“OMG, I love this app!”
Ball State Digital Corps students dream about receiving that review and gaining a little popularity with just a few users of the about 50 million iPod Touch and iPhone devices.
The Digital Corps, a group of professional and student media software experts housed in the Ball State Emerging Media PowerHouse, provides high-level customer support and media software training to students and professionals in Apple’s Final Cut Studio and the Adobe Creative Suite. Ball State is the only Apple Authorized Training Center in Indiana. All their work must conform to Apple’s strict standards ensuring a specific level of functionality.
With laptops open and running and conversations about animation, marketing, level development, or music punctuating the air, it’s an exciting atmosphere in a serious business environment.
“Our students are very entrepreneurial,” says Digital Corps Director Jonathan Huer. “Like most students, they make $8 to $12 an hour, but they could be doing the same thing for $65 per hour. They work here for the experience, not for the money.”
Digital Corps has dozens of projects under development. Huer orchestrates the resources and connections, but the projects belong to the students. Spontaneity, creativity, and collaboration rule the digital day as they develop applications and other emerging media projects for the university and outside companies. They can pursue their own ideas too.
“They’re doing high tech work on a lot of platforms not yet released,” Huer says. “When our students graduate, they already have a year or two of real-market experience in their portfolios.”
For example, if you want to learn more about the iPhone game application PlanetOng, you’ll have to ask Phylecia Thompson, ’10, electronic art/animation major. It’s her team’s product, and she’s the team leader who works with the funding company.
“When they launch PlanetOng,” Huer says, “we hope it will fetch about $10 to $20 grand in the ‘go to’ market of mobile phone applications.” In a world of more than 75,000 apps, that’s not too shabby.
With real money in the game, students learn about the business side of things and sign nondisclosure agreements. And rather than take the money and run, these students have opted to waive profits from their innovations and direct them back into Digital Corps.
“The students realize they have bright futures ahead of them,” Huer says. “Giving back is an important part of building a community. These guys and gals are building the foundation for a bright future for themselves and the Digital Corps students who follow them in the years and hopefully decades to come.”