Class Descriptions

Below are the descriptions for classes that have been offered as part of the Duke ProComm curriculum. Visit the homepage for classes that are currently available for registration during the upcoming semester.



Job Skills Track Classes Description
Managing a Social Media Presence Participants can expect to learn about tactics and strategies for managing a social media presence. They will learn about how to identify the right channels, voice/tone and approach for an integrated social media plan. Participants will learn by using the tools (#noemail) and through examples and best practices. They will leave the course with a finalized social media strategy and a better understanding of tools and online applications.
Photography Basics for Communicators Participants can expect to learn about the importance that photos play in communicating the core values of Duke University. They will also learn about the value of preplanning photography sessions, and the basics of composition, working with natural light and archiving images. Participants will learn through examples, discussion of best practices and several hands-on projects, including photographing an assignment from start to finish.
Think Like a Producer Participants can expect to learn when video is the best choice to tell your story, identifying your message and audience, choosing a genre, gathering the elements of your video, filming logistics, working with a videographer/editor, and getting feedback.
Shoot and Edit: Video Production Participants will take their video storytelling skills to the next level and gain experience in planning a video shoot, filming, conducting interviews and editing. Participants are expected to provide their own cameras and will produce a video as part of the class.
Becoming a More Effective Storyteller Participants will discuss how to conceive and frame narratives, both for print and online, and to report for scene, character, data and dialogue to bring stories to life for readers. Participants will learn tips for moving from notes toward a structure and a draft by organizing and outlining stories.
Introduction to Podcasting  In recent years, podcasting has gone mainstream. With podcast-only audio hits like Serial, more people are talking about podcasts, and making them. In this course, we will explore the basics of podcasting from concept and market research to recording, distribution and marketing. Participants will leave the class with an understanding of how to shape their ideas, and what tools they need to launch their own podcast.
The Art of the Interview Interviewing is an essential skill for A1:K8 creating stories in all sorts of media, including written stories, videos, audio stories and podcasts. Yet the techniques that make an interview shine differ from medium to medium. In this course, two experienced journalists will share what techniques work best in different formats. Participants will practice their skills and will come away with a sharpened sense of how to elicit compelling, memorable stories from their interview subjects.
Introduction to Graphic Design and UX Could your work projects and goals benefit from basic graphic design knowledge? Do you manage someone who creates graphics in support of your goals, but is not a designer by trade? This class can help! We will review design principals and best practices to enable good design decisions, as well as provide UX (user experience) basics to identify how to most effectively engage your intended audience. Learn practical tips and tricks for creating various design deliverables in support of Duke endeavors, including: digital signs, basic photography, print flyers, and graphic support for an event, news story, or website. This course will outline helpful public resources, as well as review available University graphics and style guidelines, to help you be successful with your basic graphic design needs.
Writing for the Web Participants can expect to learn how to make their stories shine on the small screen and be shared with others. What’s a good headline, how can you make the best use of those crucial first 15 words, and what sorts of visual hooks will help. Participants will work through examples and try their hand at headlines, lead paragraphs and Tweets with discussion and feedback from their peers.
iPhoneography Want to get great photos for your website, presentation or print publication and all you have is an iPhone? This class will give you the tips and tricks to compose, photograph and edit great images using just an iPhone.
Advanced Techniques in Social Media This class builds on the overview from “Managing Your Social Media Presence” and takes a deeper dive into techniques in four specific areas: Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Twitter event coverage, and YouTube strategy.
Communication Manager Track Classes Description
Managing a Multi-Channel Publication Program Participants can expect to learn about the process to successfully develop content and manage editorial production for print and online publications. Participants will also learn how to incorporate complementary social and other digital media into a publication’s news stream. Participants will be given a topic or issue to develop an editorial plan to effectively disseminate the information to a target audience.
Developing Communication/Marketing Plans Participants can expect to learn about the importance of communications planning, the essential components of an effective communication/marketing plan, and how to build a plan in support of their own projects or initiatives. Participants will work through examples and case studies, develop their own communication/marketing plan, and review and assess the plans of other participants.
Demystifying the Web Redesign Process Participants can expect to learn about the process of managing the web redesign project including developing a budget, writing an RFP, managing the project and planning for the launch and ongoing maintenance of the new site. Participants will review examples and drill down into the details of design, content, implementation and upkeep.d
Putting Web Metrics to Work Participants will get an overview of Google Analytics to understand the terminology and how the tool works; to illustrate the potential uses of metrics to help shape strategies, inform decisions, and improve communication.
