Digital Communications at Lebanon Valley College

DigiCOM Students Pose the Question "What if LVC?"
Four students from Mathew Samuel’s Corporate Branding class received major media attention for their project What if LVC, which intended to raise awareness for responsible gun ownership. The strategy of their campaign sought to create a personal connection between students and the topic of gun violence by asking them to consider what it would be like if LVC was faced with a shooting situation on campus. “We knew that to really get the attention of the student body we couldn't just tell them gun violence could impact their lives, we had to show them how it would,” says group member Molly Gertenbach ’16. “It was because of that connection that the project resonated with students and garnered as much discussion as it did.” “People either love the idea of gun control or hate it,” says group member Liz Allebach ’17. “But that wasn't our angle. Our stance was to open a conversation for change.”

Group member Zane Brown ’16 says about the group dynamics of the project, “My favorite part about the project is that each of us had strengths and weaknesses and we really played off of those, and as a result everything we did was top notch” and that “I personally felt motivated to produce good stuff of my own.” “Working with the WhatIfLVC project presented challenges that were unlike anything I have been involved with before,” says group member Matt Healy ’16. “Working with such a sensitive subject in today's society meant that we had to look at how our actions and marketing materials would be perceived before we could release anything.” 

An article was written about the project for the Lebanon Daily News, which can be viewed here. The group was also featured in an on air video segment for FOX 43 news, which can be viewed here.

The project prompted students to use non-traditional guerilla marketing tactics to bring a social cause of their choosing to the attention of the LVC student body and also featured projects that focused on the issues of animal abuse, domestic violence, and student debt.

DigiCOM Partners with Greenfish Labs to Teach Students About Virtual Reality
New for Spring 2016, the Emerging Media and Disruptive Technologies: Virtual Reality class focuses on providing hands on experience in the production and strategy of using virtual reality as an emerging form of digital media. Greenfish Labs, Inc., a media production company that focuses on providing traditional media and Virtual Reality (VR) products, services, and platforms for their customers, will provide professional insight into what the world of VR is all about. Emily Johnson ’16, Social Media Specialist for Greenfish Labs, says “Being about to utilize virtual reality will enhance all aspects of digital communications. This emerging technology will transform the way that communications will be done in every industry.”

Vale Music Group Expands the Focus of Their VALE Conference
Vale Music Group has expanded the focus of its 11th annual conference for 2015. Now called VALE Media Industries Conference, the event now covers a wide range of topics in digital media rather than those only related to the music industry. "The music industry has been rapidly changing. Digital media has become an important part of its changes. After 10 years of music conferences, we knew that this was the right time to start expanding. Working with the DigiCOM department became the stepping stone to becoming a VALE Media Conference,” says Conference President Katlyn Jumper ’16.

“Digital communication students need to understand the impact our major has on many different industries. The Vale Media Industry conference proved how important technology is for music and music development,” says Liz Allebach, DigiVal President. “ Participating in the conference allows digital communication students to see opportunities outside the major and can give greater focus for individual growth within the DCOM major.”

Kalo Creative Gears Up for its Second Year
Kalo Creative, LVC’s student run ad agency, is gearing up for its second year of the Ad Agency class in Spring 2016 with new clients and projects. Students who take the class get real world experience of working with clients and learn what it’s like to work for a professional ad agency. “We've got a couple small businesses looking for websites and advertising. We're pretty excited to start up again with a lot of new faces and clients from different backgrounds this spring,” says Kalo Co-President Matt Healy ’16.

DigiCOM Students take part in Doorways to Diversity Project
Students in Mat Samuel's Digital Graphic Design class took part in the Doorways to Diversity project—to be held in conjunction with Inquiry 2013. The Doorways to Diversity project was conceived out of a desire to expand on the College’s commitment to promoting diversity on campus. Its aim is to find space at the junction of pedagogy, campus culture, and public art to foster a community more comfortable engaging diversity. Students in Mat Samuel’s Digital Graphic Design class this semester have created “doors” that express some aspect of identity in order to celebrate the diversity of LVC's community, bridge gaps between the various constituencies across campus, and break down boundaries between curricular and co-curricular opportunities for learning.

