President's Annual Report 2006
Learning without Boundaries

Professor Roger Smith
Professor Roger Smith

After viewing a student-produced theatrical trailer, Rodger Smith, director of Ball State's Institute for Digital Education and Entertainment (IDEE), asks, "Is it the trailer for a movie or a live production?" He pauses for effect. "If that confusion is there, then our students have done their jobs." The students have indeed done their jobs. As part of IDEE's Digital Entertainment Option Pilot, a yearlong immersive study in digital media, they produced professional-quality trailers for the university's mainstage productions and will be tasked with other film projects throughout the year.

IDEE, funded by a recent grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., has put the best equipment—including the same high-definition camera used by Steven Spielberg—into the hands of students like sophomore theatre major Michael Chandler. Chandler, who worked on the trailer for Ball State's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, and a creative group of students from a variety of majors are meeting with and receiving training from new media and entertainment industry experts from Hollywood. This powerful combination will enable the students to create professional-quality productions that will compete for awards in high-profile national competitions.

The experience and the nontraditional classroom structure appeal to Chandler. "What is so great about learning with no boundaries is just that—there are no boundaries," Chandler says. "The learning process becomes less about learning what to do when the time comes. Instead it is transformed into doing what you are learning because the time is now."