About Jess Chambers

Jess Chambers is a student at Elon University perusing her masters degree in Interactive Media. She received her undergraduate degree in advertising at West Virginia University. Jess has worked in many fields in the past including copywriting, mobile strategy and even as a travel agent.

Hello May! (Or Capstone and Graduation Time)

By Jess Chambers, iMedia ’14

Hello May,

I was a little shocked to see your name on my calendar this morning. How are you here already? Where has the time gone? 

But all joking aside, this is it. We’re in the final countdown for iMedia 14. There were times I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it. Late nights and weekends in Powell, perilous hikes in Costa Rica, and a caffeine addiction have all brought me to this moment.

While we are applying for jobs in hopes of employment after graduation, there is still one major item on the agenda: the capstone. For some of us, it is crunch time to get everything completed. For others, it just polishing and adding those finishing touches. It’s strange how what was just an idea on paper a few months ago has become real thing.

My classmates and I are proud of what we’ve accomplished. If you’re free on May 21st, I invite you to join us for our capstone showcase. Come take a look at 38 unique projects that range from video games to interactive magazines. While the event will begin at 6 p.m., feel free to stop by whenever and stay as long as you would like. Graduation is the day after our showcase, so this is the last big event before we say goodbye to the iMedia program.

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It is exactly three weeks until graduation, and I’m thankful I had the chance to blog for iMedia program. It has allowed me to take time and reflect on the journey along the way. But now it is May so I publish my last post  and move on to (hopefully) bigger and better things. Nothing left to say but so long and thanks for the fish. And if you want to hire me, that would be cool too.

 

 

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SEO, Social Media and Clients… Oh My!

By Jess Chambers, iMedia ’14

Among all the other projects iMedia ’14 is working on this semester, the SEO, Analytics and Social Media class has been given an exciting opportunity to work with real clients. For the past few weeks, my classmates and I have been meeting with different businesses in the area to help them develop plans to increase their SEO and social media.

This is the first semester for this class and was organized by Dr. Amanda Sturgill. “I was really happy to be able to connect some business partners with our iMedia students this semester,” wrote Sturgill. “For businesses with little experience with new media or tiny budgets, our students are able to use what they are learning in iMedia to offer real value in advising on strategies for using interactive media. For the students, the chance to work with messy, real-world issues is invaluable, since they will be doing that for the rest of their careers.”

Our time in the iMedia program is quickly coming to an end. Working with actual clients in class allows me to use the resources and connections within the program while still getting real world experience. Most importantly, it will standout in my portfolio.

My team is working with TyraTech, a biotech company located in Morrisville, N.C., who has developed a product against head lice that will be appearing on Wal-Mart shelves later this month. TyraTech is also launching an insect repellant that will be hitting the marketplace soon. As a marketer (and as a student), this is an exciting time to be involved with this company as they are starting to develop their social media plan and compete against more established brands.

It won’t be long until my classmates and I are entering the workforce. The situations and experiences we face with our clients now are what we will soon be dealing with daily. While the capstone seems to get all the glory, it taking advantage of all the opportunities we get in the iMedia program that really make it an amazing 10 months.

“Our client for this project is Kustom Koozies, a Raleigh-based koozie printing service that specializes in events such as weddings and birthdays. I’ll be working alongside Kara O’Halloran and Arielle Aurrichio to create a social media content plan for them. The three of us are really in an enviable position because the owner of Kustom Koozies, Bob Liddle, is incredibly eager to spread the brand’s message through social media. The main challenge that we’re currently trying to tackle is how to truly capture and communicate the experience of a Kustom Koozie customer in an authentic manner. That being said, the three of us are incredibly excited to begin leveraging the right social networks as well as the right messaging to help spread awareness of Kustom Koozies’ brand.” –Jessica Kingman on working with her client for the SEO, Analytics and Social Media class

iMedia at ISSOTL13

by Jess Chambers, Elon iMedia Class of 2014

Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to attend the International Society for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference and present at one of the workshops with four of my classmates. Lead by two of our iMedia professors, Phillip Motley and Amanda Sturgill, we attended an all day workshop that focused on using digital humanities for undergraduate education. Though it had a small attendance, its participants include scholars from Vanderbilt and Brown as well as Sweden, the UK and China. The first part of the day featured a demonstration of content rich, research based and process related tools. The workshop concluded by breaking into small groups to discuss how these tools could be adapted for the classroom and there level of usefulness. I’ll put a link to those tools at the bottom of this post for those who are interested.

“ISSOTL was a great experience to learn about a particular area and present it to a group of educators as an “expert” on that topic. Even more enriching was the discussion we had where we as graduate students could provide our perspectives on how effective technology can be in the classroom and provide our feedback on what they could do to provide the best experience for their students.” Shekinah Smith

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Included above is a word cloud based upon our closing conversations. All of us in attendance strongly believed digital humanities is important for the future of education. While some tools may be more difficult to incorporate in the classroom, it was generally agreed that developing technology can provide an unique approach to more engaged learning and assessment. Since most of my classmates and I completed our undergrad within the last few years, we were able to provide an unique viewpoint on the subject matter. And as students of interactive media, we get pretty excited about the potential impact these tools can have.

