Come Get Your Game On at The Woz

Posted on: July 19, 2017

The Traverse City Film Festival has more to offer than just a traditional film experience. Go beyond the screen to the place where art, science and technology come together at The Woz. The game design program at Michigan State University has developed a showcase of immersive, educational and entertaining video games for you to explore.

GEL Lab 1

The Woz opens its doors on Wednesday, July 26 from 6-9 p.m. at Hotel Indigo. It will then be open from Thursday to Saturday, July 27-29, from noon-8 p.m. and Sunday, July 30, from noon-3 p.m. Visitors can play mobile games developed for smartphones and tablets, explore virtual reality experiences on the HTC Vive and play with friends in a number of multiplayer interactive experiences.

William Jeffrey and Brian Winn, both faculty in ComArtSci’s Department of Media and Information, have assembled the showcase from student-created work coming out of the MSU game design and development program and from projects in the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab.

Jeffrey and Winn are most excited about one of the newest games from the GEL Lab, called Plunder Panic.

“Plunder Panic is a swashbuckling, multiplayer arcade game where two rival crews battle for supremacy on the high seas,” said Winn. “Defeat the enemy captain, scuttle their ship, plunder enough booty or end up shark bait in Davy Jones’ Locker.”

This game can support up to ten players all at once. Players can win the game by defeating the captain of the rival team, plundering enough gold to sail away or sinking their opponent’s ship.

“Plunder Panic has multiple ways to win, meaning you always have to keep an eye patch out for what the other team is doing,” said Jeffrey. “We think the game is a blast to play and hope that the visitors of The Woz love it too.”

GEL Lab 2

Another one of the many projects being showcased is called Spartio, which was created by students during the spring semester and polished in the GEL Lab during the summer in anticipation for The Woz.

“Spartio is a game that utilizes the Microsoft Kinect camera system for player input,” said Winn. “Stretch your arms, rotate your body and clap your hands to help Sparty avoid falling from platforms, navigate past laser beams and leap across giant pits.”

Virtual reality experiences were a big hit at last years’ Woz and this year there will be several new and unique immersive experiences including the Virtual Vineyard, a grant-funded project from the GEL Lab.

“In Virtual Vineyard, you can explore a vineyard in virtual reality, interact with winemaking equipment and learn all about the winemaking process,” said Winn. “We will also be showcasing a collection of entertaining VR experiences created during the spring in our new Building Virtual Worlds course.”

Over the past year, students and faculty in the game design program have developed a number of new projects across a variety of platforms. They have created mobile and desktop games, virtual reality experiences and even games controlled by a camera with Microsoft Kinect.

“There is such a wide variety of games to play, across all different styles and genres,” said Jeffrey. “We truly think there is something here for everyone to enjoy. Our students have been working hard to create games for others to enjoy, viewing The Woz as a great event to showcase their work and get it out in the world.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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Breaking the Digital Divide: Using Technology to Improve the Lives of Older Adults

Posted on: July 13, 2017

Shelia CottenAs we age, our ability to learn and retain new information diminishes. So much so, that by the time we reach our 80s and 90s, a skill picked up easily by a toddler – like tapping and swiping on a mobile phone - can seem too daunting to undertake. Frustrated and defeated, many older adults simply give up trying to learn new skills.

That’s where Shelia Cotten, Ph.D. steps in. A professor in the Department of Media and Information in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci), Cotten researches technology use across the life course. Her goal is to improve the lives of older adults by closing the digital divide and helping them learn to use technologies to improve their lives.

Training Older Adults

Elderly man using computer tabletIn a recent study, Cotten and her team spent 5-years working with 19 different assisted and independent living facilities training older adults to use computers and the internet. The training lasted for 8-weeks in each facility, with 2 training sessions per week plus an additional office hours session.

The team started with the basics – from turning on a computer, to conducting an internet search, to sending an email.

“A lot of times, older adults have had no experience with computers in their lives,” said Cotten. “So, we have to start very basic. We started early teaching them to use email because findings from our prior work showed that older adults really enjoy that one-to-one communication/interaction.”

