Best Way to Learn

By Kes Speelman


As the last post mentioned, there are three big concepts that the new students believe the EMC encompasses: collaboration, openness and experiential learning. The EMC hires students to explore new technologies and work on real life projects. Especially when it comes to trying to promote social change. One of our latest projects, in collaboration with the Stern Center, provides such opportunity.

The Stern Center for Language and Learning is a non-profit learning center that helps children and adults meet their academic, social and professional goals by teaching skills in ways that are much more personalized to the students.

The Stern Center is working with an EMC team to create a new Canvas-based (Canvas is a learning management system) online course, called Building Blocks for Literacy, to help teachers become certified in early childhood literacy so that they can design lessons that effectively teach their preschool students. Through motion graphics, videos and quizzes, teachers are able to learn the material through example, as the teachers must first be the students. The Stern team consists of web programmers, video producers, motion graphics designers, as well as an education consultant to utilize a wide variety of skills. This teamwork allows the Stern students to practice their own skills, and learn some new ones as well.

STERN/Building Blocks Team:

Laura Cavazos, Class of 2019
Education Consultant

Q: What have you experienced so far since working at the EMC?
A: “Everyone is like wicked hard working. There’s a lot of teamwork. Currently, I’m helping with the storyboards [a comic strip of each scene for the videos and motion graphics]  by reviewing and making suggestions to improve them, which is not my thing, but they need the help. Everyone can kind of pitch in because this is important.”

Q: What have been your initial thoughts since working at the EMC?
A: “I think the Emergent Media Center is definitely for everybody. It’s not just specifically for certain degrees or specialties. The EMC is made to include everybody which is why I’m here.”

Q: What do you hope to accomplish this summer?
A: “To see the finished project [the online course]. I think we all want to see it but I especially want to see it.”

Brielle Hansen, Class of 2019
Motion Graphics Producer

Q: Did you have any expectations when starting at the EMC?

A: “ I didn’t really have solid expectations. I was just walking into this, not really knowing what it would be like. But I was excited.”

Q: What are some skills you would like to learn/improve on this summer?

A: “I’d really like to work more on my motion graphics skills. Being able to work on this long term project [the course] is cool because I’ve only ever really done very short term projects”

Q: How do you feel you are adjusting to the work environment here?

A: “I haven’t really worked with a team before so that’s different. But actually keeping up with the work itself is not new. I like working with a team, working with a bunch of people and collaborating on the project. And it’s been awesome to meet new people here.”

David Marquez, Class of 2020
Web Programmer

Q: How has been your experience so far with working at the EMC?
A: “It’s been a very challenging job where I have to figure out things through my own intuition than through instructions. That has led me to learn and creatively think more than I ever thought I could.”

Q: What do you hope to do at the EMC this summer?
A: “I hope to learn a lot and I hope to actually bring my knowledge to something more practical and create something that can help people.”

Q: What do you think about the work environment here?
A: “ I feel that the open environment is very good especially because I can just communicate with anyone whenever I need. I really like the open environment and I hope it stays that way. I like collaborating with my team and just enjoy how teamwork makes the dream work.”

David Merritt, Class of 2019

Q:How has been your first few weeks at the EMC been?
A: [The first week] has really been kind of stressful,as weird as that is to say, because I didn’t know the project and I felt like i wasn’t being very useful to the team. I was asking more questions than helping. But as I’ve gained more knowledge of the project, I can I feel like I can help the team more and that’s a good feeling to be.”

Q: How have the experience staff members helped you on this project?
A: “ Jen [Adrian] and Jamie [Scavotto] are the staff members that I’ve worked more closely with and they’ve been so supportive, but also they’ve been trying to encourage me to take charge on my own to come up with the processes that work best for me and for the team. So that’s been a learning process for me.”

Q: What do you hope to gain from working at the EMC this summer?
A: “My main thing is that I want to get experience. That is my main goal. I want to be a lot more comfortable being a project manager and I need a lot more confidence for that. I’ve only done student projects, which are fine, but this is more real.”

Kirsten Potts, Class of 2019
Video Producer

Q: How has it been working with staff members and other students that have been on this project for some time?
A: “In my experience so far, the staff that were previously here and even the kids who worked on this project last semester, they’ve all been super helpful and super welcoming. I haven’t been intimidated [by them] and it’s been fun to work with them.”

Q: What can you say about the environment the EMC creates?
A: “It’s an environment I’m used to. A lot of communication, a lot of brainstorming [and] teamwork. I enjoy an environment like this.”

Q: What’s been your favorite part since you started working here?
A: “My favorite part is seeing what other people create in the project and what their ideas about [the online course] are to make it better. People have been coming up with some cool ideas about what we should do, and I enjoy seeing what they come up with.”

Karly Struble, Class of 2019
Motion Graphics Producer

Q: What was it like when you first started at the EMC?
A: “I kind of went in with a blank slate. [I was] very open to doing whatever and I was met with a lot of awesome opportunities.”

Q: What has been your experience since starting this summer?
A: “It’s really good. We work with a lot of great people. And I’m very excited to be working on the team that I’m working on because they’re very open to sharing ideas and learning from one another. It’s open and relaxing.”

Q: What do you hope to learn more this summer?
A: [I] definitely want to work on my motion graphics skills. I sort of have my own style right now. I’m stuck in one thing, but it would be nice to expand what I’ve done into a more professional portfolio.”

One of the most important aspect in working for the EMC is communication. All team members expand on their communication skills as they work within their teams, and with other teams. This concept is what allows the EMC to be open, collaborative and allow students to learn through experience. Next week, check back to hear from the communication team and what their experience has been so far.