Ball State U. puts 30-year-old information and communication sciences degree online

Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana (GoodFreePhotos)

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Starting Jan. 7, students at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, will be able to participate in an online master’s degree in information and communication sciences. The digital format of the degree puts a new twist on the 30-year-old program, targeting working professionals who wish to further their educations.

The degree is designed to meet the changing landscape of information technology and communication sciences, and according to the program description will arm students with the skills, connections, and confidence needed to succeed in information technology positions, business positions, and those that meld the two. Dennis Trinkle, director of the Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University told EdScoop that the program combines foundations in technology, business and leadership and “prepares students for the wide swath of careers in the middle.”

Trinkle said that with the CICS program, Ball State became one of the first universities to bring together information technology and business communications under a single program.

The new online format modernized the program, allows a more flexible degree plan and can be completed in as a little as 18 months, according to the university website. The program accepts students from all states and does not require a GRE test.

The online master’s degree is offered at a lower cost than similar online programs at other universities, the website claims. In-state tuition for the program costs just over $15,500, whereas, according to rankings from the online counseling center GetEducated, the average cost of an online master’s in IT runs at about $26,000 for in-state students.

The program focuses on three main features — immersive learning, social learning and cloud computing.

According to its website, “immersive learning is Ball State University’s approach to student-driven projects, lasting outcomes, and community partnerships.” Students are able to participate in real-life applications of skills and receive feedback from industry professionals, make important business connections and develop meaningful experiences, according to the course description.

The social learning component of the program allows graduate students to grow into knowledgeable professionals and leaders in business, the website says. Although the courses are held online, students living near campus will have the opportunity to strengthen their professional skills through one- and two-day workshops. Networking and professional development events are also open to students throughout the year.

CICS has also partnered with Amazon Web Services Academy to educate students on cloud technology and services. According to the university, Ball State is the first school to partner with AWS Academy to deliver its Cloud Practitioner curriculum and hands-on labs.

According to Amazon, the curriculum will teach students the fundamentals associated with cloud computing, storage, databases, content delivery, scalability and networks security, and will allow students to keep pace with the growing cloud technology environment. By the end of the course, students will be qualified to take the AWS cloud certification exam.

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