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iMedia students share "fly-in" projects

Students in the Interactive Media program this month aided nonprofit organizations in Cuba, Costa Rica and Portugal as part of their studies.


Graduate students in Elon University’s Interactive Media program on Jan. 24 shared completed projects from recent visits to nations where nonprofit organizations sought their help in developing more robust online presences.

Teams traveled to Costa Rica, Cuba and Portugal as part of the “Winter Fly-In” component to the master’s program offered by the School of Communications. Students filmed video, developed logos, shot photos for online galleries, and assisted with social media to aid the agencies and communities in spreading word of their existence and impact.

The latest projects, presented in Studio B in the School of Communications, included the following clients:

Vivero Alamar: iMedia students worked on an urban organic farm in Cuba to document what workers do, including their history, and show how the food actually reaches the people of Cuba. Students worked with the farm to create a project with a visual ethnography sidebar on Cuba, its people and culture.

Codece: A community organization in the mountainside community of Escazu, adjacent to San Jose, Costa Rica, iMedia students worked to preserve the culture of the native people who have lived there for a long time.

Térraba: Students worked in Térraba, Costa Rica, on a project with an indigenous group threatened by economic and environmental/political factors that may cause the further diminution or extinction of their distinctive culture. The team created web-based information that will help give the culture a "face" so that people making decisions about them better understand them.

The team's work was featured in a National Public Radio report broadcast across the United States.

Surfrider Foundation Europe: The nonprofit in Ericeira, Portugal, coordinates conservation and education efforts to protect coastal environments. Students produced interactive content to support the nonprofit's educational and outreach missions along Portugal's central Atlantic coastline.

“The fly-in offers iMedia students the opportunity to put their skills to work with a client that truly needs their assistance, and teams must deal with language issues, foreign environments, deadline pressures and the expectations of their clients,” said David Copeland, Elon University’s A.J. Fletcher Professor and director of the graduate program. “And when you think about the Cuba experience this year, it takes on even more significance when put into perspective.

"A privately owned farm in one of the most tightly controlled Communist countries in the world,contracted with a private university from the country that stills restricts trade and access to that Communist country to tell the story of the success and innovative practices of the farm to the world. That's a daunting task, and it's a great story."

Graduate students said that in addition to the clients they assisted, the campus presentations themselves were important.

"These have real-world value," said Dioni Wise, a former newspaper reporter enrolled in the master's program. "We're going to have to make pitches to prospective clients, or to explain to them all of the work we do for a project."

Wise said the fly-in programs helped students develop leadership abilities as well. "Leadership isn't about being the loudest person or being the one with ideas," she said. "It's about helping others on a team do their best in their roles (working together)."


Eric Townsend,
1/26/2013 7:04 PM