In July, a small group of students with a wide variety of professional and academic backgrounds gathered for an intensive one-week course: Digital Media Convergence.
Assistant Professor of Communication Alan Buck developed the course based on years of experience as a media professional and news videographer. The course covers 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 still freelance faculty member, Buck saw an opportunity to combine a growing need for multimedia content with a way to provide students with an immersive experience and build their professional portfolio.
“Developing video content is expensive and often exceeds the budgets of nonprofits, in particular,” Buck said.
Recognizing that he couldn’t meet all demands for multimedia content, he incorporated a real world project into his Digital Media Convergence courses. Each semester, in collaboration with his professional contacts, he identifies a project that suits both the needs of the clients and those of his class. While the course is also offered in the fall and spring semesters, the summer course offers a unique challenge given its tight schedule. Nonetheless, Buck said the students are still stepping up to meet the challenge.
“I think of all the media topics that could be worth teaching in a week, this is it. Video production is a skill that can only be improved by doing and physically applying the techniques learned in the classroom, ”Buck said. “In addition to the lecture part, students create content and capture videos, then professionally critique each other’s work, which in itself is a skill to be learned. After three full days of listening, then practicing, they’re ready to apply what they’ve learned and meet a real client. I’m always amazed at how quickly they get it back.
This summer, a team of four students was paired with REVGEN, a local company that provides outsourced internal sales support to technology and software companies while training salespeople through a well-established process.
Former student Regan Tart, 19, was a student in Buck’s Digital Media Convergence Class and is now a Business Recruiter for REVGEN. She approached Buck about needing an updated promotional video and social media content. The project’s clear goals made it a perfect fit for the compressed schedule.
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 experience. At the end of the week, they provided a video, photos and a marketing proposal to REVGEN.
Wings student LaDawn Black reflected on the project in particular and the course in general.
“Having been a marketer for many years, I have found the course extremely helpful in learning the latest industry standards and software options,” said Black. “Professor Buck spoke from a real-world industry perspective, which made the things we learned over the week feel authentic and state-of-the-art. Being able to support a local business with the combined talents of my classmates made the week extremely useful.
Dora Fromer, 23, an art studio and graphic design major, agreed wholeheartedly.
“It was a particularly rewarding experience that will continue in any area of work,” she said.
Learn more about the Certificate Program in Digital Communication
Photo credit: Dora Fromer, ’23