Iovine and Young Academy introduces online master’s program

Matt Karatsu | Daily Trojan

Design@USC, the Iovine and Young Academy’s new interactive online Master of Science program aims to change the way students access online education.

The 38-unit program has already has enrolled 28 students for fall 2017. It is the first master’s program offered by the Iovine and Young Academy and is one of several online degree programs offered at USC.

Through its contemporary and interactive approach, students learn interdisciplinary skills in design, business and technology in a highly technological environment.

“We wanted something different, something outside of the box and more applicable to the current industry and climate where it’s beneficial, if not crucial, to have more than one discipline and perspective,” said Patrick Dent, associate professor and chair of technology and engineering for the Iovine and Young Academy.

According to Dent, the goal of the online program is to take working professionals and make them more effective in the industry they’re already in by mastering additional disciplines, leading team-based projects and giving students the skills they need to create their own startup project and a team from scratch.

USC Roski School of Art and Design Dean Erica Muhl spearheaded the development of Design@USC along with music industry entrepreneurs Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young, otherwise known as Dr. Dre.

After her deanship at Roski expires in early 2018, Muhl will transition to the Iovine and Young Academy as the school’s inaugural dean.

Dent describes the online structure of the curriculum as “Brady Brunch-type” screen pods or an advanced version of 18-to-30 person Skype sessions, with break-out rooms for team building exercises.

In addition, the program also offers offline components of more traditional, pre-taped lectures with a few interactive elements such as polls and research.

“The idea is that the live is kind of a cross between a lecture, a lab and a discussion where you’re trying to leverage the advantages of having all of us together live at the same time, as opposed to the traditional lectures, which can be watched at whatever time is most convenient,” Dent said.

The program will enroll a mix of recent graduates and working professionals. Applicant qualifications for prospective students parallel the academic rigor of Iovine and Young’s undergraduate application, both of which require pitching an idea for a product, concept or project. If accepted into the program, students can work to bring their initial application pitch to fruition if they choose.

“The same way Dean Muhl had an innovative and disruptive approach to the Iovine and Young undergraduate program, she also wanted to create a graduate program that pushed the boundaries of what we think of as online education,” Dent said.