Wait, we have HOW many weeks left?

By Laura Smith, iMedia ’14

We had been hearing all first semester about how once we got back from our trips abroad, the weeks would fly by. Well, our professors and advisers weren’t kidding. I had the lucky opportunity to travel to Cuba with professor Randy Piland and seven other classmates for my January fly-in trip. Needless to say, it was an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. In addition to gathering content, interviewing, planning, taking photos and more in a real world setting, I learned a lot about the Cuban culture, government and its people. Not to mention it opened my eyes to just how good we have it here in the States.

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Pre fly-in trip to Cuba!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January was a little bit like being back in my former career, except instead of working 7:30a.m. – 4:30p.m., it was more like 9-6. The three weeks we spent putting our fly-in projects together were probably the fastest three weeks of my life. We spent the days making videos, building a website, translating interviews, color correcting photos, planning the presentation, editing content and trying to keep our sanity. In the end, I was incredibly happy with our finished product and every group’s project looked great!

Presentation day!

Presentation day!

After a few days off over “Fake Break,” we came back to a whirlwind of “Your capstone starts NOW”, “Have you started the job search yet?”, “Read 100 pages of this book” and oh yeah, “Figure out where you want to live.” So yes, it’s been a little overwhelming. But as of this week, we have 13 weeks left in iMedia. Thirteen weeks. Doesn’t it feel like we just started? The next 3 months will undoubtedly be a little crazy but here it goes!

We’re proposing…capstones!

By Laura Smith

In one week we’ll turn in the proposal for what will most likely the biggest project of our educational careers. Our Capstone project will encompass a subject we’re interested in, married (pun intended) with a specific skill (or skills) we feel strong in that we’ve learned so far. For some this means building a mobile app, for some it will be shooting a documentary. For others it will mean telling a story using graphics and data visualization. Or maybe creating an interactive map to inform local citizens of the community they live in.

We’ll hit the ground running on our capstones the beginning of February, once we’re finished putting together our fly-in projects. We’ll spend the rest of the semester working on them until our showcase on May 21. We already put together the literature review during the first half of the Fall semester in our Theory class with Derek Lackaff.

So what kinds of things are iMedia students planning on producing?

“For my capstone project, I will be creating an interactive fashion closet iPad app which will allow users to virtually keep track of their wardrobe, while also finding inspiration from “following” other users’ wardrobes,” Allie White said. The idea behind her capstone is that fashion bloggers will be able to share their wardrobes online for users to follow, creating a bigger audience for their blog, as well. She also plans on including weekly newsletters sent to users, an interview with the Featured Fashion Blogger of the Week and a  “tour” of their own wardrobe. “Filling the gap between websites like Pinterest, Polyvore, and The Coveteur, this app will allow users to create a more fluid, budget-savvy fashion community,” she said.

Daron Vaught is also tailoring his project to his passion – sports. He is planning on creating an interactive documentary for the web on the “Tobacco Road Rivalry” between the men’s basketball teams at Duke and North Carolina. “The website will contain a video player with added features, such as complementary videos, interviews, and infographics, to supplement the base content,” he said. “I have an interest in sports broadcasting, and given the duel’s mix of national and local appeal, it seemed like a perfect topic with a lot of potential.”

Class gets new focus for iMedia14

By Laura Smith

We’ve been working our way to our degrees in interactive media for just over two months now. There’s been a lot of reading, a lot of writing…and a LOT of coding. While Professor Brian Walsh continues to amaze us with navigation bars, fixed-width layouts and smooth scrolling in Interactive Writing (HTML and CSS), there’s a new face and new focus to the Producing Interactive Media class. In the past, Producing has focused on creating animations and vector graphics in Flash, a program slowly being kicked out by modern browsers and Javascript libraries. Professor William Moner is new to iMedia (and Elon) and has taken over the class, teaching us the challenging but will-be-so-worth-it-one-day Javascript language.

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“This course is vital to iMedia students because the web has finally embraced Javascript as the behavioral scripting language of the web,” he said. “Exported projects from Flash are often packed with unnecessary code and features that a designer doesn’t intend to use, and can lead to inefficient experiences on mobile devices.”

Moner first taught a Javascript class in 2007 and has seen the evolution of the language change and progress.

“I like Javascript coding because the language grows with the web, and I am absolutely amazed at the level of interaction that has emerged with the adoption of HTML 5, CSS 3, and Javascript libraries like jQuery that gracefully handle a number of the aforementioned reasons to add Javascript to pages,” he said.

So why did iMedia decide to make the class solely focused on JavaScript? Faculty wanted the curriculum to be as up to date as possible, according to Maggie Mullikin, Coordinator of Graduate Outreach & Special Programs. Since Flash is going away and being replaced with JavaScript, this only made sense.

While the class will certainly help us with creating awesome websites, it does not come without some challenges.

“Javascript was extremely challenging at first,” said Erika Metzger. “I had never done anything like Javascript before so it took a lot of extra effort outside of class and homework to understand the concepts. But now, Javascript is starting to click and I’m excited to see what kind of things I can make.”

Moner’s suggestion?

“Practice, practice, practice,” he said. “Write small, simple programs that report results to the built-in console. From there, build a small functional program. Really dig into the underlying logic of an experience —Then, try to challenge yourself to move items across the screen or create a simple calculator. Follow tutorials, and as boring as it may sound, read through code.”