Engaging Donors and Other Key Audiences Through Strategic Storytelling Much of development’s marketing efforts centers around the idea of storytelling. Whether it is creating a personalized communication (e.g. proposal, letter, email, key message) or a broader effort (e.g. multimedia campaign around financial aid), communicators will learn how to bring an idea, concept, program or priority to life through storytelling. Additionally, communicators will learn how storytelling can engage, activate and recognize our constituents.
Event Management The long time faculty member is retiring, the Dean is leaving, the school is celebrating an anniversary – we need to have an event! Let’s put communications in charge, they will do a great job. Does that sound familiar? If you’ve found yourself thrust into the role of special-events planner, this crash course is for you. First session will cover the basics of event planning. The second session will focus on planning events at Duke concluding with “Lunch with the Experts.”
Internal Communications 101 Communicators often spend a majority of their time developing and sending messages to external audiences and don’t effectively engage their internal audience, who can serve as your best ambassadors. In this class you will get the business case to pitch internal communications to your supervisor, review examples of effective models in units at Duke, and review tools and resources to support you in developing a simple and effective internal communication program for your unit, department, or school.
Working with Faculty on Op-Ed Articles Learn to understand and apply the distinctive writing style for op-ed articles. You will learn to write and edit effective op-ed articles for newspapers and other outlets.
The Devil’s in the Details: Event Planning at Duke Planning an event at Duke can be overwhelming – from knowing what rooms are available to reserve, which vendors are approved to use, where your attendees can park, and how to best promote your event to get your intended audience there. This course is designed to be a primer to help you navigate the Duke system, avoid common pitfalls and walk you through how to manage event logistics. Whether you currently plan programs at Duke or you’re new to the process, this course will have something for everyone. Come prepared to discuss and work on a group project.
Communication Leader
Track Classes
Working with the Media Participants can expect to learn about how we recruit Duke faculty to be news experts; how we connect Duke people with the media; what to do if a crisis occurs; what we do – and do not — consider to be news; and all other issues related to the news process at Duke. Participants will work through examples and case studies
Consulting: Negotiating & Influencing A key competency in communication leadership is earning your place as a trusted expert and advisor. This course will use case studies, videos and discussion to: Identify cultural norms in higher education and academic medicine and how they affect influence and negotiation. Understand the key attributes of a formal or informal consulting contract for project-based work. Learn how to align your counsel with the best interests of individuals, organizations, and institutions, examine the principals of leading through influence with a variety of stakeholders. Identify key competencies and principles used to set expectations, communicate concerns and chart the likely consequences of difference courses of action. Discuss dimensions of risk and reward, authenticity and reputation management in the context of influence and negotiation. This class will involve case studies, brief reading assignments and class discussion.
Issues Management Participants can expect to learn learn and apply techniques for identifying and managing complex communication issues with broad implications for multiple audiences. Participants will work through examples and case studies.
Effective Presentations Do you make presentations? Or do you prepare presentations for your boss or for others on your team? If so, this class is for you. Do you dream of making a TED talk? This class is for you.Does the idea of public speaking terrify you? Or do you love it? Either way, this class is for you. The secret to delivering an effective presentation is preparation. In this class, you’ll learn how to plan and prepare a presentation using high-tech tools including post-it notes and index cards. Seriously! You’ll learn how to organize information and hone your message to inspire your audience. Those who wish to attend the third (optional) session may volunteer to make a presentation or provide feedback to those who do. This class is for anyone who wants to be a better speaker, or who wants to help their boss/manager/teammate to deliver more effective messages while speaking publicly. We will touch on the use of Powerpoint(or Keynote)but this is not a graphic design class,no design skills are required.
Diversity and Inclusion in Communications Duke’s Institutional Statement of Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion says that the university “aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging.” As communicators, we have the responsibility of presenting that commitment to internal and external audiences in words, images, social media, signage and other channels. This class will be an opportunity for communicators to learn from each other, review best (and worst) practices from higher education and other fields, and hear from experts at Duke who can advise on the ways in which can both more effectively reach diverse audiences, and more accurately portray Duke to ourselves, and to the rest of the world.
Moving Toward More Inclusive Communications Participants will explore areas of nuance that support a more inclusive approach in our communications. We’ll look at web accessibility, use of photography, language choices, and how to navigate the challenges of free speech on campus.