Illinois Tech, Columbia College Chicago’s New Course Exchange Agreement Offers Students Chance to Increase ’Academic Acumen’



By Casey Moffitt

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Students enrolled at Illinois Institute of Technology now have the opportunity to complement their tech-focused education with the strengths of neighboring Columbia College Chicago through a new course exchange agreement.

The agreement allows Illinois Tech students who are working toward their bachelor’s degrees to take for-credit courses at Columbia to explore that institution’s deep expertise in the diverse fields of media and the arts. Conversely, undergraduate students at Columbia will be able to take courses in science, mathematics, engineering, technology, and computing at Illinois Tech.

“What excites me about this course exchange program is that it allows both Illinois Tech students and Columbia College students to not only increase their academic acumen but provides opportunities for students to explore additional interests around computing, technology, and media arts,” says Erika Burt, director of professional academic programs at Illinois Tech’s College of Computing. “By combining our institutions’ expertise and resources, we can continue to advance excellence in the educational preparation of our students.”

Illinois Tech students taking advantage of the course exchange program will be able to take courses in animation, cinema and television arts, game design, and interactive media design at Columbia’s nearby South Loop neighborhood campus in Chicago or through the college’s online platform.

Illinois Tech students will be able to access Columbia’s facilities and resources in the same manner as students who are enrolled in non-degree programs. This includes access to Columbia’s library and computer labs, as well as access to services such as academic advising, learning support, services for students with disabilities, and student and cultural activities.

Burt says that given Columbia’s expertise in esports, media arts, and game design, she is hopeful that this agreement will mark the beginning of a partnership that expands to offer degree programs in immersive technology and interactive media.

“Additionally, partnering with Columbia College aligns with Illinois Tech’s overarching plan to offer esports, virtual reality, and an immersive gaming experience once the Surge esports arena is built,” Burt says.

The agreement expands opportunities for Illinois Tech students in the areas of game design and esports. Illinois Tech students currently have the opportunity to learn the theoretical, historical, and applied knowledge of the production and study of games through the Minor in Game Studies and Design.

Illinois Tech also have an active student chapter of the International Game Developers Association, which is the only IDGA student chapter in Illinois. The local student chapter holds a number of on-campus events including gamebIITes, a juried exhibit of student-designed games. The robust and growing Illinois Tech Esports team offers opportunities in gaming competition and camaraderie. Illinois Tech Esports is expanding partnerships to promote esports beyond campus.