Master of Science in User-Centered Media Design - MBMD

Short description

We surround ourselves with technological products and systems, and they are only increasing. However, they aren’t necessary designed based on user requirements and user needs. Rather, they may be designed to mainly provide specific functions. From a pure technological point of view they may be excellent devices, but all too often the quality of use is being neglected.
In a situation where computers have become common and where "digital interfaces" and "digital interaction environments" also increasingly exist independently of computers, it is more important than ever to develop solutions that allow for intuitive, easy-to-use, robust and efficient computer interaction. Gjøvik University College meets this challenge with the Master of Science in User-Centered Media Design, where usability is key.

The Master program may be viewed as a continuation and specialization of bachelor degrees in computer science, engineering or computer-based media technology. The program is linked to the academic community of the Media Technology Laboratory. The Laboratory is researching a wide range of technical and design aspects of development and production of digital and analogue media, including the usability and interaction design and ergonomics in digital media. The laboratory can currently boast prolific research in colour technology and image processing, video processing, intelligent systems, gaming technology, "the Internet of things" and mobile applications.

The academic community is made up mostly of professors and associate professors who are active in research, many of them well recognized within their fields nationally and internationally. On-going research is aimed at both technical issues related to production and the development of media technology systems, as well as aspects related to the use of digital media. The Media Technology Laboratory has a research group in colour science (www.colorlab.no), which includes research focus on universal design and usability. The Media Technology Laboratory co-operates with the Norwegian Information Security Laboratory (NISlab) and the Center for Universal Design.
Educational programs are primarily business oriented, but will also qualify for work in public administration and for doctorate studies.

Duration

The program is a two-year full-time study (120 ECTs). After passing the course the candidate is awarded the degree of Master of Science of User-Centered Media Design. The program may be completed part-time (3-4 years dependent on individual study plan).

Expected learning outcomes

After graduation, candidates will be able to enter roles such as information architects, interaction designers, test managers, usability experts and project leaders in the development of commercial software, educational software, multimedia applications, online publications, e-learning applications, e-commerce applications, commercial and public Web services, user dialogues in interactive systems and user interfaces for consumer electronics. They will also be able to develop solutions for users with disabilities and special needs.
Knowledge

  • After completing the degree the candidate is able to initiate, manage and execute usability and user-centered work in a research and development project context.
  • The candidate has a deep understanding of and can discuss and reflect upon human factors and end-users' needs and requirements in the design of user interfaces and interactive environments.
  • The candidate possesses a specialized and thorough knowledge of the research front on a limited and selected area, forming the basis for the thesis in user-centered media design.
  • The candidate has a thorough knowledge of scientific theory and methodology in the field of user-centered media design.
  • The candidate is able to apply his/her skills in new areas of user-centered media design.
  • The candidate is able to analyze academic issues, existing theories, methods and interpretations based on subject area's history, traditions, character and place in society.

Skills

  • After completing the degree the candidate has the necessary expertise to apply in practice methods for the optimization of products and services' usability.
  • The candidate is able to work independently with practical and theoretical problem solving.
  • The candidate is able to use appropriate methods for research on usability and professional systems development usability engineering in an independent manner.
  • The candidate is able to analyze and reflect critically on various information sources and use them to structure and formulate scientific reasoning.
  • The candidate is able to carry out an independent, limited research or development project under supervision and in accordance with applicable ethical standards.

General competence

  • The candidate is able to analyze ethical issues related to both profession and research.
  • The candidate is able to apply his/her knowledge and skills on novel areas to carry out advanced tasks and projects in usability or user-oriented information architecture
  • The candidate is able to convey extensive work from an independent study and master the forms of expression in the field.
  • The candidate is able to communicate profession challenges and academic issues, analyses and conclusions within the field both to specialists and to the general public.
  • The candidate is able to contribute to innovation.

Internationalization

For students who want to replace parts of the curriculum with a stay at universities abroad, there are possibilities for this in the third semester.
In general, the master program is taught in Norwegian, but most courses are offered in English if desirable. It is desirable to provide the courses to exchange students, and ultimately to offer the Master program as an English-language Master.

Target Group

The program recruits students, who are interested in digital media in general, and usability and accessibility in and/or engineering and development projects in particular.
The program aims to recruit applicants with a completed bachelor's degree (or equivalent three-year degree) in IT or media studies that goes into the program as a continuation of their education. No previous job experience is expected, however the program is well suited for people with work experience and/or experience from project work and system development.
The study is also suitable for students who wish to combine studies with work. Many courses are seminar based, and it is possible to take the program part-time (3-4 years).

Admission Criteria

Applicants for the master program must have completed a bachelor's degree or equivalent education of a minimum of three years duration which includes 80 credits in Media Studies and/or IT subjects (see Regulation §3 Requirements for Master's degree 120 ECTS).

