October 15, 2018

College Introduces New Minor in Media Arts and Design

Patrick Jagoda, associate English professor and director of the minor in Media Arts and Design.

Patrick Jagoda, associate English professor and director of the minor in Media Arts and Design.

Eva I / The Chicago Maroon

This year, the University introduced a new minor program in media arts and design dedicated to interdisciplinary studies of digital media.

The addition of the minor was prompted by an expansion in the University’s computer science department and heightened interest among students for classes integrating artistic expression and digital media, according to Patrick Jagoda, associate English professor and director of the minor. 

“Media art” commonly refers to the application of artistic materials and communications media. Jagoda said the minor also focuses on the many contemporary forms of digital art, including data visualization, digital fabrication, net art, electronic music, and video game design.

The word “design,” on the other hand, has become a multifaceted term, making it “important to better understand this area and find critical ways to intervene in it,” Jagoda said. Design may also refer to the use of art and aesthetics in order to problem solve and strategize issues of economic, cultural, or social significance.

The term can also be open-ended, referring to a variety of fields. “The field of ‘speculative design,’ for instance, concerns imagining different possible futures. It is more about problem making than problem solving: a way of posing problems, rather than rushing to an immediate solution,” Jagoda said. 

Students pursuing a minor in media arts and design must complete six courses. The program requires students to complete one course in each of the three core areas: media theory, media history, and media practice and design. Additionally, two elective courses must be taken; electives include courses on virtual theaters, digital storytelling, and video game design. Courses are taught by professors from a variety of departments, ranging from computer science to cinema and media studies.

Students must also enroll in the MAAD capstone colloquium course, in which they compile a portfolio of either digital media art or writings pertaining to the historical or theoretical aspects of digital media.

The University began offering the minor at the start of the fall 2018 term. “Numerous students have already claimed the minor or have told me that they are planning to do so in the coming weeks,” Jagoda said. “I expect the minor to become quite popular as it supplements a number of existing majors and fields of study.”