COMM 346 Course Outline

The Lee Kong Chian School of Business

Academic Year 2015 /16

Term 1


Instructor:       KyuJin SHIM

Title:                Assistant Professor, Corporate Communication

Tel:                  6808-7952


Office:            LKCSB #5077

Teaching Assistant: Giselle LEE Si Mann,


This course examines how communication managers use social media for various types of business communication, such as stakeholder engagement, reputation management, and crisis response. It shows how social media shapes the way people and organizations interact, and how social media impact business environments and organizational reputations in modern society. By introducing key topics and related issues and the current business environment, this course shows how effective social media strategy can help an organization achieve its objectives.


This course aims to develop students’ understanding of social media theories and principles and their ability to critically assess social media impacts on business and public affairs. Also, by examining and learning from i) best practices of organizations using social media in speaking to various audiences, and ii) instances of crises and risks in digital communication, this course develops students’ abilities to build effective communication strategies for organizations. By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain concepts and theories regarding communication and social media studies
  • Illustrate and give examples of how to manage leading social media platforms (i.e., engage audiences, drive traffic, market products and/or organizations within each platform)
  • Analyse benefits and risks in strategic communication via social media platforms
  • Apply learnt concepts to social media strategy planning
  • Write effectively for web audiences, and respond to criticisms


Please refer to the Course Catalogue on OASIS for the most updated list of pre-requisites / co-requisites for this particular course. Do note that if this course has a co-requisite, it means that the course has to be taken together with another course. Dropping one course during BOSS bidding would result in both courses being dropped at the same time.

Assessment Methods

Opening essay                           5% (Pass or Fail)

Team assignment                                 25%

Individual project                               30%

Midterm Exam                                    30%

Participation                                         10%

Total                                                    100%

Exams: Mid-term exam comprises MCQs, short answers, short essays, and long essays. No makeup test for exams.


Assignments: Various in-class activities, some of which will be graded (details will be discussed in the first class).


Participation: Participation grade includes in-class participation, forum discussion contribution, attendance, strict punctuality, and preparation for activities and case-study discussion. Innovative, challenging, and thoughtful comments are highly encouraged and credited. Interactive discussion is much appreciated. Absence and tardiness lower participation grade; late arrival to class is not appreciated and results in point-deduction. Faculty exercises the right to adjust participation grade based on observation and interaction.

Policy for Absences in relation to Final Grade

This is integral to learning, and one of the most important factors for success in this course. Grade criteria relative to attendance include

2-3 absences = C+ or lower; 4 or more absences = F.

Students seeking absence-waivers are responsible for appropriate documentation/ proof.

Exemplary (A) Proficient (B) Developing (C) Unacceptable (D) No participation (F)
Comments always

insightful & constructive;

uses appropriate

terminology. Comments

balanced between general impressions, opinions &

specific, thoughtful

criticisms or contributions.

Comments mostly

insightful & constructive;

always uses appropriate

terminology. Occasionally

comments are too

general and


Comments are sometimes

constructive, with

occasional signs of

insight. Student does not use appropriate

terminology; comments

not always relevant.

Comments are

uninformative, lacking in appropriate terminology.

Too reliant on

opinion & personal taste, e.g., “I love it”, “I hate it”, “It’s bad” etc.

No comments

Use of Electronic Devices: Over the years, students have become more dependent on, and somewhat addicted to, electronic devices such as cellphones and computers, especially since the advent of social media. While understandable, use of electronic devices is disruptive and distracting, definitely destroying the focused and interactive learning environment faculty insists upon.  Students are to follow the rules so that class as a whole can achieve its goal.

Cellphones: Cellphone use during class is strictly forbidden. Students using cellphones during class (including discussion, activities, etc) will be asked to leave class for the day.

Laptops: Laptops can be used for note-taking and some class activities only. They are not be used for any other purposes during class (facebooking, chatting, or any other distracting behaviours). Students misusing laptops will be asked to leave class for the day and may be banned from using their laptops throughout term.

Use of Name Tent: Students should bring their name tents to each class. Name tents help us learn names, and help in allocation of credit points for participation.


All acts of academic dishonesty – including, but not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, facilitation of acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of exam questions, and/or tampering with other students’ academic works – are serious offences.

All oral or written work submitted for assessment must be the student’s own work.  Penalties for violation of the policy range from zero marks for the component assessment to expulsion, depending on the nature of the offence.

When in doubt, students should consult the course instructor. Details on the SMU Code of Academic Integrity are at and should be studied by all.

INSTRUCTIONAL Methods AND expectations

Sessions will comprise an instruction component and a variety of other learning activities including in-class exercises, discussion, final project, and exams – both midterm and final.


Consultations with faculty are best-served by appointment and with TAs by mutually-convenient arrangement.


WEEKLY LESSON PLAN (Tentative and subject to change)


Week 1 (20-21, SEP)            Introduction to the course

Social media theories

Week 2 (27-28, SEP)             Social media technology

  • History and evolution of social media
  • User motivations and behaviours
  • Mobile communication
  • Guest lecture: Augmented reality

– John Pavlik, PhD, Professor, Rutgers University


Week 3 (3-4, SEP)                 Social media and new business environment

Integrated marketing communication (IMC)

Discussion section for individual project

Week 4 (10-11, SEP)              Internal communication strategies

  • Employee communication
  • Collaboration/talent management
  • Social media policy

Week 5 (17-18, SEP)             Reputation management and social media listening

  • Power of word of mouth
  • Brand community
  • Guest lecture and workshop: Listen to your brand community and influencers

– Premanjali Gupta, Marketing Manager & Lawrence Ang, Client Success Manager, APAC Synthesio

Week 6 (19, SEP)*                 Content strategy

  • Brand journalism
  • Content marketing
  • Network journalism
  • Blog journalism
  • Collaboration and communication ethics
  • Guest lecture: Marina Bay Sands digital content strategy

-Timothy Hou, Director, Internal Communications & Social Media, Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd

*Note: make-up class for Week 6.1 and Week 6.2 will be held on the 19th SEP, Saturday for three hours (12:00-3:15 pm).

Week 7 (1-2, OCT)                 Mid-term exam

Individual project progress check

Librarian session: How to avoid plagiarism in digital publishing

-Yuyun Wirawati ISHAK

Week 8                                    Recess week (no class)

Week 9 (15-16, OCT)             Stakeholder management

  • Investor relations
  • Crisis communication management
  • Guest lecture: Government relations in digital age

-Steven Lew, Executive Director, Asia pacific, APCO Worldwide

Week 10 (22-23, OCT)           Social media campaign strategy and planning

  • Workshop: Gum industry in Singapore
  • Guest lecture: Social media ROI

– Marcus Ho, Executive Director, Social Metrics

Week 11 (29-30, OCT)           Social media in the Asian context

  • The challenge of diverse and fragmented markets
  • Digital divide and cultural imperialism
  • Popular social media sites in Asia
  • Media policy and regulation

Individual student presentation

Week 12 (5-6, NOV)              Individual student presentation


Week 13 (12-13, NOV)          Group presentation

Week 14                                  Study week (no class)