Social Media Strategies

Program Overview

Social media has forever changed the communication, journalism and media professions. For today’s students, being able to effectively plan, manage and evaluate social media as an integrated communication tool has become a requirement for success. The program combines theory and best professional practice with hands-on learning, the development of critical media skills (including writing and multimedia content creation), and the application of strategy and management for a variety of organizational settings. In the capstone course, students work with clients to learn all facets of planning and executing a social media campaign.

In addition, students have the opportunity to practice their professional interests by getting involved in a wide range of media organizations including the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Graphic Design Club, and our award-winning media including The Rider News, 107.7 The Bronc, and Rider University Network.

A thriving internship and co-op program routinely offers academic credit and professional experience in a number of prestigious locations.

Curriculum Overview 

Core classes in the Social Media Strategies major include introduction to social media, social media content, social media and social change, introduction to web design, podcasting, video production, photography, social media analytics, and a capstone course.  Students may also choose from a variety of elective courses to supplement the major.

Degree Offered

  • B.A. in Social Media Strategies
  • Minor in Social Media Strategies


Nancy WiencekPhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Communication, Journalism and Media
School of Communication, Media and Performing Arts
Fine Arts, #232
609-896-5000 x7340

Program Website: Social Media Strategies

Department Website: Department of Communication, Journalism and Media

Related Programs

Social Media Strategies Major Requirements

(48 credits)

Core Requirements21
Communication, Culture and Media
Writing for the Media
Fundamentals of Video Production
Advanced Speech Communication
Digital Media: Theory and Practice
Communication Law
Communication Ethics
Major Requirements27
Introduction to Social Media
Social Media and Social Change
Speaking for Broadcast and Digital Media
Podcasting I
Public Relations
Introduction to Web Design
Graphic Imaging for Digital Media
Content for Social Media
Social Media Analytics
Social Media Capstone
Recommended Elective Courses:
Digital Publication Design
Rhetoric in the Digital Age
Organizational Communication
3D Graphic Animation
Feature Writing
Public Relations Writing and Strategy
Sports Communication
Marketing Principles
Digital Advertising and Social Media
Political Campaigning
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Commun/Marketing in Arts
Total Credits48

Social Media Strategies Minor Requirements

(21 credits)

Required Courses:
COM 131Fundamentals of Video Production3
COM 203Introduction to Social Media3
COM 240Public Relations3
COM 261Introduction to Web Design3
COM 292Content for Social Media3
COM 361Photography3
Select one of the following:3
Social Media and Social Change
Rhetoric in the Digital Age
Digital Media: Theory and Practice
Total Credits21

Academic Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
CMP 120 Seminar in Writing and Rhetoric 3
MTH 102 Finite Mathematics 3
COM 105 Communication, Culture and Media 3
HIS 150 World History to 1500 3
Scientific Perspectives 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
CMP 125 Seminar in Writing and Research 3
HIS 151 World History Since 1500 3
COM 104 Speech Communication 3
COM 203 Introduction to Social Media 3
Social Perspectives 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 2
Fall Semester
COM 131 Fundamentals of Video Production 3
COM 240 Public Relations 3
Aesthetic Perspectives: Fine Arts 3
Foreign Language 3
Scientific Perspectives 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
COM 107 Writing for the Media 3
COM 207 Social Media and Social Change 3
COM 264 Digital Media: Theory and Practice 3
Aesthetic Perspectives: Literature 3
Foreign Language 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 3
Fall Semester
COM 204 Advanced Speech Communication 3
COM 221
Speaking for Broadcast and Digital Media
or Podcasting I
Philosophical Perspectives 3
Elective Course Credits 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
COM 261 Introduction to Web Design 3
COM 292 Content for Social Media 3
COM 301 Communication Law 3
Elective Course Credits 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 4
Fall Semester
COM 262
Graphic Imaging for Digital Media
or Photography
COM 302 Communication Ethics 3
COM 326 Social Media Analytics 3
Elective Course Credits 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
COM 426 Social Media Capstone 3
Elective Course Credits 12
 Semester Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation120

For Course Placement information visit


Please note that elective credits may be used to complete requirements in a second major or minor.

Courses and Descriptions

COM 104 Speech Communication 3 Credits

Examines basic communication principles and strategies of public speaking. Various genres of oral communication are studied, with an emphasis on extemporaneous and impromptu forms of delivery. Students research, prepare, and deliver speeches that are then used as the focal point for the discussion of effective speaking and listening. A number of speeches are videotaped. Students who received credit for COM 104S may not take this course. This course counts towards the fulfillment of the Essential Competencies element of the CLAS general education curriculum.

COM 105 Communication, Culture and Media 3 Credits

Provides a detailed investigation and analysis into the nature, history, scope, adequacy, and limitations of mass communication and examines the reciprocal influence of the media on culture and society. This course counts towards the fulfillment of the Disciplinary Perspectives element of the CLAS general education curriculum.

COM 107 Writing for the Media 3 Credits

Introduces students to interviewing and persuasive writing techniques for print and electronic public relations and advertising formats. Teaches techniques for creating effective digital audio-visual aids and working with digital audio and video.

COM 131 Fundamentals of Video Production 3 Credits

Introduces students to basic video production theories, techniques, and applications. Students will gain competency in a number of video production areas including: production planning, camera operations, lighting, sound, and digital non-linear editing. Individual and group production exercises will involve planning and executing video productions in both studio and non-studio settings. This class is designed to prepare students from any major to effectively create, produce, shoot, and edit basic video production assignments including public service announcements, video news releases, educational/instructional videos, and marketing/promotional spots.

COM 203 Introduction to Social Media 3 Credits

Introduces the tools and techniques of social media as an effective means of communication in a variety of organizational settings. Students will practice with a variety of social media platforms, explore the roles and responsibilities of a social media manager, discuss the importance of establishing social media policies, and learn how to develop a social media strategy as well as how to measure its effectiveness through social media analytics. In addition, students will discuss important issues such as how to handle an online crisis, and the legal and ethical implications of digital communication.

COM 204 Advanced Speech Communication 3 Credits

Provides students with the opportunity to further their study and practice of various types of speech communication. Moving beyond an introductory perspective, this course focuses on the development of critical, analytical, and pragmatic aspects of speech. The focus is divided between the discussion of theoretical models and a demonstrated competence of that material.

Prerequisite(s): COM 104 or COM 290.

COM 207 Social Media and Social Change 3 Credits

Introduces students to Web/ social media tools and information distribution networks that have enabled people to mobilize new types of collective action, inform publics and advocate positions. Community production and sharing of knowledge (Wikipedia), culture (YouTube, Flickr, the blogosphere), and political organizing ( are current manifestations of social changes that are continuing to bloom in the 21st century. In this course, Rider University students will become literate in active Web and social media participation with a focus on engaging with current social, political and cultural issues.

COM 212 Digital Publication Design 3 Credits

Students will explore the relationships between theory and practice, tradition and innovation, history and ever changing technological and aesthetic trends in publication design. Students will learn to use graphic image and typography as design elements in print media, such as newspaper and newsletter, as well as online media, such as e-magazine and e-book. Students will also learn the interactivity design for online publications. The course directs students to apply these concepts and skills to the production of published materials with digital publishing systems.

COM 221 Speaking for Broadcast and Digital Media 3 Credits

Introduces the principles and techniques of speaking in traditional and digital media through the preparation and presentation of copy for live television and radio as well as recorded video and audio for the web. Students will apply the principles and techniques to a number of contexts including television and radio news, music and sports announcing, interviewing and talk programs, as well as public service announcements.

Prerequisite(s): COM 104 or COM 290.