The participants also learned how to search for health information, and to critically evaluate the information they found.

“Because a lot of older adults have more health problems than younger aged groups [the question is] ‘How do you find information on the latest prescription that you’ve been given?’ and ‘Is there a conflict with some other medicine that you’re taking?’ We try to help them to be more critical consumers of information,” said Cotten.

Improving Quality of Life

The team also observed the mental health and quality of life benefits the residents received while working with the research team, including impacts on depression, isolation and loneliness.

“A lot of times as people age into their 80s or 90s, their partners or spouses have died, their children may be living far away, their health tends to decline… the combination of those factors

leads them to be more isolated, have higher rates of loneliness, have higher depression levels as they move into older adulthood,” Cotten told us.

According to Cotten, more opportunities for interaction and exchange of social support often lead to more positive outcomes for older adults. Because of that, Cotten focused her study on training older adults in a face-to-face environment, teaching them ways to use technology to connect with their present as well as their past.

“We found the interaction is very beneficial for older adults in general,” said Cotten. “But, over and above [we found] that the training and technology usage had positive effects. Teaching older adults how to use computers and the internet had positive impacts on their quality of life.”

From finding their childhood homes using Google Street View, to watching their favorite classic television shows or listening to music from earlier generations on Hulu and YouTube, the participants were able to see that many of their memories still live on.

Findings of the Study

At the end of the 5-year study, Cotten and her team found that their work was a success.

“We saw very positive effects in terms of teaching older adults in these communities to cross the digital divide and use computers and the internet successfully,” Cotten recalled. “They had reduced loneliness, better social integration, and lower depression. And many of the positive results tended to persist over time.”

The group even wrote a book on designing technology training programs for older adults in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). The book is intended to help additional facilities work with their residents in the future, continuing to improve their quality of life.

Cotten said the team wrote the book “To provide the latest research- and design-based recommendations for how to design and implement technology training programs for older adults in CCRCs. Our approach concentrates on providing useful best practices for CCRC owners, CEOs and activity directors, as well as practitioners and system designers working with older adults to enhance their quality of life and educators studying older adults. Although the guidelines are couched in the context of CCRCs, they will have broader-based implications for training older adults to use computers, tablets and other technologies.”

More to Come

Cotten has dedicated her career to exploring innovative ways to use technology to improve people’s lives and just finished her fourth year at MSU. This summer, she is conducting a large-scale survey of older adults across the U.S. about different aspects of technology, including digital assistance and even autonomous vehicles.

“You know Alexa? And Siri? We want to get their perspectives on these technologies. There isn’t a lot known about these new technologies coming out and older adults’ perceptions of them and how they might use them to improve their quality of life,” said Cotten. “Autonomous vehicles have such a huge potential for older adults who have mobility problems and can’t drive anymore… Using autonomous vehicles has the potential to significantly impact their independence and have positive impacts on their quality of life.”

In addition to research, Cotten also teaches classes in ComArtSci, is the Director for the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research, the Director of Trifecta and was recently promoted to MSU Foundation Professor.

“I love being in the Department of Media and Information and being at MSU; my whole department is focused on how can we use media and technology to improve people’s lives and the larger world. It’s a great opportunity to be in a very interdisciplinary department and have great collaborators who are all interested in different aspects of technology, media, or information. I love it here,” said Cotten.

View more of Cotten's work >> 

By Nikki W. O’Meara

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ComArtSci Professor Promoted to MSU Foundation Professor

Posted on: June 28, 2017

ComArtSci professor Shelia Cotten has been promoted to MSU Foundation Professor for her accomplishments in M&I research. The university awards this title to individuals who combine exemplary scholarly accomplishment with clear professional relevance to areas of scholarly need, disciplinary development, research or creative emphasis. Cotten will retain the title of Foundation Professor for the duration of her time at MSU. Shelia 1

“I am very honored to be awarded a MSU Foundation Professorship,” said Cotten. “This award recognizes the contributions of my research on technology use and impacts across the life course, as well as my efforts to enhance interdisciplinary research as Director of Trifecta and Director of the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research. I hope that my research and efforts help to improve the human condition, particularly for individuals and groups who are most disadvantaged in society.”

