COMS104-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Introduction to Strategic Communication

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


This course examines the role of strategic communication in society as an economic and political force. Strategic communication attempts to persuade and argue for a particular position that one is advocating for - whether that be on behalf of a business, a governmental policy, or a social cause. Obvious examples from within media are public relations and advertising, however, this course will examine how sponsored messaging has affected social institutions, from education to politics to media to health to philanthropy. The second half of the course is focused on building the skills necessary to create effective strategic messages.

COMS104 is a 15-point course introducing you to the academic study of how politicians, non-profit organisations and corporations strategically employ strategic communication. It introduces the key concepts and theoretical approaches that are used to examine issues in strategic communication and lays the foundation for further specialised studies. It is a stage 1 course and does not assume any prior knowledge. COMS104 is taught though one two hour lecture and a tutorial each week. It should go without saying that you are expected to attend both lectures and tutorials. You will get most from the course if you attend both regularly.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for COMS 104 are:
Knowledge gained from this course:
1. recognise the role of strategic communication in producing and circulating ideas about identity, culture, and nation
2. understand theories put forth by key scholars examining strategic communication, including Wilson, Smith, Friedman and Patel.
3. the ability to describe political and corporate potentialities of present and emergent media forms for strategic communication
4. identify processes of strategic communication in the construction of media content
5. understand the value of strategic communication toward, and in opposition to, democracy
6. recognize principles of strategic communication, including defining target audiences and effective messaging

Skills gained from this course:
7. apply basic strategic communication theories and principles to fundamental practice
8. produce arguments over the ethical components to strategic communication
9. research issues in strategic communication using academic and professional books, journals, and online sources
10. analyse strategic communication texts in relation to economic, political and cultural fields
11. write a well structured academic essay exploring strategic communication as a field of study with confidence and clarity
12. discuss the ideas and processes shaping strategic communication

Personal attributes gained after taking this course:
13. experience in applying strategic communication theory to specific professional strategic outcomes
14. development of written communication skills
15. sharpened organisational and analytical skills

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 16:00 Meremere 108 Lecture Theatre 13 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 18 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 16:00 - 17:00 Jack Erskine 445 27 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 11 Oct
02 Wednesday 13:00 - 14:00 Jack Erskine 441 27 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 11 Oct
03 Thursday 13:00 - 14:00 Ernest Rutherford 225 27 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 11 Oct
04 Friday 13:00 - 14:00 John Britten 117 HP Seminar Room 27 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 11 Oct
05 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 Putaiao Koiora 275 27 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 11 Oct
06 Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 Putaiao Koiora 275 27 Jul - 23 Aug
7 Sep - 11 Oct

Course Coordinator

WanChi Leung


LindaJean Kenix


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Library Exercise 5% Submit on Learn
Participation in tutorials 7% To receive full credit for this assessment, attend 7 tutorials and take part in the tutorial exercises.
Professional strategic writing assignments 28% First 7 assignments throughout the semester worth 4% each, no longer than 400 words.
Campaign Analysis 30% Word limit: 1500.
Final test 30% The in-class test will consist of matching, multiple choice questions, and a short essay.

Textbooks / Resources

Readings listed in the lecture are available on the Learn homepage.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $777.00

International fee $3,375.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All COMS104 Occurrences

  • COMS104-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020