From IDEA-X to UBC: Meet IDEA-X Almunus Wenyi Gong

From IDEA-X to UBC: Meet IDEA-X Almunus Wenyi Gong

Wenyi Gong initially planned to apply to the Master of Digital Media program but when she missed the application deadline she found out about IDEA-X, a one-month intensive digital media program for international undergraduate students. After IDEA-X Wenyi joined UBC's Educational Administration and Leadership graduate program in Vancouver and is now preparing her application for the MDM program.

Tell us about your background

I was born and raised in China. I earned my Bachelors degree in Education from Nanjing Normal University (NNU) and worked in a Chinese public school for four years. My interest in business pushed me to take a business administration course and led me to set up my first business with a few of my friends. I am currently taking UBC's educational leadership graduate program in Vancouver.

Why did you choose to apply to IDEA-X?

I first intended to apply for the Master of Digital Media program (MDM), I didn't manage to submit my application on time. Fortunately, I found the IDEA-X program on Centre for Digital Media's website. This program is taught at the CDM and benefits from the same teaching staff and facilities as the MDM program, and it was perfect for someone like me who wanted to find out whether digital media would be a fit or not.

Also, I found that spending the summer in Vancouver, making new friends and learning about the digital industry was way more fun than staying at home. It turned out that my four-week experience was worthwhile.

[The IDEA-X] program is taught at the CDM and benefits from the same teaching staff and facilities as the MDM program, and it was perfect for someone like me who wanted to find out whether digital media would be a fit or not."

What are your top 3 takeaways from IDEA-X?

1. My first takeaway was learning how to work in a team. There were seven members in my team and our backgrounds included animation, graphic design, programming, and education. At the end of the first week, we teamed up for a 48-hour design jam, and in the last week, we worked together for our final project. With the help and guidance of our teachers, we learned about each other’s strengths, abilities and motivations, through various activities. As a team member, I learned the difference between simply coordinating with my teammates and truly collaborating with them to make a great product.

2. My second learning was about creative problem-solving. I learned to break free from my thinking patterns, think outside the box and let my ideas grow and evolve! Our instructors Bill, Al, and Thomas are very creative teachers and they enlightened us through engaging activities and patient instruction. I remembered that my team found an activity to be challenging. Bill gave us a hint which inspired us and helped us move forward. We eventually came up with a creative idea and ended up winning the competition.

3. Another important takeaway was learning about Agile Development and Scrum. We learned about the value of having a scrum meeting every morning, we planned our work and managed our pipeline through our sprint board, we defined OARRs to better work together, and we learned about many other tools such as mind maps, and SWOT.

What is great about IDEA-X is that you have the opportunity to apply what you learn to our own project! Practice is key to understanding management tools and processes. I also think that the skills that I've developed will also be beneficial in my daily life. For example, I now have my own sprint board to help me plan my days as a master's student.

I learned the difference between simply coordinating with my teammates and truly collaborating with them to make a great product."

What have you learned about yourself during the program?

The learning experience in IDEA-X was also a great self-discovery process.

Before attending the IDEA-X program, I never thought that a student with my background could find a proper role in the digital media industry as education and digital media seem to have nothing in common. When attending IDEA-X, one of my instructors said I had the potential to be a project manager and suggested me to take on this role during the program. I ended up being the project manager (scrum master) in our project, and I realized that I had the potential to do it well.

As I had little background in technology and computer science, I thought I would have trouble learning software development. The IDEA-X program allowed me to learn Unity and Python, overcome my fears and build confidence for my future studies. After I finished IDEA-X, I seized a few opportunities related to digital media: I built a virtual educational world in Second Life (a 3D virtual environment), and I worked with a classmate on a short documentary film.

What are your academic and professional goals/ambitions?

I like both education and technology, and I like to explore new things. I am looking for a place that can combine my interests and my skills. In the future, I'd like to develop something that is both educational and entertaining, something that can benefit educators and learners. I am currently studying at UBC and I'm also in the process of applying to the Master of Digital Media program. I cannot wait for next year to come!

Would you recommend IDEA-X? If so, why?

Yes, definitely. I recommend students from all backgrounds to come here and experience this immersive and engaging program. It will enrich your vision. This one-month IDEA-X program would be a very rewarding and worthwhile experience for anyone who wants to explore further education and career opportunities in the games and digital entertainment industry. You'll be using cutting-edge technology and you'll have the chance to develop key project management skills. Lastly, you'll have a chance to form great friendships and meet amazing teachers.

You'll be using cutting-edge technology and you'll have the chance to develop key project management skills."

Vancouver is known to be a digital media hub, can you see yourself working here in the future?

I would love to live and work in Vancouver after my graduation. Vancouver is one of the most liveable cities in the world, and it is famous for its dynamic and innovative atmosphere. There are many opportunities here. Some large companies have studios in Vancouver, such as EA, Microsoft, Sony, Industrial Light and Magic, Bandai Namco, and Blackbird Interactive. The government also has generous policies in the digital and technology industry.

---

Find out more about the IDEA-X program.

See videos of what the IDEA-X students create.