A new undergraduate major is now available at the University of Miami School of Communication. In fall of 2018, the SoC began offering the Interactive Media major, equipping students with design skills and a technological fluency that allows them to explore the expressive possibilities offered by emerging forms of communication.
The interdisciplinary major, developed by Kim Grinfeder, associate professor, originates from the thriving Interactive Media M.F.A program, which has groomed graduate students for careers in the academia, not-for-profits, government or at corporations like Sapient, Univision, Disney, Visa amongst others.
Grinfeder says the B.S.C. program is similar and will teach students how to leverage technology for impact and engagement.
“The major is designed to give students a fluency in technology that allows them to design interactive products that can integrate into almost any field,” Grinfeder said.
Among the core classes required for the major are Internet, Media, and Society, Web Lab, Intro to Creative Coding, Interaction Design, and Physical Computing, as well as electives in game design, data visualization, user experience, UI design, mobile app development, augmented and virtual reality, and more.
“There’s a fascinating new course that is called Designing with A.I., which teaches students how to create products that integrate artificial intelligence. This is an essential skill set because artificial intelligence will soon be a part of everyday products, and designers need to understand how it works and how to use it to benefit people” Grinfeder said of another class within the major.
Designing with A.I. is taught by Dr. Ching-Hua Chuan, research associate professor and computer scientist, whose research interests include artificial intelligence, mixed reality, machine learning, music information retrieval, and audio signal processing.
The success of the M.F.A. program, as evidenced by the quality of job offers its students receive every year as well as awards and recognition received by faculty and students is a likely indicator that the B.S.C. will be just as strong.
“Our graduate program is very hands-on, but also has a large research component to it. I think the undergraduate [program] is more about teaching fluency in technology and how to leverage technology for effective communication,” Grinfeder said.
In preparation for the major, the SoC built new classrooms including the emerging media lab where students can create their games and use fabrication tools like a 3-D printer and CNC milling machine. A new mixed reality lab is currently under construction for the development of mixed, augmented, and virtual reality applications and games.
For more information about the Interactive Media major, reach out to the Interactive Media undergraduate program coordinator, Dr. Michelle Seelig.