What is even more exciting is that iMedia14 could be the ones to create the next big thing in digital humanities. Already we’ve started to establish ourselves as experts in a variety of subjects and are able to engage in meaningful conversations about them. With my first academic conference completed, I feel even more motivated to start embracing any opportunity I have to create, educate and learn.  And, as I conclude the third month of the iMedia program, I know ISSOTL will be one of highlights of my time at Elon for years to come.

“I’m determined to make the most of my 10 months here at Elon, so that means trying to participate in as many events possible, especially if they make me uncomfortable. By signing up for ISSOTL, I was not only able to hone my oratory skills (which are sorely lacking), but also learn more about possible avenues for incorporating digital media in the classroom. To be honest, I was so nervous about the whole thing; I started to wonder if I had taken on too much, especially considering the myriad of homework and projects for other classes. To say “it was worth it” doesn’t even begin to describe how grateful I is to have been a part of that conference. I had the opportunity to meet with and discuss digital media in education in a semi-open forum with various university faculty from all over the country– it was incredible.”     –Mary Fran Thompson

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Brandon Himmelman, Allie White, Shekinah Smith, Jess Chambers, Mary Fran Thompson and Phillip Motley. (From left).

Demonstrated projects:

1989 presented my Mills Kelly
Margaret Sanger Papers presented by Allie White (iMedia14)
The Constitute Project  presented by Amanda Sturgill
The Book Genome Project presented by Brandon Himmelman (iMedia14)
The Rose Tool presented by Mary Fran Thompson (iMedia14)
Word Clouds ( Wordle, TagCrowd, Tagxedo, etc)  presented by Shekinah Smith (iMedia14)
Inform Interactive Fiction presented by Jess Chambers (iMedia14)

iMedia is Hitting the Books

by Jess Chambers, Elon iMedia Class of 2014

When you are entering into a 10-month graduate school program, you know it is going to be intense. You prepare yourself for the late nights and say goodbye to your weekends. And then you sit down… to read.

After three weeks of creative workshops, the transition into fall semester classes is a little jarring. While we are still spending some time coding and designing, it pales in comparison to the amount of reading and analyzing we are completing. The majority of this reading comes from our COM530 class on “Theory and Audience Analysis” which meets daily for the first half of the semester. Every week we analyze one book and have scheduled guess speakers to help us build a strong foundation on the concepts behind current interactive media and how to use that knowledge in our future professions.

“Although the work load for our theory class is a bit overwhelming, all the reading we’ve done so far is very applicable to what we’ll do doing the rest of the year and hopefully through out our careers,” explains Brenna Mickey. “Most of the readings are very recent books on networking theories or people’s tendencies as users online which are all very interesting and sometimes things I witness everyday.”

So what is the 2014 iMedia class reading?

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Perhaps the book my classmates have enjoyed the most is ‘“Reality is Broken” by Jane McGonigal. In her books, she explores how gamification can be used to ‘save the world.’ Even if you do not consider yourself to gamer, do not let that turn you off from exploring some of the ideas she shares on how to better engage users and potential ways to solve social problems.

“My favorite book that we have read so far is Reality is Broken because it relates what we are studying and gaming with real world situations. But mostly it was an interesting read with thought provoking theories that have, in some instances, changed my way of thinking.” – Sasha Campbell

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If you are reading this blog, it is safe to say you are very aware of how much you rely on technology to keep connected. Lee Raine and Barry Wellman are the authors of “Networked: The New Social Operating System.” Their book explores how the Internet, social networking, and mobile technology impact our lives. Raine and Wellman are experts in this field and the research used demonstrates just how much our society has changed in this technological age. Raine will be visiting the iMedia program next week to further discuss his book.

Most recently we began “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations” by Clay Shirky. The Internet has provided a way for people to connect all over the world and do everything from social activism to starting revolutions. For good and bad, we now have the power to organize ourselves and see results from those actions. If you have a chance, take a look at one of Clay Shirky’s TED Talk’s that I’ve posted below. Though it is from 2005, many of the ideas are still relevant and are expanded upon in his book.

It is a lot to cover in just six weeks but I think iMedia14 is up for the challenge. We know that we are not just learning theoretical practices—we are gaining insight from some of the most influential people in the industry and knowledge on how to apply it to any situation. And, in 10 short months, we will run full speed into the real world with everything we need to succeed in any field we might explore.

But for now, I’ll start another pot of coffee and get ready for another late night with my classmates.

Need more iMedia book recommendations? Check out these other titles we will be studying in the coming weeks : “You are not a gadget: A manifesto,” “Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy,” and “To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism.”