Jerz: New Media Projects (EL405)


13 Dec 2006

Final Presentation Gallery

"New Media Projects" introduces students to Inform 7, The Games Factory 2, Flash, Blender 3D, and Hammer. All students completed short projects in each medium, and selected a tool to use for a midterm and a final project.

Students kept a development journal on their weblogs, and often helped each other get past rough spots. Since few of my students had any programming experience, there were some rough spots and tense times, but there were also grand "aha!" events that accumulated as the semester progressed. I'm pleased with what my students accomplished.

See the list of final project postings.

The course demanded versatility and nimbleness. Inform 7, Flash, and Hammer proved the most popular tools. The students who chose Flash quickly outgrew the Flash Journalism textbook that I assigned. While I was impressed with the progress students made in The Games Factory 2, nobody chose it for a major project. (The fact that the 30-day trial period had expired may have had something to do with that.)

Students were often learning one tool in the classroom while working on a project in a different tool outside of the classroom. Then during open workshop days, I found myself shifting gears from one interface to another as I went around the room helping individual students working in different environments. (We were holding class in a PC lab, but two students brought their personal Mac laptops, which was often a humbling experience for me, since I heard myself saying stuff like "Now click the thing and go back to that thing we just clicked... how do I get the context menu? ... woah, what just happened?"

Usually students are sick to death of their final projects by the time the end of a course rolls around. But the tone of this class was different. Several students mentioned that they felt their skills really started coming together just at the end of the course, and at least half mentioned serious plans for how they planned to continue developing their project and/or skills. One mentioned an internship, one mentioned an independent study, one is talking about getting her project published in web-based version of the school paper, one is talking about how her project (an online portfolio) will develop next semester.

When I left the room after the last final presentation, one student was still sitting there, making an eyeball with Blender 3D.

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