Interactive Design students to make their pitches to client

Media Arts and Design

By Charlotte Matherly, staff writer

Interactive Design concentration students will present their spring semester projects and senior capstones for a panel of judges and a limited audience at 11 a.m. April 24 over Zoom. 

Teams of SMAD and computer information systems (CIS) students will showcase their interdisciplinary work on an online interface for a client, Green Valley Auctions. Although only the students, faculty, alumni and judges involved will be allowed at the event, a recording will be made available afterward for others to view the presentations.

Each of the 16 teams includes two or three SMAD students who designed a user interface and between six and eight CIS majors responsible for building the technology to support it.

The two SMAD classes involved, SMAD 404 and SMAD 408, are led by professors Shelly Hokanson and David Wang, respectively. Although each team typically works with a separate company, all students this semester are taking on the same design problem Green Valley Auctions put forth.

Seniors had to create an online system to help the auction house to keep track of its scheduling, client database and other information, which Wang said are currently kept on paper.

“The students basically get to kind of adapt that and make a digital version,” Wang said. “You can tell there’s kind of a need or want to bring it into the next era. It’s been a good, kind of, local community client.”

The top two teams — which Wang, Hokanson and the client will select — must present their projects for the judges, while other groups will attend to cheer on their classmates. The panel of judges, Wang said, is typically made up of industry experts, alumni and faculty members. The judges will evaluate the groups using a rubric and point system and assess areas such as presentation, user experience design, as well as website structure and functionality.

For the past year, they’ve had to take a detour from the traditional class model, but Wang said they returned to a mostly typical semester structure with presentations occurring in the last week of classes. Next year, he said, he hopes the event can return to an in-person format.

Wang said students in these SMAD capstone classes benefit from real-world experience — their work is focused more on meeting their clients’ needs rather than instructors’ specifications. But the best part, he said, is connecting JMU with the surrounding community.

“There’s that community engagement factor in terms of the real world, kind of, tied to the industry,” Wang said. “It gets people off campus and seeing some of the areas that are not far from Harrisonburg but may be unknown to the average student.”


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Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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