Multi-University Online Digital Media Design Program Sees First Graduates

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The first graduates of Penn State’s new digital media design program receive bachelor’s degrees this week. Their studies are more relevant than ever, according to the program’s senior faculty coordinator.

“There has never been a more important time to learn how to apply creative design approaches to solve the problems big and small facing the world,” said Michael Collins, the faculty’s lead coordinator for the interdisciplinary program, offered through the Penn State World Campus by the College of Arts and Architecture, College of Communications, and College of Information Science and Technology.

The first recipients of the new Bachelor of Design, which is offered only online, have interests that cover a wide range of topics, including web and user experience, product and service design, code-based art , 2D and 3D animation, concept art. for video games and real-time interactivity, Collins said.

Kelsey Ann Barksdale, 26, of O’Fallon, Illinois, is making her first trip to the University Park campus to participate in the opening ceremonies.

Barksdale had finished college and was trying to decide what to do next when she discovered the Digital Media Design degree at Penn State.

“I was looking for a degree that was a mix of artistic and computer skills,” she said. “I saw DMD and said, ‘This looks exactly like what I want. ”

Barksdale is looking for digital marketing and social media jobs in the St. Louis area. She has a particular interest in branding and print design and expects the skills in 3D modeling, animation, photography and photo editing she has learned to be useful in the marketplace. work.

“I definitely feel prepared,” she said. “I learned so much.”

Barksdale said online learning suited her, both because of the flexibility it gave her in planning and because “I’m a pretty shy person in real life,” she said. . “Online is much easier for me.”

Michelle Carlos, from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said the online program allowed her to continue working in retail and “have a life”. Carlos, 27, who is also making his first trip to University Park to start, is applying for video production jobs after graduating.

More than 150 students are enrolled in the program, which has more than tripled in size since its launch in the summer of 2017. Anna Divinsky, online coordinator for the School of Visual Arts, said she was delighted to see the number of majors increase so rapidly.

“It was exciting to see their progression and creative growth,” she said.

Many students have work or family obligations that prevent them from traveling to a physical campus, Collins said.

“This program is a great option because it gives them the opportunity to change careers or pursue a more creative path without disrupting their lives,” he said.

Career options for graduates could include working as a digital designer, web developer, art director, public relations specialist, advertising manager, or media relations professional.

Collins said digital media design skills “are a way to create compelling work that empowers us to engage in conversations, respond, entertain, inform and have a positive impact – manipulating the world. that surrounds us for the better”.

For more information on the degree, visit the Penn State World Campus website.

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