It's lights, cameras, house slippers for Ball State's new emerging media living-learning community

Topic: Emerging Media

December 30, 2009

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Swap out the director's chair for a pair of house slippers. Ball State University students living in the new emerging media living-learning community are discovering when it comes to making a short film or movie trailer, they can wrap a project without ever leaving the residence hall they live in.

"The emerging media living-learning community will allow students to fully immerse themselves in a digital lifestyle," said Jonathan Huer, Ball State's director of emerging technology and media development. "It will be the only place in the halls where media projects like short films or video blogs can take place because everyone on the floor has agreed to the idea that they might end up on camera."

Privacy regulations prevent Ball State students from filming in its residence halls, with the exception of the new quarters of the 100-plus students living in the new emerging media living-learning community. As part of their residential experience, the students, whose majors represent a wide variety of disciplines, will have access to an entire floor renovated into a collaborative space to work on large-scale media projects.

The floor is furnished with new furniture and features the latest editing software, computers, high-definition television with Blu-ray and surround sound, and top-of-the-line video equipment. Because of its plush surroundings, industry-standard equipment and top-floor location in the Schmidt/Wilson residence hall complex, returning students see "the Penthouse" floor living up to its name, said Heather Bisher, assistant director for coordination of living-learning programs at Ball State.

Funding for the floor's equipment and renovation work was provided by Housing and Residence Life and Ball State's Emerging Media Initiative (EMI), a $17.7 million investment in emerging media and the university's efforts to accelerate its benefits to the state of Indiana.

Huer said the new emerging media living-learning community will encourage students to experiment and play with emerging media while reminding residents of responsible behavior with new technology. "With every cell phone having a camera and every laptop a web cam, it's impossible to avoid this type of media and its potential repercussions for everyone," Huer said. "By confronting these issues in their immediate surroundings, these students will gain a greater appreciation for both the creative freedom emerging technologies afford them but also the challenges of incorporating emerging media in the practicalities of everyday life."

Ball State's emerging media living-learning community is one of three new living-learning communities the university is offering students this academic year. Overall, the university has nine living-learning communities, which allow participants to bring their large university experience into a smaller, more manageable "home away from home," Bisher said.

"Students living in these living-learning communities tend to be more successful making the academic and social transition to college," Bisher said. "They also tend to have higher GPAs, be more satisfied with their college experience, be more involved in campus life, and continue their education."

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