Value Added

by Maggie Mullikin, Assistant Coordinator iMedia

As I continue to reach out to our 2010 iMedia graduates I am struck by the diversity of their jobs, titles, and responsibilities.  I love to pass on their pearls of wisdom because I have had the pleasure of watching them transform into consummate professionals.

Brook Corwin, iMedia graduate 2010

Brook Corwin, who by the way, was the only student, graduating with both a secured internship and a job, is now an Instructional Technology Consultant at UNC-Greensboro’s Division of Continual Learning. His primary responsibility is to coordinate the development of online courses at UNCG’s Division of Continual Learning. That involves meeting with faculty, gathering course content, and then brainstorming innovative ways to adapt that content for delivery on the web. As the course is developed, he will project-manage a production team of designers, coders, and multimedia specialists. During the development process, he goes back and forth between the production team and the faculty to make sure the finished project matches the course’s key learning objectives.

The creative aspect of the job is what makes it so enjoyable for him.  Each course has a media-rich interactive website with a unique design. Some even have fictional characters and narratives integrated with the course content. There’s a fair amount of storytelling involved, and lots of imagination that goes into turning standard lectures and power points into learning objects where students interact with the content. For an online course to have the same impact as one taken in person, it’s got to be engaging the same way a good website is engaging.  Brook loves the challenge of adapting static educational materials for life on the web. As an added bonus, all the work is for a good cause — improving the educational opportunities for those who don’t have access to traditional courses.

Brook has excellent advice for current iMedia students;

“Take a step back from iMedia and identify what skills and experience you already possess; it could even be from a previous job. You then figure out how to build on those skills with what’s being taught in the program. Just about every profession is incorporating digital media in some way these days, so even if you’re not a web designer or video producer you can find ways to take your professional expertise to the next level.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing just on production or just on theory, but everywhere I interviewed they were looking for some combination of both. The project managers at my department know enough about production to propose ideas that are both creative and practical. The production specialists understand enough theory that their designs communicate the target message. The end result is a really collaborative environment where everyone is contributing throughout the development process, since we all understand the basics of each other’s roles. I’m sure every company looks to create the same kind of environment, so it’s important to understand the process of creating digital content from start to finish.”

He advises to begin looking at jobs early and make a list of positions that are appealing and obtainable. Look at the job requirements, then work backwards to build a portfolio that matches the position. The great thing about the iMedia program is the flexibility it provides with each project, so you can tailor every assignment into something that will impress recruiters in the industry you’re targeting. A good portfolio makes a huge difference during the interview process, and it’s also something you can highlight in cover letters. But first you’ve got to figure out what kinds of jobs you’d like and what sort of experience they require.

As our current class of 32 students begins the spring semester their minds are racing as they learn, create, develop, and network, while simultaneously trying to identify the kind of job they want in as little as four months.

Graduates like Brook are a true testament to the great value Elon’s iMedia graduate program can add to a career.

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