Cotten studies technology use across the life course and the social, educational and health impacts of that use. She conducts large-scale community based intervention studies designed to use technology to enhance various aspects of quality of life.

“Through interdisciplinary research and innovative use of communication technology, Shelia has forged an exciting research program that addresses transgenerational challenges in health communication,” said ComArtSci Dean Prabu David. “Under Shelia’s leadership, both Trifecta and the Center for Innovation and Research have made significant strides in advancing health communication research at MSU.”

Cotten is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She was previously the Chair of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA) and the 2013 recipient of the CITASA Public Sociology Award. In 2016 she received the William F. Ogburn Senior Career Achievement Award from the Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology (CITAMS) section of the American Sociological Association. Cotten enjoys teaching courses on the social impacts of technology, survey research and research methods. She joins the ranks of fellow ComArtSci professor Dimitar Deliyski. The two are currently the only ComArtSci professors to be given this prestigious title.

By Katie Kochanny

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Professor Constantinos Coursaris Awarded the IIE Fulbright Greek Diaspora Fellowship

Posted on: May 18, 2017

University of the Aegean top image

Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris, associate professor for both the Media and Information and Advertising and Public Relations departments of ComArtSci, has been awarded a fellowship by The IIE Fulbright Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program.

As part of his new role, Coursaris has traveled to Greece for two months to collaborate with the University of the Aegean’s Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering on curriculum co-development, collaborative research on digital entrepreneurship and to assist with the professional development and mentoring of graduate students in digital entrepreneurship and electronic government.

Working abroad

From April 24 to June 24, Coursaris will work with Dr. Dimitris Drossos to create a new exchange program that would allow MSU students to spend a semester studying in Greece, while MSU would host Greek students from the University of the Aegean.

Coursaris will also explore new research projects with Greek scholars in the area of digital entrepreneurship and mentor graduate students on topics ranging from creating a professional portfolio, to designing rigorous research studies and using advanced statistics to analyze data.

“My interest in this project primarily stems from my passion for supporting MSU’s World Grant Ideal,” said Coursaris. “This is enacted, in part, through a greater internationalization of our East Lansing campus, the provision of study abroad opportunities to MSU students and the bilateral mobility of teacher-scholars.”

The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program

Constantinos Coursaris

Constantinos Coursaris

Coursaris is one of 21 Greek- and Cypriot-born scholars, from 16 prominent U.S. and Canadian universities, traveling to Greece in order to conduct academic projects with their peers at Greek universities. They are working in areas such as public health, chemical genomics research, urban food security and a variety of others. Twelve Greek universities were selected by the GDFP to host the fellows for collaborative projects that meet specific needs at their institutions and in their communities.

The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program is designed to help avert Greece’s brain drain and develop the long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Greece and the United States and Canada. It is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, and funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

“Having been born and raised in Greece, I was also personally motivated to explore opportunities to support higher education in Greece, particularly during this difficult time period,” said Coursaris. “Investing and transforming Greek higher education in such a way as to support entrepreneurship and innovation is arguably the most effective approach in overcoming an increasing brain drain coupled with ever-diminishing resources.”

Looking ahead

Over a period of two years, the program will award fellowships to 40 U.S. and Canadian based academics to collaborate with universities throughout Greece to develop curricula, conduct research and teach and mentor graduate students in priority areas identified by the Greek universities.
“I feel honored to have been selected in the very first cohort of scholars selected for IIE’s Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program,” said Coursaris. “It’s an ambitious agenda, but given the faculty and student talent at the University of the Aegean, along with the hosts’ warm and engaging personalities, I am confident in the successful completion of this undertaking.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets 

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Fake News and Filters Aren't Fooling Internet Users

Posted on: May 4, 2017

This story was originally published on MSU Today

Despite what some politicians argue, fake news and biased search algorithms aren’t swaying public opinion, finds a Michigan State University researcher.

william-dutton

William Dutton

Commissioned and funded by Google, William Dutton, director of MSU’s James and Mary Quello Center in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and researchers from Oxford University and the University of Ottawa, conducted a survey of 14,000 internet users in seven nations: United States, Britain, France, Poland, Germany, Italy and Spain.

