Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joanne Marcia Silberner
COM 495
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Communication

Lecture, seminar, and/or team study. Topics vary.

Class description

The course is aimed at both public health students and communications students, because so much of public health is about influencing public attitudes and perceptions. So the course will cover how each side can best communicate with the other side -- how public health people can affect the media, and how the media can evaluate and convey (and where necessary, discard) public health messages and warnings.

Student learning goals

Public health students will learn how to deal with the media -- a big part of some public health jobs. Communications students (both public relations and journalism students) will learn how to deal with public health stories -- a big topic in the news media.

Students will learn how to work effectively in teams.

Both the public health students and the communication students will learn how to evaluate and respond to data.

Everyone will learn how to get across whatever message they're trying to convey -- in other words, how to communicate effectively.

General method of instruction

Lots of methods -- I'll give some lectures, but there will also be visiting lecturers (via skype and in person). We'll have at least one tabletop exercise where we'll be given a scenario in stages and teams of students will figure out what they'd do next. We'll have two "hot topics" -- guests will come in and present their point of view (pro- and anti-vaccine people, for example), and students will use those visits to develop action plans.

Recommended preparation

Nothing required, but if you want you can look at Laurie Garrett's e-book "I Heard the Sirens Scream" http://www.lauriegarrett.com/index.php/en/sirens/.

Class assignments and grading

There will be individual writing assignments plus some group exercises.

Class participation, group activities and individual writing assignments (with different expectations for public healths students and communication students).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Joanne Marcia Silberner
Date: 08/06/2012