COMM 3330 Social Movements

Instructor information

Name: Myles Mason

Email: Myles.Mason@Colorado.EDU

Virtual Office Hours: by email and appointment


Please reach out with questions to Dr. Christy Maurer (, the Communication Department’s Director of Online Programs.

About the Course

Introduces concepts in rhetoric and argumentation that are used to explain significant social and political changes in our society. The goal is to show how social actors use rhetoric to promote some social goals and hinder others. Formerly COMM 2360.

This course investigates communication’s role in seeking social change, focusing on how rhetoric functions in contemporary social movements. This class is not a “history of social movements,” or “history of social movement rhetoric,” although we will learn about both. Through a lens of communication – discourse between people and in society – we will make sense of common aspects of social movements (formation, life cycle, leaders and constituents, strategies and tactics, public response), using academic and non-academic examples to demonstrate the theories and concepts we discuss.

You should anticipate feeling out of your comfort zone at multiple points throughout the semester and be willing to engage with beliefs that might be contrary to your own. This course asks you to respectfully engage with the ideas raised by social movements and your peers, while also challenging yourself to experience what is at the heart of any social movement: a desire for social change for a world imagined otherwise.


Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).

Recommended: Prerequisites COMM 1210 and COMM 1600.

Course Outline

In this asynchronous class, we will not meet for regularly scheduled class sessions. Your work across the semester is guided by the instructor through online materials, assignments, and feedback, as well as reaching them through office hours as needed. Some live meetings may be scheduled, offering you a variety for days and times to select from. You will take part in online regular class discussion boards to explore ideas and connect with peers.  This class expects your consistent and substantive contributions engaging with the materials, peers, and the instructor, by logging in to post across multiple days of every week.

Course materials and assignments are organized into units across the semester, through which you build knowledge and develop skills, culminating in the final project. Together, we explore communication in our world from a critical perspective, considering how interactions are affected by identities and ideologies. Here at CU, Communication classes strive to embody our CRAFT: Creativity in what we produce; Relational connections between people, communities, and ideas; Analytical in our understanding; Flexible across professional fields; and Transformative for society.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Describe how theories and concepts of communication apply to contemporary social movements, including, for example, how social movements function through a rhetorical lens.
  • Analyzing the public discourse of social movements—how it emerges, is sustained, and is contested in digitally-networked spaces.
  • Evaluate a social movement organization’s rhetorical strategy, articulate your critique for a non-academic audience, and propose recommendations to their strategies.
  • Critically engaging rhetoric and communication studies in understanding, imagining, and constituting more just, ethical, and sustainable worlds.
  • Explore, express, debate, and evaluate ideas and issues that matter to you.
  • Improve your research, writing, and critical thinking skills, as well as engage with ideas of your classmates

Required Texts

All readings for this course will be posted to or linked to on Canvas.

Recommended, but not required: I highly recommend another book for any research-based course in the humanities. It is also a free ebook through the library. Booth, Wayne C. The Craft of Research. Fourth ed. Chicago [Illinois]: The University of Chicago Press, 2016.


*assignment and weighted value may be adjusted to suit the needs of the class.

  • Reading Responses, Reflections, Quizzes 15%
  • Op-Ed Assignment 10%
  • Social Movement Organization Messaging Final Project (across steps) 40%
  • Weekly Discussions 25%
  • Class Membership Tasks & Participation 10%


Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado