Syllabi for International Communication

You will find on this page syllabi for courses related to International Communication that have been contributed to the International Communication Division by its members. Please click on the course title to access a PDF version of the syllabus. Below each course title is a brief description of that course, taken from the syllabus.

We encourage members to submit their syllabi and share their approach to related topics with our community. To submit a syllabus to the Syllabus Bank, please contact Anna Popkova at

Denis Wu (Boston University) – International Communication

As one of the core courses in the International Relations/International Communication (IRIC) joint program, this class is intended to introduce you to the key theories, concepts, and practices in the broadly defined international communication. This course is also an important, useful elective class for graduate students in various communication fields — as the world has become immensely internationalized and intricately connected, a good understanding of the world’s communication system and knowledge proves pivotal to success. Without the knowledge beyond national borders communication professionals simply cannot fulfill their fundamental responsibilities and advance the ideas they represent. To both groups of students, a comprehensive knowledge of how global communication works bestows on you an edge over other competitors.

Ash Rahmani-Shirazi (University of Hawaii at Manoa) – Global Communication 

This course will familiarize students with a variety of topics in international communication. These topics will be discussed in relation to the three main areas of concern in today’s international communication: foreign mass communication systems, the interaction between the U.S. and foreign media systems, and the manifestation of international communication in our domestic system. These discussions will also note the different levels of communicative acts simultaneously working in the processes of communication between peoples and among nations.

Chris Allen (University of Nebraska at Omaha) – International Communication 

This course will examine the global effects of media, the flow of information, the controls countries impose on communication systems and the effects of Western dominance on world media systems. We will look at the giant media companies in the United States and other countries, and at the impact of ownership is on media messages. We will look at how advertising, music and news programs affect more than their intended audiences, and look at how technology is changing the global media picture.

Mary D’Ambrosio (Central Connecticut State University) – International Reporting and Writing about Global Issues

This class will prepare you to write about life in other countries, and to cover international issues from the United States. You’ll analyze award-winning foreign reporting, and practice techniques foreign correspondents use. We’ll also examine the main areas of international coverage: conflict, politics and diplomacy; the global economy; and domestic affairs as they engage with international questions. And we’ll look at the larger issue of how to present balanced and evocative portraits of life in places your readers may never have seen. We’ll read and write about politics, business and finance, poverty and health, immigration, jobs, drug and sex trafficking, refugees, human rights, the environment, tourism and daily life. You’ll choose a country to follow for the semester. You’ll then explore a related Connecticut ethnic community, and produce several stories about its affairs. Alternatively, you may pick an issue or topic, such as sex trafficking, multinational business or drug violence, and report on how that issue is unfolding globally. We’ll discuss reporting challenges, such as corruption, physical danger and barriers to access. And we’ll host a guest speakers when available.

Catherine Cassara (Bowling Green State University) – Perspectives on International Media

This course gives us an opportunity to explore how the American press system fits into the larger global media environment. To achieve that end, we will explore how media systems differ, how other media systems function, and how American media interact with the rest of the world. For the most part, we will concentrate on issues directly concerned with how media systems deal with journalism issues and issues that provide a context for better understanding of press systems. When we finish the class, you will know more about other countries in the world, be more sensitive to how differently people in other countries view press issues, and be a more educated consumer of American news coverage of the rest of the world. While the texts for the class concentrate on the views of American scholars and journalists who are concerned with mainstream international press issues, effort will be made throughout to heed the views of people in the U.S. and in other countries who take different perspectives as the result of diverse ethnic, racial or political perspectives.

Eric Freedman (Michigan State University) – Global Affairs Reporting

Our working theme is “Issues, Controversies and Reporting about a Changing World.” This course is a hybrid of hands-on practice and theory that examines techniques and challenges in covering international events and issues such as the world economy, national security, disasters, the environment, health, revolutions, elections and public policy. It helps students understand international press systems, journalists’ rights and constraints on how journalists carry out their profession. It combines reporting assignments, group discussions and guest speakers.

