Computational Media Blends New Media & Computing

Creative Students Gain Computing Skills

In a unique joint effort, the College of Computing and the School of Literature, Communication and Culture in the Ivan Allen College have created a new degree designed to attract undergraduates with an interest in both the computational and creative side of new media, such as film, web, television, and games. The new Bachelor of Science in Computational Media, approved by the Board of Regents in June, is designed to provide solid computing and programming skills with a strong understanding of new media design. The program combines hands-on and theoretical knowledge of computing with an understanding of visual design and the history of media.

"Interactive media is to the 21st century as film was to the 20th century. Innovation in technology and design is making the computer into a medium of communication that is reshaping print, television, film, games, and even live performances. The Computational Media degree will prepare students to lead these changes rather than merely following them," said Janet Murray, professor and director of graduate programs in digital media in the School of Literature Communication and Culture (LCC).

"By taking many of the core computer science courses required for the Computer Science degree, Computational Media students will gain a strong foundation in computing principles, software design and manipulation of digital media such as graphics and sound," said Blair MacIntyre, assistant professor, College of Computing. "The courses in LCC will provide these students with an understanding of visual and interactive design, digital art and media theory and history."

Students majoring in computational media will be jointly enrolled in the College of Computing and LCC. Both schools have added some new courses for this new degree, but the bulk of the required courses for the degree are already on the curriculum. The required courses in each school ensure that students will have competence in computational principles, digital media, software design, visual and interactive design, information design, digital arts, and media theory and history.

Specialty areas combine courses from both schools and can be designed to meet the student's needs. Example specialization areas include animation and digital special effects, games and entertainment, interactive systems, and culturally-informed program design.

"When I heard about this new degree program, I loved the way it sounded because it perfectly fit my personality, my interests and everything I'm looking to do in a job," said Cooper Welch, a sophomore who recently changed his major from Computer Science to Computational Media. "I enjoy computer programming, but I don't want programming to be the focus of my career. I am more visually-design oriented -- I like to draw and do things with Photoshop and graphics design."