“The role of search in the political arena is of particular significance as it holds the potential to support or undermine democratic processes,” Dutton said. “For example, does online search enable citizens to obtain better information about candidates for political office and issues in elections and public affairs, or do the processes underlying search bias what citizens know in ways that could distort democratic choice?”

While there are country-specific findings, universally, concerns about internet searches undermining the quality and diversity of information accessed by citizens are unwarranted, the study found.

Indeed, search plays a role in how internet users obtain information about politics, but there are several factors that come into play, Dutton said.

“The results from our study show that internet users interested in politics tend to be exposed to multiple media sources, to discover new information, to be skeptical of political information and to check information, such as that seen on social media, by using search,” he said. “These findings should caution governments, business and the public from over-reacting to alarmist panics.”

Key findings:

  • The argument that search creates “filter bubbles,” in which an algorithm guesses what information a user wants based on their information (location, search history), is overstated. In fact, internet users encounter diverse information across multiple media, which challenges their viewpoints.
  • Most users aren’t silenced by contrasting views; nor do they silence those with whom they disagree.
  • News about fake news has created unjustified levels of concern; people use search to check facts and the validity of information found on social media or the internet.
  • Cross-nationally, there are consistent patterns of media use, but people in France and Germany use search engines less and rely more on traditional media. In Italy, residents use search more frequently. Out of the seven countries in the study, internet users in Poland trust search the most to keep them informed and in Spain, users are particularly prone to use the internet to check facts. In the United Kingdom, people use search less, placing more trust in broadcast media.

Most research on internet searches has focused on one platform, such as Twitter or Facebook, Dutton said. The MSU study is one of the first to concentrate on the wider context of a person’s informational and social networks and the wide range of media people consume.

The study can be downloaded from the Social Science Research Network.

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Junior Strengthens Audio Interest Through Student Organizations, New York Field Experience and Music

Posted on: April 21, 2017

arthur

Over spring break on the New York Field Experience trip through the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Arthur Jones, media and information junior, was not only able to observe audio, video and music industries individually, but he was also able to see his interests work together in the media industry as a whole.

His interest in audio started his senior year of high school, when he took a class with someone who owned a local recording studio.

“I knew I liked to play music and thought the class looked neat at first, but I happened to really like the recording aspect of the class,” Jones said.

The one visit that Jones found particularly interesting during the New York City Field Experience was the group’s stop at MTV.

“We learned how important their social media teams are,” Jones said. “Because their demographic is early to late teens, they constantly have to stay up-to-date with new app trends. Whenever something new comes out, they have to learn how to best apply it to their audience.”

The biggest thing he learned from alumni on the trip was the fact that, in college, you never truly know what city you will end up in.

He also learned a lot about careers in the audio industry.

“I knew New York was a big media market, but I really learned so many valuable pieces of information related to all things audio,” said Jones. “Whether it’s in TV or radio, doing something in audio would be my dream job.”

The market in New York City made Jones aware of potential job opportunities.

“I definitely am more open now and saw the possibilities of different careers in the media industry,” Jones said. “The New York trip really broadened the potential I saw in the different jobs I could do.”

A change in tune

Jones first came to MSU as a student in the James Madison College. When he discovered that he wasn’t passionate about what he was studying, he left MSU to study at a community college in his hometown. He pursued a music degree and learned how to play an instrument – the double bass. When he returned to MSU, he decided to major in media and information with a minor in music.

“Even though there aren’t a ton of audio classes, MSU has so many students making student-films and other projects as well,” Jones said. “I was pulled into the fiction film class and Theatre 2 Film. I also work at Recording Services in the music building.”

In addition to all of those commitments to expanding his craft, Jones also plays in the concert orchestra at MSU.

