BY MEGHAN GARGAN, ELON IMEDIA CLASS OF 2011
With a handful of weeks left until graduation there is one word on every iMedia student’s mind: Capstone.
iMedia capstone projects are the equivalent of a traditional graduate school thesis, except instead of turning in an outrageously long-winded research document, we take our research, knowledge and skills and apply it to an interactive project or representation.
What’s unique about the capstone project is that it challenges us students to think beyond a MS Word document and to visually see and express our findings and discoveries. It’s actually pretty cool.
Right now we are all working against a May 18 deadline, which is when the iMedia Expo takes place. At this event industry professionals, alumni, students and faculty are invited to come learn about what exactly the 30+ iMedia students have been doing while locked up in Powell the last four months (disclaimer: locked up by choice, not by force).
In addition to showcasing our work, the class is also in charge of the event. We are currently dividing into groups to design the invitations, assign and coordinate the space, create social networking channels, shoot and edit a video reel and develop and design an expo site. It’s the first time the entire class is working together in a mini-agency setting with a divide and concur mindset.
Stay tuned to the Eye on iMedia blog for more details on the expo and on the capstone projects. In the mean time, enjoy a few suggestions for when it comes to defining and deciding on a capstone project.
- Play to your strengths. If you know you want to be a strategist or project manager pick a project that reflects this – you don’t HAVE to code a website. For example, you could team up with a classmate who is perhaps a coding wiz and would like the extra portfolio piece while you do the content and design, same goes vice versa.
- Take on new challenges. While concentrating on your strengths, capstone is the perfect time to develop new skills or areas of interest. If there’s something you want to learn, now is a great time to do it.
- Scale your project accordingly. This is your master’s thesis and probably your most important portfolio piece, so you want it to be extraordinary. At the same time don’t bite off more than you can chew. Remember you have four months to complete the project and you want it to be something that shows off your talents. It’s temping to take on a massive endeavor, but sometimes a smaller-scale project done exceptionally well is more impressive than an unfinished or low-quality huge undertaking.
- Pick something you are passionate about. You’re going to be working on this all semester, so pick something you are genuinely interested in. This project, at times, will consume your life, so don’t develop an SEO strategy or take on coding a website if it’s not something you can see yourself doing professionally. Remember, this is your biggest selling point and you’ve dedicated a whole lot of time to making it great – be sure it’s something you love and that will shine through.