Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Emerging Media

March 11, 2009

 Ball State University's research and development of interactive television (iTV) will take another step forward next school year when its students become the first in the country to have access to a new application kit.

OEDN, a New York online developer network for the promotion of interactive television application and service development on digital cable television, is making its Academic ITV Software Developer Kit (AISDK) available to Ball State's Center for Media Design as part of a national program.

The kit is designed to bring select universities the tools and test environments necessary to build applications locally — while testing them remotely — a process that allows student-built iTV applications to be created and tested in real-world conditions.

"Ball State is excited to be the first university to participate in this new OEDN program," said Mike Bloxham, CMD's director of Insight and Research. "We look forward to applying our strengths in research, usability and the talent of our students and faculty by integrating this project into our existing and emerging curriculum. Ball State has a long and distinguished history of innovation in education and in media research, and this collaboration builds on that."

Dave Ferguson, associate vice president of Ball State's Emerging Media Initiative and CMD executive director, added that, "This commitment to advance the knowledge base in interactive television fits perfectly into Ball State's recently launched $17.7 million Emerging Media Initiative."

The first students at Ball State to use the kit will be those immersed in a yearlong interactive media class known as iMedia, which allows students to develop and design interactive news and advertising for a variety of platforms.  

Students enrolled in this multidisciplinary course are developing interfaces for the widely popular iPhone and iPod touch as well as other multimedia devices. The CMD's Insight and Research team is assisting with usability testing of television and mobile device interfaces created from this course, and the team of professors who lead the course will synthesize that data. 

Another group to have access to the kit next school year will be Digital Corps, a group of professional and student media software experts. Housed in the Emerging Media PowerHouse, a high-end, Macintosh OS based computer lab open to the entire Ball State community, Digital Corps members provide high-level customer support during all hours of operations.

Digital Corps members also use their creative skills and media software expertise for a variety of projects for both Ball State and outside clients. These projects include Web sites, videos, widgets and digital billboards.

OEDN has been working in collaboration with several key iTV companies and partners to make the kit available to colleges and universities across the country.

Those partners include Ensequence and the Comcast Media Center.

Founded in 2007, OEDN is dedicated to supporting emerging and long-term needs of software engineers and product teams building applications to run not only on digital cable television, but also converged applications and services spanning mobile and broadband devices.

OEDN will serve the role of coordinating all parties involved and providing student developer support through