Every media format uses entertainment, including video games, advertising, television, movies, sports, and news. This course examines the psychology (conscious and unconscious) of entertainment, including why people like entertainment, what makes a story entertaining, how people mentally process entertainment, what makes things frightening or funny, and whether or not entertainment can persuade.

Media and culture are undergoing a series of transformations as new technologies, new forms of entertainment, new venues for political debate, and new models of public discourse emerge online. This course looks at how the social, political, and cultural landscape is changing in relation to digital media and information technologies. We develop critical resources to better understand the history of these new technologies and communicative forms, the economics behind them, the policies developing around them, and the sociocultural shifts from which they have emerged, and that they have helped provoke. We will aim to discard commonplace assumptions about these tools and phenomena, to ask deeper questions about their impact on society.



  • Develop analytical tools for understanding the complex information society around them.
  • Understand how the cultural, political, and economic environment are changing with the emergence of new media and digital technologies.
  • Encounter, understand, and speak pressing contemporary controversies around new media (e.g., privacy, copyright, labor, expertise).
  • Develop a voice on these issues, in relevant new media formats.

Public opinion polls are everywhere. Media, blogs, businesses, non-profits, government, and researchers all use polls to learn about what people believe, what they want, how they feel, and why! In this course, students will design, conduct, and analyze an original national-level public opinion survey. All survey questions will be determined based on students’ research interests. With this survey, students will literally take America’s pulse, finding out what the public thinks on the topics that students want to know about. Students will learn a variety of skills in this class, such as survey design, interviewing techniques, experimental techniques, and survey data analysis. There are no prerequisites.

Educational psychology is the application of psychological concepts to educational settings. This course examines the dynamic interaction between people as teachers and learners, schools as social and learning environments, and the sociocultural contexts that influence learning. The focus is on those interactions in cognitive, epistemic, social, moral, and personal domains in educational contexts.

Covers social scientific methods to solve communication research problems empirically. Topics include basic principles of social scientific research, random sampling, questionnaire design, experimental research design, focus group techniques, content analysis, and basic descriptive and inferential statistics. Students also learn basic data manipulation, presentation, and analysis techniques using SPSS and EXCEL.

Social influence and persuasion are the most basic and important functions of communication. The course covers characteristics of persuasive messages, message sources, and targets; interpersonal influence; and influence in groups. Special emphasis is given to topics in health, science, risk. This course features interactive lectures, assignments that apply principles of persuasion to real world contexts, and an applied group research project. Exams, homework assignments, and the group research project comprise the bulk of student evaluation.



  • Gain understanding of basic theories of persuasion and social influence.
  • Learn how to apply theories of persuasion and social influence in a variety of real world settings.
  • Develop abilities to critically process persuasive messages and make informed decisions in everyday life.
  • Increase skills in working in teams.
  • Improve students’ abilities in planning and designing persuasive messages.

Students develop skill in various writing styles and genres. This course explores communication practices and theories as they are observed and studied in personal and professional contexts. Assignments polish students’ ability to gather information, analyze information, integrate ideas about communication, and express those ideas clearly and cogently.

Introduction to media history, industry, content, policy, process, and effects.

This is a foundational marketing course that includes the study of concepts, activities, and decisions related to the exchange process, managing the marketing mix, and development of marketing strategy in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Students learn about basic principles of marketing management, with a special focus on the service industry. Emphasis is placed upon how the concepts and ideas might be applied to various marketing decision-making situations.
This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts and topics associated with managing and leading organizations, groups, and individuals.  The traditional functions of management (planning, organizing, leading and controlling) are discussed, with special attention paid to current workplace issues and developments, such as corporate social responsibility, ethics, and diversity.

This is an introductory course to the field of social entrepreneurship. Using case studies, class discussion, and guest speakerships we explore the full range of business approaches to addressing important societal needs and develop a conceptual framework for understanding social enterprises.

This course examines the widespread perception and the varied responses to the notion that the American K-12 education system is failing to adequately prepare its students. We review the structure of the U.S. K-12 education system, the role of government in school finance and oversight, and its performance in historical and international context. With this background, we review evidence on a large array of school reforms currently in vogue, including increases in funding, teacher training and recruitment, school autonomy (charter schools), student and teacher accountability, and improving incentives for teacher and student performance.

The course introduces students to standard methods of describing and analyzing data, probability theory, statistical inference, and ordinary least squares. Students will learn to describe data with summary tables and charts, understand and apply probability theory to data, understand sampling distributions, conduct hypothesis tests, estimate regressions, and interpret statistical findings. Students will also learn to use the basics of Excel to analyze data.



  • Describe large datasets using summary statistics including both central tendencies and spread.
  • Use probability theory to evaluate the expected value of future events.
  • Use inferential statistics tools to conduct hypothesis tests about proportions, means, and multiple means.
  • Estimate basic regressions using both bivariate and multivariate ordinary least squares.
  • Write an original research paper using a difference-in-difference estimator.
  • Use Excel to conduct basic statistical, data, and graphical analysis.

This interdisciplinary course examines network structures and how they matter in everyday life. The course examines how each of the computing, economic, sociological and natural worlds are connected and how the structure of these connections affects each of these worlds. Tools of graph theory and game theory are taught and then used to analyze networks. Topics covered include the web, the small world phenomenon, markets, neural networks, contagion, search and the evolution of networks.

Course descriptions are taken from either the course website or the Cornell class roster.




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