Student-created iPhone application results in major honor from AT&T

Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Emerging Media

November 13, 2009


Telecommunications giant AT&T is honoring Ball State University for a student-centered project that developed an interactive iPhone mobile application to deliver news and advertising.

A faculty team working together to mentor students during the iMedia project was recognized as part of AT&T's Big Mobile On Campus Challenge. Ball State's Web-based mobile application project finished second to a group from Harvard University that won the $10,000 first-place prize for its Rover platform designed to connect students with each other, their school and their community.

iMedia is an interactive news and advertising mobile application development course that allows students to create and deliver news stories, videos, interactive graphics and advertisements on a breaking news or weekly basis.

iMedia faculty include Michael Hanley, assistant journalism professor; Jennifer Palilonis, George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of multimedia; Suzy Smith, assistant telecommunications professor; Vinayak Tanksale, computer science instructor;  Kirsten Smith, associate director, technology officer and labs manager, Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS), and Chris Flook, telecommunications instructor.

The team members have donated their $5,000 runner-up award from AT&T to the university to be used by the iMedia course for future funding. Each team member also will receive a mobile device of their choice.

"Over the last several years, our faculty have transformed a course originally designed to develop interactive television programming and are now mentoring students as they create applications for mobile communications that affect our lives every day," said Roger Lavery, dean of the College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM).

"It certainly is gratifying that their work has been recognized by one of the largest mobile communications companies in the world," he said. "We believe that projects like iMedia should lead us to other projects that our faculty, staff and students will also take to the next level, solidifying our national reputation as a model for education in the growing field of emerging media."

Developing mobile applications is a major focus of Ball State's Emerging Media Initiative (EMI), a planned $17.7 million investment focusing the university's historic strengths in this area to accelerate benefits to the state of Indiana and give students and faculty innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities.

AT&T's Big Mobile On Campus Challenge is a national contest open to full-time college students and staff. It was established in 2008 to recognize innovative and creative mobile applications that enhance academic performance, build campus community and help to improve campus operations.

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