A new major, “Media Arts and Design” (MAAD), offered by members of the Media, Arts, Data and Design Center, will be launched this fall.
The major will focus on “the historical study, theoretical criticism and practical experimentation” of experimental media according to Patrick Jagoda, current director of MAAD Minor.
Jagoda said the proposal comes from the recognition that “computers, networks and displays have had a huge impact on the way we live, work, think and play in the 21st century, so the major in media arts and design goes train students. to understand this rapid development.
Previously, MAAD was only available as a 600 credit minor in College. According to MAAD’s student affairs administrator, Riss Ballard, the development of the major is a result of the great popularity of the existing minor.
“We quickly saw that we were getting a lot of students and we found that the demand for the courses was very high, so we started to think about making it a major,” Ballard said.
“We want to build on strengths in media theory that the University of Chicago has long had and complement those with an emphasis on practice and manufacture,” Jagoda explains.
Unlike other fields related to media theory, such as film and media studies, English or art history, the new major will include the creation of experimental media in addition to its study.
MAAD will offer students the opportunity to study new means of communication, such as virtual reality and video games. The major aims to prepare students for careers in the design and entertainment industries.
Through the new major, students will have the opportunity to explore clusters, such as game design, creative computing, network art, electronic music, and the moving digital image. Its course requirements will include two media theory courses, two media history courses, two media practice courses, five electives and one synthesis course, which will be a theory or practice-based project. chosen by the student.
Some courses will include “Video Games in the 90s” and Jagoda’s “Critical Studies of Video Games” in which “students learn to apply the analysis of race, gender and sexuality to the study of video games “. Other courses include “Podcast Development”, “Video Game Design” and “Electronic Music Development”.
Ballard stressed that the major was designed to be interdisciplinary and flexible. Special care has been taken to facilitate the doubling of the major for students by allowing up to three courses to count as a second major.
“UCicago students are really creative and work very hard. I think the MAAD program gives them a way to combine interests that don’t seem to be related. If someone is into computers but really wants to explore more creative elements, then MAAD would be a great place to go, ”says Ballard.
Unlike more traditional majors, the new major is launched without a standard introductory course, and Ballard says that “students can explore how to do the major however they want. It’s a bit like choosing your own type of major.
Jagoda believes that “most students will end up doing practice-based projects for their capstone, but we want these media projects to be informed by historical and theoretical thinking.” Ultimately, Jagoda believes that “one of the strengths of being at the University of Chicago is that people will be able to do in-depth reading and reflection, and this will produce a more experimental and diverse range of media projects. “.