Gjøvik University College accepes the following internal bachelor programs for admission to the program:

  1. Bachelor in Web Development/Media Technology
  2. Bachelor's degree in Media Management
  3. Bachelor of Media Design
  4. Bachelor's degree in Engineering, Computer Science
  5. Bachelor in Information Security
  6. Bachelor's in Network and Computer Systems
  7. Bachelor's degree in Media Production
  8. Bachelor in Software Development
  9. Bachelor of Game Programming

Course Structure

Contents
The program has a focus on applied methodology for maximizing product and service usability, and enables students to initiate, manage and execute usability engineering in project and development contexts.

Since it is of vital importance for the students to have relevant and applicable skills for the job marked at the completion of the program, the program includes topics such as establishment of user-friendly information architectures and systems development methodology.
Structure
The courses are organized as a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops. Most courses are 10 credits, and will normally have a 700 pages syllabus. Many of the courses have mandatory requirements such as essays or empirical work. Student work-effort is expected to be 45 hours per week throughout the semester.

During the first semester students meet two of the core issues, Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design (IMT4032) and User-Oriented Information Architecture (IMT4042). Information architecture has recently emerged as a key knowledge for the development of large and complex sites, heavy e-commerce applications, and interactive Web services. During the first semester, students will also learn Scientific Methodology and the Philosophy of Social Sciences (IMT4421 and TØL4002).

During the second semester students meet the third core subject in the study, Methods in User-Centered Design (IMT5341). In addition, they are taught two topics common with the Master in Applied Computer Science program, namely Digital Entrepreneurship (IMT4995) and Project Management and Software Engineering (IMT4062). It is also possible to take a 5-credit elective course in the 2nd semester.

Great emphasis is placed on getting students started with their own writing and research early on in the program. Efforts towards formulating a master thesis are central to the program. Through the course Research Planning and Advanced Project Work(IMT5371) in the 3rd semester, students will study theoretical material to support the focus of the thesis, learn to formulate relevant research topics and questions and start to prepare one of the thesis chapters. During this time, students will be appointed a thesis supervisor.

Electives may be included in both the second and third semester. Some courses from the programs of Master of Science in Applied Computer Science, Master of Science in Information Security and Bachelor in Media Design may be selected (see elective course table). Other topics may be considered upon application, including courses in MSc Sustainable Manufacturing. It is possible to include up to 20 points from relevant bachelor programs (3000 code), assessed individually on application.

In the 4th semester, students work under the supervision with their master's thesis (IMT4901). The work of the fourth semester requires that all previous courses have been passed. An absolute requirement is that the IMT5371 Research Planning and Advanced Project Work is passed. The thesis must represent an academic progression in relation to practical, empirical and/or theoretical topics in relevant courses (IMT4032, IMT4042 and IMT5341).

Technical Prerequisites

Computer lab with the necessary software is available at the university college.

Table of subjects

Course tabel for MSc in User-Centered Media Design 2012-14

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S)
IMT4032 Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design C 10      
IMT4042 User-centred information architecture C 10      
IMT4421 Scientific Methodology C 5      
TØL4002 Philosophies of social science C 5      
IMT4995 Digital Entrepreneurship C   10    
IMT5341 Methods in user-centered design C   10    
IMT4062 Project Management and Software Engineering C   10    
Elective course, 10 ECTS E     10  
Elective course, 10 ECTS E     10  
IMT5371 Research Planning and Advanced Project Work C     10  
IMT4904 Master's Thesis C       30
Sum: 30 30 30 30
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

Electives

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S)
IMT3950008 Wayfinding E   5    
IMT4881 Specialization Course 1 E   5 5  
IMT4882 Specialization Course 2 E   10 10  
IMT3672 Mobile Development Project E     5  
IMT3761 Information Warfare E     5  
IMT3662 Mobile Development Theory E     5  
Sum: 0 0 0 0
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

Elective courses

If students meet the admission requirements for Master of Science in Applied Computer Science and/or Master of Science in Information Security subjects from these programs may be selected as elective courses (by application). The same applies to courses from other Master and Bachelor (max. 20 ECTS 3000-code) programs.  


Proposal for part-time schedule (of 3 years)

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S) S5(A) S6(S)
IMT4032 Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design C 10          
IMT4042 User-centred information architecture C 10          
IMT5341 Methods in user-centered design C   10        
IMT4995 Digital Entrepreneurship C   10        
TØL4003 Philosophies of social science C     5      
IMT4421 Scientific Methodology C     5      
Elective course, 10 ECTS E     10      
IMT4062 Project Management and Software Engineering C       10    
Elective course, 10 ECTS E       10    
IMT5371 Research Planning and Advanced Project Work C         10  
IMT4904 Master's Thesis C           30
Sum: 20 20 20 20 10 30
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course