Robert McCaffrey—professor of digital media technology

rob_blackProfessor Rob McCaffrey is using the Sue Luzadder Chair in Communications endowment to purchase integrated media touchscreens to assist students who want to use the technology to write journalistic stories and produce video content in support…and then have a medium through which to produce it.

The Digital Media program has been working with colleagues in Communications on ways to update the classes in which our students produce periodic articles on current events (formerly ‛College Newspaper’). In spring, 2015, we began a special topics course called ‛Integrated Media Production,’ in which the students are required to write journalistic stories and produce photos, audio and videos to help support the written articles.

“I will use this endowed chair to purchase interactive touch screen monitors that could be placed on stands around campus to display this journalistic work. The ultimate goal would be to eventually have a permanent outlet for the writing and media created by students, as well as strengthen the campus community by creating a reliable source of local news,” says Professor McCaffrey.

As part of this project, Professor McCaffrey will also work to fully understand the workflow for producing content for interactive touchscreens.

The money from the chair would be used to purchase one or more large-format, interactive monitors, such as would pinapple_shootallow viewers to call up specific content, turn audio on or off, or interact with content like 3D digital maps or simple games. These monitors could be mounted for temporary display on stands, or (working first with OIT, plant operations, marketing and the campus president’s office) could be permanently mounted around campus. The screens would be used to loop current student articles and media projects. Content would originally be created by students in digital media classes, but the intent would be to eventually have content from any applicable communications or media production course added to the screens.

His goal will be to have the screens in place around campus by end of summer 2016, and at least 30 minutes of high-quality, student-produced, topical content installed on the monitors. “I’ll assess the success of the learning by the quality of the writing and media I’m able to get students to produce, and by whether the faculty, staff and students in my program area have learned how to produce effective content for touchscreens.”

He adds, “I teach in a media production area and have used social media sites for years to display student content. It’s useful to inspire students by showing off their work on a world-wide platform like

YouTube, but those platforms must be sought out, and often students don’t get to see how their work is received by the people around them. By having a local outlet for student-produced projects on campus, it’s my hope that students will be further inspired and pushed to do even higher-quality work, knowing that what they produce might be shown on-campus and that they might become personally known for what they are producing.”  One of their outlets currently is a blog.

Professor McCaffrey is the program director for Digital Media (for the past seven years or so), and last year taught a pilot class of Integrated Media Production—a mixture of College Newspaper and media production classes. Courses met synchronously on East and West Campuses and communicated with each other using Google Hangouts for real-time video conferencing and Trello boards for online organization of story pitches, research, writing and publication.

He teaches primarily at the east campus and is the faculty advisor for interns in the digital media program.

 

 

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