The tech evolution has transformed the field of media. While it’s difficult to predict what’s coming next, the media program at the University of Guelph-Humber is working to keep up with industry standards to stay current.

“With the technology that is changing the media, we have to change our program to reflect that,” said head of media studies, Kathy Ullyott. “Organizations are not hiring just somebody to write or just somebody to take photographs. They’re looking for multidimensional, multi skilled people.”

Recently, Guelph-Humber has brought virtual and augmented reality to the university.

Marc Tavares, the media technologies specialist for Guelph-Humber was instrumental in bringing this technology to the school, according to Ullyott.

Tavares said his vision for the virtual and augmented reality is for anyone in media studies to use the room and then eventually other students in different programs will be able to as well.

“The goal is as a student, you need to be aware of what’s going on and the trends in the industry,”

Tavares said.

The virtual and augmented reality room, located on the fourth floor of Guelph-Humber, will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Students from GH360 were able to test virtual reality simulations such as a Google Earth adventure, where the player is able to explore the world and fly over famous landmarks.

Although the idea is to integrate the technology into future courses, there are no plans for that at the moment. However, it will be used in this year’s Emerge class, according to Ullyott.

Jerry Chomyn, the previous head of media studies for eight years and now an adjunct professor at the University of Guelph, created the digital communications specialization. He also changed the image arts stream into visual communications.

Chomyn explained how as program head, he always looked to see what the needs of the media industries were. “I thought there’s a whole field out there of manipulating audio, manipulating video, putting the two together and building web pages.”

This basis led to the creation of digital communications in 2009.

Chomyn believes that in the coming years, the ability to shoot and edit video will be an important tool for all media studies students to know.

“There will come a day that I think all students in every media program should be taking a videography class,” he said.

“Just like photo capture and manipulation was the currency and is the currency of the last decade, I think that videography is going to be the currency in the next five years.”

Although Guelph-Humber updates the school’s technology on a continuous schedule, Tavares explains how the equipment is the not the driver in the media program.

“Technology keeps changing so much that it’s easy to get tied up in the technology as opposed to what you are doing with it,” he said. “So a lot of that really comes down to focusing on telling a good story.”

Though Chomyn agrees with Tavares that “technology should not be the driver in an industry,” he also holds an optimistic outlook towards where it will take the program.

“The best is yet to come,” Chomyn said.