A group of Lethbridge College Multimedia Production students just proved their mad marketable skills of flexibility, collaboration and innovative thinking by creating an online event that captures the essence of self-isolation and the role of technology to keep us connected.
They planned, designed and marketed an online event called #CatchOurPhone, inviting people from anywhere in the world to create and share brief videos showing where they are self-isolating during the COVID-19 outbreak. The videos begin and end with individuals catching then throwing their cell phones, as it visually gets “passed” from one participant to another.
The students in Allyson Cikor’s Proseminar class hope to bring the submitted videos together to create a visual time capsule of April 2020, an era and circumstances unlike any we’ve known.
“Originally, the idea was just to try to throw our phone around the world to try to get as many people around the globe participating and showing wherever they are in the world. . . to keep everybody feeling like we’re connected even in this crazy time,” says student Charlie Christensen, who is part of the team tasked with making the final video. He is also one of eight students and instructors featured in a one-minute promo which explains how to share a video.
Christensen plans to return to campus in the fall to complete his diploma, but most of his Proseminar classmates are second-year students on the verge of graduating.
Donna Sato is part of the team marketing the project. She says the video will hold sentimental value.
“We’re graduating this year, and there’s a chance we might actually not see each other afterward, physically,” she says. “So it’s kind of nice to have this big project that other people could also be connected with as well. It’s kind of like of a nice memory, at least for me.”
The Proseminar classes have a history of breaking new ground. Two years ago the students created Lethbridge College’s Merging Realities event, the world’s first full-day conference held completely in virtual reality.
“The class focuses primarily on presentation skills, so some of those are more traditional, like giving a PowerPoint presentation, but we try to make it bigger than that as well. . . a bigger experience beyond the classroom,” Cikor says. “We’re using a lot of the skills Multimedia students learn through their first year and a half, and putting them towards something that takes knowledge of design and project planning and time management.”
Students started brainstorming event ideas in late February. Then the Government of Alberta declared a public health emergency on March 17.
“When all of this happened, and we had to move online, the class pivoted really quickly to shift the idea to be about keeping people connected and using technology to showcase what we're doing without and making everyone feel a little less isolated,” Cikor says. In addition to the final video and marketing teams, other students were tasked with content creation, designing a logo and other assets for the campaign.
Cikor credits students for their quick management and execution of the project in the midst of an overhaul to how their courses were delivered and how they were expected to live their lives.
“It's funny as an instructor, we're used to having to rigidly control projects and having very specific expectations for things,” Cikor says. “So it can be a little scary to take your hands off the reins, and let the class control it. But honestly, I've almost been itching to get my fingers in there a little bit more, but they have it so under control. It's amazing. It’s a testament to the multidisciplinary nature of Multimedia. Once you get to the level these students are at, you learn how to put all of your skills together and all of your heads together and work with different perspectives and create something that's greater than the sum of its parts.”
While the campaign has only received a few submissions since going live in late March, Christensen hopes more will come as word spreads online.
“If we could reach at least someone off this continent, that would be like icing on the cake for me,” he says.
Sato says her hope is the video will provide a little diversion from the stress of these uncertain times.
“I hope that even if they're going stir crazy, this little online event will help people take their minds off of any stresses they're going through and just have a little bit of fun.”
Videos can be submitted by April 16. Upload your video to any content site that can provide you with a shareable link. Then send that link by email to CatchOurPhone@gmail.com or through the project’s Twitter page or TikTok. Please use the hashtags #CatchOurPhone, #StayStrongStayConnected and #StayHomeSaveLives. If you’re not on TikTok or Twitter, you can also show support by sharing the link to this promotional video on whatever social networks you use.