Dub-C students, can you dig it? DigLibArts expanding to possible major

Alexandria Valenzuela

This upcoming Spring 2017 semester offers a variety of courses in media and technology. Due to the amount of classes offered that center around the digital field, Whittier College is discussing the possibility of expanding these studies into a major. 

The Whittier College community has a wide array of outlets for those interested in gaining experience in media, many of which are student-run organizations. Video Production Studios (VPS), the Quaker Campus Television (QCTV), KPOET Radio,  the Whittier College Sports Network (WCSN), and the Quaker Campus (QC) newspaper are all student-run organizations that focus on producing digital or journalistic content.

 Aside from these co-curricular activities, however, classes specifically focused on these areas of learning are limited. A majority of students in these organizations are content-creators and have no classes to cover their interests or major. 

“It seems natural that students are showing interest in media as it is something that is ubiquitous in our lives, from books to social media,” Digital Scholar and Professor Anne Cong-Huyen said.

 “We encounter it daily, and yet there are limited classes offered here that equip students to critically engage with this media or produce it.”

Cong-Huyen then goes on to explain that in a time when media is extremely present, users need and want to know how digital information got to their screen.

“It is of paramount importance that students know about their mediated environments,” Cong-Huyen said. “How it affects them; who creates the content; how their data is used; and how to control that data. It looks like there is a demand for these kinds of offerings, but we can’t tell for sure until we see how many students register.”

Disciplines such as Philosophy and English are offering classes in the digital studies curriculum. The DigLibArts department will be offering three new courses as well: Intro to Media Studies, World Wide Web, and Intro to Game Design.

Intro to Media Studies is an introduction to cinema and media studies, focusing on moments in history, theories, and key terms in the digital media realm.

 The World Wide Web course focuses on teaching students the history of the internet. The class will also feature components about design and allow students to create and maintain their own websites. 

Intro to Game Design will reveal the academic side of gaming. Studies will explore aspects of designing a narrative, user engagement, and the overall design. 

“We definitely need more digital classes because society is progressing in a technological way. This will enable us to have more job opportunities,” sophomore Shay Gratianne said. “I’d love to be able to expand my major. It would really add to my experience here at college and create more opportunities for the students here.”

Cong-Huyen will be teaching Intro to Media Studies. As of now, DigLibArts is in the process of hiring two professors to teach the other courses, but their names will not be released until the paperwork is finalized. 

“It’s what the students want,” sophomore Rebecca Grenier said. “There are so many people interested in pursuing a media major and studying media. It practically guarantees a solid career path.”  

Grenier points out students’ excitement to study within the digital field. “It’s many students’ passion, and would modernize the school, opening up a new area for pursing different careers,” Grenier said.

A number of classes that explore technology and media that are currently being offered next semester include Intro to Computer Systems, Technological and Society Changes, Numb3rs and Lett3rs in Film, Film Genre: Sci-Fi, Ecology on Film, Anthropology of Digital Cultures, Intro to Video Production for Digital Media, and Screenwriting: the Television Plot.

 “We live in a digitally focused world. It makes a lot of sense to study digital media,” junior Maeve Bell said. “I’m in WSP, and that’s a big part of my major. I really like digital art and social media but using it to impact us in a different way.” 

“I really would love to see this as a way that our College can help meet the needs of our students and prepare them for an information culture,” said Cong-Huyen. “It is an ideal way for the college to educate socially conscious, resourceful, and proactive students who can use the tools available to them to do social good.” 

Investment in this field may just allow Poets to access the cutting-edge opportunities of tomorrow. 

“We’ve seen the power of media in this last election, and we should take that as a lesson and take the significance of media seriously and thus educate our students about it in the liberal arts tradition,” said Cong-Huyen. 


To explore more about the
DigLibArts department go to: