During their 10-month exploration of new avenues in interactive and digital media delivery, members of the 2022 Master of Interactive Media program have discovered new technical skills, new passions, and new career paths.
To showcase the knowledge they’ve gained since last summer, the 14 graduate students hosted the program’s annual Capstone Expo on May 17, unveiling thesis projects using mobile apps, interactive videos, virtual reality, and games. Project topics included a VR exposure therapy program, a queer identity video game, a parallax website explaining biases in AI, and a diversity and inclusion education mobile app. for the Elon community – more on that below.
Photos of the exhibit are available on the School of Communications’ Flickr page.
The Capstone exhibit is the culmination of a 10-month educational journey in which students push themselves beyond their previous limits, while investigating a subject close to their hearts, said Associate Professor Derek Lackaff , director of the graduate program in interactive media.
“These capstone projects allow students to use and further develop their technical skills to interact with an audience or topic that has personal meaning to them,” he said. “Each project reflects a bold vision, a rigorous research program and many technical challenges overcome. Ultimately, each student has developed a new capacity for independent learning that will accompany them throughout their professional career. »
For Kerrie King, her interactive documentary video storytelling project, entitled “Off-Script”, is a subject close to her heart, where she tells the stories of women who have overcome self-limiting beliefs to live their lives to the fullest. Additionally, she has also developed an interactive video magazine to make their wisdom and insights more accessible.
“As someone who is passionate about people and promoting growth and authenticity, I have spent the past several months researching and conducting interviews with women in their 30s, 40s and 50s to educate and empowering women to move beyond self-limiting beliefs to live their lives to the fullest,” she says. “This subject hits very close to home as a 40-something makes a career shift after a long and successful career as a public high school teacher.”
King explained that she was happy with her completed project and its scope, and that “sharing the stories of inspiring women for others also made me proud.”
Ana Martinez-Valles’ flagship project is also deeply personal, combining her love of fitness with her interest in how native speakers learn a different language. These two interests led her to develop MásFit, a prototype interactive app in Spanish designed to help Latin women achieve their fitness and health goals. It incorporates a range of content, including recipes and workout demos created using motion capture animations.
“While researching fitness apps, I found that none of the apps targeted Spanish speakers,” she said. “I not only created my app entirely in Spanish, but it also includes 3D video motion capture as well as cultural dishes. All my users who tested it liked my app, and I really enjoyed it to be able to interact with it without having to translate it. It is made for all my Spanish speakers.
Martinez-Valles said she was inspired to pursue this project following her study experience with her cohort in Puerto Rico. Now, at the end of her experience in interactive media, Martinez-Valles plans to become a product designer, drawing on her love for UX/UI design as well as graphic design.
“In my application, I took all of my skills — graphic design, videography, UX/UI — and mixed them all together,” she said.
Christy Marchand’s flagship project shares similarities with King and Martinez, merging her interest (skiing and snowboarding) with an obvious need (health and safety). She has developed a website and mobile app, titled “SafeSki”, which provides access to a ski patrol anywhere on a mountain with the click of a button.
Marchand explored how two different user interfaces – one for skiers on the slopes and one for ski patrollers in their HQ – could be integrated to support a single important process.
“This topic appealed to me because I was a snowboarder myself. I saw and knew many people who got injured on the mountain,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to not only help the injured, but to improve ski patrol processes for the better. Why not use technology to do it?
Marchand said her cornerstone was “instrumental” in her graduate program experience, allowing her to combine her skills in UX/UI design, technology, coding, and project management into a single product.
“I’m very proud of my project because it took a lot of research and courage from start to finish,” she said. “Not only am I proud of how the product turned out, but I also believe in this product and its ability to save lives.”
Finally, Doo Lee used his flagship project – Elon Together, an educational mobile app about diversity, equity and inclusion – to build on a strength he saw on the University of Ottawa campus. Elon. He expressed his appreciation for the institution’s DEI education and development plan, supported by numerous organizations, programs and activities aimed at promoting the value of diversity and inclusion on campus.
“For this reason, I wanted to create an interactive platform and content that can help DEI education be more interesting and engaging for young students,” he said. “I believe Elon Together can benefit Elon and help young students understand the value of DEI on campus.”
As part of his project, Lee conducted research, usability testing, data analysis, and met with DEI leaders on campus to discuss the needs of a mobile application for DEI education. He said he appreciated the summary requirement because it gave him the opportunity to learn and understand the whole app development process. “I strongly believe that iMedia has prepared me very well so I can be a UX/UI designer and a visual/graphic designer,” he said.
Lee thanks the entire campus for making his mobile app possible, noting the strong support he received during the planning phase from Laké Laosebikan-Buggs, Director of Inclusive Excellence for Higher and Professional Education. With her support, Lee was able to connect with other DEI campus leaders to share her idea.
“I have built great relationships with many organizations including Inclusive Excellence, CREDE, GLC, Unity in Communications, Asian-Pacific Student Association, Black Student Union, El Centro, etc.,” he said. Without the people I met here at Elon University and their support, I would not be able to complete my capstone project. »
Lackaff praised Lee for a project that reflects “an impressive and diverse skill set, and focuses on an important and timely theme.” The director also praised Lee for pursuing other educational opportunities, including submitting his work for peer review and presentation.
Overall, Lackaff said the 2022 cohort is memorable for their collegiality and maturity.
“Our program is intensive and can be stressful at times, but the camaraderie, professionalism and good humor of these students was remarkable,” Lackaff said. “I’m excited to follow their next steps and welcome them as new members of our incredible alumni community.”
With a moment of reflection, Martinez-Valles said he will miss his cohort deeply, a talented group of people ready to help and support each other. “We all work really well together, and I think that’s what made iMedia such an amazing experience,” she said.
Kerrie echoed those sentiments, adding that the program challenged her while supporting her. She credits her teachers and peers for creating “an environment where risk is encouraged and creativity is valued”.
Lee concluded that he will miss the class dynamics he shared with his fellow graduates, noting the strong bonds he has developed over the past year.
“My cohort is now my family,” Lee said. “We learned from each other and grew together. Everyone in the cohort was very dedicated and supportive. I wish them the best in their next trip. I know they will do great things as alumni and communication professionals.
Class of 2022