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App Design with Swift Programming

Build your own mobile apps and launch your coding career by learning Swift, a powerful and intuitive programming language. During…

Developing Augmented and Virtual Reality Apps

The augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Augmented and virtual reality technologies are rapidly…

Foundations of Swift Coding and iOS

Launch your coding career with Swift. As Apple's official programming language, Swift gives programmers the ability to code seamlessly for…

Intermediate American Sign Language

You're ready to turn your passion for American Sign Language (ASL) into proficiency. In this intermediate course, you will continue…

Producing Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences

Put yourself in the position to launch a career in the expanding field of augmented and virtual reality. In Producing…

Sound Design and Music for Immersive Media

Immerse yourself in the totally new medium of virtual reality. In this fast-moving field, hands-on technical experience and networking connections…

In the News

Genesys Works Chicago Partners with Columbia College Chicago Online

Columbia College Chicago Online is partnering with Genesys Works Chicago to provide online education to local high school students. Twenty-five students will enroll in Columbia Online’s App Design with Swift Programming three-credit course as a part of the Everyone Can Code initiative.
Read More

EdCor Partnership with Columbia Online

EdCor and Columbia College Chicago Online are now offering reduced tuition toward fully online courses and certificates to the EdCor community.
Read More

City Year Chicago and Columbia College Chicago Online Announce Partnership

The agreement is the first of its kind to directly partner City Year Chicago with an educational institution
Read More



Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

Peter Cook Photo

Peter Cook

Peter Cook is Associate Professor in the Department of ASL-English Interpretation and an internationally known Deaf performing artist. Using American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting and movement, Cook has performed at numerous festivals across the country – the Jonesboro National Storytelling Festival, The Deaf Way II and at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Cook has an MA in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University (2011) and a BFA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology (1986).

Courses: Foundations of American Sign Language, Intermediate Sign Language

Taking ASL 1 will be an exciting, new territory for you! (Hands waving instead of clapping.) You are about to learn one of the fastest growing foreign languages. Yes, I said foreign language, you will soon realize that American Sign Language (ASL) is a language on its own. This course is designed to guide you in the clearest yet, challenging ways, and your instructor will help you to achieve this level of ASL.

Why ASL from Peter
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Joel Douek

Joel Douek is an award-winning composer, sound designer and co-founder of ECCO VR, one of few companies dedicated solely to sound and music in the Virtual and Augmented Reality space. His work has brought many top Virtual Reality experiences to life, and numerous BAFTA and EMMY-winning productions including some of the most prestigious documentaries of the last decade—those of naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

His company ECCO VR ( has created sound and music for VR experiences across entertainment, training, VR game and health disciplines, working with major Hollywood studios such as Lionsgate, innovators such as Lytro & Facebook/Oculus, entertainment brands from NBC to Hulu, and leading VR companies such as JauntVR, Within, VR PlayhouseSpecular TheoryStudio Transcendent, and many others.

Together with his team of VR audio professionals, he has pioneered workflows for 360 location recording and audio post-production and maintains close development partnerships with academic and commercial creators of spatial audio technology. Douek speaks regularly on 360 audio from both the technology and content creation perspectives, leading annual workshops at VRLA, SXSW, Digital Hollywood, UploadVR and AES’s Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality (AVAR) Conference. He has published on Music and Emotion in the journal “Frontiers in Neuroscience,” was guest speaker at the “International Conference on Music and Neuroscience” and is a frequent contributor to articles and blogs on VR sound and related topics.

Course: Sound Design and Music for Immersive Media

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Tom Dowd

Since earning his first published title in high school, Tom Dowd has contributed to an award-winning role-playing game, written two novels and short stories and served as senior designer on multiple computer games. His credits include Shadowrun, Vampire: the Masquerade, BattleTech, EarthDawn and MechAssault, and his book, Storytelling Across Worlds: Transmedia for Creatives and Producers, gives creatives the tools to develop their narrative across platforms.

At Columbia, Dowd develops curriculum and teaches game design, production, cross-media storytelling and game journalism.

Course: Introduction to Game Development

Introduction to Game Development is a survey course that serves as an overview to the video game industry. In it, you'll learn what artists, designers, programmers, and sound designers do and how they do it. You'll also learn something about how the industry works on the business and distribution side, and the differences between commercial and indie game development. It's the ideal introduction for someone thinking about getting into video development who's unsure about how these kinds of games get made and who makes them.

