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Kent State Professors Collaborate to Teach Course on Impact of Smartphones

Posted Oct. 28, 2013 | Nicole Gennarelli
enter photo description
A Kent State University student checks her smartphone
while walking on the Kent Campus. A new interdisciplinary
course titled “Be Smarter Than Your Phone” teaches
students about the technology that has made smartphones
such a success.

Kent State University undergraduate students can now learn about the technology that has made smartphones such a success in a new course titled “Be Smarter Than Your Phone.”

John West, trustees’ research professor in Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute®, created the course based on his career in science and technology. West is teaching this course with two other professors – Gary Hanson, a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Colin Campbell, an assistant professor of marketing and entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration.

“My work on display and display technology made me well aware of the smartphone,” West says. “The smartphone has had such a broad impact I thought it provided an excellent opportunity for an interdisciplinary course that shows how technology is only worthwhile in its application.”

Three professors were chosen to teach this course because the Liquid Crystal Institute, School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Business Administration were the areas impacted most by the smartphone.

“The benefit of the collaboration between the Liquid Crystal Institute, School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Business Administration is to see how developments in each discipline affect the other,” West says. “The smartphone is a success because of how it facilitates our communications. It combines a variety of technologies to make a useful device, and, as consumers, we are willing to pay for it. Companies can make huge profits by either providing the services that make the smartphone possible or by using the smartphone to promote their business.”

Currently, the class is offered only to Honors College students.

“It teaches the interdisciplinary nature of the advancements that change our world,” West says. “In the end, it is a literacy class. Through the smartphone, the course teaches students a perspective on how different disciplines come together to make innovation possible and successful. It looks at past innovations for examples and gives a perspective on how to view innovation in the future.”

West believes that students should take this class because it allows them to recognize that owning a smartphone impacts every aspect of our lives.

“It is perhaps the most important innovation of this generation and will have a lasting impact on our society,” he says. “We are still early in the emergence of the smartphone, but its impact is already evident.”