Topics: Emerging Media, College of Communication Information and Media

August 5, 2008

Of the 14 honors awarded in the coveted 2008 Campus Technology magazine Innovator competition, two were won by Ball State University, furthering its reputation as a leader in emerging media.

The annual awards competition, which yielded nearly 300 entries, sought out initiatives that were true innovations, featured solid technological advances and helped the colleges or universities stand out among their peers, according to Campus Technology magazine.

Ball State won top honors in:

  • Digital Media Training and Support: Digital Corps — This program trains student apprentices for industry-standard software certifications, and, in addition, provides the Ball State community with a cadre of digital media experts.

To launch the cinematography course and establish Ball State's presence in Second Life, IDIAA leveraged its years of innovation in 3-D animation and virtual applications. Now students — through their avatars (Second Life personas) — can check out cameras, dollies, light systems and more to create their own original movies. They can also film in a Star Trek-inspired holodeck, which allows them to select from a wide variety of virtual set locations.

The Campus Technology Innovator award is the second national recognition for the fledgling program. Earlier this year, the digital arts initiative earned Blackboard Inc.'s inaugural Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds.

"These awards are quite an honor, and I'm humbled to see our work have such wide impact," Fillwalk said. "The IDIAA is committed to developing hands-on, experiential, project-based learning environments. Our students are the main beneficiaries of our efforts, and the hope is to share Ball State's achievements with the broader higher education community."

The beneficiaries of the Digital Corps initiative are the students who earned the certifications, and as a bonus, the Ball State community benefits as well. By taking advantage of well-known certification programs such as Certiport, Apple Certified Pro and Adobe Certified Expert/Adobe Certified Associate, a growing number of students are now fluent in digital media.

In just the last 10 months, Ball State has gone from zero certified experts to more than 50. And there is tremendous anecdotal evidence that the additional knowledge the corps provides is creating a trickle-down effect to the rest of the campus community, said Phil Repp, interim vice president for information technology.

"Jonathan Huer, who directs the program, has done a wonderful job," he said. "Our faculty appreciate the support for in-class assignments, and various departments and institutes appreciate the on-campus expertise.

"Digital media technology is now persistent throughout the campus, and administrators and IT leaders feel its potential is being fully realized," Repp added.

Detailed descriptions of the winning entries can be found in the August issue of Campus Technology and online at