Stepping-stones for success found in new digital media studies program

by Chelsea Lauren

Lourdes students Chelsea Lauren, right, and Lauren Pippin, left, work on a media production with WGTE local broadcasting as part of the hands-on career experience integrated with Digital Media Studies coursework.

Lourdes University introduced a Digital Media Studies bachelor’s degree program in the fall of 2019. This program not only educates students about developing technologies but also prepares students for entering a heavily digital and technology-reliant work environment.
Like many sci-fi films have shown us before, technology never fails to continue developing and innovating. English Department Chair, professor, and Digital Media Studies Director Dr. Susan Shelangoskie knew that Lourdes University could not afford to miss out on the growing field. “Lourdes University had been offering a Digital Humanities course in which students learned a variety of components within a single semester, but it became very clear between the various career paths opening up, the expansion of digital media studies within graduate school programs, and the interdisciplinary flexibility between digital media and liberal arts, that Lourdes needed a Digital Media Studies Department.”
The “soft launch,” as Shelangoskie said, of the Digital Media studies program was back in the spring of 2019, with a Digital Humanities 101 course. Students learned the historical timeline of developing technologies, with innovations as early as the printing press, typewriter, and camera, and how to adapt to new technologies such as media production, digital archiving, and coding. The following fall semester of 2019; however, was when the program really went into full swing. “The goal was to have eight students join the program within the first year, and currently – two semesters in – we reached over double our goal and have 17 students majoring in Digital Media Studies.”
Despite the COVID pandemic changing a lot of aspects of higher education, the Digital Media Studies department embraced the opportunity to innovate and strengthen course material. “The DMS program now offers online ‘self-paced coursework, such as HTML and JavaScript coding,” said Shelangoskie.
Noelle Roth, who graduated this past spring with bachelor degrees in both English and Digital Media Studies, was one of those students who found career stepping-stones in the Digital Media Department. “When I came to Lourdes in 2017, a Digital Media program was not even available. I knew I wanted to major in English. I aspired to work in the library, but I felt the English background alone would not make me as prominent on an application as I would be with a more versatile skill set.”
Roth was right, as she was quickly hired by the Monroe, Michigan public library system upon graduation.”I’m thankful to land my dream job so quickly, and I know I owe a lot of my succes to the skills I’ve learned in the Digital Media Studies program.”

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