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About Digital iCreation » The Project

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The goal of this project is to put scholarship in action serving both our community and our students.


Digital iCreation meets the information needs of under-funded Syracuse-based community organizations in this application level course offered by Syracuse University’s iSchool funded through a grant from Imagining America (See Funding). From concept to creation, student teams take on real “information gaps” identified by participating community organizations that have little or no funding to produce digital media designed to resolve these gaps. Students learn and apply information, digital/technology and visual literacy skills to plan, research, design, and create solutions that incorporate video, Web, and print materials.


Students practice information literacy skills as they identify and define the information needs via online and in face to face meetings with client organizations. They work with the client to refine the aspects of the information problem(s) to be addressed within the timeframe of the course, locate relevant materials, organize and synthesize in preparation for presenting a proposal to their client. Concurrently, students learn the technical skills for producing digital media and the visual design skills for creating media that is esthetically appealing and engaging. Student collaborative teams critique each others’ work noting esthetic appeal, technical goodness, visual design, and “fit” with project goals and objectives. Similar criteria for evaluation are applied by both the client and the professor upon submission of the final products.


Whether students ultimately plan to work in an information management or design/development capacity, they achieve the conceptual, technical, organizational, and client skills to create digital media products in the real-life context of serving their community. They learn first-hand the actual human and technical resources, time, and commitment required to complete such a project and are better prepared to make cost and timeline projections when they enter the workforce.  Students mount their completed products on the Digital iCreation Web site providing the participating organizations with a conduit for their newly developed information products and support materials. Products are also integrated into organizations' Web sites when a Web site already exists.

A Growth Experience for Students

Many students who have participated in this service learning experience partnering with neighborhood organizations remark about the sense of accomplishment they feel when the semester ends. Julia Allis, master's student at the iSchool, reflects on her own experience.

"The community service media project pushed me to achieve more than I would have for just another classroom project.  As students, we frequently create projects and write papers that are mainly just practice.  We may put them to work for us on an individual basis, but they fundamentally lack a deeper reason to commit and test ourselves.  Doing a live project for community members who were not only generous enough to donate their time but who truly needed the work we produced inspired me to really pour myself into the work and give them everything I was capable of.  I think it also resulted in a sense of accomplishment and confidence among the students that never would have happened with an average class project."
Master's student and writer, Shander Bawden, reflects about the awesome experience she had in the course in "Information Space," the official blog of the School of Information Studies, where Shander is a frequent contributor. Read the post written by Shander Bawden.

Link to SU News article in which other students also talk about their experiences with the course/project.

Course Conceptual Framework

In order to create effective digital media for their organizations, students learn more than technical skills. They learn how "multiple literacies" including information literacy, digital literacy, and visual literacy are essential to content creation. To find out more, read the Conceptual Framework for this Course.