Kevin Grieves (Ohio University) – International Mass Media

This course is designed to provide you the tools to examine differences and similarities among mass media environments around the world, and to enhance your critical thinking about significant issues related to global communication. We will consider media production, content, transmission and audiences/reception around the globe. We will analyze various national media systems as well as transnational media flows, with a particular emphasis on journalism (in a broad sense of the term) at the global, national, and regional levels. We will examine different cultures of journalism, trace the historical development of international media structures and flows, and we will look at the impact of new media on international journalism.

Paul Knox (Ryerson University) – International Journalism (JRN 506)

This course examines the history and practice of the journalism of global affairs. Topics covered include foreign and war correspondence; reporting on international organizations, development issues and natural disasters; and techniques for reporting in remote or unfamiliar surroundings. The practice of journalism is situated in the context of broader international political, economic and military trends. Students examine the challenges faced by journalists who report on global events, including attempts to control the flow of information and the rapid evolution of newsgathering technology.

Paul Knox (Ryerson University) – International Journalism (JN 8404)

This course will give students an in-depth background in international journalism. It will have a combined practical and academic focus. Topics covered will include the international political and economic system, globalization, and the role of news media in international affairs. Case studies will allow students to develop their knowledge of particular areas of the world or specific international issues. The practical and cultural challenges of working internationally in journalism will be emphasized.

Larry D. Lauer (Texas Christian University) – How Media Revolutions Change Everything

Nicholas Carr, in his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, explores how merely using a new technology will produce fundamental changes in the way we think. Taking off from Carr’s premise we will explore the full range of psychic and social consequences of media, and most especially how a new dominant medium actually changes the way everything works in society. We will look at the transition from print to television and from television to the internet, and then ask: How has family interaction changed each time? Do children behave differently? What about changes in politics and government? Has the institutional church changed? How about the ways we get and process the news… or don’t? Has education, most notably higher education, changed for the better or worse? How has new media changed how leaders communicate? What about how countries around the world relate to each other? And how does unrest and violence develop. And with all this in mind, is there a need for “media literacy” education in our schools? The professor will share ideas and “lessons learned” from his work over the years; faculty and outside guests will join in with their expertise; and students will write about their thoughts and share them in interactive class panels and discussions.

Kekeli K. Nuviadenu (Bethune-Cookman University) – International Communication

This course is designed to develop skills in communication across cultures in order to become effective in the global world today. It prepares students for leadership in international organizations and other social groups with international representation. Thus it is based on communication in an international context and from an international perspective. There is a comprehensive coverage, including perspectives on issues and topics such as press freedom, propaganda, gate-keeping, colonialism and mass media development, globalization, cultural concerns, and diffusion.

Lyle Olson (South Dakota State University) – International Media

This course is a survey of international media systems, news, and related topics, the roles and characteristics of international journalists, and issues facing media around the world.

Debbie Owens (Murray State University) – Seminar in International Communications

Study of worldwide communication systems and the roles they play. Analysis of international flow of news and its implications on the practice of journalism and mass communication. The effect of the basic philosophical differences among the media in the developed and developing worlds and the changing communication technologies will be examined.

Michael Parks (USC Annenberg) – Reporting on Globalization

This course is intended to be innovative in its content and approach, its orientation is professional, and its goal is to produce quality news coverage of globalization. Much of the learning in this course will come in classroom discussions, and full participation in every class is expected. These discussions will require political maturity and a readiness to understand and learn from different points of view.

Melissa Tully (University of Iowa) – Global Digital Media

In this course, we will explore media theory, production and producers, and consumption and audiences in the Global South and comparative international contexts. Although the course will focus on digital media and contemporary media trends, we will explore more traditional media theories and concepts to ground our understanding of current issues. Topics covered in the course include international media flows and counterflows, media and development, identity and representation, local and hyperlocal media, global popular culture, and social media among others. In this course you will have a range of research options, including developing and conducting original research; proposing an international research project; and conducting country and region-specific research in your interest area. You may also develop/expand reading lists for comprehensive exams or work on your dissertation proposal.