From Classroom to Client: Inside a Media & Communications DEE Project

Author Aiden Parker '25 is a Media & Communications major and works as a multimedia student assistant at JWU.

Last semester, my classmates and I partnered with Rhode Island Monthly and the Rhode Island Foundation as part of a Directed Experiential Education (DEE) course. It’s formatted as a project-based class that functions similarly to an internship, but with professors guiding you through the process of working with a client to deliver a satisfactory final project. Being able to work directly with a client is valuable for anyone interested in media as it gives the real-world experience that is hard to get from a standard classroom, and having that experience leads to a smoother transition into a career post-graduation.

Our objective was to produce the video for Rhode Island Monthly’s annual Tech 10 Awards, which acknowledge exceptional individuals whose advancements in technology have enhanced both our personal and professional lives. This video would highlight the winners with short interviews and debut during the Tech 10 Awards ceremony.

Watch the behind-the-scenes video of this DEE project, produced by Marnie Scholten '25.

This process started with the planning phase, with the class deciding everything from when the interviews would be filmed to the overall theme that the video would have. As a group, we had to decide how the set would be made — what the backdrop would be, how the lighting would be set, which camera angles would give the most character to the interviews, details even as small as which direction the chair would face that the interviewees would be sitting in. While all of this was going on, our two producers were coordinating an interview schedule with the ten winners to get them to the set within the three-week window we had to film the interviews.

Being able to work directly with the Tech 10 winners to film their interviews was a wonderful experience. Managing not only the technical skills to work the cameras and sound equipment, but also making sure that the winners felt comfortable during their interviews was an interesting challenge. All ten of the winners had similar feedback on leaving their respective interviews —that we had been both professional and welcoming, and we had acted more like a professional recording group than a class of students.

Last for the process was the phase that I had the largest part in — the post-production phase. During this phase, the raw video footage was taken apart and cut down to a more reasonable length, put back together into a sequence containing all ten winners and then fine-tuned with details such as sound re-balancing and color correction to make it as smooth of a viewing experience as possible.

This DEE culminated in two separate viewing events. My classmates, Professor Villari and I attended the Tech 10 Awards ceremony and networked with prominent professionals in Rhode Island’s technology field. The centerpiece of the event was the video we produced. The second viewing event was a showcase at the Center for Media Production. Our clients from Rhode Island Monthly and the Rhode Island Foundation, along with JWU faculty and staff, were invited to see our final presentation recapping the project. It gave our class the opportunity to show off the hard work we had done over the course of the semester.

I went into this DEE with the goal of producing a video that our clients at Rhode Island Monthly and the Rhode Island Foundation would be happy with. The feedback we received from everyone involved made me feel as though we had exceeded expectations. The proprietor of Rhode Island Monthly, John Palumbo, compared our video to the one that had been made a few years prior by a professional video recording company, sharing that our product stood next to the multi-thousand-dollar video that was previously produced and it was of a high caliber we should all be proud of. I can’t speak for everyone in the group, but I know that I certainly am.

Explore Media & Communications at JWU

Apply Visit Transfer