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School of Journalism & Broadcasting offering new computer coding class

Among several new course offerings available to WKU Journalism majors this fall is a class aimed at teaching students, with no prior programming knowledge, how to write computer code. SJB 340, Programming for Media Platforms, explores modern markup languages by utilizing Raspberry Pi computer modules, online tools and lab instruction.

Cliff Shaluta, Professor of Advertising and Coordinator of the AD+PR Programs shared, “we have one section of SJB 340 this semester, being taught by Professor Mark Simpson, that was filled last spring. There is clearly a need for a modern basic programming class emphasizing websites and moble applications. We plan to increase the size and scope of this course next semester adding more Advertising majors, Journalism majors and eventually, WKU students from other majors.”

SJB 340 is one of several new classes offered by the redesigned Ad Program in the School of Journalism & Broadcasting. Changes in the curriculum are a result of over two years of faculty planning. A nationwide study, conducted by Advertising majors in their senior capstone class in spring 2014, was a large part of the process. The results of the study are located at http://wkufusion.com/research.

A key insight uncovered by the research was that computer coding is becoming a beneficial skill for today’s college graduates in a number of majors. Journalism today is multi-platform. Consumers often read news content online enjoying related links, graphics and video. From branding to design, online platforms have also revolutionized the business of advertising. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, employment of traditional graphic designers in newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers will decline 16 percent from 2012 to 2022. However, employment of graphic designers skilled in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow 35 percent over the same period.

The challenge for Loup Langton, Director of the School of Journalism & Broadcasting, and the Advertising faculty was how to build a multi-disciplinary design curriculum that would appeal to majors in Advertising and traditional Journalism majors as well. The new Interactive Experience Design (IXD) Program was the result. Some courses in the program, such as SJB 340, SJB 210 Software Studio and SJB 330 Interactive Design are required for Advertising majors in IXD, but can also be taken by any major in the School. These new classes form a foundation from which other Journalism programs can add additional technology classes in the future.

About the WKU Ad program: The WKU Advertising program is attracting smart and creative students who want to excel beyond the norm. We offer a challenging, yet supportive environment. Our slogan is “Think Out Loud.” We encourage our majors to look at problems in fresh and novel ways. Our majors also have the best tools to help them innovate. We are housed in an $18 million state-of-the-art building with the latest technology. Visit http://wkufusion.com for more information.

Contact: Cliff Shaluta, (270) 991-6966

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