Expanding the Boundaries: Designing New Media Interdisciplinary Curriculum
The future of New Media depends upon the disintegration of discipline-based boundaries within the higher education system. Defining an undergraduate major for the 21st century is hampered by the 20th century mindset of curriculum. In the 21st century it is the multitalented that have the clear advantage in an increasingly complex world. New Media artists must understand design, cinematography, editing, lighting, visualization, computer logic etc. As a result, students today will be less likely to pursue a major in pure visual arts or film, for example, and are more apt to study a mixture of disciplines. The new programs mine the explosion of knowledge and skills occurring at the intersection of disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach has been far more common at the graduate level but now it is appearing at the undergraduate level. This is a double edge sword for it not only gives undergraduates an opportunity to help create new knowledge through research and internships but it also risks pursuing too many things and becoming just a general survey. This can result in advanced information without basic competencies. The question is raised: What are the basic competencies for New Media? Universities can't always keep up with student interest in an emerging field. Thus, many schools allow highly motivated students to deign their own new media interdisciplinary programs. However it is only for those students whose educational needs can't be met by any single department. In addition, these schools are now discovering that they must mandate a "capstone" experience in which students link their coursework in one comprehensive project. Plotting your own course of study in new media requires tremendous energy and self-discipline. In New Media we may find computer animators, visual effects artists, game developers, web navigation artists etc. who find that interdisciplinary study offers them their only hope getting the curriculum they need. You never know which schools will emerge in the future with majors in New Media; the individualized major of today may be tomorrow's newest interdisciplinary department. The presentation of this paper will include supportive information from industry (Disney studios) and academia (different institutions of higher learning). Presentation of this paper is estimated to be 20 minutes.
International Symposium on Electronic Art Proceedings