The third floor of the $ 29.5 million Center for Virtual Learning is where Ferris State University’s School of Digital Media programs will provide instruction when the new facility is completed in fall 2022.
The Digital Media Software Engineering Program, Digital Television and Media Production Program, and Digital Animation and Game Design are among the academic programs that will occupy this section of the new Virtual Learning Center. School of Digital Media director and TDMP professor Glen Okonoski noted that shows like “Ferris Sports Update” will continue production in the Interdisciplinary Resource Center studio. Still, he notes that many positive attributes will result from the instruction in the new facility.
“Our faculty office spaces, media supply, computer labs and other educational facilities will be on the third floor of the center,” Okonoski said. “Our professors have had their offices at Bishop Hall for several years, which has been functional but not optimal for offering support or making contributions when students assemble and edit content. The center will provide improved facilities for all existing spaces and activities, as it relates to our area of learning.
Okonoski added that TDMP students have 24/7 access to CVL’s editing labs, which meets their desires to create content.
“A three-year process has been undertaken to exchange concepts and collaborate on plans for the center,” Okonoski said. “Our students will benefit from informal learning and meeting spaces, video and audio recording suites, as well as a ‘green screen’ application and extended reality (xR) virtual sets to provide these facilities. can correspond to the best destinations for students in our field. ”
The process of collaborating to create the new equipment and attributes of the School of Digital Media’s programs involves university promotion officers, according to Okonoski.
“Advancement’s Director of Major Gifts, Karen Weber, and Project Director Sarah Lowen have been very involved in the fundraising efforts, which are aimed at delivering the technical improvements that we are planning for our new facilities,” said Okonoski. “Our program is approaching its 50th year of existence, with CVL providing us with specially designed facilities for the first time. In addition, the opportunities to collaborate with our peers at the School of Digital Media will certainly provide excellent experiences for students of all of these programs.
Assistant professor of digital animation and game design and program coordinator David Baker said the shift to the Center for Virtual Learning for teaching starting in the spring semester of 2023 will be “energizing.”
“We have every intention of collaborating and offering support to these virtual avenues that other programs may seek to explore,” said Baker. “It has been an interesting and exciting time for DAGD education as the Canvas learning platform enables us to deliver our learning around the world. Additionally, our students and faculty have done an incredible job over the past year and a half, making tremendous adjustments and developments to support and possibly expand our teaching opportunities in the future.
Baker said the COVID-19 distance development and course delivery of digital animation and game design students was an eye-opener as he rates student recent efforts as some of the best content he has seen. in his teaching career.
“We will be able to accommodate those looking to learn through projects and peer relationships while supporting students who prefer or need to learn virtually,” said Baker. “I had a new perspective on how to deliver educational content, which will only be improved by the efforts of the School of Digital Media in the CVL. ”
Okonoski also recognized his peers in the Digital Media Software Engineering program, coordinated by Assistant Professor Mohamed Abusharkh. This is one of Ferris’ last learning options.
“DMSE has an online degree completion and a fully online Bachelor of Science program, providing students with career prospects in a high-demand industry with impressive starting salaries,” Okonoski said. “We know that their autonomous vehicle certificate program, which is currently in development, has great potential as this technology advances in the years and decades to come.”
Some of the educational departments and programs directed to the Virtual Learning Center include Information Security and Intelligence, Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence, e-learning, eSports programs, and the School of Education.
The state of Michigan released $ 22 million as part of a capital investment project in late 2020, which allowed CVL to move forward.