A Little Thing Called Classes

So I’ve been in classes now for over a month, but I haven’t devoted so much as a word as to what I’m actually doing at Hogeschool Zuyd. If you got a moment to spare from your busy, busy lives, I’ll give a little insight as to what exactly I’m learning.

staring

But you don’t have to necessarily stop and stare. (Image from thumbs.dreamstime.com)

Currently, I’m in three courses at this time – The Narrative, User-Centered Project Management, and Multimedia Management – with a fourth course starting up in late November (Semantic Web). The three that I am currently taking are all full day classes, which means I go to the university three times a week and am in class from 9:30am to 4:30pm. While it can be a little exhausting spending much of that time learning and such, I’ve become acclimated to it the schedule and found the full day classes to be nearly more rewarding then having each course split up throughout the week.

Chocolate Baby

But not nearly as rewarding as chocolate. (Image from australiaentertains.com.au)

Now to move on to what these classes entail:

The Narrative

This class deals, in part, with film analysis, but is mainly geared towards developing a logical narrative and executing said narrative into a visual presentation. The presentation itself of the narrative is up to the group of persons on execution; animation, film, or a comic book are just some of means that could be utilized, if desired.

Schumacher Effect

Just try to avoid emulating Joel Schumacher’s coolness, it’s just not ice. (Image from www.zecatalist.com)

At this time, I’m no longer meeting in a classroom setting for The Narrative, as we have now moved into the narrative project phase, i.e. the main bulk of the class. I suspect that my group will stick with a standard film presentation of our narrative, once that narrative itself has been developed into an executable story.

User-Centered Project Management

This is probably one of the funnest courses that I have taken thus far in my college career. The concept behind this class is to work with a client on solving a particular internal problem that they are having. Skills involved inquire assessment, formulating a solution, and executing that solution in a manageable and logical way. What has made it fun is that of the 13 of us in the class, we’ve split into groups where we act as the clients and solution providers. On one hand, we tell the solution provider (another group) of the problems we are having without¬†explicitly¬†telling them our exact problem that needs fixing; and on the other hand, we act as the solution providers for another group, where we must analyze their problems and come to a solution to their problem via a software application.

poker

To be honest, it’s a lot like poker. (Image from graphics8.nytimes.com)

Working with my team of two other guys has proven to be exceptionally rewarding. Many of the discussions we have concerning our solution to our client are done via Skype, since one of my team members lives within another region of the Netherlands, making physical meetings impossible save for during class. Aside from heavily utilizing Skype to accomplish course work, we have wholly embraced technology for our use, namely by way of utilizing Google Drive and its collaboration and editing features. Documents are typically written by all three of us, sometimes at the same time with nary a problem in instant communication.

At this time, we are on our way from creating a mock-up of our tablet app that we’ve been developing to actually developing a working prototype, though not one that will necessarily run on a tablet.

Multimedia Management

This class has turned out to be an interesting, yet challenging, course that has put more than just my management skills to the test. The main challenge in the course is developing a game for the head of the European Union (not actually, I should say), to which it was wanted that this game will help bring about a European unity regarding identity. As I had pointed out before in a previous post, there is a widespread issue of crisis of identity among Europeans, which the game that I and my team are developing is meant to alleviate that crisis.

crisis

But a bigger crisis is ever-looming giant clocks that plague people’s lives day-in and day-out. (Image from economiccrisis.us)

To create the game, the class of about 45 students that I am in was split into groups, but that process itself was not a simple one. It began with 9 team leaders, myself included among that original 9, who volunteered to be in the position of team leader. Once the 9 of us had volunteered, the rest of the class divided into groups of people based upon their specialities: Design, Videography, Programming, and Marketing/Communication. It was then the responsibility of the team leaders to go around and find a member from each sub-group that would become a part of the team leader’s team. In the end, my team consisted of a diverse team of talents, ranging from 2 Designs (a Spaniard and a Frenchman), a Videographer (from Belgium), and a Marketing/Communication specialist (from Poland). All that can be said is that having a diverse group of persons is hugely beneficial for the scope of the project!

magic school bus

As diverse as the Magic School Bus, perhaps. God, I miss that show… (Image from sharetv.org)

At this time, we’re currently in the works of finishing the final designs of our game, which is a hybrid of an augmented-reality tablet app with real-world location-based missions. While we aren’t building a literal working augmented-reality app, the implications of our design and process are meant to convince the head of the European Union (the professor) that our concept is solid and is worthy of financial pursuit.

 

So that’s all I’ve got happening in my classes at this time. Three courses may seem rather light, but that are anything than that. At times, course work can drag out to 7 hour continuous stretches wrapped in one, long Skype meeting. Sitting around has never been more exhausting…

sitting around

Exactly. (Image from images.businessweek.com)

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Matt M.

About Matt M.

Northwest Missouri State University student, Interactive Digital Media: New Media major with a Broadcasting minor and Music minor, currently studying abroad at Zuyd Hogeschool in Maastricht, Netherlands.