New department on the rise in the digital world

Andrew Bugel

The School of Digital Sciences at Kent State is one of the newest programs on campus and has quickly become one of the most popular.

Opening its doors in the fall of 2011, the program, which once had a size of more than 40 students, has increased to 360 over the three-year existence.

Representatives from various schools and departments at the university, including Computer Science, Arts and Sciences, Management and Information Systems, Education and Communication and Information, came together to form the school.

Robert Walker, director of the School of Digital Sciences, said the school is unique for many reasons.

“There are other interdisciplinary programs usually within a college spanning a couple of departments, but this one is the only college that spans at least five departments,” Walker said. “We incorporate courses from half a dozen different departments across the university.”

Walker said the diversity of the program provides students with a variety of options and courses to take.

“Beyond the basic core of the degree, now students can specialize,” Walker said. “So if you like the software course, you take some more courses in computer science and if you like the hardware course, then you can take some more networking courses form applied engineering.”

A Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Digital Sciences is a four-year program and, since the program is entering its fourth year at the university, many courses are being offered to students for the first time.

Senior digital sciences major Tia Coble said she feels independent and in charge of her schedule because of the diversity the program has to offer.

“You can mold the degree into whatever you want,” Coble said. “It kind of gives you the opportunity to do what you want within your major.”

Coble said her favorite class she has taken in the program is “Cognition in Technology,” a class that combines computer skills with psychology. The class helps students understand why people have difficulty using certain web programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel.  

“I’m taking the core programming courses that are tied in with computer science,” said Walter Robins, a senior studying software development. “Along with that, I’m also getting that additional experience from design classes.”

One of the design courses Robins said he takes is “Human-Computer Interaction.” Robins said this class deals specifically with designing and practicing with interfaces.

Other core courses in the program include “Introduction to Computer Applications,” “Web Programming,” “Design Processes and Principles” and “Database Management Systems.”

Walker said he expects to see the enrollment of the program continue to rise for years to come and can see more collaborations with other colleges at Kent State in the program’s future.

“There’s always new possibilities for collaboration,” Walker said. “We’ve been seeing steady growth in the program, and I believe that will continue.”

Contact Andrew Bugel at [email protected].