COM 232 Podcasting I 3 Credits

Podcasting I will offer students an innovative reading, research, discussion and creative lab experience. Using fictional storytelling, broadcast journalism and talk show formats, students will learn the basics of producing an original, creative podcast. They will gain insight on how to communicate and successfully market a podcast towards a mass audience. Students would also receive a basic overview of podcasting, so they can continue work to podcast on their own after taking Podcasting I.

COM 237 Rhetoric in the Digital Age 3 Credits

Focuses on the critical examination of the major public discourses in digital media. Students will learn classical and modern rhetorical theory such as Aristotle's Rhetoric, power, publics and counterpublics, and argumentation. Students will apply these theoretical aspects to critically engage digital texts such as memes, emojis, hashtags, trolls, blogs/reviews, and video game narratives.

COM 240 Public Relations 3 Credits

Introduces current theories and practices of public relations, with emphasis on facilitating two-way communication with various publics. Explores approaches to public relations problems by critically analyzing case studies and applying theories and techniques to realistic situations.

COM 253 Organizational Communication 3 Credits

Focuses on the ongoing communication processes in organizations. This course examines how and why organizations develop policies and procedures that both encourage and yet constrain creativity and autonomy in employees. It also introduces various management skills to balance the dynamic in organizations. Finally, the course introduces students to various communication technologies that enable communication processes in organizations. Students will also have opportunities to participate in creating organizational dynamics through role-playing exercises, case studies, and other kinds of experiential learning.

COM 261 Introduction to Web Design 3 Credits

Introduces students to digital graphics, text, audio and video for Web design using Adobe Creative Suite. Students will learn the basics of audio, video, graphic, and interactive software along with theories of design and perception that underlie effective presentation of digital messages.

COM 262 Graphic Imaging for Digital Media 3 Credits

Teaches students techniques for image development, and image preparation for various multimedia applications. Emphasis is placed on color calibration and palette issues, image manipulation, advanced image selection techniques, transparency and masking, multimedia authoring file formats, and dynamic image design. Students will be expected to participate in critiques of professional designs in order to learn to critically evaluate their work and their fellow students’ work.

Prerequisite(s): COM 261 or permission of instructor.

COM 265 3D Graphic Animation 3 Credits

Provides students with an introduction to the basics of 3D graphic animation techniques including modeling, texturing, rendering, visual effects and animation using Maya software. Through various projects the students will learn: to model characters, sets and props, how to apply textures and color to their models, and how to bring their creations to life using various animation techniques. In addition to the technical aspects of creating successful animation, the students will also learn the aesthetics of animation in regard to cinematography, art direction, lighting, character creation, prop creation, and set creation, dramatization and narrative.

COM 361 Photography 3 Credits

Using digital SLR cameras, introduces students to professional methods of shooting varied subjects while applying a range of compositions and styles. Using Photoshop, students edit images for publication in print and on the Internet. Hands-on coursework is grounded in theory, history, aesthetics, and ethics. Some cameras are available for loan from the University.

COM 264 Digital Media: Theory and Practice 3 Credits

Introduces the ways that the merging of media industries and the intersection and integration of various media platforms and technologies impact our lives. While the primary focus will be on digital and mobile technologies and practices, the course will also cover the convergence of digital technologies in a wide range of media areas, including journalism, social media, television and entertainment. The course will offer students broad conceptual frameworks for thinking about how the emergence and evolution of digital as well as mobile communication technologies have changed the communication and journalism industries and how they are reshaping content. In addition, the course is intended to allow students to use different digital communication technologies.

COM 292 Content for Social Media 3 Credits

Focuses on creating social media content that will inform, entertain, and engage audiences within a variety of organizational and business contexts. Students will learn about message planning for specific platforms and creative ways to use digital content to support public relations, branding, customer, and media relations.

COM 301 Communication Law 3 Credits

Critically examines the legal limits and privileges affecting freedom of expression, especially in publishing, advertising, film, telecasting, and cyberspace. Places particular emphasis on the historical and philosophical foundations of the freedoms and limitations of communication in the United States.