Valuable skills learned

Jones doesn’t regret taking the time away from MSU to learn what he wanted to do. He said the experience was “valuable.”

“I thought I wanted to do international relations, but I realized the reason why was to be on NPR,” he said. “It’s still a dream job of mine to work on an NPR special, but I feel like I can accomplish that with what I am doing. By leaving and coming back, it made me very secure in what I want to do.”

His advice?

Jones suggests if students don’t know what they want to do, to think about an interest and pursue it more.

“You have to think, ‘Could I do this for years?’” Jones said. “College is the time to figure out your interests and experiment with those interests. At MSU, there are so many clubs, which makes it fun and easy to try out anything and everything.”

By Meg Dedyne

 

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Bob Albers prepares for retirement from MSU, premieres film at CCFF

Posted on: April 18, 2017

MSU Media Sandbox photography exercise; with Zydecrunch, performing atop the Comm Arts & Sciences parking ramp. 9/17/12. photo: w.r. richards/CAS-MSU

After a 35-year career teaching at MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences in the Department of Media and Information, Senior Video Specialist Bob Albers will retire after the current spring semester.

Albers teaches one of the Communication Arts and Sciences classes that many ComArtSci students choose to take as a part of their degree programs. The course is called Story, Sound and Motion, which explores the central role of storytelling, sound and editing in media communication. That being said, the number of students that have had the opportunity to learn from Albers reaches into the thousands. He has had a particular impact on students who have taken his documentary capstone class. In fact, last year, a film produced by students in Albers’ class, From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City, earned entrance into several film festivals and even won a Student Academy Award.

Before he retires, Albers has been able to cherish the relationships and connections made during his time at the college. The department recently celebrated the sixth Albies Awards, an Oscar-like awards ceremony recognizing students for their work in production and film. It simultaneously commemorates Albers and his name for the impact he has had on the program.

At this year’s Albies, Albers was celebrated with a plaque from the students, “It was one of those bittersweet things. I think, ‘Why am I leaving? I’ve got this group that I’m a part of that I am still connected with and I can tell they care about me’ ... So, I’ll miss that.”

Celebrating his craft and most recent film

You have likely experienced that moment when you’re doing the thing you love and you enter this state of being where you’re absorbed in the action or performance, commonly referred to as being “in the zone.” Albers’ recent documentary film, Chasing the Moment, follows 11 individuals who have experienced those moments and continue to seek them out in their lives every day.

The film features a chef, a marine sniper, a pulitzer prize-winning photographer, dancers, an Olympic Silver Medalist and more. It recently premiered at the Capital City Film Festival in Lansing on April 8. 

“(The film is) about how do you get to that place where everything goes away and you’re not thinking about anything, you’re just being whatever it is that you do,” said Albers.

Like the people in his film, Albers said he has experienced this sensation, too. Before entering the classroom, he was a college basketball player at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, where he studied psychology. He said the feeling was present as an athlete, but it also happened later when he picked up the classical guitar and when he went to art school to study sculpture and photography, too.

Throughout the course of his life, he’s been a teacher of various subjects and crafts, including teaching science to junior high school students, giving guitar lessons and, today, mentoring and educating future directors, editors and other industry professionals about all aspects of film and documentaries.

Albers’ teaching went beyond the classroom during the 4.5-years of production for Chasing the Moment. He selected a handful of MSU students and two faculty members to assist him.

“Some of them were involved in the shooting (process) and so I feel as if that’s a window into the professional world for those people,” said Albers. “They get to do classes, but then they get to work on a big project."

The 2016 Albies attended by over 200 members of Telecasters, alumni, staff and guest. 04/23/2016. Photo Credit: Amanda Pinckney

Leaving a legacy

Albers’ ability to connect with his students dates back to the 90s when Bob Gould, a professor in the School of Journalism, was a student of Albers’. When Gould later returned to ComArtSci as a professor, he said Albers was a friendly face to see walking the halls.

