Friday Workshops & The 10,000 Volt Ghost

by Brad Berkner – Coordinator of Interactive Media Projects

I created a series of Friday Workshops that began in 2009 and continue to evolve today. Each Friday at 2pm, we begin with a lesson followed by a critique session and finally a video screening of relevant topics surrounding design, interactive media and advertising. If Halloween cult classics Shaun of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead could be considered relevant then, yes, they are all relevant topics. The three-part workshop (lesson / critique / viewing) is less systematic and more fluid.

The lesson is always the centerpiece often filled with questions and thoughtful discussion. There is a relaxed atmosphere among the 20+ students. Topics may include HTML5 or jQuery for those interested in design and development. Content Strategy and Getting Paid, for freelance or contract work, are concepts everyone can get behind. Seriously, who doesn’t want to get paid? Often there are guest speakers and demonstrations.

Recently we had designer, developer, conference organizer and interactive extraordinaire, Val Head, video chat with the class about “Designing Motion”  Her presentation covered the intricacies of Star Wars and the oddities of expectations. The oddities felt something like when you’re in a car holding the map and telling your dad to go left but he still goes right. Yes, unfortunately there are websites like that and thanks to Val we now know this queasy feeling exists online. (ask me for the site… go ahead) Coming in November we ramp up for the winter term, COM. 570 Interactive Project for the Public Good, where students study abroad in Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and Iceland. We have workshops centered on documentary video production and content management systems (CMS). This November we are excited to chat with Happy Cog Designer, Yesenia Perez-Cruz and Developer, Allison Wagner about “Designing for CMSs”.

Critique sessions follow lessons and provide a fantastic opportunity for students to share their work and gain valuable feedback on projects. The critiques shed new light on solutions they may have missed or open completely new ideas. The feedback and engaged atmosphere is a growing favorite among the students. They feed off the energy, like the 10,000 Volt Ghost, pushing each other and inspiring new creations.

10,000 Volt Ghost

The Scooby-Doo episode "Watt a Shocking Ghost"

“Watch While You Work” is the name of the video screening portion of the workshop. This is a time when students can relax and discuss topics they wanted to share or take a closer look at a friends work or just watch the video. It is a nice way to unwind after a long week.

The level of student engagement in the workshops, interest in the field and in supporting each other continues to amaze. Interactive media is built solely with the energy and foresight of the people who work within it.


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