COM 302 Communication Ethics 3 Credits

Analyzes internal and external pressures on the communication professional including economic, cultural, social, and political pressures, assesses the philosophical and practical basis for responding to such pressures, evaluates contemporary media responses to these pressures, identifies those that are of laudable quality and why, and provides guidance as to how individuals and organizations can think and react ethically. Issues addressed include censorship, confidentiality, conflicts of interests, minority and ethnic groups, privacy, sensationalism, and self-criticism.

COM 316 Feature Writing 3 Credits

Focuses on problems and requirements of newspaper, magazine, public relations, and free-lance nonfiction writing. Students write features designed for acceptance in print, broadcast and digital media and learn marketing techniques.

Prerequisite(s): COM 102 or COM 107, English writing concentration, or permission of instructor.

COM 326 Social Media Analytics 3 Credits

Examines how social media analytics are used to improve and inform an organization’s decision-making process to develop, manage, and evaluate the success of an organization’s social media strategy. Students will learn how to use analytics tools, and analyze and use data to plan and evaluate the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

Prerequisite(s): COM 203.

COM 347 Sports Communication 3 Credits

Critically examines the symbiotic relationship between the mass media and professional sports franchises and major college athletic programs. This course deals with the workings and processes behind executing the proper techniques of sports information and media relations, as well as an analysis of the culture of sports in modern society. Students will develop a practical focus on sports information and promotion, including the role of the sports information director and events promoter, with emphasis on advanced concepts of public relations, publicity and marketing.

Prerequisite(s): COM 240 or permission of instructor.

COM 426 Social Media Capstone 3 Credits

A client-based social media campaign will be developed from conception to evaluation based on research and digital media strategies. Focus will be on engagement with audiences, managing social media, and evaluation using social media metrics. Permission of instructor required.

Prerequisite(s): COM 203, COM 292.

AAD 202 Commun/Marketing in Arts 3 Credits

Intended for arts or business majors interested in arts management, this course immerses students in the fundamentals of promoting the arts, from grassroots public relations to basic marketing concepts and applications. Students will have opportunities to interact with professionals in the field and explore career options.

Prerequisite(s): AAD 121 and CMP 125, or permission of instructor.

ENT 100 Innovation and Entrepreneurship 3 Credits

This course provides students with an introduction to creativity, innovation, and the concept of an entrepreneurial mindset. Students explore the excitement and challenges faced by individuals and businesses as they create, develop, and evaluate innovative business opportunities. We also discuss the probable paths of career development for students pursuing entrepreneurship. In this course, students evaluate their own views of innovation and entrepreneurship within the framework of entrepreneurial thinking, and putting this mindset into action.

POL 247 Political Campaigning 3 Credits

This course entails the study of campaigning for political office at the federal, state and local levels in the United States. While attention will be given to how the broader political environment and specific factors, e.g., partisanship, hot button issues, local interests, and money, affect the nature of campaigns, the course’s primary focus will be on how to organize and conduct a successful and ethical campaign, including how to collect and analyze pertinent data, manage a staff, develop a communications plan, including social media, and get out the vote.

MKT 200 Marketing Principles 3 Credits

This course examines market characteristics, consumer buying habits and motives, and functions of marketing within the framework of the strategic marketing planning process. Concepts and current practices in product development, pricing, promotion, distribution, and international marketing are studied.

Prerequisite(s): 15 credits.

MKT 375 Digital Advertising and Social Media 3 Credits

This course surveys the concepts, principles, practices and industry standards of digital advertising, including standard display and rich media advertising, search advertising, email advertising, game advertising, and mobile advertising. It also introduces the strategies and tactics in social media marketing. The course emphasizes a strategic, holistic view of digital advertising and social media as marketing communication tools that are situated in the marketing strategic framework and employed to engage consumers in community building.

Prerequisite(s): MKT 200; junior & senior standing.