New Media Studies Program in Development at U of A

Starting in 2020, students at the University of Alberta will be able to study media in all its forms in a new arts program.

The proposed 36-credit program will require students to complete six media studies courses focusing on theoretical aspects such as the historical and cultural study of print and electronic media. The program aims to equip students with the skills to critically analyze media and work in the field.

Students in 300-level media studies courses will be able to complete a community service-learning component, which will give them the opportunity to work with companies like Bioware to develop projects that can help them enter the field. of their choice.

The new program will also require students to complete a “media portfolio” at the 400 level, which builds on what they have learned from previous courses. Additionally, students will be required to complete six additional media-related courses in other artistic disciplines.

Michael O’Driscoll, acting vice-dean of the Faculty of Arts, said the degree offered will differ from programs at MacEwan or Carleton University because it will focus less on training in professional journalism and more on study. media as a whole.

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A survey conducted by the faculty earlier this year to see what students thought of the proposed program was completed by 172 of the 6,000 undergraduate arts students at the University of Alberta, 72% of them having replied that they or someone they knew were likely to pursue studies in media studies if made available.

Astrid Ensslin, an art teacher involved in the media studies program, said it was increasingly important to have a way for students to learn about media with the prevalence of media social media like Facebook.

“There’s a whole revolution going on right now where every social media provider is sending out an email about revising their privacy policies to give you more agency as a user,” she said. declared. “People are able to say no if they don’t want to share their data…and that used to be a flaw, but that’s all changing now.”

The Organization for Arts Students and Interdisciplinary Studies (OASIS) was also involved, with the organization’s 2017-18 president, Ben Angus, writing a letter in support of the proposal.

Robert Bilak, vice president (academic) of OASIS, said he was a fan of the proposed program, but was concerned that faculty communication with students was inadequate. He also said that the faculty’s previous efforts to communicate Bachelor of Arts changes to the students was a “gong show”.

“The most important thing for students to know is that it’s here,” Bilak said. “I want students in the Faculty of Arts to know that if it’s something they’re interested in, I don’t want them to be afraid to try something new.

The proposal has been sent to the Government of Alberta and is awaiting approval.