Major In Focus: Multimedia and Digital Culture

Major In Focus: Multimedia and Digital Culture

What in the world does a major in Multimedia and Digital Culture look like?

Last week I wrote about my Creative Writing major at UPJ, and next week I'll be writing about my French major. As for this week, I'm giving an in-depth look into UPJ's major in Multimedia and Digital Culture. You can look at the curriculum for the major here before reading on, if you so wish.

The Multimedia and Digital Culture major, which we typically shorten to "MMDC," is an interdisciplinary major which falls within the Humanities division. It was devised by a committee of professors, but the two leaders in the committee came from the Writing and English Literature departments. This piece of information may help to paint the essence of the program.

Beyond the Gen Ed courses required of students in most programs at the University and the specified Humanities courses needed for students in all Humanities programs, there are five boxes which make up the MMDC curriculum. The smallest box consists of just one course: Human 1500 MMDC Senior Capstone. I will point out that this course is marked simply as a Humanities course. This is because, at least as of this Spring, there aren't any courses listed as MMDC XXXX. The three courses (one of which is an internship option) specific to the major are all designated as Human. The major is almost perfect in its interdisciplinary nature, so I suppose the slight can be embraced. As for the Capstone course, it appears to be an opportunity for students to showcase any and all skills that they have obtained throughout their MMDC studies.

The box titled "MMDC Introductory Requirements" contains six three-credit courses and a one-credit applications course, all of which must be taken for fulfillment of the major. Despite the name, students can take courses pretty freely from the three boxes I haven't mentioned yet without having completed the Intro box. The courses in this box establish good ground work for future courses, but there's a small amount of actual progression which must occur within the program. While some of the courses available for selection in other boxes do have prerequisites, only one course has one of the introductory courses as a prerequisite. That course, by the way, is Intermediate Programming Using JAVA. The introductory requirements for the major are: Media Criticism (Comm), Mass Comm Process (Comm), Intro to Computer Programming (with its application course; Computer Science), Digital Humanities (English Lit), Writing for Digital Media (English Writing), and Digital Tools and Technology (Humanities). These courses provide information on the history of media studies, the history of media as technology, some basic programs involved with multimedia, some digital literature and new media, the creation of digital media, and some additional tools and technologies directly applicable to students in the program.

Three courses are required out of the box labeled "Digital Authorship." These include the JAVA class I mentioned earlier, two English Literature courses, five English Writing courses, and Digital Spanish. Three of the Writing courses require students to have taken Intro to Professional Writing or Intro to Creative Writing first. All of the courses in this box deal with creation of digital works and study of digital works. Digital Poetry, for example, required students to both experience/experiment with digital poems and create some of their own digital poems. Critical essays were also assigned. Students studying Writing or Literature may be drawn to the MMDC major due to this box.

The "Digital Culture and Philosophy Box" requires students to select two out of five courses. There are two Philosophy courses offered, one Communications course, one English Literature course, and one Journalism course. These courses are perhaps more analytical than the other courses in the major. If a student takes Rhetorical Criticism from this box, that student will need only two additional Comm classes to obtain a minor, as Public Speaking is required for all students and two of the intro courses for the major are Comm.

Two courses are chosen out of three disciplines in the "Advanced Visual Design and Coding" box. For business students, three business classes are offered that involve design and coding. These courses have prerequisites that could make them less attractive to students who don't wish to study business. It's possible that those prerequisites could be worked around, but I definitely can't make any promises. Five Journalism courses are offered, though one course is actually a prerequisite for another course. Those courses may be a bit easier to get onto your schedule. The third discipline offered is an internship. A Journalism internship can actually be taken in this box, but if taken, a Journalism course could not be used as the second discipline in the box. The other internship option is listed as Human. This box seems to be more career-oriented than the others, at least for most career paths.

The MMDC major has only been available at UPJ for about two years now. It represents new outlooks on education and our world, maintaining synthesis of skills and information which stays mostly within the Humanities, but also strays into other areas which have become more and more adjacent to the Humanities in recent decades. Multimedia and Digital Culture can stand alone as a major with solid potential for our digital world, or it can work alongside other majors such as Creative Writing, Communications, or Business Information Systems to provide additional rounding and perspective. I'm excited to see where this program goes as it develops over time.

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10 Steps To Committing In The New Semester

We all make the same mistakes along the way.

It seems that every semester I make roughly the same mistake: I get so excited to come back to school and see everybody, I forget about the (necessary) evil of classes. Now, I'm a girl who loves class–I enjoy what I'm registered for, and I genuinely like to learn–but the fact of the matter is, at the beginning of the semester it feels like you have a lot more free time and availability than you actually do.

