Fitchburg State Launches New Digital Media Innovation Program

FITCHBURG — An all-new bachelor’s degree program in Digital Media Innovation is coming to Fitchburg State University, providing students with cutting-edge, interdisciplinary training in the topics of the future.

According to the university’s website, degree participants “will develop a wide range of new digital skills that cover social media, multimedia storytelling, information design, data studies, coding, etc., to meet the needs of a flexible and evolving global economy”.

Matthew Bruun, director of communications and public affairs at FSU, said it “offers students an innovative and adaptive pathway model that delivers cutting-edge digital skills through hands-on experiential learning. to study digital storytelling, culture and societal applications of data and its ultimate goal is to enable students to activate their acquired digital skills through experiential projects throughout their courses and particularly in their capstone course.

He added that “these hands-on projects demonstrate how digital technology and computing are changing social and cultural systems in commerce, law, the arts and the broader human experience.”

Students choose a path and then select 33 course credits, which may include a semester abroad in Greece or Japan and internships. The three tracks are “Storytelling, Narrative, and Design”, “Data Studies”, and “Digital Culture, Heritage, History, and Preservation”.

In these courses, students will integrate academic work with community engagement “to produce tangible, engaging, audience-responsive products, produce engaging digital stories using emerging tools (such as 3D printing, 360-degree video, augmented reality, and creative media coding), and assess and critique the impacts of data on society and how data can be used to address issues such as social justice and inequality,” according to the FSU website.

Prior to graduation, students will also be required to complete a capstone project, which will be community-focused and focused on both scholarship and professional development, giving students the opportunity to develop portfolio elements for their future employment.

Although the program is housed in the Department of Communication Media, faculty members span several academic departments, including Computer Science, Earth and Geographic Sciences, English Studies, and Humanities.

“Many members of the academic community (FSU) are reaching across disciplinary silos to explore multi-faceted topics,” Bruun said.

To add a new academic program, it first goes through a lengthy internal review process with campus stakeholders, including students, faculty, administrators, and administrators. For a degree-granting major, the state Board of Higher Education must authorize it. The board approved Digital Media Innovation last summer.

The new major “integrates innovative interdisciplinary coursework and research already underway on our campus into one curriculum, designed to teach students the advanced digital skills they will need to succeed in the job market today and in the future. “said university president Richard Lapidus.

The degree is federally designated STEM, which means that courses include subjects in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as defined by the classification of educational programs of the US Department of Education.

It is also unique among public universities in the state to offer this degree, providing a diverse group of students with opportunities rivaling those at more expensive private institutions.

Graduates of the new program could find themselves in a variety of careers, including journalism, social media management, web development, digital media startups, data analytics, multimedia production, and still-emerging roles such as digital data sleuthing and augmented reality journey building.

Whatever the students decide to do in the future, it will enable them to “communicate with ease and translate between the languages ​​of ethics, business and technical knowledge,” a recent press release said.

“It’s a new approach to engaging students in building a more humane digital society in a hands-on way in their own communities,” said Professor Elise Takehana of the English Studies department, who helped create the new program.

Professor JJ Sylvia IV of the Department of Communication Media, another creator of the programme, added: “Our graduates will be equipped with the tools to meet these challenges, and I look forward to seeing the impact they will have.”

Digital Media Innovation is awarded as a Bachelor of Science, unless the student has an advanced intermediate proficiency in a global language, in which case a Bachelor of Arts will be awarded.

It can be considered a double major, where students can count requirements that fulfill both majors for a maximum of three courses.

An 18-credit minor in Digital Media Innovation is also offered, giving students from other majors the opportunity to add it as part of their existing curricula “to learn the fundamentals of emerging digital media tools and the apply in a wide variety of disciplines. and careers to achieve media technical proficiency,” according to the University Catalog.

Additional information about the Digital Media Innovation program is available on the FSU website at fitchburgstate.edu.

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