Today I’d like to tell you about the CCIT program offered at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus. The four letters of CCIT stand for Communication, Culture, Information and Technology. I majored in CCIT, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone interested in media and the arts—or to suggest they look for a similar program at their own institution.
In the CCIT major program (a specialist option is also offered), you can study a remarkably broad range of topics: semiotics, marketing, social media, writing and research, web design. The upper years of the program offer an increasing number of hands-on classes that let you practise the concepts being studied in the lectures. The spectrum covered is almost dizzying in its variety—documentary filmmaking, audio production and animation are just a few of the countless topics students can immerse themselves in. The upper-year courses give students the freedom to really flex their creative mind muscles and, in the process, discover their latent abilities and hidden passions.
Since CCIT is a joint program with Sheridan College, many of the upper-year courses are taught at the Sheridan campus. This means students regularly have to take a shuttle bus to Oakville, which is a bit of a trek but can be productive if you bring along some reading or study materials. I made this journey many times, often in terrible weather, but for the most part it wasn’t so bad because the destination was well worth the trip. The Sheridan campus is gorgeous, and the computer labs are fantastic; this is where I took all of my film and animation courses. When I took Advanced Audio Production in my fourth year, our class had access to an authentic Foley studio! For those who aren’t familiar with the term, Foley refers to “the reproduction of everyday sound effects which are added in post-production to enhance the quality of audio for films, television, video, video games and radio.” This means that we got to use coconut halves to synthesize the sound of galloping horses, and trod through the magnetically coated plastic material from the inside of cassette tapes to mimic the sound of someone walking through leaves.
The CCIT program is incredibly enjoyable and the professors are—for the most part—first rate, but I suppose it wouldn’t be the right fit for everyone. There is a LOT of group work involved in the more practical classes taught at Sheridan College. For these courses, it is important to find at least a couple of people that you really enjoy working with; this way you’ll be able to rendezvous with them in other classes and collaborate again. I was lucky enough to have a close friend in my program, and we paired up whenever we got the chance. We had really good chemistry when working on film and animation projects together, and our creative output was almost always a resounding success.
Some tech savvy is a useful asset in the CCIT program, but you don’t need to be a programming whiz to take the more computer-centric courses. Your professors will teach you everything you need to know, and the mandatory weekly tutorials will ensure that you don’t fall behind. If enrolment at a post-secondary institute is in your near future, I recommend trying out some introductory courses such as History of Communication Technologies and Contemporary Communication Technologies to see if this might be something you want to major in. Even if you’re a sophomore, try working a CCIT class into your timetable; you might end up as enamoured with the program as I was.