“Be smarter than your phone” course to return to Kent State

Sydney Ford

Starting next fall, Kent State is bringing back the design innovation course “Be Smarter Than Your Phone,” which will be open to all majors.

Designed in 2013 by John West, a trustee professor in the department of chemical physics, Gary Hanson, a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, who passed away in 2017, and Colin Campbell, an assistant professor in the department of marketing and entrepreneurship, who no longer works at Kent State, the course includes different perspectives in science, business and communication.

The class is back to give students a unique look on the evolution of technology, the importance of smartphones and what the future holds for technology.

“In order to get to the border of where we don’t know, you’ve got to learn what we already know,” West said.

Hanson proposed the element of how communication has changed due to cell phones. Campbell provided how innovation can either lead to great success or a demise or what happens when a company fails to innovate.

When the course was first offered, West would smash a smartphone and review all the pieces and parts to teach students how a phone works. From there, the course is an innovation space where students gain understanding of the evolution of technology and its importance in today’s society.

Students from different backgrounds are grouped together for problem solving projects that take a multidisciplinary approach to how to fix a problem. In the past, students have designed their own app in regards to make campus life better.

“The course is about using the smartphone and how innovation, science, technology, arts, communication − everything comes together, and it always has,” West said.

Sydney Ford covers sciences. Contact her at [email protected]