A Moment of Reflection: What I Have Gained From iMedia

For the 2018 iMedia class, graduation is less than two months away (crazy, I know). This past school year has come with a lot of excitement and adventure, to say the least. As the iMedia class takes a breather from our studies with a week-long spring break, we finally have a chance to step back and marvel at the work we have accomplished over the past eight months. After learning new things and taking on big projects, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel…but before we move on to the next chapter of our lives, it is important that we relish our accomplishments from the past year.

This past year has opened doors and planted seeds of new beginnings for many iMedia students. What we have learned and accomplished here should be noted and celebrated. I have witnessed the substantial growth of my classmates as they work tirelessly in and out of the classroom. There is nothing in our work that should be taken for granted. Every small win has built the confident and thriving class we are today.

I have compiled a list of my own accomplishments and gains from this past year, and have found it to be extremely helpful in my own self-revelation. Looking at this list, I know for sure that my time here at Elon was well spent. The long nights in the editing bays, the hours spent sketching and wireframing, and even the small frustrations and hang-ups – they were all worth it in comparison to the growth I have gained as a professional, and as an individual. Below are what I believe to be the top six skills that I acquired through my time in the iMedia program:

  1. Strong Technical Skills in Adobe Editing Software

Every day in class we worked with editing software that varied from video work, audio and even app-development. Our skills to edit and create digital content has grown substantially over the past year. For example, I blossomed from having intermediate skills with Microsoft PowerPoint to having professional knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud software.

  1. Real World Experience

One of the most exciting moments of the iMedia Program was our fly-in experience in January where we complete a project for a real client in a foreign country. For one week, we were all knee-deep in a culture that was different from our own while servicing a non-profit organization. We all got a taste of what it means to work professionally with a team on a real project – and that’s awesome.

  1. The Ability to Adapt – Quickly

Being fully immersed in different editing software and programming languages for 10 months requires that one be flexible and ready to learn – quickly. The fear of trying something new has broken away from us. Now, we are no strangers to jumping in head-first.

  1. Theories to Inform Content Creation Strategy

Not only can we create beautiful designs and layouts, WE CAN EXPLAIN WHY THEY WORK. The ability to articulate why our work matters and how it impacts the final product is crucial. Our creativity has been paired with a soundboard of knowledge to help us make informed decisions in our design process.  

  1. A Strong Network of Professionals and Resources

As a university, Elon is known for its valuable network of alumni and career services. But the iMedia family runs deep. Many of my classmates, myself included, have already made several connections with iMedia alumni this year. Some alumni have visited our classes and given us a wealth of knowledge on how to improve our work. Being a part of the iMedia family is like a badge of honor – we are supplied with tools and connections that have helped us substantially in our projects and job search.

  1. Memories and Friendships

This is a big one for me. I have had the time of my life while working with my classmates. We have shared so many laughs and memories. Some I hope to never forget. This year was a time of growth for all of us and we did so with humility and respect for each other. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some phenomenal people.

I believe many of my classmates would agree with the things I have listed here. As a testament to their hard work and dedication – all of my classmates have gained a plethora new skills and abilities through the iMedia program. We each have collected a wealth of knowledge and materials that are sure to be beneficial for our next steps of life. Let’s carry this reflection with us and use it to fuel our final push to graduation!

Reflection

“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”  — John Dewey

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Introducing Our #iMedia18 Bloggers

The fall semester is in full swing and Elon’s ninth M.A. in Interactive Media class is busy with class projects, Winter Term fly-in prep and more as they discover all that the program has to offer.

#iMedia18 is eager to share their experiences with you right here on the Eye on iMedia blog.

You’ve already seen great posts from Kendra Sharpe and Kyndall Dysard. Check out the full slate of students you’ll hear from this year and read their full bios here. But don’t be surprised if a few others post from time to time.

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Kyndall Dysard

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Jess Farmer

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Kelsey Lane

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Kendra Sharpe

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Kaylin Skipwith

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Ashley Sugg

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Amanda Travis

In addition to the students’ perspectives, you’ll read posts from a few staff members. Maggie Mullikin, Coordinator of Graduate Outreach and Special Programs, will discuss happenings and careers with iMedia alumni; Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, Communications, will discuss career development; and Tarah Holland, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions (that’s me), will discuss a variety of topics related to iMedia admissions. We may also have a few guest posts throughout the year.

Please be sure to subscribe/follow the Eye on iMedia blog to keep up with #iMedia18 this year. You can sign up by clicking “Follow” in the bottom right corner of your screen.

For more about the iMedia program, visit elon.edu/imedia and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Demand for iMedia Skills Continues to Grow

You’ve probably started to notice the shift. #iMedia17 has shared details about projects, offered insight about class assignments, and now, students are preparing for the end of their 10-month graduate school journeys. With just a little more than two months left before graduation, the job search is on and the pace for life after iMedia will be soon be set for these budding professionals.

And there’s a lot to look forward to. A quick internet search sheds light on how much digital and creative skills are in demand in a wide range of industries. Look further and you’ll learn more about the benefits of working in digital careers, key skills needed and the most sought-after job titles.

With help from CNNMoney and Payscale, let’s take a peek at a few iMedia-friendly positions and the job outlook of each. In the Best Jobs in American 2017 list, these sources highlight the “top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.” Here are 10 jobs from the list that are popular among iMedia graduates.

               JOB  MEDIAN PAY 10-YEAR JOB GROWTH
#1 – Mobile Applications Developer $97,100 19%
#14 – Webmaster $61,200 27%
#26 – Community Relations Manager $63,600 10%
#30 – Brand Manager $89,800 9%
#42 – Social Media Manager  $57,400 9%
#47 – Front End Developer/Engineer $81,000 27%
#56 – Videographer $49,600 12%
#57 – User Interface Designer $73,800  27%
#68 – Content Strategist $84,400 19%
#99 – User Experience Designer $85,900 13%

Visit CNNMoney for the complete list. For more about the Elon M.A. in Interactive Media program, visit elon.edu/imedia.

 

Sunny, with a Chance of Employment

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the weather.  Last week, parts of New Hampshire acquired about two feet of snow.  Temperatures hovered around eight degrees.

My mom was pulling out battery operated lamps and preparing food for a power outage.  My dad was bundled in several layers of clothing with his “Nook of the North” hat nestled safely over his ears, pushing a 200-pound snow blower back and forth.  img_9984While my parents desperately tried to alleviate Mother Nature’s damage, I was hiking across a soft bed of pine needles with my foster dog, Raina, panting at the end of her leash.  Clad in only a tank top and shorts, I was enjoying the 78-degree day here in North Carolina.  The contrast of distance and weather felt like a direct correlation to the contrast of time and opportunity.  Although I joked with my parents about our vastly different agendas, it sparked a few realizations, some even deeper than the fluffy snowdrifts back home.

Last year, I was trudging through the inevitable end of my undergraduate career; I felt weighted by the pressure to succeed in the coming months.  I was scared that I had not yet reached my full potential as a student; I was terrified of being buried in debt and being left too far under to ever accomplish my dreams.

Although the thought of stuffing all of my belongings into my 16-year-old minivan was intimidating, the challenge to finish my education was one I thought was worth it, and one I was willing to accept.  Now, I recognize the stark difference that just a year can make.  When I made the move from New Hampshire to North Carolina, I not only left behind the unfriendly weather, I left behind uncertainty.  Now, my horizon is bright with more than just sun; it is bright with possibility.

Elon’s iMedia program has provided opportunities beyond belief.  I have discovered that I am stronger than I ever knew; my breaking point is now nearly impossible to reach (with a coffee in hand, of course).  img_9947
Through a few months of intense study of theory, user experience, content management, videography, web coding, graphic design, and photography, I have absorbed more knowledge than I did in four years.  I developed a passion for photography, and I met many like-minded individuals, developing friendships that I will continue to cherish many years from now.  I had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to Reykjavík, Iceland, assisting Frumbjörg, a social innovation center, with the production of their first 24-Hour Innovation Day.  Two weeks later, I was able to help present the final project at Elon.

This semester, I will finish my journey by learning more about digital branding, multimedia storytelling, and media economics.  My capstone project provides me with the ability to unite my passion for canine rescue with the strengths I have developed in this program.  3w9a9920When I walk up to receive my diploma in May, I will have completed an entirely self-driven project that reflects both my technical skill and my ethical concerns.  I have grown beyond comparison, and I am still amazed that in just seven months, iMedia has provided me with such a powerful desire to immerse myself in this world.  I’m not quite sure what the future holds for me, but I think that it’s safe to say it is sunny, with a chance of employment.

iMedia fly-in: The trip not taken

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost

The road winded through the mountains, past colorful, tin-roofed houses crammed together along the sides. As the bus moved through the Linda Vista, the translator shared some of the community’s history.

The green field where children play soccer was once a landfill. Children used to say their parents were “divers” – a reference to salvaging items from the trash, not exploring the oceans in scuba gear. In many cases, the translator explained, the owners of the houses we passed by were squatters; they didn’t own the land beneath their humble homes.

This was the first introduction to a community where Fundación PIEDAD, one of the fly-in clients, operates a school, Escuela Linda Vista. It is not a place I would have seen had I traveled to Costa Rica on my own instead of for a fly-in as a member of Team Pura Vida ’17.

Looking back, much of what I enjoyed in Costa Rica were experiences I normally avoid when traveling.

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I usually insist on eating out when I travel, although I try to favor locally owned restaurants over restaurant chains. I usually turn down offers to stay at someone’s home and eat a home-cooked meal. My view on this changed in Costa Rica.

The fly-in team ate two meals cooked by a local woman and her mother and served at their home. I enjoyed and appreciated the meals, but it wasn’t until I was back in North Carolina that the importance of that experience sank in. I can’t take full credit for the revelation. While talking with Amanda Jones (program manager for Team Inspire and Ice) about our respective fly-in experiences, she mentioned what it honor it was for my team to get to share a meal with someone in their home. I just take credit for recognizing the truth in what she said.

Had I traveled on my own, I would have chosen a different hotel, maybe one owned by a chain in different part of the city. But the first morning, I immediately took pictures of the mountain view from the window of my hotel room to share with friends and family. One of my favorite memories from the hotel is when I spent way too much time using broken Spanish and inadequate hand gestures trying to ask a woman who, I think, manages the business, if I could pet her dog. After she brought over two more people, and after several failures with Google translate, we reached a point of understanding. Petting the dog — a friendly Shar-Pei with a loud, gruff bark — made my day.

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When I travel, I avoided walking for any substantial distance in unfamiliar places. The scenery around me is typically a blur from a car window instead of something I strolled (or huffed and puffed) through.

If left to my own trip-planning devices, I would have missed out on what felt like an authentic experience.

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In his poem The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost describes how someone feeling nostalgic and sentimental exaggerates about the importance of a mundane decision they once made. Maybe I’m already doing that now as I reflect on the fly-in to Costa Rica, which is already almost a month away in my rear view. Either way, I do know this: I enjoyed the trip overall. I felt I got a fairly authentic sense of the country in a short amount of time. Yes, it’s silly to feel a little sentimental about wiping away layers of volcanic ash from my phone and laptop screens, but not to remember the awe I felt while watching a seemingly endless landscape of mountain slopes and caverns pass by on one bus trip. I still smile at my grainy iPhone photos and remember marveling at the pink-mottled sky above the mountains at sunrise and at dusk.

The fly-in is yet another example of how iMedia has pushed me outside of my comfort zone. At numerous times, I have had to embrace change and the unknown.

Doing so has made all the difference.

#iMedia17 Winter Study Abroad Fly-in Presentations Tomorrow

Can’t make it to the event? Join the live stream.

After weeks of preparation, the iMedia Class of 2017 will debut Winter Term Study Abroad Fly-in Presentations, tomorrow, Jan. 25 at noon in Schar Hall’s Turner Theater.

Each January, iMedia students spend the month working on a team project for the public good, which includes a domestic or international trip to collect audio and video content. This year’s fly-in groups traveled to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Iceland.

Can’t make it to the event? Follow the link below to join the live stream.

#iMedia17 Fly-ins – Live Stream

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A Measure of iMedia Alumni Success

Deciding whether or not to go to graduate school can be a daunting task.

Your finances, the need to relocate, discipline and academic stamina are important factors that you may be wrestling with. Just as critical is considering the post-graduate career prospects for the program you’re considering.

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Interactive Media graduate Erin Turner ’15 G’16 works as assistant social media editor at Essence Magazine. 

Lucky for you, if you’re looking to earn a M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon, you’ll have a chance to join an impressive list of alumni with exciting careers in both the public and private sectors, throughout the country and abroad.

Since the iMedia program launched in 2009, there have been 257 graduates. Of those graduates, 97 percent are currently employed for such companies as Amazon Web Services, Razorfish, ESPN, Essence Magazine, Automattic, NASCAR, CBS Interactive, Dribble, the Smithsonian, Microsoft, IBM, and the Dallas Morning News – just to name a few.

Among dozens of job titles, iMedia alumni serve as web developers, UX designers, digital strategists, multimedia producers, social media managers and many other highly-skilled roles. Furthermore, these careers most often boast competitive salaries and advancement opportunities.

But these are just a few details about the success of iMedia graduates.

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Employed at Automattic, Interactive Media graduate David Kennedy G’10 develops WordPress themes under the title “theminator.”

If you’ve been thinking about applying to Elon’s Interactive Media program, but can’t make it to a campus visit, join us for our first virtual information session at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, via WebEx.

Click here to register for the event.

We’ll be sharing details about this innovative and accelerated, 10-month master’s degree program, including courses, admissions requirements, alumni success and more. We’ll also introduce you one of our professors, who will offer insight into students’ hands-on experiences in classes, work with real-world clients and the program’s state-of-the-art facilities.

For those who attend this virtual information session, we’ll waive the $50 application fee when you apply.

For more information about the iMedia program or admissions questions, please call me, Tarah Holland, at 336-278-7683 or email tholland@elon.edu.