As a result, you end up signed up to do just about everything under the sun, never considering the delicate balancing (or juggling) act that will no doubt ensue. Everybody goes through the same ten steps...

1. Returning to campus.

You get back to campus and it's an instant reunion–you can't wait to see everybody, they can't wait to see you. Basically, it's just a really great time.

2. Hearing about new opportunities.

Whether it's a new job, a new club, a new dance troupe or just a new friend, chances are the beginning of the semester is the time to find them. Everything achieves maximum priority at this time of year, because literally everything seems important. In other words, chances are, everything is a big deal, and, subsequently, you want to be involved in all of it, which leads to...

3. Being excited about all these newfound interests.

You just can't wait to get involved with every. single. thing.

4. Feeling ~put-together~ because of your ability to juggle so much new stuff.

You feel totally at peace. You've managed to invest yourself in everything on campus, you enjoy it all, and you're still managing somehow to make straight A's.

5. But then, all of this new stuff is like:

All of a sudden though, it's midterm season. You realize you have not yet taken the necessary time to calculate all the various ways you need to spread yourself too thin. Once you do...

6. Mass panic.

You have no idea how to put an end to the chaos you've created, but you know you need to act fast.

7. You get back on top of it all.

Turns out, the panic wasn't really necessary. You make it through, and come out the other side as a hero. Go you!

8. Cutting back a little bit.

Much as you hate to admit it, you signed up for too much. It's a tale as old as time, because you just can't do everything at once. You pick your favorite involvements and move on from there.

9. Finding the things you really enjoy.

Once you figure out what you like best on campus, you can devote yourself to that... Until next semester at least.

10. Getting excited to take on 2018 and a new semester with all your newfound interested and pals by your side.

Now that all the kinks are worked out, you're ready for this year to be your best yet.

Here's to a new semester. Let's get out there, overcommit, regroup, and make this year our best yet everybody!

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What's All The Hype About Syllabus Week For?

I've already had three professors email me their syllabi and assign work that's due for the first day of classes.

Syllabus week, or "sylly week", as some call it, is supposed to be the best week for a party in college. I've seen countless memes about syllabus week, where classes only last 10 minutes and no work is done. I have some friends that say they don't even need to go to class during syllabus week because it's pointless... Excuse me, but what the heck?! I'm not going to name names of other schools, but I can tell you for sure I've never experienced anything like this. Not even close.

I've already had three professors email me their syllabi and assign work that's due for the first day of classes. I have books I need to buy a week in advance, read and finish, before walking in the door the first day of classes.

I'm not complaining, I'm just confused. Why would a professor go through all the trouble of driving to the school, parking, and walking to class just to stay for 10 minutes, read two pieces of paper and then leave? Besides wasting their own time, they're wasting the students time and money.

If I scheduled a class from 11:00 to 12:15 then that's all I have planned to do in that time and I'm not missing anything if I sit there the whole time and learn like I planned to do. Sure a shortened class is great and now you can go back to your room and take a nap.

But unless you're a freshman and didn't make your own schedule, there's a 99% chance you already scheduled time for a nap. And if you didn't, that's your own fault.

Plus, from what I've seen, people go out on weeknights whether is syllabus week or not. So what makes syllabus week more special? Is it because it's the first week back from break? Because you haven't gone out with your friends in a month? I'm really looking for answers here.

Thus far, I've experienced three syllabus weeks, and I'm about to embark on my fourth and there's nothing I've noticed that makes it any more special than any other week in the semester.

I'd even go as far to say syllabus week is lowkey kind of stressful. If you procrastinated ordering books, you're praying Amazon Prime can get them to you before class. You need all new notebooks for professors that don't allow laptops in class. And my least favorite things, class introductions.

Sure there's the easy: Name, Hometown, and Major. If your professor really wants to amp it up, they're going to ask you to throw in a fun fact about yourself.

Fun facts are the bane of my existence because I always forget what I said last time I was asked and have to think of something new. You have to think of something quickly and hope no one else takes it before you. I have had professors make me say something new because someone else had it, or call other people out for not having "fun enough" facts.

And there's always one or two kids in every class that come prepared with things that blow everyone away.

Moral of the story: syllabus week is just like every other week to me. Who knows though, maybe one day I'll experience the greatness that is "sylly week". But until then I'll be arriving to class on the first day having read the syllabus, done the homework, and hopefully prepped with a good fun fact.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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