Centre for Digital Media Launches Industry Project Portal
A defining feature of the MDM program’s curriculum is the priority placed on projects building digital media products. The products vary from interactive stories, iPad games, console games, interactive websites, interactive eBooks, and numerous other types of digital media. Key to the value of the degree are what are referred to as “industry projects.” These projects pair student teams with influential external clients/sponsors such as Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and the Michael Smith Foundation. The challenge for each team is to solve a defined problem with a digital media product or strategy within the classic resource and time constraints that they would face in their own company or in a leadership role in another company. At the start of the project the client has an idea or expectation of what they want the group to achieve; this could be an app, a console game, an interactive HTML5 website, etc. The group then works with the client to further define, design, produce and implement the product or strategy. Examples of last year’s industry projects include an interactive waiting area for a local astronomy centre, an animation of an earthquake in the lower mainland for media distribution, an interactive, media-rich HTML5 page for a Vancouver-area health foundation, and games designed for a variety of platforms. 2012 is providing even more challenging and interesting projects. Every project presents teams with challenges, from interpersonal team dynamics to technical and resource constraints. The challenges are met and collaboratively solved within the team through clear communication and a “tool kit” of innovative methodologies to solve problems. Both the faculty advisor and the project sponsors provide mentorship and guidance. The students are taught to think about why and how they develop their solutions, not just what they are building. Each team is required to document their project in order to demonstrate the valuable learning processes inherent in them. This documentation, which take the form of student-authored blogs, gives students the opportunity to share their project’s progress and to celebrate the various ‘Aha!’ moments of triumph that arise throughout each project. This year the MDM program created a website to showcase these blogs and to allow skills and projects to be shared with friends, family, and most importantly, future employers in the digital media industries. A portal for all the sites - http://projects.gnwc.ca - has been created so that all of the industry project progress can be found in one easy-to-navigate place. The site, which went live late last week, features a short project description, lists the member roles for each group, and links to each individual group blog. Students continue to keep project blogs up to date, so be sure to check back often to see how the groups progress.