Several students in the interactive media and graphic design (IMGD) program here at Minnesota School of Business-Richfield (MSB) are working on an applied learning project that will certainly beef up their portfolios.
Students Galen Grieman, Chris Koepsell and Andrew Bengtson are tasked with the conception, writing and designing of two pages in the next MSB Connections magazine.
The idea that students could generate content for the magazine came straight from the top: MSB CEO Jeff Myhre. We initially tested the idea out at one of our sister schools, BEAU. The project turned out so well that we decided to give it a go at MSB.
The students are working on the pages as part of their Digital Studio class, taught by IMGD Program Chair Nicole Nelson. They are taking direction directly from Eric Burke, who is the art director of print for corporate marketing. The students call Eric “the boss,” while Nicole is “the account manager” for this project.
Working together, Galen, Chris and Andrew needed to come up with a story idea, write it (while making sure it was just the right length), take professional-looking photographs to accompany the story, and design the page layouts using the Photoshop and InDesign tools.
Galen says that the project has been challenging because there is so much to work with: “Getting everything – and everyone—to work together has been a challenge. We all want our ideas in there but they can’t all fit.”
Chris embraces the fact that they are learning new things. “We are learning what good layout is, what design looks good and what doesn’t. I feel like we learn more by doing projects like this —it’s more of a hands-on experience. You can be told how to do something, but actually doing it yourself you can see what you did wrong and what you did right,” he says.
All three students agreed that the most challenging component of the project was the writing. “Not all of it was good. It was definitely more challenging than the design—it’s probably the hardest thing about this project,” says Galen. Chris adds, “Luckily this isn’t a creative writing class!”
Galen appreciates that the experience has felt like a real work environment, with a client and an editor providing feedback and critiques along the way.
“The boss,” Eric, says that his goal is to keep in mind that Galen, Chris and Andrew are students, but to treat them like professionals. “They are receptive to criticism, which is important, so that they will have a better concept of what it will be like in the real world. I’m going out of my way to treat them like freelancers—I give them the same criticism,” he explains.
“I get a little bit of help, they get a piece of work for their portfolio,” Eric says. The students are excited, indeed, to be able to produce a published document with their names under the headline. They even joked about toting around stacks of the Connections magazine and handing them out at every future job interview.
Eric says that as long as students are willing to help, he is hoping to make this a regular feature of the magazine.
Judging from this group’s experience, Eric isn’t going to have a difficult time getting volunteers. If only they were required to write a bit more…