Visitors to the Communication Arts and Sciences Building in fall 2016 will be able to literally see into the future as they view innovative journalism and media creations developing right before their eyes through the new glassed-in Newsroom and the Immersive Studio.
The Center for Immersive Media Education will be a state-of-the-art expansive space for students to create and deliver next generation news, animation, game design, advertising and advanced media content involving motion capture, holograms and virtual reality broadcasts.
"The vision for the lab is to create an open and innovative creative space for teaching and experimentation in journalism and integrated media arts," said Prabu David, Dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. "The space will house a live newsroom as well as a motion capture lab and a studio-like space for game design."
Slated to "go live" for the 2016 General Election and open for classes by January 2017, this new center will be made up of two collaborative spaces – the Newsroom and the Immersive Studio – that foster 21st century news coverage and explore the capabilities of the media arts. The center will house all journalism operations, allowing students to report on current issues and events and share story components of text, audio, video, photography, information graphics, animation, virtual reality and design for delivery on evolving digital media platforms.
“Instead of separate areas to create content, we'll have an educational expanse where students can move seamlessly from one area to the next to produce immersive journalism. While some students are writing and reporting stories for social media that include 360-degree virtual reality video, other students will live stream local news broadcasts that incorporate animation, for example," said School of Journalism Director Lucinda Davenport. "It's all about enhancing the student experience and educating our students to become the leaders and visionaries in this exciting and evolving industry."
"Students learn by doing,” said Hale, Specialist in the School of Journalism and Department of Media and Information. “Students will have a fully integrated professional environment that includes a ton of technology used in today's and tomorrow’s fully operational innovative newsroom."
Being ensconced within glass walls will give the center a Today Show appeal, said Hale, and allow students, visitors, alumni and others to experience the hustle and bustle of a live newsroom, and to see the process that goes into modern news and content creation within innovative media.
The experiential learning opportunities within the new center will equip students to work in both journalism and media environments.
"It will give students a huge advantage at being marketable in media industries," said Stacey Fox, Transdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence in the School of Journalism. "Our students will be well-prepared to immediately step from the classroom and into a busy newsroom. Essentially, we're creating a real world inside our building."
Additional capabilities of the center will allow students and faculty to design and produce virtual reality broadcasts that can been seen using VR viewers. Motion capture and animation systems will empower cross-campus collaborations in almost any area, particularly those we are doing now, such as athletics, health and medicine, and theatre.
"It's exciting that the school and college are bringing industry-level, state-of-the-art technology and immersive spaces to campus," Fox said. "The motion capture capabilities will allow us to reach out to a lot more areas for innovative projects and research with the end goal of benefitting individuals and societies within our global village."