12-06-2020 Education - Flipbook - Page 1
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2020 | | THE BALTIMORE SUN
A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION OF BALTIMORE SUN MEDIA • SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2020
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Emily Gong, currently a master’s student in computer science and past president of the University of Maryland XR [Mixed Reality] Club, Brandon Morse, professor of art, and
Matthias Zwicker, professor of computer science, collaborate on a project in the immersive media design degree program. Photo by John T. Consoli / University of Maryland
Education publishes five times a year
New degree programs launched at
area colleges and universities
© 2020 Baltimore Sun Media
Opportunities unveiled in immersive media, construction and education
By Emily Parks, Contributing Writer
he COVID-19 pandemic provided an
unusual start to the fall semester as virtual continued to replace in-classroom
learning. However, within this new
normal, area colleges and universities
continue to roll out new degree programs for
The University of Maryland launched a
new four-year undergraduate immersive media
design (IMD) degree program. This dual-track
program is co-taught by art and computer science faculty to prepare students to design, develop and produce immersive media. Immersive
media involves the viewer with sight, sound
and other sensory experiences to allow interaction with the surrounding digital environment.
Two common examples of immersive media are
augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR);
however, projected displays as well as tactile or
audio platforms are also components of immersive media.
Students choose one of two tracks, innovative coders or emerging creatives, to focus on
the technical or artistic side of immersive media.
Innovative coders will graduate with a Bachelor
of Science degree while the emerging creatives
will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The major
allows art students to capitalize on their artistic
talents while strengthening computer science
skills to bring a new dimension to their work.
Computer science students gain an artistic perspective while using their skills in programming languages, calculus and algorithms to collaborate with art students to develop and design
forms of immersive media.
According to Roger Eastman, Ph.D., IMD
director and professor of the practice in computer science, being well-versed in immersive
media provides artists with marketable job skills
while the computer science students thrive within the forefront of new technology. “Virtual reality allows an immediate and emotional impact in
a way that screens do not,” he adds.
Brandon Morse, associate professor and
chair of the department of art at the university,
notes the collaborative nature of the degree program is one of its biggest benefits. “The design
of the program allows students the ability to
communicate across technical and artistic lines,
preparing them for future collaborative workplaces,” he says.
Sophomore Dani Feng of Rockville, is energized by the role immersive media plays in her
art. She is on the emerging creatives track and is
looking forward to using tools such as Adafruit
Playground Express in her projects. Adafruit is
a circuit board she will connect to her computer
with a USB cable to receive or give input using
code. She codes in the language CircuitPython
and uses the Mu text editor. Artists can use
Adafruit to interact with buttons, LED lights,
and light and temperature sensors on the circuit
board to create interactive objects or environments.
She feels immersive media will provide many
New degree programs,
continued on page 7
A focus on student engagement
With students learning remotely, schools create programs to stay in touch
By Gregory J. Alexander, Contributing Writer
he majority of college students are taking
classes remotely, some from their parents’
basements, some from an on-campus dorm
and others from out of the country. And
while they may be fulfilling their academic
duties just fine via a virtual environment, students
may be missing out on college football games, Greek
life activities, hanging out with friends after class or
participating in fun activities organized by one of the
many student-led organizations. However, local colleges are utilizing technology in innovative ways to
help fill the gap.
Like many schools, the majority of Harford
Community College’s classes are offered remotely –
some of the health care classes and laboratory components necessitate on-campus learning – so the college
had to find new ways to engage with students.
“We’ve utilized Microsoft Teams to develop more
web chat capabilities, live webinars with speakers and
virtual open houses and have focused on using technology to create meaningful experiences and engagement opportunities for our students,” says Patrick S.
Elliott, Ed.D., associate vice president for enrollment
management at Harford Community College. HCC
also held a virtual event focused on Civil Rights called
“Uncomfortable Conversations” that was moderated
by a faculty member who is a Civil Rights historian.
Elliott says the school brought in faculty, students,
members of the faith community and members from
the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to discuss the current issues surrounding criminal justice.
The Welcome Week boxes that incoming students received at UMBC. Photo by Marlayna Demond for UMBC.
“We have 35 Registered Student Organizations
that are student-led organizations. Research shows
that the more engaged students are the more successful they are in academics. We also had orientation for
new students and held a pep rally where students got
cool Harford Community College gear and a ‘survival guide’ with tips such as how to get involved and
dispelling myths about the college experience,” says
Elliott. He adds that HCC also had an ice cream social
for students who wanted to come to campus and see
their classmates while maintaining proper social distance protocols.
continued on page 8
Above: CCBC’s new state-of-the-art Carol Diane
Eustis Center for Health Professions benefits students.
See article on page 5.
By Margit B. Weisgal, Contributing Writer
Managing your digital
With the massive shift to digital education for just about every student in every
school – elementary through high school
and most colleges and universities – kids are
floundering because it is such an unfamiliar
and uncomfortable way to learn. Teachers
are also being pushed into a different way of
teaching most never planned for. Prior to the
COVID-19 pandemic, students had a choice
between face-to-face classes and one of the
online forms. Now these types of classes are
There are a lot of different types of digital learning, all of which come under the
heading of Learning Management Systems
(LMS). One definition found on www.oxagile.com, says, “A learning management system
is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and
delivery of electronic educational technology (also called e-Learning) courses or training.” Therefore, depending on where you are
getting your education, the LMS will vary.
The most popular platforms are Backboard,
Moodle and Canvas.
If you’ve taken an online class, then that
particular LMS is familiar to you and you
may think they are all alike. They aren’t. Since
I started teaching online, I’ve used three different systems. As technology changes, so do
these platforms, incorporating more bells and
whistles to provide you with a robust online
The platforms differ by school. Even if
you are in a face-to-face class in a real live
classroom, odds are your class includes computer assisted learning. This means a part
Ask Margit, continued on page 8
direction to your
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