Interactive Media students showcase thesis projects

During their annual capstone exhibition on May 20, students in Elon University’s Interactive Media master's program presented the work they've completed this semester.

During the annual iMedia Capstone Exhibition on May 20, Interactive Media student Megan McGowan discussed her searchable database with Craig Waller, president of Pace, a Greensboro-based professional content marketing agency. 
​The evening before their Commencement ceremony, graduate students in Elon’s Interactive Media master’s program hosted an annual iMedia Capstone Exhibition, presenting their semester-long projects to local professionals, Elon faculty, family and friends.

The second and third floors of the Powell Building were abuzz on May 20 with students sharing their innovative and forward-thinking thesis projects, which included educational websites, interactive videos, interactive magazines, mobile/tablet applications, hardware/HCI, and more.

The 31 iMedia students – including 13 who completed their undergraduate work at Elon – organized the evening’s reception, highlighting the skills they’ve gained during the last 10 months of their graduate education. The class even created an event website and mobile application for the one-night exhibition.

Exhibition photos are available on the School of Communications’ Flickr page.

David Copeland, Elon’s A.J. Fletcher Professor and director of the graduate program, commended this year’s class ­– the school’s sixth iMedia class – for continuing to raise the program’s bar of excellence.

“If you looked around, you saw some amazing work that covered everything from mobile applications and websites to interactive videos, shows and documentaries,” he said. “It was a fascinating affair and a great showcase of what our students are really capable of.”

Nia Duke talks about her capstone project, "Afropunkie,” during the annual exhibition.
​A steady stream of visitors toured the exhibition, which had an array of project topics ranging from Henry Dean’s music therapy application for the iPad to Megan McGowan’s searchable database of volunteer opportunities available in Alamance County.

Among the most popular stops was Sam Kahle’s project, Luna, a virtual reality experience that uses the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion to teach users about the phases of the moon and other space-related concepts. The 3-D virtual world has the potential to make textbook-based education seem light-years behind.

Like Kahle’s project, Ted Russell’s interactive video, “I Heart Life: Interactive PSA on Heart Health,” got attendees participating, while also educating them on making healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

Copeland applauded the iMedia students’ commitment, noting the hours they’ve spent on their respective projects and the immense thought they’ve given to their execution.

“While you can see the finished product, you don’t get the full value of what they have done and what they have learned,” he said, noting how students apply theoretical concepts and user feedback to perfect their projects. “Yes, the end products are great, but everything that went into them is so much more involved than what you could see.”

Sam Kahle (right) shares details about his capstone project, a virtual reality experience that teaches users about the phases of the moon and other space-related concepts.  
​For the first time the master’s program hosted a demo day the week prior to the showcase, allowing students an opportunity to test their projects with each other and a small audience. In the few days in between their demos and the exhibition, the finishing touches were noticeable, Copeland said.

“What I enjoyed was how the students watched how people used what they created, asked questions and wrote down notes to improve their sites, their apps and their projects,” he said. “To the very end, they were focused on making the best projects they could.”

While the students take 37 hours of master’s-level classes together in just 10 months, a strong sense of solidarity develops in the program, added Copeland. This cohesiveness grows exponentially during their annual “fly-in” projects abroad.

“This is really a rigorous program, and you build up a camaraderie,” he said. “That’s why I think this is a unique program, and those connections only makes our students stronger. And they stay bonded long after the program.”

One didn’t have to look far to see an example of that bond. As many as nine graduates from last year’s iMedia program were in attendance at the 2015 exhibition. Some of recent graduates traveled from as far away as West Virginia and South Carolina, according to Copeland.

To commemorate this year’s iMedia class, Russell created a highlight video detailing their work and experiences.

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