Student Introductions to Real World Clients

Two to three times a year, I teach a class for the Digital Media Studies (DMS) program at the University of Denver called “Web Building and Site Management”. In this class, undergraduates are introduced to the concepts of building (mostly) static websites with a strict, standards-based approach. The IDE used is Dreamweaver CS4 with “Design View” forbidden from use. There is a full introduction to pre-production planning using Fireworks and final design work is done through Photoshop. We also touch upon the Flash Platform and the integration of audio and video within a website. This probably does not differ much from most introductory website creation and management classes offered at universities across the world.

One aspect of the class that I find to be unique (and the point of this article), is that these students are assigned actual clients in groups of two or three and are tasked with providing them a completed website as a final project. I work with an organization on campus called the Digital Media Outreach Center (DMOC) to get this all together. The mission of DMOC is to provide digital media services such as website creation to “Colorado-based non-profit and not-for-profit organizations in a manner that also gives students and faculty opportunities to apply and extend curriculum-based learning to community-based projects”. For my class, they find clients and manage the student-client relationship as I teach the skills and concepts necessary to fulfill those requirements through the course.

In general, this approach is both beneficial for the students and for the clients. Students receive a hands-on educational experience in both the subject matter and client relations. Clients receive a simple- yet fully functional, standards-based website to promote themselves and interact with their members and clients. A few problems do occur, from time-to-time, but most are easily resolved and the students come away from the class with a greater level of experience than they otherwise would have.

Good-bye, MAX2008

Having visited the last sessions of the day and printed out my airline boarding pass, it’s time to wind down. I’m thinking of having another salt-encrusted experience tonight as a send-off.

A lot of great experiences at MAX this year including a day at Adobe HQ, some cool product announcements, stimulating networking opportunities, absolute killer sneaks, and the largest party I have ever been to, covering the de Young museum and California Academy of Sciences grounds. Insane.

I presented during the FITC unconference on the last day of MAX. It was a nice experience aside from some technical glitches here and there. My SlideRocket presentation is embedded below- though it won’t make to much sense without me speaking about each portion:

Here’s some descriptive info:

VPS is an extension of DUVAGA that can be installed on a user’s desktop or laptop computer in order to project gallery objects through either single or multiple projection setups.

Some other totally awesome stuff happened too. Those details will wait for another day.

VPS Featured in Newsletter

The DUVAGA Projection System [VPS] has been featured in an article for the CTL Newsletter this quarter:

This fall, the DUVAGA development group released a
new version of the projection software which gives the
user the option to use the multiple display capability in
any classroom. This new version automatically detects the
number of displays (projectors and computer screen) and
puts the control panel on the computer screen. In a room
with a single projector, the instructor can show the gallery
of images to the class and manipulate them through the
control panel. The new projection software can be installed
on nearly any computer (laptop or desktop) through
a simple download. Finally, the problems that faculty
members encountered with the old projection software have
been resolved and the new system is stable with several
added features.

The software is built upon the Adobe Integrated Runtime
which provides a lot of flexibility for users. “Not only does
AIR allow for rich content integration such as audio and
video streaming, but it is built to be cross-platform while
allowing the detection of multiple displays, as well as other
hardware and operating system advantages,” says Joseph
Labrecque, Senior Multimedia Application Developer
at the CTL. “That’s a really powerful combination of

Read the full article.

I’ll be showcasing this application during my FITC unconference presentation.

Preparing for MAX

I’m spending a good amount of time the next few days preparing to leave Denver for San Fransisco and Adobe MAX 2008. This will be my fist MAX and will hopefully be a really nice experience with no mishaps along the way.

I’m speaking on a project of mine during the FITC unconference on Wednesday the 19th at 1:00 and have been preparing some quick slides on SlideRocket:

Sliderocket Presentation MAX

What a great piece of software this is.  I’ve played with it when it was still in beta but have never done any real work until this past week.  Really, heartily recommended over PowerPoint.

There are some really interesting speakers at the unconference and I may be attending these sessions with greater frequency than the MAX sessions!

I’m also attending the Adobe MAX Education Pre-Conference on Sunday and the reception afterwards.

If anyone would like to get together and chat during the conference (of if you want to recommend some awesome vegetarian restaurants in the area), please feel free to email.