Grad Certificate Explores Integrated Media, Social Networks

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The convergence of media sources and skills feed into the new interdisciplinary graduate certificate in integrated media and social networks offered by the School of Communication, Media and the Arts.

Courses such as

Designed to help professionals gain greater experience and understanding of a burgeoning field and to help Oswego students make themselves more marketable, the program brings together work in broadcasting, graphic design, human-computer interaction and new CMA courses on integrated media.

The goal was to develop a program where people could gain skills, through theory and practice, in such areas as social network communication, interactive web interfaces and other emerging areas spanning disciplines, CMA Dean Fritz Messere '71, M '76 said.

"We have two tracks available," Messere said. "One is more rooted in the technical landscape, design and social networks. The other focuses more on best practices and practical applications in areas like multimedia design, digital illustration and video game theory."

But the certificate program is designed to be flexible enough so students can mix and match options or look at independent study courses in related areas such as audio design, he added.

The program can involve project-based problem-solving independent study courses and intensive internships to allow participants hands-on experience in emerging media.

"I'm hoping this certificate will give our graduates a competitive edge," said Ulises Mejias of the communication studies faculty. "The point is to prepare them to be more than just web designers, content writers, video producers . . . to help them think about applying integrated media purposefully. In this kind of job market, technical skills are not enough. You also need to demonstrate you can think critically."

By the time some students reach their senior year, "they realize they want more experience in the expanding areas of new media," Messere said. "By staying on for the certificate, which they could do within two semesters, they can gain added background in skills to complement their work in broadcasting, graphic design, public relations or other fields."

Mejias noted that, whether students are hoping to get a job in the new media field or build the next big social network or application, the program's focus on ethics and privacy makes it stand out.

"Integrated media is more than just about the convergence of formats and the ability to get text, audio and video from the same device," Mejias said. "From a practitioner's standpoint, integrated media is about the realization that the study and production of media have become truly interdisciplinary as media have converged."

The program can benefit students and the college "by allowing us to collaborate across disciplines and fields," Mejias said. "What sets this program apart from others is the way in which it brings together faculty and students from the arts, communication studies and computer science to work in projects."

Messere and others said they hope, with the help of interested faculty members, that the certificate program can serve as a precursor to a full graduate degree program in integrated media and social networks.

- Tim Nekritz M '05

PHOTO CAPTION:
Courses such as "Video Game Theory and Analysis," taught by Ulises Mejias - shown here competing with broadcasting major Kelly Fitzsimmons '11 - are among the options in a new graduate certificate program in integrated media and social networks.



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