Sheridan announces new Interaction Design degree

Sheridan College has announced it is launching the first bachelor degree in Interaction Design in Canada.

“Rapid advances in technology and digital media are giving us an unprecedented opportunity to create the future that we want to imagine,” Sheridan’s Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design, Ronni Rosenberg, said in a statement.

“But creating high-tech, high-touch solutions that can make the world a better place will take renaissance thinkers who can fuse digital tools, aesthetics, and design-thinking.”

The announcement comes in the wake of Canada’s Information and Communications Technology Council prediction of a shortage of computer programmers and interactive media developers currently and for the next three years.

Businesses are already getting on board with the new technology. According to the Canadian Interactive Alliance, there are more than 3,000 digital media companies in Canada’s interactive media sector employing more than 52,000 people.

Technology companies like Microsoft are also experimenting with multi-touch tables, gesture-based computing, augmented reality, and wearable internet-connected computers like Google Glasses.

Sheridan’s new degree will include courses on human centered design, image creation and manipulation, research methods and interactive narrative. There will also a foundation of design, systems thinking, psychology, business practices and project management.

Currently, OCAD U and Emily Carr offer similar specializations in interaction design. However, Sheridan College said its offering will be Canada’s first fully dedicated bachelor degree in the field when it launches this September.

Rosenberg said the degree was developed with input from leaders in interactive technology, including Sapient, Critical Mass, T4G, and The Secret Location. “Our first cohort of students will also complete multiple industry co-op placements before they graduate in 2017,” she said.

Founded in 1967, Sheridan College’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design is the largest arts school in Canada. Based at the Sheridan’s Oakville campus, the arts school has become internationally recognized for its illustration, animation and visual effects programs.

This year 60 Sheridan graduates contributed to 11 films that were nominated for Academy Awards, including Pixar’s Brave, Wreck-it Ralph, Life of Pi and the 2012 winner for best animated short, Paperman.

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