I love seeing what other people are doing in the ‘digital education’ space, so I recently started taking one of the many MOOCs (Massively Open Online Course) available. These are free courses usually taught by ‘star’ professors at large institutions of higher learning. The courses often have enrollments in the thousands if not tens of thousands, with a typical drop-out rate of around 90%. Many times, however, this just means they are reaching people who would never have started a class in the first place. They are of incredible benefit, building the 21st-century equivalent of the public library.
It got me thinking about what’s so incredibly special about what we offer in today’s higher ed space: in essence, the flexibility of an online education with the benefits of one-on-one and face-to-face education, and in a liberal arts setting. Students come to campus and get to know their professors and classmates personally. Nonetheless, because we are low-residency, they don’t need to give up the rest of their life to do so. This is incredibly important; when you have that personal face-to-face relationship, opportunities open up that wouldn’t otherwise arise when working alone.
Did your strongest and most important relationships, both personal and professional, blossom online or face-to-face? I suspect that for the vast majority of people, their most enduring connections include periods of physical togetherness, even if they are separated by days, months, or years.
Of course, higher ed involves more than simply connecting with people working in your area of interest. Just as connecting with a variety of individuals opens up a variety of personal and professional opportunities, connecting with new ideas and intellectual attitudes opens up areas of both emotional growth and innovation. That’s the essence of a liberal arts education. Our goal in the Digital Arts is to help our students open the door to new technologically enabled opportunities; to empower them with extreme technological fluency and a reason to use it.
“The more powerful our reach, the more important the question “‘About what?’” – Liz Coleman, in her TED talk “A call to reinvent liberal arts education”
|Michael E. Scott-Nelson, Academic Program Director
Michael is an acclaimed multimedia performer and composer with academic interests in media theory and human interface. Although Scott-Nelson is a multi-instrumentalist who performs on a variety of acoustic instruments, the computer represents for him the instrument of ultimate potential. It is flexible enough to envelope novel sounds, countless media forms, unique methods of control, and a wide range of conceptions and experiences. He holds a Masters in Computer Music from Peabody Conservatory and a Doctorate in Composition from the University of Kansas. Performances, compositions, works of multimedia art, computer applications, and more of Michael’s creations can be found on his website.
Goucher's Digital Arts graduate program is the only program of its kind in the nation. Our multidisciplinary program treats music, animation, design, computer programming, web development, entrepreneurship, new media studies, and other related fields as one larger convergent discipline.