Penn State will teach design online in new bachelor’s degree

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will offer art and photography studio classes online for the first time as part of the new bachelor of design in digital multimedia design.

The University is currently accepting applications for the new degree, which is being offered entirely online and combines coursework in the visual arts, information technology and communications. Students will be able to work together online through open-source software technology, and they will apply their learning to create projects and applications using the latest multimedia design tools and programming languages.

“This is an exciting time to be a designer,” said Michael Collins, assistant professor of art and lead faculty member of the new degree program. “Employers recognize more and more that design is fundamentally important for success and providing value to their customers. But design isn’t only valuable for companies. Students will apply design, technology, and communication skills to become agents of change for a wide range of critical issues.”

The degree is being offered exclusively to students online through Penn State World Campus, the University’s highly ranked online campus. Courses will be taught by faculty from three academic colleges at Penn State: the Penn State School of Visual Arts in the College of Arts and Architecture; the College of Communications; and the College of Information Science and Technology.

“Design is typically taught face to face,” Collins said. “The type of collaboration you have between design students usually necessitates that you’re in the same room. We have developed an online studio that is meant to mimic a studio environment.”

To complete the 120-credit degree program, students will take two courses from each college: computer graphics and digital art and design from the College of Arts and Architecture; design and development for applications and websites from the College of IST; and photography and writing for the media from the College of Communications. Students will also complete 30 credits of their choice of courses in the arts, communications and information technology.

In the capstone course, students will create self-directed projects and a digital portfolio designed to provide them with a way to demonstrate their creative thinking and technical capabilities.

The new bachelor’s in digital multimedia design is the first degree in the design field that Penn State World Campus is offering online. It also represents the first time the World Campus has partnered with three academic colleges to create an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program to maximize students’ exposure to diverse fields of study.

“This degree opens a new chapter for Penn State World Campus,” said Karen Pollack, assistant vice provost for online and blended programs. “We are excited to be able to offer a way for online learners to learn these in-demand skills and apply them in their coursework."

Penn State World Campus, which has been offering degree programs online since 1998, was ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report for the best online undergraduate programs in the country in 2015 and 2016. World Campus students have access to academic services such as tutoring and career counseling. The academic services also include a free, optional online course called Transitions that eases students into online learning while increasing computer, study and research skills. 

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information.

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Last Updated October 26, 2016