CMNS 3211: Digital Communities

Students think critically about the challenges and opportunities of community in the digital era. Through a survey of research in the fields of social media, students consider the effects of our networked culture on media participation, as well as consumer and civic engagement. Students consider the current state of digital media creation and consumption and propose and develop engaging social media strategies that help users connect, create and provide digital content for intended publics.


After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the challenges and opportunities of community in a variety of digital media.
  • Explain and evaluate ideas of connection, creativity, and collaboration unique to a variety of social media platforms.
  • Assess the content creation of online users as examples of digital engagement strategies.
  • Develop innovative strategies for connecting and collaborating with digital users.
  • Propose and develop engaging social media strategies that help users connect, create, and provide digital content for intended publics.

Course outline

The course is divided into four modules; the modules and their respective learning outcomes are:

Module 1: Understanding the Current State of Digital Media

Module 2: Understanding Participatory Culture and the Rise of Spreadable Media

Module 3: What Are Digital Communities? Understanding Connection and Collaboration in the Digital Age

Module 4: Thinking Creatively and Making Connections: Developing Innovative Social Media Content

Required text and materials

Students will receive the following:

  1. Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J. (2013). Spreadable media: Creating value and meaning in a networked culture. New York, NY: NYU Press.
    ISBN: 978-1-4798-5605-3

Students must source this textbook on their own:

  1. Buss, A., & Strauss, N. (2009). Online communities handbook: Building your business and brand on the web. Toronto, ON: Pearson.
    ISBN: 9780321605887, 0321605888 (e-book format available online)


To complete this course successfully, you must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Project. The following table shows how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Assignment 1: Slideshow (#hashtag) Presentation 10%
Assignment 2: Critical Response Paper 20%
Assignment 3: Shift in Perspective Journal – Modules 1 and 2 10%
Assignment 4: Blueprint for Recommendation Report 20%
Assignment 5: Shift-in-Perspective Journal – Modules 3 and 4 10%
Final Project: Online Communities Strategy (mandatory) 30%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication through the Learning Environment’s “Mail” tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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