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Ninth Interactive Media class arrives on campus, christens renovated Long Building

This week 26 students officially started Elon’s Master of Arts in Interactive Media program, beginning a 10-month journey that will prepare them to think, design and develop content across all media platforms.

David Copeland bestowed high praise on the recently renovated Long Building, the new home of Elon’s Master of Arts in Interactive Media program.

Twenty-six students entered Elon University’s master’s program in Interactive Media on July 31. In 10 months, the students will return to the stairs outside of Whitley Auditorium for their Commencement ceremony.

“I don’t think this building could have been done any better,” said the A.J. Fletcher Professor and graduate program director.

On July 31, the same morning the Interactive Media program officially welcomed its ninth class, Copeland sat outside his renovated office and rattled off the benefits of the reimagined Long Building, touting its functional layout, movable spaces and equipment, and general aesthetics of the facility.

“It’s a beautiful building, and it will be really advantageous to have the entire communications program in one contiguous space,” said Copeland, noting the proximity of the other School of Communications facilities, which include Dwight C. Schar Hall, McEwen Communications Building and Steers Pavilion. All four communications facilities have been either newly constructed or extensively renovated in the past calendar year.

For a closer look at the renovated Long Building, which also houses the Department of Sport Management, visit our Flickr album.

Upon entering the renovated Long Building, visitors are greeted by an attractive sign promoting the Interactive Media program. Photo by Steven Cook Photography

​While the upgraded classroom and classroom lab, dedicated innovation space, and new editing suites likely grab a passersby’s attention, Copeland noted he also enjoys the building's simplistic additions. This includes movable whiteboard walls, multi-purpose furniture and a comfortable student lounge facing “Under the Oaks.” Even the repurposed wood behind the Interactive Media sign at the building’s entrance received two thumbs up from the director.

 “Everything in here is designed to be moveable,” Copeland said. “It’s designed that we can make the space within the rooms what we want – and meet the needs of the students and their classes. While what I’ve mentioned sounds like simple things, it will be huge for us in terms of instruction."

"This project shows that the university cares a lot for this program and its students to renovate it in such a manner," he added.

Copeland credited University Architect Brad Moore, Director of Interior Design Holly Hodge and many others for collaborating with the iMedia faculty and staff to make their vision for the spaces become a reality.

The significance of Long Building’s recent upgrades were not lost on the 26 members of this year’s iMedia class, which includes recent Elon graduate Mara Frontera ’17.

Here’s a look inside the iMedia classroom lab on the first floor of Long Building. Photo by Steven Cook Photography

​“With these changes, I get the sense the university takes the program seriously,” said Frontera, a communications design major. “It really makes me feel secure that we are getting the best education we possibly can, and that there’s a real commitment to the program.”

Just two months removed from Commencement, the Elon alumnus saw the iMedia program as the next logical step in her educational journey. “I felt this program would be a way to fine-tune everything that I have already learned, but with more depth,” Frontera said. “I also really wanted the experience of working with fellow students who are interested in communications, but have different skillsets. I feel I can learn from both the faculty and students here.”

Like Frontera, fellow iMedia classmate Juwan Johnson expects the Elon graduate program to enhance his professional opportunities post-graduation.

“I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades,” said Johnson, who graduated from N.C. A&T State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication. “I’ve always felt like I could dabble in everything, but what I hope to gain is being great at something. I’m still not sure what I want to do, but I think iMedia will teach me.”

As part of the 10-month program, all iMedia students will travel internationally in January to complete a project for the public good. Last year’s cohort traveled in teams to Iceland, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. While the winter might be far off, Johnson was already thinking of the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel and work with his fellow students.

As part of the renovation project, a student lounge, complete with a small kitchenette, was added to the first floor of Long Building. Photo by Steven Cook Photography

​“I’m especially excited for the fly-ins because I minored in Spanish as an undergraduate,” he said. “Hopefully, I end up in a Spanish-speaking country because I’d like to practice it again and enjoy some of the culture.”

Copeland commended Tarah Holland, assistant director of graduate admissions, and Maggie Mullikin, coordinator of graduate outreach and special programs, for recruiting a diverse iMedia class in terms of cultural, professional and educational backgrounds.

“This class we are really excited about,” Copeland said. “In some cases, it is one of our most homogeneous classes because of its North Carolina connections, but it’s also our most diverse class that we’ve ever had.”

Before this year’s class even stepped on campus, the director was impressed with the group’s collective talents. “What I have noticed when we reviewed their portfolios were the outstanding skills they already have, especially in terms of graphic design,” Copeland said. “We really can’t wait to get working with these talented individuals.”

​Elon’s 10-month, full-time program prepares graduates to think strategically across media platforms; plan and create interactive media content consisting of text, images, sounds, video and graphics; and manage information for interactive news, entertainment and persuasive communications.

Tommy Kopetskie,
7/31/2017 4:15 PM