Digital Media Symposium: Innovative Collaborations

Representatives from business, creative, digital humanities/social sciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines gathered in the Rome Ballroom on Thursday, April 4th for a day full of exciting updates from the new Department of Digital Media and Design. UConn President Susan Herbst welcomed over 100 attendees, introducing digital media as an “umbrella discipline” with the areas it affects being limitless. Tim Hunter, Director & Department Head for the recently established Digital Media Center, further emphasized the symposium’s goal to raise awareness of current digital media projects and to stimulate new collaboration between disciplines. He also touched upon theory versus practice, citing digital media’s relevance to multiple industries and functions including business and entertainment, marketing, advertising, branding, entrepreneurship and social media.

Specialized presentation sessions were held for each of the four topic areas: business, creative, digital humanities/social sciences, and STEM.

Specialized Session for Business

The business session featured William Congdon ’75, Popular Mechanics magazine; Maureen Croteau, The Day newspaper in New London, Connecticut; and ING Global Professor in marketing Nicholas Lurie. A lively roundtable discussion moderated by Christopher Levesque ’87, Director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) included Richard Guha, President of Synerscope Inc. (North America) and Mark B. Hatch, CEO of mBlast, Inc.

Digital media has paved the way for an enhanced user experience, according to Congdon and Croteau who presented the challenges and many changes their companies faced with the advent of digital media in the print magazine and newspaper industries. They also shared how digital media has changed the reader experience with the launch of news and magazine websites, iPad apps, video, interactive media, social media and contests.

The business roundtable discussion focused on “digital media and entrepreneurial trends,” including Facebook and Twitter, the increasing need for technology and software to analyze and visualize “big data,” and how consumers are influenced to choose some brands over others.

Marketing Professor Nick Lurie closed the business session by presenting findings of research on the perceived value of consumer-generated content, the differences in perception of negative versus positive reviews, and the role of temporal contiguity as it influences value perception.

Future Digital Media Collaborations

Provost Mun Choi joined the enthusiastic crowd for an open networking hour during which attendees discussed ideas and opportunities for future digital media collaborations.

The rapidly growing Department of Digital Media and Design recently welcomed digital media specialists Perry Harovas and Samantha Olschan to the UConn faculty. In addition, two new undergraduate majors jointly sponsored by the schools of business, fine arts, and engineering will be offered starting this fall at the Storrs and Stamford campuses.

Those who missed the symposium can catch up on Twitter using #UConnDMD

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