writing, speech content in presentation software form, current resume, samples of public relations writing and/or projects that focus on a variety of public relations skills, and optional elements (creative pieces, etc.).
    Prerequisites: CDM 2200 and CDM 3350
    Spring, taken during junior/third year

  • CDM 3570

    Public Relations Internship

    An internship enabling students to gain practical experience in public relations. The internship is typically arranged by the student, and must be approved by a department faculty member and by The Aspire Center. Students meet regularly with the supervising professor, maintain a log or journal of the experience, and complete a body of professional portfolio pieces.
    Prerequisite: None

  • CDM 3600

    Intercultural Communication

    Exploration of the various theories, opportunities, and problems related to communication by individuals within and across different cultural groups.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1150

  • CDM 3700

    Organizational Communication

    This course will help students understand organizational communication theories, models, and processes. Students will apply these principles in organizational communication through case studies and research presentations. Additionally, students will examine the impact of diversity, globalization, and leadership on organizational communication.
    Prerequisite: CDM 1150

  • CDM 3750

    Graphic Design II

    This course provides a structure for an intensive exploration of the design fundamentals presented in Graphic Design I. Course projects are extensive and range in focus from theoretical culture and design-related issues to complex commercial design applications. Throughout the course, students are exposed to a variety of design-related practitioners, publications, ideas, methods, and objects.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2850

  • CDM 3800

    Public Relations Research Methods

    This course provides an overview of the research methods and tools used to assess communication behavior in public relations. This course introduces students to quantitative and qualitative research methods, including content analysis, surveys, case studies, focus groups, ethnography, and interviews. Students learn how to use basic statistical programs, survey tools, and qualitative analysis tools.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2200

  • CDM 3810

    Public Relations Campaigns

    The course draws heavily on students' previous training in principles, writing, and research to develop and partially implement a public relations campaign for an actual organizational client. Students will use the principles and techniques of public relations to analyze case studies, track current public relations issues, create various communication campaigns, and solve real-world problems. The course introduces students to the process of campaign development, management, and evaluation using the principles and strategies of public relations and agency management.
    Prerequisite: CDM 3350

  • CDM 3820

    Crisis Communication

    The importance of an organization's image or reputation becomes readily apparent when organizations face crises of many types. How well they anticipate, communicate during, and respond meaningfully to these crises can enhance or destroy the organization's reputation. Reputation management and crisis communication have long been a significant aspect of strategic communication and public relations. This course blends theory and practice in examining recent trends and issues in the related areas of organizational image, reputation management, and crisis communication.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2200

  • CDM 3900

    Leadership and Small Group Communication

    This course will examine how people work in small groups with an emphasis on elements that influence group productivity and effective communication: leadership, group development stages, group goal setting, social and task maintenance roles, membership diversity, motivation, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution, argumentation, critical thinking, and ethics.
    Prerequisite: None

  • CDM 3950

    Advanced Film and New Media Production

    This course draws on principles and skills developed in CDM 2700. Students will design, produce, and edit several types of advanced video, audio, virtual reality, and/or new media projects, culminating in a single major work.
    Prerequisite: CDM 2700 or consent of instructor

  • CDM 4010

    Communication Senior Seminar

    This capstone experience provides communication seniors the opportunity to integrate and utilize the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their course of study. The course culminates in the completion and public presentation of a senior project or thesis.
    Prerequisite: CDM 3545

  • CDM 4020

    Graphic Design Senior Seminar

    This capstone experience for graphic design seniors prepares students for entry into professional practice after graduation. Main areas of interest will include ethical, professional, and creative expectations for the practicing graphic designer. Additional topics may include self-promotion, portfolio development, business, and administrative concerns. Students will consider and reflect upon texts as well as the advice and insight shared by experienced practitioners addressing issues of primary concern for the student-designer striving to transition into the professional world. Coursework will include written responses to assigned readings, practical exercises, design projects aimed toward portfolio development, and preparation for an exhibition of design work.
    Prerequisites: CDM 3750 and CDM 3555

  • CDM 4030

    Public Relations Senior Seminar

    This capstone experience provides public relations seniors the opportunity to integrate and utilize the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their course of study. The course culminates in the completion and public presentation of a senior project or thesis.
    Prerequisites: CDM 3350 and CDM 3565

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …



“Classes challenged me to be the best student and designer I could be — from the core classes explaining theory and practical skills to portfolio class that taught real world skills of interviewing and writing a resume.”

— CDM Major Lindsay Westwood