Musing about Final Projects

Some folks might be able to relax over the summertime, but I’ve taken on a full time job again because try as I might, I just can’t give up luxuries like shelter, food, and water. That doesn’t impact the relaxation from a “I wish I were on a beach” aspect, but it does mean to me as a grad student that I am, officially and unquestionably, insane.

Absolutely nutters.

See, next semester is fast approaching. August will be here all too soon, and with it comes the return of classes. While I have no courses requiring my attendance at Quinnipiac during the work week, I -am- carrying a full course load which includes my Capstone Project. One of those classes is Photoshop 101, which I’m anticipating being painfully boring to the point of requiring more discipline than my other courses but precious little in the way of new brainpower (being a graphic designer for over a decade, Photoshop 101 is a skillset I’d be surprised to find myself lacking in).

Aside from that, there’s an online course for Designing Content for Mobile Media, and also Media Law, which I am very much looking forward to. And then the Capstone.

About that Capstone Project

Quinnipiac is not a design school. Yet the choices for terminal project include either a) writing a thesis, or b) making and posting a live website or other interactive experience.  It must be my work experience going against me here because I look at what I can produce online by myself, and it’s pretty crappy. I feel like I have absolutely no real preparation for making websites myself, and unless I build it in Flash 2.0, I don’t really have any sort of scripting or language skills outside of basic HTML.

How can I make this a Capstone worthy of a Masters? What exactly is it supposed to be showcasing as far as skillsets go? I really begin to think that my expectations are too high of myself, mostly because that full time job I’ve got is all about producing (coordinating the production of) high end commercial websites for my livelihood.

Scouting subject material

I need to come up with something relevant for the subject matter of the website. And then I need to plan out the IA. And then I need to apply manually for the Capstone course and an Advisor. (Ideally the advisor should be helping a bit prior to the formal prospectus filing). So what I have to do, in the middle of a breakneck paced job, is figure out what to focus on subject-wise for my capstone.

It should ideally help serve my next career goals. Or help to establish me in some way as one of the voices or writers in a field I will ideally explore later in life, whether in formal PhD studies or not. But I’m not sure what’s next from here… I’m in advertising again, and really kind of wanting to get out. But there’s some fascinating stuff going on internally here, as the management is going to try to “integrate” the offline and the online teams into a single agency.

I know some online classes that Quinnipiac offers which might be of help in that. 🙂 Meanwhile, I’ll be hiding behind the dumpster so I don’t get hit by the explosions of egos. (Print vs. Online, round 373… ding!)

Next Steps

For the next steps I need to start generating lists of potential topics and musing about them. Then do some real top level preliminary research to see what all might be out there on it. I figure I need to have my topics narrowed down to a Short List by July 15th. At that point, I’ll approach a couple of professors by email and bounce the short list off of them, and finally narrow everything down for the Prospectus by the time that the semester begins in the fall.

So… preliminary ideas:

Literary analysis of the movie “Moulin Rouge” as an example of how Mash Ups are more than simply ‘folk art’,  but also viable within a professional milieu (might as well put that BA in Literature to work

Consideration of the obstacles that Advertising (marketing, pr, synergy, integrated, etc) Agencies present to the actual adoption of new communication practices… broad, needs to be narrowed a bit, but essentially the Agency as Broker is not in a leadership position because it follows the money, instead of attracting it. A call for a revision of the basic business model within agencies and the difficulties in monetizing the model.

Communication breakdowns resulting in application out outmoded Print-based expectations on the interactive communication process.

More to come. Time to work.

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