SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cogswell College, one of the world's leading regionally-accredited institutions offering a curriculum that fuses digital arts, engineering and entrepreneurship, today announced MediaWorks, a project-based learning program in which student teams engage in audio and visual production projects for real-world clients. Cogswell students recently completed a flagship corporate identity and messaging project for Santa Clara-based ALearn. The non-profit's academic enrichment programs steer students on a path to college and out of poverty. The programs are offered in 11 school districts in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
Cogswell College instructors Julius Dobos and Anthony Dias envisioned the concept and are leading the implementation of the MediaWorks program. Utilizing their industry experience, they oversee student-produced works that include animation, live action footage, sound design and original music. The program's audio and visual production projects involve real-life client meetings, creative brief and concept generation, participation in the approval process and project and time management.
The ALearn media production, just a little over a minute long, included a newly animated corporate logo, story messaging, original music and sound design.
"Cogswell's MediaWorks students created a very powerful minute," says Kathryn Hanson, CEO and co-founder of ALearn. "With only 46 percent of California students qualified to enter the university system, this production dramatically illustrated the problem we have with education in California, and how ALearn works to address the challenges that minority youth face."
"The MediaWorks program is designed to immerse students in the real world process of audio and visual production," says Anthony Dias, co-leader for the project and digital audio technology (DAT) instructor at Cogswell. "Our students sat down with the client, listened to their vision and asked them questions aimed at guiding the creative process."
MediaWorks has created a shift from the college's standard semesters-long portfolio classes—some of which can take up to 18 months for completion—to 6-8 week deadline-driven client projects where students work in teams of 12-20. Dias and Dobos, adopted this model in an effort to mimic the experience of working for a large creative agency.
"We wanted the students to feel the pressure of the project's deadlines, just as they would if they were working in a large creative agency," says Julius Dobos, distinguished lecturer at Cogswell and MediaWorks' co-leader for the project. "There's a big difference between creating sound design for movies and sound design for corporate communications, one is entertainment, the other is advertising."
Dobos has composed movie scores for Hollywood films and admits that most of the students want to work in Hollywood or a big studio environment creating varying forms of entertainment.
"Our students have the opportunity to utilize traditional corporate work as a stepping stone to the entertainment field, which is a lot harder to get into directly," continued Dobos. "Through MediaWorks, they will have big-name Silicon Valley companies in their portfolios that even industry professionals would envy. Being able to show that you have worked with major clients makes a significant difference on a job interview, or when launching your own business."
The goal of the MediaWorks program is to generate sufficient revenue to provide for student compensation and the ability of the audio, engineering and animation departments to make technology purchases as new industry tools become available.
Cogswell is in talks with several high-visibility Silicon Valley firms for media projects for 2014 and has begun work on a yet-to-be announced multinational corporate client project, currently under non-disclosure.
ALearn was founded in 2007 to increase the number of underrepresented students who can do high quality academic work and get on the path to college and out of poverty. ALearn operates in 11 local school districts, focusing on programs which fill academic gaps in math and increase the aspirations of "first-generation" youth to enter college and graduate. Annually, the organization assists over 1,400 youth.
About Cogswell College
Located in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the heart of the Silicon Valley, Cogswell College is an accredited four-year institution of higher education with a curriculum that fuses art, engineering and entrepreneurship (http://www.cogswell.edu/academics/programs.php). As one of the Bay Area's premier colleges, its novel academic approach offers an integrated model that emulates the industry environment—a collaborative, project-based, learning approach that uses multidisciplinary teams to take projects from concept through the delivery pipeline.
Cogswell alumni have gone on to careers with Activision, DreamWorks, Disney, Electronic Arts, Pixar and Microsoft Game Studio as well as starting their own creative ventures.