By Trevor Arnold

After its introduction in fall 2015, the digital communication and new media minor at KU has seen steady enrollment in its courses, a joint effort between the communication studies, English and electronic media departments.

Two courses, the digital self and social media analytics, have been approved and will be offered in fall 2016 for students interested in studying digital media technology.

The digital self, a class offered by Angela Cirucci, assistant professor of communication studies, will examine ways that users create and perform their identities through various digital media technologies.

The class will examine media such as social networks, video games, augmented reality and wearable devices, like the Apple Watch, according to the course’s information page on MyKU.

“This course is not about crafting a profile for a company or making a good LinkedIn

profile to get hired,” said Cirucci. “Instead, it is a media studies course that takes a critical look at the ways in which we use digital spaces, see ourselves through digital spaces, see others through digital spaces and understand the world through digital spaces.”

Students enrolled in the digital communication and new media minor are eager to enroll in the new course.

“I am so excited for this class,” said Victoria Walker, 20-year-old junior communication studies major. “I took a prerequisite class with Dr. Cirucci and fell in love with this aspect of the media studies field.”

In addition to this new course in the communication studies department, a course in social media analytics will also be offered. The class will be a joint venture between the English and communication studies departments.

The course, taught by Robert Folk, associate professor of English, will focus on collecting and analyzing information collected from social media accounts.

“Posting on social media has become so second nature to us,” said Folk. “Being able to produce and analyze social media content is becoming extremely important in our professional, personal and civic lives.”

The analyzing program NUVI, among others, will be used for this course. The program collects information about social media accounts, including popular posts, common key words and where the posts are located.

KU faculty recognizes the importance of these courses for students.

“This is the world we live in,” said Keith Massie, assistant professor of communication studies and co-developer of the digital communication and new media minor. “You should know how these media environments shape you and how you shape the environment.”

Massie hopes to develop the current minor into a major program at the university in the near future. The program would be the first of its kind in colleges within the Pennsylvania State System.


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