Archive for the ‘Interactive Media’ category

The Global Reach of iMedia

February 13, 2012

The most innovative feature of our M.A. in Interactive Media program is the Winter Term fly-in.

Last month, our 41 iMedia students divided into five teams that went to Iceland, Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica (two teams) to produce an interactive project for the public good.

This week, three iMedia students will appear on “North Carolina Now” on UNC-TV public television (7:30 p.m. Thursday). Lindsey Taylor, Chris Kirkham and Brandy Stearns were part of a team that went to the reserve for the Boruca indigenous group in Costa Rica and created a website to showcase the group’s culture upon their return.

Their teacher, Associate Professor Amanda Sturgill, observed, “The fly-in is a key aspect of the iMedia program because students can integrate what they’ve learned in the fall as they work together, very hard, on these projects. Going to these countries and working with these organizations is a real challenge. We learn about other cultures and ways of life, all while getting a large project completed in a small amount of time.”

iMedia students prepare for the UNC-TV interview

Senior Lecturer Randy Piland, accompanied by Assistant Professor Nicole Triche, took students to Panama for his third year, this time to work with a group that does conservation and education about sea turtles. Piland said that the students were very fortunate to be there when baby turtles hatched and made their way to the sea – something that can’t be predicted. That moment was preserved by iMedia students in a video for the group’s website designed by the team.

Further north, Assistant Professor Phillip Motley took students to Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, where they traveled for several days, ending up at Campanario Biological Station, which is run by a former Peace Corps volunteer who purchased the land and developed the station for education, conservation and research. Motley’s group carried gear across rivers and through jungles to get great shots of the biological and cultural diversity that Campanario seeks to preserve. “The problems that our students are expected to solve are genuine,” Motley said. “Providing our clients with a viable solution is the ultimate measure of project and course success.”

Assistant Professors Sang Nam and Max Negin took students to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico to work with a program that provides supplementary education for children in the area. Students worked to develop a consistent brand for Academia Natanael, including designing custom logos for the group. They also incorporated a blog element into the website that lets the academy director tell the stories about his work in a way that he can easily update.

Really further north, a hardy group of iMedia students, Assistant Professor Derek Lackaff and Instructor J McMerty spent the first part of 2012 in Iceland. Lackaff’s students did a series of videos and a website redesign for the Citizen’s Foundation, which seeks to use new technologies to increase citizen participation in democratic decision-making. “Small societies are fascinating!” Lackaff said. “With only 315,000 residents in the country, we were told repeatedly that there are at most only two degrees of separation between any two Icelanders. The Mayor of Reykjavik, a Member of Parliament, and an Academy Award-nominated poet were among the friends of the nonprofit who were willing to be filmed for our project.”

iMedia students presented their work to a standing-room-only crowd in McEwen Communications Building two weeks ago, and now some of them will be on statewide television, sharing the story of Elon’s global reach through its interactive projects for the public good.

Predicting the Future

January 28, 2011

Some futuristic predictions are jaw-dropping: Avatars will do our shopping. Cars will call repair centers, get instructions and repair themselves. Even the trees will whisper in networks of information.

Enjoy this fresh and insightful video produced by Professor Janna Anderson for the 2011 Danish Top Executive Summit. Anderson directs the Imagining the Internet Center in the School of Communications at Elon University.

As Anderson points out, both human connections and databases on the internet are creating a shared global intellect, creating a future of four P’s: personal, portable, pervasive and precarious.

Word of the Year: App

January 22, 2011

The American Dialect Society has named “app” the word of the year for 2010.

“App has been around for ages, but with millions of dollars of marketing muscle behind the slogan ‘There’s an app for that,’ plus the arrival of ‘app stores’ for a wide spectrum of operating systems for phones and computers, app really exploded in the last 12 months,” explained Ben Zimmer of the American Dialect Society.

App is certainly a word heard a lot in the hallways and classrooms of Elon’s School of Communications, where all faculty and staff have an iPad. We keep up with the world of apps because apps are fundamentally changing the way many people access information and entertainment.

As reported by intomobile.com (creator of the graphic above), Apple is trying to trademark the term “App Store,” while Microsoft contends it is a generic term, or soon will be. On this issue, I agree with Microsoft. And that’s from someone who has an iPhone, an iPod, an iPad and a Mac laptop.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

July 23, 2010

Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan has a wonderful way with words. He prefaces his memorable line about the changing times with the words: “You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone.”