“The first semester teaching here, I leaned on him a little to get some professional advice, but every time I would see him in the ComArtSci building, I would smile and was a bit nostalgic. In fact, even today, 10 years later, I still feel that way when I see him or talk to him,” said Gould. “He had that kind of impact on me and so many other students. His kind soul and quiet demeanor always creates a calming effect when stress levels are high. I’m sad to see him retire, but it is so well deserved.”

Gould said one of the last things he did as a student at ComArtSci was create a small documentary as an independent study with Albers. Now, 30 years later, Gould’s daughter, Ilene, a freshman media and information student at MSU, is doing the exact same thing.

“He knows how to teach creative, out-of-the-box thinking and I’ve definitely learned better ways to approach storytelling," said Ilene. "He’s just a genuine and kind person and shows a lot of care for his craft, but most importantly for his students."

His daughter’s work with Albers has impressed Gould and he is happy to know she had the chance to learn from one of the greats.

“When I heard Bob might be retiring, I told my daughter that she should take an independent study with him and learn as much as she can from him. I thought it would be a really cool thing for two generations to share that special mentorship,” said Gould.

Just as Gould and his daughter have enjoyed learning from him, Albers has taken equal joy from teaching, “I really do like teaching a lot and I enjoy being around young people. You know they say it keeps you young, but I don’t think that’s true, maybe a little bit younger than you would be if you weren’t involved with young people. They see the world differently than I do, maybe clearer in some ways than someone like me does. That’s a thrill.”

What’s next?

Albers, a Kentucky native, looks forward to moving back to his home state after 37 years away to build a home with his wife and “get to know Louisville again,” especially through his photography.

By Savannah Swix

 

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Film by MSU professor and WKAR producer to air on PBS

Posted on: April 7, 2017

LATIN MUSIC USA (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A groundbreaking documentary on Latin Music from WKAR producer and Michigan State University professor John Valadez will air nationally in primetime on PBS this May.

His film, The Chicano Wave, is the third hour in a four-part series, called Latin Music USA. This entertaining and insightful documentary dives deep into the history of Mexican American music to showcase how the Latino culture is a part of all of us. Featured in Valadez’ film are musicians and performers like Selena, Ritchie Valens, Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt and more.

John Valadez

John Valadez

“In America, we are all interconnected in ways that are complicated, often subtle, unseen, and unarticulated, and so this series, Latin Music USA, that’s kind of what it’s about. It’s about making unexpected connections that are actually very beautiful and surprising,” said Valadez. “The show is about music, but in a sense it is really America. It’s about what it means to be American.”

Valadez believes a film like this would not have been possible without the expertise and thoughtful research of scholars from Chicano/Latino Studies Programs like the one at MSU’s College of Social Science. He states, “You do not get something like Latin Music USA unless there are dedicated folks writing the books; unless there are people exploring and elucidating the history; unless there are talented musicologists who are placing it in context.”  

Valadez has often been called “the hardest working Chicano in the Doc Biz,” and in this case the dedication has certainly paid off. The series will be shown on primetime national television in May, with Valadez’ film broadcast on May 5 on PBS at 9 p.m. – Cinco de Mayo.

In addition to his role with WKAR, Valadez has joint appointments as professor of practice with the Department of Media and Information and the Film Studies Program at MSU.

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MSU Game Design Ranks among Princeton Review’s Top 20 and #1 in Big Ten

Posted on: April 3, 2017

One day, you’re at home playing your favorite video game after school. The next, you’re stepping into a classroom to learn how to design the next generation’s go-to game.

With a brand new multi-million dollar media space and technically-skilled faculty, Game Design students at Michigan State University are receiving an education that ranks among the Princeton Review's top 20 and number one in the Big Ten conference.

At number 10 for undergraduate programs, and with a graduate program right behind that at number 11 in a separate ranking for graduate schools, MSU is making its presence known.

We have made significant investments in our program in the last year including hiring three new games faculty, creation of the interactive media and motion capture studio and revising our curriculum within Media and Information to add several new game art and design courses,” said Brian Winn, director of undergraduate studies and an associate professor in the Department of Media and Information.

gelStudents who enroll in classes for the game design program, housed in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, come from a variety of majors including studio art, computer science and engineering as well as media and information.

