Tackling the Changing Landscape of Communications
The Internet has revolutionized communication in recent years, often to the detriment of traditional media. But Susquehanna’s communications majors can breathe a little easier about getting into the job market, thanks to a course introduced by Craig Stark, assistant professor of communications.
Stark taught the pilot course New Media during the spring semester to better prepare students for the advanced technology they will encounter as they look for jobs in the communications field. “You need to be able to keep up with the technological changes that are happening and will continue to happen as time goes on,” says Joseph Lauver ’11, a journalism major who took the inaugural class.
The course, which has been in the works since 2007, focuses on media history, technology, its social effects and the future. “You see the writing on the wall,” Stark says of new media, which he defines as anything wireless, whether Internet-based or digital. “Everything is changing.”
The course was divided into four modules: the history of new, wireless and convergent media; an overview of technology and platforms for expression; social and cultural issues of new and convergent media; and what the future will bring. Throughout the semester, students maintained a blog with multimedia content, which Stark says is a starting point for introducing new media formats.
Ashlie Crosson ’11, an English secondary education major taking the course, says: “The class was much more eye-opening than I had anticipated. Social media and new technologies are pretty much like the Titanic iceberg—what we know and what we see is only the surface.”
Future incarnations of New Media could take a number of forms, including having different courses with emphases on different areas of communication. One semester, for example, a course could deal entirely with journalism and new media.
In other words, the class, like the subject on which it is based, will continue to evolve as today’s invention becomes tomorrow’s old news. “History is being written right now,” Stark says. And the future remains to be seen.
Contributing writers to The ‘Grove section are Jenny Ruth Binger ‘04, assistant director of recruitment communications; Heather Cobun ‘10 and Charlotte Lotz ‘12.