Posts Tagged ‘ web development ’

From Brook to Bruce: my iMedia journey

I entered Elon’s iMedia graduate program a year ago as Brook Corwin.

I graduated last week as Bruce.

Bruce was the name my professor mistakenly called me when grading one of my very first assignments. Bruce was the title almost immediately adopted by my classmates for every presentation, project, social event, or intramural sport. Bruce was the sound they all chanted as I was being hooded as an M.A. recipient.

It made me smile every time, especially that last chant inside Whitley Hall. Because Bruce, in so many ways, was very different than Brook.
He was a vast improvement.

Looking back over the Elon iMedia program, reinvention stands out as the most common theme. The 36 of us each came from some degree of academic and/or professional success. But no one made it through the year with sheer curiosity as the primary motivator. Everyone was seeking a way to reshape their talents and redirect their career trajectories. You arrived as one thing, and left with a whole extra dimension.

Need some evidence? As exhibit A I present my only pre-iMedia attempt at building a website. As my college roommate aptly put it — it’s like a clown threw up a rainbow.

Yet less than two-thirds of the way through the program, I had already learned how to compile html code without sacrificing design in the process. The OI Panama website I designed along with one other classmate dialed down the color, spotlighted the content of my group’s winter term project, and eclipsed in one page the sum of all my previous web work combined.
By the program’s end, I was flying solo on multimedia, creating on my own an Interactive website and video to promote an upcoming biological field guide. Along the way were numerous projects that served as mile-markers in the development: •interactive research presentations on the digital divide, public opinion on the environment, and location-based information.
•photographing an image that’s now framed inside Elon’s Powell Hall
•managing the production of videos featured on an educational DVD being distributed to journalism schools.
•working with a group to create a media kit and promotional video for a multimillion dollar fundraising campaign.

The media milestones weren’t limited to classwork. The skills I learned translated to a number of successful projects completed on my own time, from building a freelance website for an economic development campaign to shooting a Yoplait commercial with a group that was purchased by the company to documenting the exploits of my pet cat for entertainment’s sake.

These are not things Brook could have ever pulled off. Bruce was in a different league.

My classmates underwent similar transformations. Take a look at the gallery of their capstone projects and the results are evident, especially since many came in with little to no multimedia experience. That’s not even counting some of the program’s best projects, including multimedia websites for small businesses, commercial brands, non-profit organizations, and universities.

The iMedia program was far from perfect, with flaws that manifested themselves mostly when assignments lost direction. But when focused, its curriculum serves as a testament to the power of interactive media to reinvent communications professionals. Technological advancements have lowered the learning curve, and even those with no experience can quickly harness the digital tools with a little dedication, desire to learn, and a willingness to become someone new.

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