“Our program is very interdisciplinary,” said Winn. “Students collaborate on teams (in classes), assuming the role most closely related to their major, to build game projects. This gives them a very authentic game making experience that closely resembles the real-world.”

The program and its courses enable students to graduate with priceless knowledge, which translates into an impressive portfolio of creative work completed as classwork or for external clients.

The curriculum offers students the option to work with both games for entertainment and serious games. Johannes Bauer, chair of the Department of Media and Information, explained that serious games are strong at the graduate level.

He added that the program’s students show immense talent for furthering the industry, “The students have a very deep knowledge in game design and game development. Some of them come from more of a creative side, others come from a technical and programming side. Our curriculum offers them both opportunities.”

With spaces like the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab and the recently opened Immersive Media Studio, fit with the technology to design and produce virtual reality gaming experiences, the program at Michigan State University continues to help students use and build upon their individual skill sets and support them to excel in their future careers.

For Peter Burroughs, media and information senior, the program has taught him new ways to evolve his talent for traditional art that he discovered in high school and apply it to 3D modeling, concept art painting, visual effects, art direction, project management and asset implementation. In addition, he says the program has to work with others and to embrace the skills and contributions they bring to the team.

“The professors and upperclassmen have taught me an incredible amount about making video games, and my peers in the program have become like family to me,” said Burroughs. “Working together during all-nighters will do that to you!”

By Savannah Swix

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MSU to Partner with Indian Media Giant, Helping Local Farmers

Posted on: March 14, 2017

indian-media

This article was originally published on MSU Today 

The project involves the university’s communication and agriculture experts and the Ramoji Media Group, a multi-media giant that reaches some 620 million Indians with television stations, films, newspapers and online media.

The Hyderabad-based Ramoji is launching a new channel for farmers struggling to feed a growing population. MSU will help Ramoji identify stories about agricultural innovations that can help meet climate change, drought, flooding and other production challenges.

The partnership includes an exchange of materials between MSU and the media company, such as education and research, publications, academic information and media content. MSU faculty and research scholars aim to work with producers at RFC to create television programming in multiple Indian languages.

“This project is an important intersection of content, distribution and expertise,” said Amol Pavangadkar, director of Sandbox Studios and senior specialist with media and information in MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “MSU knows agriculture and communication and RFC has the creative programming capacity and reach needed to engage farmers and other stakeholders.”

MSU officials from the collegamol-pavangadkar_lges of Communication Arts and Sciences, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Education, Engineering and Business, as well as International Studies and Programs and MSU Extension, signed an agreement to work on the project during a recent visit to India. They met with government, higher education, foundation and corporate executives and reviewed partnership options. Each college has submitted development ideas, research and concepts for consideration to pitch to RFC for future programming.

“This cross-continental partnership, involving a media empire and a higher educational institution, is unusual in that complementary institutional strengths are being leveraged to address global issues,” said Satish Udpa, executive vice president. “The goals of the partnership are truly aligned with the rich traditions of MSU in transforming lives and advancing knowledge.”

The project will also benefit from The Food Fix, a multi-media news service produced by MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, that reports on food systems innovation as part of MSU’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.

“We’re looking forward to helping Ramoji identify and produce similar stories,” said David Poulson, senior associate director of MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. “The kind of research MSU supports provides plenty of material about safely producing and distributing food. These important stories need to be told globally.”

The project also continues the long relationship between RFC and MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Science, established by Pavangadkar through his study abroad program. The students undertake production workshops and seminars on Indian and world cinema and translate their experiences in India into a script for a short film, which is then produced and premiered at the end of their trip.

“The MSU partnership with Ramoji Film City offers a number of opportunities for collaboration,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “With a reach of more 600 million people through cable TV channels in 14 languages, RFC offers a big audience for MSU researchers in areas such as education, agriculture, health, entrepreneurship and childhood development.”

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