Course insight from Tom
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Dekker Dreyer

Dekker is a writer, director and artist working on the bleeding edge of technology and storytelling. As chief creative officer of immersive studio Clever Fox, his oversight on brand experiences with Star Wars, Bose, Warner Bros Records and Disney has made him a go-to expert in VR.

He directed and co-directed the first two VR documentaries from Participant Media (An Inconvenient Truth, The Help, Spotlight) as well as the first VR concert film at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. He’s the creator of the original VR series The Depths and the immersive film series Electric Sheep. He is the host of the VR Talk Show The Future is Virtual from Embolden Media.

After two decades in media Dekker continues to be a leading industry speaker, essayist, festival juror and commentator.

Course: Producing Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences

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Shannelle Armstrong-Fowler

Leveraging her experience as an award-winning retail executive, Shannelle Armstrong-Fowler teaches Fashion PR, Social Media and Digital Strategy. Her professional accomplishments include managing public relations for McDonald’s, Sears and Kmart. She also founded Haute & Co. Bridal™ Boutique and REVOLUTION Bridal™.

Armstrong-Fowler earned her master’s degree in Political Management from The George Washington University and has a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Course: Digital Strategies for Online Branding

I’ve been in communications for almost 20 years, I started in government relations and went on to corporate communications. When I started my own business, I used social media and digital communications exclusively to drive brand awareness and build my customer base.

Impact of Social Media According to Shannelle
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Benedict Green

ECCO VR co-founder Benedict Green is a composer, sound designer and technical wizard. Originally from London, he has worked with a broad selection of clients including the BBC, SKY, Lacoste, Ted Baker, Ellesse and many others. Benedict brings a deep experience in VR audio from state-of-the-art location recording to cinematic and game orientated post-production.

His company ECCO VR ( has created sound and music for VR experiences across entertainment, training, VR game and health disciplines, working with major Hollywood studios such as Lionsgate, innovators such as Lytro Facebook/Oculus, entertainment brands from NBC to Hulu, and leading VR companies such as JauntVRWithinVR PlayhouseSpecular TheoryStudio Transcendent, and many others.
Together with his team of VR audio professionals, he has pioneered workflows for 360 location recording and audio post-production and maintains close development partnerships with academic and commercial creators of spatial audio technology. Benedict speaks regularly on 360 audio from both the technology and content creation perspectives, leading annual workshops at VRLA, SXSW, Digital Hollywood, UploadVR and AES’s Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality (AVAR) Conference.

Course: Sound Design and Music for Immersive Media

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Bill Guschwan

Bill is an Assistant Professor of Instruction in Interactive Arts and Media (IAM) and teaches game design and game programming courses. His academic work is as a field philosopher of videogame design, entrepreneur and game designer. He was a founding team-member on Apple’s Quicktime and Newton, 3DO game hardware, and Sony’s Playstation 1.

Notably, Guschwan played an important technical and production role at Sony for Crash Bandicoot. Ethics and serious games is a particular focus, as well as using Indian and Greek philosophy to instruct creative mind virtues. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded and created the intellectual property for an in-game ad unit for the recently acquired company, Tap.Me.

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Taylor Hokanson

Taylor Hokanson is an artist, academic and open hardware advocate. In addition to a record of international fine art exhibitions (Estonia, Brazil, Austria, India, Hong Kong), experimental distribution and authorship platforms (Thingiverse, Github, Instructables, podcasting) form a crucial parallel outlet for his ideas.

Hokanson’s research investigates the promising/problematic nature of uncritical technology consumption in the post-digital landscape. Principal among these concerns are human-computer interaction, computer-aided fabrication, and new models for collaborative authorship and content distribution. These ideas are explored through the design, construction and distribution of functional art objects that subvert our notion of what technology is supposed to do, revealing our own shortcomings in the process.

Course: Creative Coding and Design with Arduino

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Cara Dehnert Huffman

Cara Dehnert Huffman is an attorney, nonprofit executive, and passionate supporter of the arts and entertainment industries. In addition to teaching, Dehnert Huffman is an active writer and contributor to major art publications and other media outlets, including Chicago Artist Resource, Chicago Art Magazine and more, as well as a strategic planning and philanthropic consultant.

