In July, a small group of students with a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds came together for a week-long summer intensive course: Digital Media Convergence.
Assistant Professor of Communication Alan Buck developed the class based on years of experience as a media professional and news videographer. The course addresses visual literacy, photo editing, audio processing, video editing, and web publishing. Students learn theories of audio and visual aesthetics and produce individual content for the web.
As a faculty member who still does freelance work, Buck saw an opportunity to pair a growing need for multimedia content with a way to provide students an immersive experience and build their professional portfolios.
“Developing video content is expensive and often beyond the budgets of nonprofit organizations, in particular,” said Buck.
Recognizing that he couldn’t meet all of the requests for multimedia content, he integrated a real-world project into his digital media convergence classes. Every semester, in collaboration with his professional contacts, he identifies a project that suits both the clients’ needs and those of his class. Although the course is also offered in the fall and spring semesters, the summer course offers a unique challenge given its compressed timeframe. Nevertheless, Buck said students always step up to meet the challenge.
“I think of all the media topics that could warrant being taught in a week, it’s definitely this one. Video production is a skill one gets better at only by physically doing and applying the techniques learned in class,” said Buck. “In addition to the classroom lecture portion, the students create content and capture video, then professionally critique each other’s work, which in itself is a skill to learn. After three full days of listening, then doing, they are ready to apply what they learned and meet with an actual client. I’m always amazed at how quickly they pick it up.”
This summer, a team of four students were paired with REVGEN, a local company that provides outsourced, inside sales support for technology and software companies while training salespeople through a well-established process.
Alumna Regan Tart, ’19, was a student in Buck’s digital media convergence class and now is a sales recruiter for REVGEN. She approached Buck with a need for an updated promotional video and social media content. The clear project goals made it a perfect fit for the compressed timeframe.
The students in the class identified the specific tasks needed to produce the assets and then assigned them in a way that made the most of their knowledge and backgrounds. At the end of the week, they provided a video, photos, and marketing proposal to REVGEN.
Wings student LaDawn Black reflected on the project in particular, and the course more broadly.
“Having been a marketing professional for many years, I found the course extremely valuable in learning the latest industry standards and software options,” said Black. “Professor Buck spoke from a real-world industry perspective, which made the things that we learned over the week feel authentic and cutting edge. Being able to support a local business through the combined talents of my classmates made the week extremely worthwhile.”
Studio art and graphic design major Dora Fromer, ’23, agreed wholeheartedly.
“It was a uniquely rewarding experience that will carry into any field of work,” she said.
Photo Credit: Dora Fromer, ’23