Department going high-tech

Students studying the field of mass communication at Grambling State University now have the opportunity to completely delve into the fast-paced and technologically advanced media world.Dr. Martin Edu, acting head of the Department of Mass Communication, discussed the noticeable changes within the mass communication complex – changes that students have been buzzing about since last fall.

The department’s labs are currently set up with touch-sensitive SMART Boards, which are now in use by many of the professors. In addition, one of the computer labs is now a convergence lab equipped with up-to-date computers and software.

Edu stated that the communication industry is fast moving toward convergence. This is largely influenced by the Internet. As a result, the department is performing upgrades in order to facilitate this linking between the internet, broadcast and print media.

“The convergence lab will eventually serve as the hub through which the department’s media units can communicate with one another,” he said.

The first phase of the department upgrade was a national search to identify proper computers and software to facilitate the structural change. Along with this, the curriculum was restructured. This sudden change was somewhat frustrating for some students, but according to Edu, the new curriculum prepares them for the technologically linked media environment.

The second phase, now completed, consisted of faculty retraining. For example, the faculty completed two workshops conducted by Apple-certified trainers in January. The third and final session will be held in June or July. This effort will enable faculty to eventually become Apple-certified trainers themselves.

The department is presently in the third phase of the project where the convergence lab is being linked to the television center. When this final phase is completed, students and faculty will be able to prepare programs (video production, video streaming, etc.) from the lab and send them directly to the television center for airing in a matter of minutes.

The ultimate goal is to make the department an “Apple Training Center.”

This week, the department will launch the Online TV Broadcast System which will enable the university to have a global reach for recruitment and promotional purposes. People from around the globe will be able to access GSU-TV programming via an icon on the school’s Web site.

GSU is the only four-year university in the state with this capability, Edu said.

By the end of March, a three to six hour broadcast regular programming channel will be in effect. This will all be made possible by the hard work and creativity of mass communication students.

There is hope that students will take advantage of these changes and enhance their expertise to the level of industry standards.

The department offers academic concentrations in journalism, visual journalism, business journalism, sports journalism, and broadcast.

Edu advises students to take advantage of the concentrations in order to diversify their skills for the communication industry.

Mass Communication students are excited and privileged to have these facilities available to them.

“I feel like I’m graduating at the wrong time,” said Morris Winters, a mass communication student who has completed all coursework in his major. “I won’t get a chance to experience the upgrades within the department.