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New Honors course helps students be smarter than their smartphones

Posted Sep. 19, 2013

By Nicole Gennarelli

Undergraduate students across campus can now learn about the technology that has made smart phones such a success in a new course titled “Be Smarter Than Your Phone.”

John West, trustees research professor in Kent State University’s Liquid Crystal Institute created the course based on his career in science and technology. West is teaching this course with JMC professor Gary Hanson and Marketing and Entrepreneurship Assistant Professor in the College of Business Administration Colin Campbell.

“My work on display and display technology made me well aware of the smartphone,” West said. “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.”

These three professors were chosen to teach this course because the Liquid Crystal Institute, JMC, and the College of Business Administration are the areas impacted most by the smartphone.

“The benefit of the collaboration between LCI, JMC and the College of Business Administration is to see how developments in each discipline affect the other,” West said. “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, this class is only offered in the Honors College to students from different colleges.

“The course teaches the interdisciplinary nature of the advancements that change our world,” West said. “In the end it is a literacy class.  Through the smartphone, we offer 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.”

The course helps students 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 said. “We are still early in the emergence of the smartphone but its impact is already evident.”