SMC on way to offer new BA

A four-year Bachelor of Arts pilot program in interaction design might be coming to Santa Monica College. Back in September, Governor Brown signed a bill allowing for a program that would test out Bachelor’s degree programs at state community colleges, and SMC could be one of the schools selected to participate.

According to student trustee Daniel Kolko in an Associated Students meeting from November 10, the state has a goal to offer 60,000 bachelors degrees in interaction design by 2025 and community colleges are going to have to help provide that.

The major, abbreviated as IxD, is the software development of shaping interactive digital products for people use. This kind of design chiefly focuses on behavior and how things are.

Initially, the proposed program will cater to students interested in Interaction Design, as there is no such degree offered in the UC/CSU system. Only California College for the Arts currently offers a B.A. in the area, and outside of the UC/CSU system Art Center and Academy of Art University, San Francisco offer Bachelors' programs. Jamie Cavanaugh, an associate professor, sees this as “an opportunity to provide our students access to an Interaction Design B.A. degree and to offer this degree to a broader student population.”

Inter-Club Council Vice-Chair Courtney King put the major into terms of aesthetic design, specifically referencing the detail that goes into the background at Walt Disney amusement parks. "It all had to be designed by someone," said King.

“Interaction Design is more than designing for the web and mobile devices because it’s not confined to interaction with a mouse or touchscreen,” says Cavanaugh. “It’s user-centered design for how we interact with objects and systems. Interaction Design focuses on the behavior of the device or product, as well as the user. User-centered design considers the needs and desires of the user.”

The program is still in its developmental stages according to the vice president of academic affairs, Georgia Lorenz. While the major has been identified, the classes and levels of achievements are still not known.

“We are proposing several options for students. In addition to the four-year B.A. degree in Interaction Design, students may elect to earn a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate’s degree in User Experience Design,” says Cavanaugh.

Currently, SMC students can major in graphic design and web design, but a specialized skill like interaction design would appeal to many tech firms and major computer companies, according to Kolko. He named Direct TV, Google, Snapchat, Sony Pictures, and Walt Disney amusement parks and resorts to name a few companies that are currently looking for graduates in interaction design.

Android began incorporating interaction design software into its latest Android 5.0 "Lollipop" developed by Google, available for updates by November 12. According to App Developer Magazine, the new material design will help users create tangible surfaces, authentic motion, and adaptive design.

At this point the Board of Trustees has until December 20th to submit the proposal. They’ll know if SMC has been selected before the end of January.

Although the new bill gives community colleges until 2020 to create such a program, the proposed program should be in full effect by fall 2017 or earlier according to Lorenz.

NewsYasha Hawkins1 Comment