Looking Back: A Retrospective of my First Semester in the Master of Digital Media program

Looking Back: A Retrospective of my First Semester in the Master of Digital Media program

In our project management lessons, we learnt the importance of doing a retrospective – so here it is! – a look-back at my first semester in the Master of Digital Media program.

When I joined the Centre for Digital Media in September 2014, one of the first tasks we did in the Interdisciplinary Improvisation course was to write down what our goals were, and what we hoped to learn during the first semester. When I look back at what I had written, I must say that I learned much more than I expected to! There was so much to absorb outside the classroom – how to work with teams, which processes work best for our team, how user testing and feedback can be an invaluable tool – these are just a few examples. I can now confidently say that I have a comprehensive mental model for the way the digital media industry works, and how I can contribute to it and also learn from it.

archana-projects

A quick run-through before project presentation

The courses in the semester were greatly insightful. Projects 1 saw us building digital artefacts and delving deep into agile project management practices. With the Visual Story course (where the homework was watching movies!), we learnt how to analyze and construct narratives in digital projects. The Interdisciplinary Improvisation course taught us meaningful collaboration and self-improvement techniques, all while having a blast! Foundations of Game Design was a great gateway into the world of game development – equally interesting for passionate gamers as well as Candy Crush addicts. We learnt how the fields of cognitive science and even philosophy (yes, you read that right) inform game design decisions.

archana-projects

Our second home – the project room

In the courses of the last four months, I have worked on teams that built a virtual reality game with audio-based controls (one of the first in the world!), a pay-it-forward website to encourage team bonding and a series of photo-movies on the theme of social taboos. Plus, I’ve built my own board game! While working on these projects, my friends helped me pick up new technical skills too – I learned how to use the physics in Unity, how to edit photos, how to engineer sound and I’ve polished up my writing skills. For a person like me who comes from a managerial background, being able to work in tech was very rewarding!

archana-projects

Deciding on what visual tools to use for our project

The most important lesson, though, has been about people. The digital media industry has a variety of tools at its disposal, but what makes it innovative and cutting-edge are the people who work on it. The first semester at CDM has been a big influence in teaching me to work with my colleagues in teams that are passionate, committed and ready to take on the virtual world!

When I look back, I’m very proud of all the amazing things we’ve built, but I’m even more proud of the way we built them. To sum it all – the journey is the reward.

archana-improv

The coolest team-building exercise - crowd–surfing like a rockstar!

Archana Ananthanarayan is a current of Master of Digital Media student, experienced project manager and holds an MBA in marketing.

All photos by Cindy Cao.