Digital Media Analytics

Course Description

This course focuses on media creation and performance metrics for strategic communication distribution on the Internet. Students will examine contemporary issues concerning the Internet as a sharing economy and develop media creation and distribution strategies within this environment. Students create web-based media for a client, optimize it for search engines, and set achievable metrics goals for assessment through industry standard web analytics tools.

Prerequisite: COMM-101. 4 SH. CC: Analytical Thought

Department of Communications Mission Statement and Encompassing Theme

The Department of Communications seeks to lead students to an understanding of the theory, practice, and ethical implications of their chosen field in keeping with the university’s liberal arts mission to educate undergraduate students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse and interconnected world. The fields of communication focus on how people use messages to generate meaning within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, performances, and media. The fields promote effective and ethical practice.

The Department of Communications requires a cumulative portfolio as part of your senior capstone course. Be sure to save the syllabi, assignments, tests, and papers from your Communications courses to use in that portfolio.
Note: Students taking this course to meet the requirements of the Broadcasting major or minor must earn a final grade of 70% or pbetter to meet the department’s requirements for graduation.

Analytical Thought CC Goals

Analytical thinking is an important tool for both problem solving and for exploring, understanding, and evaluating information and ideas. It involves breaking apart ideas, arguments or problems into components, determining the significance of each component relative to the others, and using these insights to synthesize a solution or conclusion. Significance of the components is explored using formal and informal processes such as abstraction, deduction, pattern recognition, or symbolic manipulation. Courses that satisfy the analytical thinking requirement will focus on one or more of these processes, in addition to the technique of translating problem components to or from an abstract model, and interpreting the results of such problem‐solving.

  • Abstract a problem into a symbolic or mathematical model or framework. (ULG 1a)
  • Interpret such a model or framework in terms of a real‐world construct. (ULG 1c)
  • Reason from precisely stated principles using deductive methods and draw valid conclusions. (ULG 2a)
  • Recognize, manipulate and reason from or about abstract patterns. (ULG 2a)

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • Model quantitative and qualitative data to illuminate issues of communication.
  • Produce cumulative personal portfolio that illustrates a strong foundation in digital literacy.
  • Formulate and assess keywords for search engine optimization
  • Investigate achievable metric goals and construct visualizations for broader audiences.
  • Identify principles of relational databases to formulate information for exploratory data analysis
  • Assemble client-facing documents that assist in long-term sustainability of digital projects


Plagiarism is not only theft but counterfeit. Students caught plagiarizing will receive an F for the assignment and the course. You may also face further disciplinary action, including and up to expulsion. It is up to you to familiarize yourself with Susquehanna University’s Code of Student Conduct. Students should use proper citations to indicate quotes, summations, and paraphrases. You may use any citation style as long as it is consistent. If you have any concerns or confusions, please ask me.


Students in need of accommodations for disabilities should see or contact the Offices of Disability Services, 570-372-4340, Fisher Hall 204. Please reach out to if you suspect you may have or have been diagnosed with a disability to see what assistance is available.

Required Texts

Because the majority of our work will be hands-on, you are not expected to have any required texts for this course. However, you are required to have your own domain name and web hosting setup on Reclaim Hosting. Reclaim Hosting is a web hosting service geared towards the academic market, and it costs $45 for both a domain name and web server. We will go over the setup for this together. Please make sure that you confirm your email address on Reclaim Hosting immediately as students have been locked out of their accounts when this is not done.

Attendance Policy

You are expected to come to class on-time and having completed the work. You may miss up to two classes without penalty. After that, you will lose three points from your final grade for each additional absence.

Assignments and Grades

For each assignment, I will provide you a detailed assignment sheet in class with more information about what is required. Each assignment is due at midnight unless otherwise stated:

  • (25%) Personal WordPress Site
  • (10%) Google Analytics Individual Qualification Certification
  • (10%) Personal Website SEO Optimization Project
  • (10%) Excel Pivot Table Project
  • (10%) Tableau Data Cleanup Project
  • (25%) Client Usage Manual
  • (10%) Reflection Paper

Syllabus Policy

I reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus and often do based on the direction of the class. Make sure that you check your email regularly so that you are aware of these changes as you will still be responsible for all assigned materials.

Weekly Class Schedule

Week 1-Introduction and Setup

  • Monday-Introduction and Syllabus
  • Wednesday-Reclaim Hosting and Setup of WordPress Server
  • Friday-WordPress Basics and Home Page

Week 2-WordPress

  • Monday-WordPress Themes
  • Wednesday-WordPress Plugins
  • Friday-WordPress In-Class Workshop

Week 3-Google Analytics

Week 4-Search Engine Optimization

  • Monday-SEO Basics
  • Wednesday-Creating SEO Proposal
  • Friday-Mail Chimp Newsletters; Google Analytics Individual Qualification Certification Due

Week 5-Newsletters

  • Monday-Excel Basics
  • Wednesday-Excel Pivot Tables
  • Friday-Excel Pivot Tables Assignment Workshop

Week 6-Microsoft Excel

  • Monday-Real World Data in Excel
  • Wednesday-Real World Data in Excel
  • Friday-Tidy Data Explained; Read Hadley Wickham's "Tidy Data"; Personal Website SEO Optimization Project Due

Week 7-Tableau Prep

  • Monday-Tableau Prep Installation and Interface
  • Wednesday-Tableau Prep Tidy Data
  • Friday- Tableau Prep Tidy Data

Week 8

  • Monday-Tableau Prep and Desktop; Tableau Union and Jones
  • Wednesday-Midterm Break
  • Friday-Tableau Desktop; Excel Pivot Table Assignment Due

Week 9-Data Visualization

  • Monday-Tableau Desktop
  • Wednesday-Flourish Data Visualization
  • Friday-Flourish Data Visualization

Week 10-GIS and Text Analysis

  • Monday-Voyant Tools
  • Wednesday-KeplerGL
  • Friday-KeplerGL; Tidy Data Assignment Due

Week 11-Exploratory Desktop

  • Monday-Exploratory Introduction and Interface
  • Wednesday-Exploratory Text Analysis
  • Friday-Exploratory Text Analysis

Week 12-R Foundations

  • Monday-RStudio
  • Wednesday-RStudio
  • Friday-RStudio

Week 13-Thanksgiving Break

  • Monday-Wrap Up
  • Wednesday-Thanksgiving Break
  • Friday-Thanksgiving Break

Week 14-Final Projects

  • Monday-No Class/Work on Final Projects
  • Wednesday-No Class/Work on Final Projects
  • Friday-No Class/Work on Final Projects

Week 15-Final Projects

  • Monday-No Class/Work on Final Projects
  • Wednesday-No Class/Work on Final Projects
  • Friday-No Class/Work on Final Projects

Client Manual due at Exam Time
Reflection Paper due at Exam Time