Communication Students Gain Hands-On Experience with New Video Board

October 12, 2017

BY: Cheyanne Gonzales ’18

Smith VideoboardALLIANCE, Ohio - A group of five students at the University of Mount Union are gaining professional experience by running the new video board for Purple Raider home football games.

There are a group students who take part in the hands-on learning experience as either a communications practicum worth one credit or as part of the work study program. Each student is expected to attend six games with six hours spent at each one.

This is a new experience for the students and for the Department of Communication. When the money was donated for the new video board, it was suggested to the department that students be the ones to run the board.

“One of the things the University is shifting towards is applied learning,” said Dr. Len Cooper, associate professor of communication and program director for interactive media. “This is a professional position and they are producing an entire show.”

The team of students are expected to know their jobs and run the video board from the start of the game to the end.

“It’s a really great hands-on experience for the students who participate in the practicum,” Cooper said.

While Cooper and a few others are faculty advisors for the team, the group is student led, allowing them to learn what it’s like to be on a production team and having to make decisions for themselves.

“This is 100 percent student led and we basically have free reign of what we do and how we do it.” said Logan McGee ’20, an integrated media major from East Canton, Ohio. “As long as what we do fits within the University’s and the NCAA’s policy and rules, it’s really up to us.”

The new videoboard was added to the preexisting scoreboard at the beginning of this semester. It’s the same type that is installed at Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena.

Kelby Smith ’18, an art and self-defined double major with a concentration in communications from Alliance, Ohio, believes the experience is beneficial to her future.

“The experience so far has been exciting,” Smith said. “I look forward to each game that I get to contribute to, whether I'm in the press box controlling the replays or down on the field recording the action, this hands-on experience will help me in my future endeavors.”

Each of the students had to go through training in order to use the video board. It allowed them to become familiar with all aspects of the system. In the time since the board was installed, students have been using the lacrosse games as rehearsals for the football games in order to learn about the controls and better plan for what needs to happen.

“A lot of what we have learned was actually through experimentation and just doing it,” McGee said.

The goal is for each person to practice with the various pieces of equipment in order to find out what they are best at before the football playoffs. This will allow each team member to work the piece of equipment that best suits them for the rest of the season.

McGee Videoboard“Because of this, assignments are based strictly on talent and performance, not personal wants. We need to be professional and reliable. That is why we are running the team this way,” McGee said.

The students are gaining experience with more than just running the video board. They also take turns running the two cameras, graphics and replaying the video.

The students who run the board come from a variety of experiential backgrounds. Some are communications majors and sports business, while other have experience through the information technology department and raider student media.

“I wanted to help with the video board because it was a unique opportunity that Mount was offering student,” Smith said. “I'm interested in all forms of media and felt that learning the video board would broaden my knowledge. Plus, I get to enjoy all of the home football games.”

The video board team is run by a different group of students than the traditional scoreboard. While those students also gain hands-on experience, they are not experienced in the same type of technology as the video board team.

The experience the students receive running the video board helps them to grow as professionals and prepares them to be leaders in their future careers.

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