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Interactive Media students share 'fly-in' projects, experiences abroad

During on-campus presentations, graduate students in the Interactive Media master's program on Jan. 27 discussed their work from their travels in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Barbados and the Dominican Republic.

Tiffany Mackins (right) and Megan McGowan present their fly-in project during the Interactive Media Winter Term presentations Jan. 27. Photos by Kim Walker

Just a few days into the new year, five groups of graduate students in Elon University’s Interactive Media program set off into the world – specifically Central America and the Caribbean islands – to commence team projects for the public good.

As part of Interactive Media’s annual “fly-in” projects, the students visited clients in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Barbados and the Dominican Republic. In an effort to help several nonprofit organizations develop a more robust presence online, the students filmed video, developed logos, captured photography, and assisted with social media marketing plans.

After approximately a week on the ground collecting and gathering content, the students returned to campus to create websites, blogs, photo and video galleries, social media platforms, and other online marketing tools. Over the course of the next two weeks, the groups completely overhauled their clients’ presence online and, in some cases, built their presence from scratch.

Henry Kean and Martina Allen present their team project from their visit to Barbados. 

The five teams shared details about their trips, as well as their finished projects, during formal presentations in Studio B of the School of Communications on Jan. 27. The event was also live streamed – and recorded – for alumni and friends on and off campus.

“Every year I find it amazing what the students can produce in a short amount of time. All of the content – their videos, photos and webpages – is high quality, and this year was no different,” said David Copeland, Elon University’s A.J. Fletcher Professor and director of the graduate program.

Here is a recap of the team projects:

Team Barbados
iMedia students assisted in a multimedia project for the Challenor Creative Arts and Training Centre (CCATC), one of the only affordable schools for children ages 4-18 with intellectual and physical disabilities in Canefield, St. Thomas, Barbados. Housed in a beautiful, but deteriorating, 400-year-old building in the highlands of Barbados, CCATC provides care and education to students through its two organizational divisions: The Challenor School and Adult Training Facility. The goal for this project was to enhance civic engagement through volunteerism, as well as to promote monetary donations in order to combat the termite damage and mold to the facility.

Team Guatemala
While visiting San Juan, Guatemala, students worked with Rising Minds, a nonprofit organization that helps facilitate cultural immersion experiences for travelers and aid to the people of San Juan and other local mountain villages facing hardships. As part of their multimedia project, the students were charged with creating a website that was logical for readers to understand and digest the organization’s services and objectives. At the same time, the organization’s founder asked that the new website tell the story – or “journey” – of Rising Minds, which the group successfully implemented in a clean, responsive site.

Tyler Ballentine and Ashley Pugh discuss the handbags created by the organization they worked with while visiting the Dominican Republic.

Team Couti, Dominican Republic
During the course of their seven days in the city of Cotuí, iMedia students gathered video footage, photographs and interviews to promote Creaciones Ecologías La Colonia, or CRÉELA, a women’s cooperative. The organization, which consists of 25 women, creates handbags from recycled plastic shopping bags. With the monetary earnings generated from the handbags, the women support themselves and their families. The student group was asked to establish a web presence for the cooperative with two goals: To introduce these phenomenal women to the world, and also give them an opportunity to sell their handbags internationally and generate a larger income for their communities. The group also created an impressive fly-over video.

Second Team Couti, Dominican Republic
While two teams converged on the city of Cotuí during the iMedia “fly-ins” this winter, the second Team Couti stood apart by working with "two clients under one umbrella." iMedia students were charged with a creating a single website, titled Hogar de Ancianos en Cotuí RD, to address their client’s health center, as well as nursing home that serves the underprivileged. The purpose of the project was to increase traffic to the medical center because its profits maintain the nursing home. Additionally, the group attempted to raise awareness of both facilities in order to receive donations for much needed materials.

Team Costa Rica
While visiting San Jose, Costa Rica, a group of six graduate students met with two clients and collected photos, video and interviews for web content. The clients were Molinos Verdes de Moringa, a permaculture resource and advocacy group, and Centro Diba, a center for nearly 20 adult individuals with disabilities. Both sites were created in Spanish to make it easier for their respective audiences to receive information. The Centro Diba website delves into the organization’s heartfelt objective of serving the needs of individuals and their families where resources are severely limited.

Afterward, Copeland said he enjoyed the uniqueness of each presentation and the excitement the groups displayed during their respective talks. “It is fun to see the adrenaline rush that these students have as they present and show what they have accomplished,” he added.

In addition to that rush, Copeland reasoned the students should feel a great deal of satisfaction having traveled out of the country, gathered an immense amount of content, and worked diligently to complete their projects. “Everything we’ve seen was put together in two weeks or less, which means they were basically working around the clock,” he concluded.

Tommy Kopetskie,
1/27/2015 5:15 PM