A tour will take place Tuesday April 16th. The tour will start at 5 pm in front of the Presidential Dining Room in the main hall of the Allan W. Mund College Center, at our first door. The tour will then move from building to building visiting a handful of the twenty-six “doors” hung around campus. The tour, which should take about twenty minutes, will end in the Lobby of the Neidig-Garber building. Organizing the Doorways to Diversity project are Meghan Johnson, Publications & Web Assistant, Mathew Samuel, Assistant Professor of Digital Communications, and Matthew R. Sayers, Assistant Professor of Religion.

DigiCOM Student Plays Lead Role in Wounded Warrior Project
Tyler Skroski '14 (business concentration) has helped raise more than $56,000 for the LVC Hockey Team's community service project, the Wounded Warrior Project. The money raised by the Wounded Warrior Project will be used to support injured service members. As a result of their efforts, the hockey team was awarded the 2012 President's Award for Community Service. Click here for news on their 2012-13 efforts.

DigiCOM Professor Presents at Electronic Literature Organization Conference
Dr. Jeff Ritchie, chair and associate professor of digital communications, presented the preface to his larger project, "Designing Choice Architectures for Mobile Locative Narratives," that attempts to establish an interdisciplinary theory of choice architecture for digital and physical spaces. The paper was presented as part of the Electronic Literature Organization conference, "Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints," in Morgantown, WV.

DigiCOM Capstone Students Receive Recognition
DigiCOM senior students enrolled in Dr. Joel Kline's capstone course were showcased on WGAL Channel 8. The students produced an enhanced online and social media presence for the Sexual Assault Resource & Counseling Center (SARCC) of Lebanon/Schuylkill counties. One of the course's major projects, an overhaul of the SARCC website, includes videos of sexual assault survivor telling their stories as well a student-developed mobile app. As part of the DigiCOM curriculum, students provide hundreds of hours of community service for regional non-profit organizations.

DigiCOM Majors-La Vie Co-Editors-Win Big at Keystone Press Awards
DigiCOM majors and La Vie Collegienne co-editors Rosemary Bucher ’14 and Justin Roth ’14 won second place awards at the Keystone Press Awards. Bucher's Keystone was for her movie review of “The King’s Speech,” which won an Oscar for Best Picture in 2011. Roth’s photography coverage of the floods on campus and in the community topped the photo story category. Last year, DigiCOM major Cody Shepp '12 captured first place in the feature photo category. Additionally, Roth took first place for Layout and Design. Roth, Bucher, and the rest of the La Vie team also improved the newspaper’s online presence. The paper recently launched a new website and YouTube channel that showcases their video blogs and stories.

DigiCOM Professor Debuts Solo Show, "Blur"
Mat Samuel, assistant professor of digital communications, opened the second solo art show of his career in July. More than 700 guests attended the opening at which Samuel debuted 60 pieces of his work.

DigiCOM Professor Presents at iDMAa Conference
On November 4, Dr. Jeff Ritchie, chair and assistant professor of digital communications, presented “The Narratological Affordances and Constraints of Mobile Locative Media” as part of the New Media Caucus panel at the International Digital Media and Arts Association Conference in Vancouver, B.C.

DigiCOM Celebrates Anniversary of Becoming a Separate Department
Fall 2012 marks the second anniversary of the former Digital Communications Program becoming formally recognized as the Digital Communications Department. In the past three years, the department has successfully completed an international search to hire a professor of design, opened the DigiCOM Usability Lab, created the DigiCOM Studio-in which students can collaborate on projects-and had its first cohort enter under the newly revised curriculum. We're currently working on creating more opportunities for faculty-student research and creative projects, developing collaborative relationships with area technology companies, and developing a larger selection of regularly offered, upper-division courses.

