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Students Gain Skills, Give Back in Digital Media Summer Intensive

By Gaye Hill

Students Gain Skills, Give Back in Digital Media Summer Intensive

By Gaye Hill

This summer, 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 also 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.

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.

“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. 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 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.