Three years ago, the communications program instituted a Student Showcase featuring the best of:
• Creative Writing
• News Writing
But, that’s not the only innovative thing being done by this program. Last year, Communications worked with an augmented reality company in the UK called Blippar, and featured photography and creative writing displays. Some students had their entire photographic portfolios viewable at the showcase by guests merely peering at them through the Blippar app on their phones. Other augmented reality displays contained videos of students reading creative pieces right “on the wall” of the theater (Haunted Mansion-style).
This year, the program purchased Ricoh Theta 360 cameras and Advanced Photography students took photos, Creative Writing students wrote pieces based on them, and the two are being fused together for visitors of the showcase to look at through virtual reality glasses and hear the creative writing pieces being read while looking at the image in 360. This required working with Verizon to provide phones and headsets to pull off the project. The goal of having students working with augmented reality and virtual reality was not to make that the focus of the class, but merely to expose them to the emerging technologies in the field in order to make them well-versed in the language upon graduation.
In addition to the Showcase, students visited the Discovery Channel International Headquarters in Silver Spring this semester where they got a hands-on tour of the editing suites, including learning about recording sound in 360 and a tour of the R&D lab with their head of emerging technologies, Bert Collins. Click here for a video. In addition to the Discovery Channel trip, students also attended Phillies College Media Night where they get to meet Scott Palmer (Dir. Of Phillies Public Affairs), David Buck (Senior VP of Phillies Marketing and Advertising), Brian Monihan (Pesident of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia), David Yadgaroff (Senior VP of CBS Radio), and Dave Patterson (Senior VP of Production of MLB Networks).
When asked about his use of technology, Rector said, “It's easy to become complacent and comfortable, but that's boring. The good thing about technology, and the communications industry in particular, is that there seems to be a number of new ways, platforms and formats with which we communicate coming at us with rapidity, so there really is no room for either -- for us as instructors as well as the students.”
Come visit the Milton Theater on Wednesday, April 26th from 6:30-8:00 for the next Communication department showcase!