The core differentiator of the Master of Digital Media program and other comparable Masters programs is the emphasis of experiential learning through project courses. In fact, 65% of MDM coursework is project-based. All Projects courses, from the first term to the last term, have teams of 3 to 6 students spend four months working on projects to develop prototypes or applications from concept to deliverable. Each Projects course builds upon the skills learned in the previous term so that graduating students are comfortable with all issues—from dealing with dysfunctional teams to scoping and production pipeline.
Students start the first term with DMED 520 and are thrown into it by a 48-hour design jam the first weekend. The students are asked to create a working prototype of a digital product according to a theme. Struggling with the time constraints and not knowing the skill set of fellow classmates, students present their work on the first Sunday afternoon. This sets the tone of rapid prototyping and iteration over the next three weeks to more fully develop their project. By the end of the first month, it is off to another project, this time with an 9-week timeline to pitch an idea, design, develop, test and iterate another project. The teams in this term are self-selecting with students choosing their own teams and their own projects.
The second term Projects course, DMED 521, builds on the skills learned in the first term but with the added pressure of working with an external client. This time the teams do not self-select but are put together by the faculty based on their skill sets. The teams are multi-disciplinary and clients come from sectors such as software, museum, banks, universities, advertising, game studios and non-profit. The challenge of building a product with real-world consequences and the dynamics of delivering on time for a client is one of the most valuable experiences of the MDM program. It is true experiential learning.
Because of time constraints, many of the projects are proof of concept or prototypes. Final products can be produced in 13 weeks but most require a longer development period. Industry partners find partnering with the students on these projects is a great way to get new ideas and/or research and develop on new concepts.
The final term Projects course, DMED 522 continues the process of building product development skills. There's the option for students to create their own team and pitch an idea for a product of their own, a Student-Pitched Project. Usually this is a product developed over the course of the first two terms from other courses or from DMED 520. Often these students intend to develop the project to be released into the market and to start their own companies. The program encourages realistic proposals and supports them in this endeavour. Most students, however, opt to do one more project with a client. It gives them additional practice in understanding business problems and building digital media projects to solve them.
Businesses or organizations interested in having an MDM team work on a project can contact our Director of Industry Relations for more information.