She has previous legal and arts administration experience as the former Executive Director of I Am Logan Square as well as with the Illinois Arts Council, Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, and other creative organizations in Chicago and nationwide.

Course: Nonprofit Arts Management

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Lauren Liss

Lauren Liss is a professor in the Interactive Arts and Media Department. She teaches interface design, interaction theory, user experience and usability, and collaborative development. She also runs an interaction design company, *goodspark, which focuses on content management systems and usability analysis for small businesses, with a specialization in women-owned businesses and creative firms.

Liss received her Masters in Education, Learning Design and Leadership, New Learning, from the University of Illinois, where she studied knowledge acquisition and educational theory through the lens of usability and technology.

Course: UX/UI Design Essentials

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Erin McCarthy

Erin McCarthy, holds a Ph.D. in United States History from Loyola University Chicago with fields of study in United States social and cultural history since 1877. Dr. McCarthy’s courses include “Oral History: the Art of the Interview,” “The Great Depression and the New Deal,” and “Baseball in History & Literature: a Contested Narrative.”  

Her students have contributed more than 400 transcribed interviews collections at the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (VHP), the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center in Chicago, the Chicagoland Anti-Apartheid Movement Project at Columbia College Chicago, and the Chicago Area Women’s History Council. Currently, she is revising a manuscript on the life and career of legendary University of Chicago football coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Course: Evolution of Chicago: An Immigrant City

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Austin McCasland

Austin McCasland is a VR/AR product designer and UX developer based out of San Francisco. He espouses a design-focused approach to VR/AR development and believes that having a solid process for creating products can give anyone superpowers. Most recently, Austin designed, developed and released a mobile AR application (Paint Space AR) which was named one of the best iOS apps of 2017 by Apple. In his spare time you can find Austin in the woodshop, playing video games or hunting down good music.

Austin’s undergraduate degree is in interactive sculptural new media, and he has a Masters degree in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.

Austin’s Work:

Course: Developing Augmented and Virtual Reality Apps

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Justin Sinkovich

Throughout his career, Justin Sinkovich has started a record store and music venue, managed a record label and founded multiple music startups, including, one of the first and most influential MP3 websites. His first record store, Landspeed Records, won “Best New Business” of the year (Metro Pulse).

In 2011, the music discovery startup—Epitonic, had grown to include a music and comedy festival, a live recording session series, a record label and a management company. While teaching full time, Sinkovich remains an active entrepreneur, consultant, producer and musician.

Course: Self-Management and Entrepreneurship

Self-management and freelancing has a very realistic approach to life. I feel no extra theories are being taught that later on, I will not use. Making the tasks more personal such as the current project I'm working on, and implementing them to the class, makes me feel like I can do this with future ones.

Student Experience of Camila R.
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Matthew Steinke

Matthew Steinke is an artist, musician, designer and developer. Over the past two decades, he has produced interactive content for Atmosphere Proximity, RGA, Viacom, Ogilvy, The Girl Scouts of America, The Fun Fun Fun Fest, Charles Schwab and Cramer Krasselt among others. His professional practice reflects his broad experience in a variety of roles including programmer, animator, designer, engineer and project manager.

Steinke has also produced several experimental media artworks involving robotic musical instruments for installations and performances for which he has toured across Europe, Canada and the US. His personal work and research explores the intersection of artificial intelligence, psychology and narrative as a way to generate new forms of machine behavior for musical expression.

Course: App Design with Swift Programming

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Sam Weller

Sam Weller is a fiction and nonfiction writer. In addition to being recognized for various awards, Weller wrote national bestseller The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury. He also co-edited the short fiction anthology Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, and in 2014, the graphic novel adaptation of Shadow Show was published.

Weller is a frequent lecturer on the life and legacy of Ray Bradbury. He has given more than 350 talks worldwide.

Courses: Creative Writing and Storytelling Essentials, Creative Storytelling Featuring Ray Bradbury

Each lesson reveals the endless amounts of possibilities our writings could accomplish. Through this, I believe it’ll further our expectations and ambitions as we delve deeper into the world of writing. It opens worlds, such as the lesson revolving around forms of narrative that could really be useful in times of struggle. The more there is, the more we can develop.

Student Experience of Cristian R.