By Sophie Puljak
Louisiana Tech University will soon offer a new graduate program: a master’s degree in Communication Technologies. The program is not only the first of its kind in Louisiana, but it exists among only a handful of similar ones worldwide.
For Communications Research Chair Dr. Robert W. Gehl, implementing the graduate program felt timely and crucial.
“Many of us engage with communication technologies: phones, computers, networks, wearable technologies,” Gehl said. “This is not to mention the role of older technologies in our lives – everything from paperwork to television. And because all of these technologies affect us in so many ways, I think we need leaders who have taken the time to think about the role of communication technologies in society.”
The graduate program is designed to guide students as they examine the technological forces that govern modern life. Students will be equipped with the knowledge to answer pressing questions regarding the intertwining of communication technologies and society. During their time in the program, students will research concepts ranging from the ethics of algorithms that decide what media we consume, to the contradictory forces of transparency and security, to the scope of the digital economy.
“I hope students learn that technology is not some mysterious force in the world – we have a lot of agency to shape it and use it,” Gehl said. “I hope they learn to think ethically about technologies – how do technologies affect efforts to achieve justice? Who benefits when we adopt a technology, who doesn’t, and what do we do about that?”
Ultimately, observing the complexities of our increasingly technological society will allow students to understand how the culmination of various digital forces have affected our collective worldview.
While taking courses on subjects including disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda; the history of communication technology; and communication technology and identity; students will acquire the skills to produce original research and creative products. They are encouraged to share their findings with complimentary campus programs such as Computer Science, Engineering, and Cybersecurity. The collaborative nature of the program can ultimately guide students to become contributors to the tech sector. Students may also pursue a PhD at other institutions.
Prospective students for Fall Quarter 2022 should submit their applications by Jan. 15 and expect admission decisions by March. Contact Gehl by email at email@example.com for more information on admission to the program.
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