The WVU Reed College of Media and the WVU College of Creative Arts have developed a new major that combines journalism and communication with art and media design.
The Interactive Design for Media major, which launched in fall 2018, will teach students how to tell compelling stories through graphics, animation, video, audio, mobile apps and other forms of emerging media. The program will provide students with fundamental journalism skills, such as writing, media ethics, and audience-development and give them hands-on training in creative subjects, such as animation, coding and web design.
The curriculum was developed in response to a growing market demand for professionals who can think strategically about the best ways to reach an audience and then implement those ideas across several mediums. Graduates of the Interactive Design for Media program may serve as multimedia artists, animators or web designers. They may also work as program managers who coordinate graphic designers, programmers and developers to share a client’s message in a cohesive way on a variety of platforms.
Jeffrey Moser, a teaching assistant professor for both the College of Media and College of Creative Arts, proposed the new major and helped write the curriculum.
“Our industry changes all the time. I want students to have the confidence to embrace new media and design technologies and succeed at them. That’s what will make them marketable after graduation,” Moser said.
While there are opportunities for graduates to work for companies or marketing communications firms, the program is also beneficial for entrepreneurial-minded students who are interested in producing and selling their original work.
“Interactive Design for Media really has a fine art component, meaning that students can express new and original ideas through multimedia,” Moser said. “While they’ll learn skills in audience engagement and communication, they’ll also have the opportunity to pursue passion projects like developing their own video game or custom animations."
Students in this new major will have access to the latest software and hardware, including the Adobe Creative Suite, 360-degree video, and augmented and virtual reality technologies. They’ll experience both the fine arts studio environment at the College of Creative Arts and the technology sandbox of the Media Innovation Center.
“Media technologies change every day. The College’s Media Innovation Center is a space that encourages not only the use of new technologies, but a mindset that encourages creative exploration,” said Maryanne Reed, dean of the College of Media. “The new IDM major aligns perfectly with this concept and will attract students who are eager to learn the latest in emerging media.”
Throughout the program, students take courses in each college, including user experience design and multimedia storytelling in the College of Media and web design and electronic media in the College of Creative Arts. After the freshman year, students will choose a “home” college where they will receive advising and career development support. Unlike other fine arts majors, students in Interactive Design for Media are not required to submit a portfolio for admission. Upon successful completion of the program, students will earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Interactive Design for Media degree.