The digital age is booming – and so are courses in new media at universities

The way that we approach and receive traditional media – news, television, music, advertising – has changed beyond recognition over the last quarter of a century. And universities are spearheading the charge to educate the new media techies of tomorrow.

For a phrase that's often bandied about, it's not always clear what new media is. "From our perspective," says Catherine Stones, programme leader on the BA new media course at Leeds University, "it's about using new technologies – particularly screen-based devices – to communicate. Media is all about communication, and this is the use of new technology within that."

In the first two years of the degree, Leeds students explore a number of different elements: design for new media, say, and audio-visual production, before specialising in the third year. Students are also exposed to the history of the media and the impact of technology on societies.

Graduates of the degree have gone on to take up exciting positions in advertising, marketing and creative design. Stones is confident when she says that students leave the course ready to go into the industry. And often, the industry comes to them. "Every week I get an email from a company saying, 'have you got a good graduate coming up?'" says Stones.

High on Stones' list last year would have been Danny Blackman, 22. After winning a prestigious award from D&AD, the educational charity for the design and advertising industries, he was snapped up by London-based digital creative agency Collective, and has gone on to do some inspirational work with Honda.

"For me, the course was excellent, as it gave me a good insight into a broad range of disciplines but still allowed me to specialise in the area I wanted – interaction design," he says. "When I look back at the work I was doing before uni, I'd say I developed a lot in three years. From simple html pages, by the end of the course I was producing full database-driven statistics packages, full flash websites and the standard of my design improved greatly."

Leeds is the only Russell Group university to offer a course in new media. But plenty of post-1992 universities have such degrees. London Metropolitan University offers undergraduates a course in digital media. The first year introduces students to a range of options: web design, creative digital video, 3D modelling and animation. The new BA in digital media at Brighton is also consumer-focused, with an emphasis on creating digital media for commercial and marketing purposes.

And never one to miss out on hot new trends, the University of Hertfordshire is recruiting for its BA multimedia design course, which begins in September. The degree is a new version of an existing degree, software systems for the arts and media. This is all part of making sure the curriculum hasn't become stale, according to Alan Peacock, subject leader for media at Hertfordshire.

The first half of the degree is a whistle-stop tour of multimedia design. Students can then specialise in anything from virtual reality to the use of digital media in artworks. But Peacock refuses to pigeonhole the degree. "It's distinctly vocational," he says, "because people use it to go into employment. It's academic in as much as we are following an academic learning process. It's a training course because the students get a focused set of skills that they need in the workplace."

So, while the course discusses theoretical issues, it is also about being creative, but with one eye on the market. "Being wildly imaginative isn't enough," he says. "The students have to be able to create something that people will want to consume."

Aside from giving students the technical nous, can the course impart imagination? Yes, says Peacock. "You can teach people to think creatively beyond the norm. I'd hope that's really what art, design and media education is all about. Otherwise the world would stand still."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Glou...

Humanities and Economics Teacher - January 2015 - Malaysia

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes