Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication

Course Descriptions

M.C. Digital Media and Storytelling - Course Description

Digital media courses have become a necessity for students and professionals looking for a successful career in communications. The Master's in Digital Media and Storytelling program at Loyola University Chicago is a two-year program allowing full-time graduate students to earn a Master of Communication (MC), while learning to effectively use digital media in advertising and public relations, documentary production, or journalism.

Loyola's curriculum supersedes industry standards and embraces advances in the field. Our state-of-the-art facilities bring students up-to-date with all the changes so they are able to produce and deliver results immediately upon joining their employer in the digital media world.

New media has transformed the way stories are told—it's fast paced, virtual, and interactive. While Loyola applicants are not required to have a background in communications, a demonstrated interest in digital media and storytelling is an asset.

Our students have the opportunity to explore non-fictional narratives in a variety of fields such as public relations, journalism, and advertising. By including digital media courses such as Digital Production: Storytelling with Impact, 2D Design for Print and the Web, and Digital Marketing and Analytics we aim to expand your knowledge base while taking your technical skills to the next level.

Read the course descriptions below to understand your options and make choices that will increase your opportunities.

This course will introduce students to the theory, history, and production of digital media. Students will learn theoretical and technical skills to understand the design and usability of websites from several perspectives: how they look (aesthetics), how they work (navigability and usability), and how they are made (tools and software). Through this course students will be able to better understand, design, create and assess current and future developments in emergent digital media. Students will describe and analyze the ways the press, popular culture, business, and scholars tell stories about and through new media; understand, summarize, and critique some of the major theoretical approaches; create artifacts that demonstrate their role as an effective, responsible, and ethical prosumer (producer/consumer) of new media.

What goes into writing a good story? There is a large body of literature in humanities that explores narrative communication techniques and reader and audience responses to stories. This course will give students a basic understanding of narrative theory and its evolution to present day. It will also emphasize the idea that telling a good story begins with having something to say and a purpose for telling it to someone. Students will learn that thoughtful choices about different narrative forms are necessary when producing content for various new and digital media.

Students will read, write and practice narrative techniques on electronic modes of communication once they have learned time-tested ideas about maintaining the integrity of narrative structure based on content, form of delivery and intended audiences.

This course addresses how courts and lawmakers have addressed legal issues presented by digital media. The speed, reach and availability of digital media networks have presented a unique set of legal problems to the courts. This course gives an overview how these problems have been and are addressed by courts. Topics will include but are not limited to: intellectual property, libel, privacy, hate speech, bloggers' privilege, online threats and regulation of the Internet. Over the course of the semester, ethical questions will be posed in relation to legal matters and topical content.

Where do good stories come from? This course will focus on how and where to discover compelling story ideas, to cultivate original points of view and to utilize a variety of investigative methods to take advantage of the expansive characteristics of digital presentations. Because of the vast array of information available in the age of the Internet, the course will include how to find information in an efficient manner, how to apply critical thinking to evaluate source credibility and how to interpret found information. Students will learn to use records and databases to extrapolate information, use social media to develop ideas, implement data mining techniques and analyze data.

This course will also explore how to incorporate ethnographic interviewing methods to achieve the goal of polishing a germinal idea into a coherent story that reaches its full potential. Learning outcomes include knowing how to use computer-assisted research methods, general interest and scholarly sources and social media to develop ideas for stories to be told in digital formats. Participants in the course will carry out a focused research project using methods learned in class. Students will have developed one or more research projects to amplify as they take additional courses in the program.

Traditional word-based platforms, moving images and digital media all share many storytelling elements, yet each requires specific skills to effectively construct a story and reach an audience. This lab-based course will introduce students to production techniques for digital storytelling. Students will acquire knowledge of videography, sound recording, video and audio editing, web design and interactivity. Students will learn how to find compelling stories, set scenes and develop ways to present non-fictional characters. Students will use narrative techniques to craft informative and influential non-fictional stories designed for their professional purposes in advertising, journalism or documentary production. In doing so, students will learn to use digital tools to produce work that can be cast to audiences through multiple formats.

This course will explore online audience behavior and measurement. Students will use analytics to understand user activities and to drive improvements in distribution performance. In the course of their development, students will come to understand intellectual property protection, self-publication, bandwidth issues, usability, file formats, social sharing, security, syndication and mobile delivery. Current trends in economic models for online content will be addressed. The overall objective of this course is for students to understand digital audience behavior and the legal, marketing and economic environment for finding ideal audiences and distributing digital content.

This course will focus on digital design with specific emphasis on the creation, refinement, and publishing (print and digital) of a single visual story. Along the way, we'll address the following topic areas: theories of visual and image-based storytelling, creating visual stories from images, photo enhancement and manipulation, graphic design (layout of text and image) for on-demand print publishing, and contemporary web design options for visual storytelling and promotion.

This course involves the integration of new media tools and storytelling, culminating in a professional project that is conveyed to public audiences and widely distributed. You will work independently on this project under the direct supervision of a faculty member.


In semesters 2, 3, and 4, you will also take electives. They may be selected from any of the courses listed here.
Electives are courses you take alongside upper level Loyola undergrads. You will be asked to do more work than the undergrads, however.
Every semester, we offer some or all of the classes listed. The times change every semester.
We always offer some 300 level classes between 7–9:30 p.m., but many are offered during the day as well.
If a 300 level COMM course is not listed on this page but you would like to take it as an elective, contact the Graduate Program Director for approval.
Check out the course listings and syllabi pages for full descriptions of each course offered.

Why Loyola's Digital Media Degree

With modern technology, accomplished faculty, and a Capstone project integrating knowledge and application and culminating in public distribution, our focus is on giving Loyola graduates a distinct edge no matter which field they choose to enter.