DigiCom Partners with SARCC, AT&T, and Pa. District Attorneys Institute on “Sexting”
LVC's Digital Communications Department, through the efforts of Dr. Joel Kline, associate professor of digital communications, and Dr. Jeff Ritchie, chair and associate professor of digital communications, partnered with several agencies to establish a symposium-style event to raise awareness on the issues of sexting and protecting your digital image. The Sexual Assault Resource Counseling Center (SARCC), AT&T, and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute were LVC's partners for the event. A student group from the DCOM 440 Capstone Research and Development course recorded the event and created an online archive of materials related to this issue. LVC and AT&T had partnered on a previous project when the AT&T Foundation awarded the College a grant to help create a mobile usability laboratory.

DigiCom Student Wins Area Logo Contest
The winning entry in a competition among area students to create a logo for the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 Go Green Expo was unveiled by the Chamber in a ceremony at the their offices. DigiCOM major Jonathan Gingrich '10 (design concentration) created the winning logo design selected by the Chamber for use in marketing the Expo.

Students Post LVC's First Web Newscast
Students in the Journalism in the Digital Age class published LVC's first web newscast as part of their efforts to create an online presence for the College's student newspaper, La Vie Collegienne. The course explored ways that digital technology continues to transform journalistic standards, practices, and values. Participants learned how to create professional blogs, use audio and video equipment, and employ varied techniques to create narratives appropriate for multimedia platforms. Students enhanced their communications skills, and heightened their awareness of the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of online technologies and applications.

LVC Art/DigiCOM Professor Creates a New Wrinkle on the Old Masters
Dr. Grant Taylor exhibited his outdoor projection artwork at the Digital Media Exposition in Narrowsburg, N.Y. Taylor projected a collection of six Baroque and Neoclassical artworks onto a piece of earth-moving machinery. The paintings chosen to project were mostly by Caravaggio, the 16th-century Baroque artist. The idea emerged from Taylor's desire to combine the multilevel surface of machinery with the intricate folded surfaces found in Baroque painting. Taylor also liked the idea of overlaying the heightened drama of Caravaggio and David with the mechanical power of heavy earth-moving equipment. Taylor, now assistant professor of art history, is interested in the symbiotic relationship involving art, science, and technology in the late 20th century. He teaches courses in modern art, design theory, and digital film production.

DigiCOM Students Win College-Wide Writing Awards
Katie Costolnick '12 (design concentration) and Steve Whiskeyman '09 (communications concentration) won college-wide writing awards. Katie's essay, "Human Reproductive Cloning," won in the First-Year Students category. Steve's essay, The Real Muhammad: Fact vs. Fabrications in Western Perceptions of Islam, won in the Humanities category.

DigiCOM Students Win ValleyFest Poster Competitions
Sean Deffley '11 and Shaun Kreider '08, students in the Digital Graphic Design class, won the ValleyFest Poster Competition. Deffley's poster became the official poster for ValleyFest 2009 and Krieder's poster became the official band poster for EVE6.

LVC Students Exhibit Works
Students in the Digital Graphic Design class exhibited their Poetry Illustrations in the gallery of the Lebanon Valley Council on the Arts as part of Lebanon's First Friday Art Walk. Their pictures accompanied the work of Frank Atkinson, the featured artist in the Arts Council Gallery, whose paintings and drawing are illustrations to his fantasy novels.

LVC DigiCOM Student Designs Number One College Theater Website in the U.S.
Lebanon Valley College's theater website was rated number one in the nation by ClickitTicket, an independent sports, theater, and concert ticket agency. LVC's Wig and Buckle Theater Company website "is cheery, welcoming, and easy to use. The background of the stage curtain is very cool," according to ClickitTicket, which posted an online guide to the top 20 university/college theater club websites that represent "the spirit and the magic of the theater." See the complete list.

LVC's site ranked above those at much larger institutions such as Stanford University, third; Princeton University, fifth; and the University of Southern California, sixth. Wig and Buckle, LVC's theater company since 1935, received its prize-winning website thanks to DigiCOM major Sean Deffley '11.