No better line can be applied to the communications revolution in progress.

Newsweek magazine, whose editor Jon Meacham will be at Elon in September, offers a page in this week’s issue about the communications revolution in the past decade.  For instance:

Daily newspapers DOWN (1,480 in 2000; 1,302 in 2010).  Active blogs UP (12,000 in 2000; 141 million in 2010).

Daily mailed letters DOWN (208 billion in 2000; 176 billion in 2010).  Daily e-mails UP (12 billion in 2000; 247 billion in 2010)

CD sales revenue DOWN ($943 million in 2000; $428 million in 2010).  iTunes downloads UP (0 in 2000; 10 billion in 2010)

And one more revealing comparison…  Time spent online UP (2.7 hours a week in 2000; 18 hours a week in 2010)

The iMedia Success Story

May 21, 2010

Commencement speaker Tony Quin

I'm hooding graduate Kathryn Williams

Ten months ago, we welcomed the inaugural class of our new M.A. in Interactive Media program.

The 36 graduate students were bold explorers in a new field, and the School of Communications itself displayed entrepreneurial spirit by devising an innovative curriculum, building modern facilities for the program in the heart of campus, and adding six new faculty and staff with expertise in interactive media.

The ambitious endeavor had a glorious conclusion last night — the graduation of 36 successful students.

The ceremony was dignified and deeply moving, with robed M.A. students entering Whitley Auditorium to organ music followed by the university president, provost and other program participants.

Tony Quin, founder and CEO of IQ Interactive in Atlanta and New York, delivered an incredibly meaningful Commencement address, focusing on how interactive media is at the heart of consumer-driven communications.

Jaqueta Abbey receives diploma

“It’s an industry immersed in constant, unrelenting change,” Quin said. “Just since you put on your cap this morning and zipped up your gown, something important has happened in the interactive world. It’s a frightening and thrilling thought.”

That phrase captures my own views of creating the iMedia graduate program. It was both a frightening and a thrilling thought, and it certainly was enjoyable to see the happy faces cross the stage to receive their hard-earned diplomas, knowing that they will be in the transformative wave sweeping across communications.

Big Cheeses at FutureWeb

April 30, 2010

Our students and faculty had an extraordinary opportunity the past three days to hear and meet the biggest names in today’s communications revolution.

Elon students and Professor Janna Quitney Anderson at the FutureWeb conference

Vint Cerf, "father of the Internet"

In nearby Raleigh, more than 40 of us from Elon heard speakers such as Vint Cerf (“father of the Internet” and Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist) and Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web).

They were among more than 60 speakers leading more than 20 events at the FutureWeb conference, organized by the Imagining the Internet Center in Elon’s School of Communications, in conjunction with the 19th International World Wide Web Conference, held in the United States for the first time since 2004.

Students and faculty in the school’s M.A. in Interactive Media program also led and participated in the Social Media Future Academy for high school students and educators. Terrific speakers included Chris DiBona of Google and Greg DeKoenigsberg of Red Hat.

Study Abroad, Elon-Style

January 9, 2010

Dozens of faculty members and more than 600 students are abroad right now during Elon’s winter term.

Ten of those faculty members are professors in the School of Communications.

Frances Ward-Johnson is in Barbados, and here is a photo from that Caribbean locale posted on the Study Abroad blog. Doesn’t that look like a wonderful place to be a student during January?

Glenn Scott is leading a student group in Japan, and here is a class photo from the Imperial Palace in Tokyo posted to the class blog. Japan, too, looks like a good January destination this year.


And then, brrr, there’s Europe, with bitter weather and heavy snow across England and the continent.

Communications professors Tom Nelson and Jessica Gisclair are with students in Europe teaching and seeing key sites related to The Great War (World War I), and Rich Landesberg is there with a group of students studying the European Union and hopefully staying warm. Here’s a photo of the European Union class in Brussels, Belgium.

In addition, five Communications faculty have taken M.A. in Interactive Media students abroad this month: Phillip Motley to Costa Rica, Randy Piland and Sang Nam to Panama, and Ray Johnson and Brooke Barnett to snowy London.

We believe that students best understand the global dimensions of communications, business and culture by visiting other countries and talking with the international community. Safe travels back.