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New Courses for Spring Semester

By: Diane Stirling

(315) 443-8975

Several new courses are being offered this semester at the School of Information Studies.

Digital Communication from Theory to Practice (IST 600), is being taught by a  new member of the iSchool faculty. Associate Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley’s course examines computer-mediated communication as an element that is “pervasive in today’s era of smart phones and social media,” she said. Students also will “dig deeply into what classic and contemporary theories and research tell us about these taken-for-granted practices of communication in daily life.” The course will be useful to those looking for information on how to communicate effectively online and to those researching  digitally-mediated communication, she added.

Stromer-Galley trained as a social-science scholar of communication and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Minnesota in Communication Studies. Her Ph.D. is from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. For the past 10 years she has been at the University at Albany, SUNY in the Department of Communication. She taught courses in political and digital communication and conducted research on the use and effects of communication technology. She is finishing a book on presidential campaigns in the Internet age.

Transformative Game Design (IST 400-600), with Associate Professor Scott Nicholson, takes a traditional non-digital game design curriculum and applies it to transformative games.  Since students will create a transformative game for a subject of their own choosing, the class is “valuable to students in any degree program," the professor said.  The course integrates concepts about information and motivational techniques to transform a player. The partially online class includes three weekends of in-person activities coupled with an individual scope of playtesting. 

Nicholsonis the director of the Because Play Matters game laband is the founder and director of the Game Designers Guild, a community organization. He has written research papers on meaningful gamification, games in libraries, online education, and data mining. He authored “Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages,” and designed the game Tulipmania 1637.

Kenneth Lavender’s Libraries, Archives and Museums (IST 600) presents topics applicable to the MSLIS and CAS in Cultural Heritage Preservation programs.

The course looks at the “five C’s”—cooperation, coordination, collaboration, and convergence— as stages that enable institutions to develop programs utilizing   each other’s assets. Questions and situations posed by the five stages (as developed by the American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, and American Association of Museums) will be reviewed. Students will interact with specialists in the field and will research the possibilities and practicalities of mutual cultural ventures, Lavender said.

As an assistant professor of practice and director of the iSchool’s CAS program in cultural heritage preservation, Lavender has been at SU since 2001. He has served as curator of rare books and printed materials; research scientist at the information Institute of Syracuse; and special projects librarian. He joined the iSchool faculty in 2004 after teaching positions at the University of North Texas, University of Houston, and University of South Carolina.  

Social Media and Community Management (IST 620), looks at the role of a community manager, issues facing social media and online community builders, and how social media functions are integral to business today.

Social media specialists/community manager practitioners Jenn Pedde and Kelly Lux are co-teaching the course. The online class will be highly interactive, utilizing Twitter chats, blogs, Google hangouts, and other social platforms for students to share information, discuss topics, and interact with special guests.  

The course will have a real-time nature, Lux said, “because it is not based on a static set of information. Topics are evolving day by day, minute by minute, and we’ll be using things that are happening right now to inform what we do in the class.”  Pedde added that “The role of community in business today is exploding, and a community coordinator, manager, or strategist must have a mastery of social media tools as well as understand the bigger picture.  Hiring managers are looking for candidates with specific skills in this area to help drive business. Educating students in this area means they'll be that much more prepared for life after graduation and to be successful in their endeavors.”

Pedde is a 2004 graduate of Syracuse University’s VPA School, majoring in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. She is the community strategist at 2U, Inc, a company that partners with universities to design online degree programs.  She co-founded TheCommunityManager.com, an online blog for community builders. She and Lux developed #cmgrchat, a highly followed weekly Twitter conversation about the community management profession.

Lux is a member of the team that originated Syracuse University’s social media presence. She served as SU’s first community manager, handling the University’s first Facebook and Twitter accounts while also working in social communications and strategy for the iSchool. In June of 2010, she became the iSchool’s full time community manager and social media strategist. She has a undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education from SUNY-Oswego.

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