New degree in media to open this fall at IDC

Program to focus on "human-computer interaction" and maximizing potential of ‘new media’ tools.

By
July 20, 2011 04:24
4 minute read.
IDC

IDC logo 58. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A new master’s degree that combines the creativity required to develop innovations in new media with the wherewithal as to how to mass-market such ideas globally will open this fall at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya, where an undergraduate program has been promoting new media advancements for both virtual and in-person use for the past three years.

Oren Zuckerman, founder and co-director of IDC’s Media Innovation Lab, miLab, said the new track will begin receiving its first students this October, in a laboratory where undergraduates already are learning to integrate social media tools with physical interactions, in order to find answers to familial challenges, health choices and business ideas.

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miLab was created as a center for research and prototyping and aims to foster “the field of human-computer interaction,” its mission statement said. Within the lab, the new graduate program will foster an environment where students can both generate their ideas and gain practical entrepreneurship skills, according to Zuckerman, who himself holds a masters and PhD from the similarly minded Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

“This program is the first of its kind in Israel,” he said of the new master’s track, called Global Masters of Business Administration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “First they’re innovators. We try to look for people with passions for creating something. And then through our special guidance and special program they will learn not only how to create a unique idea but also how to create a successful business out of it.”

While other MBA programs with strong emphases on innovation and entrepreneurship certainly thrive in Israel, the degree at IDC has a specific basis in new media – in both creating and marketing the technology. One similar – and more longstanding – program across the Atlantic Ocean is the MIT Media Lab’s Entrepreneurship Program, which offers MS and PhD degrees rather than MBAs, but likewise provides students the ability to “translate promising ideas at the Media Lab from compelling prototypes towards real-world products or services,” according to the program website.

IDC already has a general Global MBA program with business and entrepreneurial tracks, but this new, 18- month degree path within miLab gives students “a possibility to change local industry,” Zuckerman said.

“Until now most programs are separated between the innovator and the entrepreneur,” he said. “We want a program that combines the two together.”

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Like the general Global MBA program, this track is entirely in English and has attracted applicants from Israel and all over the world from a wide range of careers and undergraduate disciplines – from computer science, design, arts and physics – and students will have an opportunity to engage with industry professionals regularly, according to Zuckerman.

All of the students will participate in final projects in pairs, working individually with two mentors from venture capital firms and places like Google, Microsoft, Amdocs and Better Place, and creating marketable ideas for business and social entrepreneurship.

“We have all of these relationships already set up,” Zuckerman said.

One social entrepreneurship project already planned for this upcoming semester is conceptualizing “the future of the classroom” – incorporating new media tools to create the most effective classroom setting possible. Meanwhile, Zuckerman said he also plans on having students explore the possibilities in emerging markets with strong senses of innovation, like those in India and China.

Zuckerman, who specializes, among other things, in physical-digital interactive systems that motivate participation, has made this topic one of the primary focuses of the undergraduate miLab program so far, which he runs with co-director Guy Hoffman.

The undergraduates study in the lab during the third year of their degree in Interactive Communications.

In order to test out the graduate program before launching this year’s new track, Zuckerman and Hoffman ran a condensed pilot course about eight months ago for students already enrolled in IDC’s regular Global MBA program.

“This took that beginning thought process of trying to create a new innovation and put a business flare on it. That was what was very distinct here,” Adit Moskovitch, one of the pilot course students said.

During Moskovitch’s shortened program, she and her project team conceptualized a home music system that would automatically turn on as residents enter their “smart home” and could be adjusted depending on the people’s moods, she explained.

Moskovitch said she particularly enjoyed how industry experts came for visits and felt that the new track would be particularly beneficial to Israelis.

“Israelis a lot of times have wonderful ideas but don’t always know how to put people in the shoes of the users of these ideas,” she added.

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