Students develop production, global leadership skills in IT’s Ireland study abroad course
Mizzou Engineering’s Information Technology 4610 Practicum course saw 37 students — mostly IT, but also some from film studies, digital storytelling, communications and journalism — join Assistant Professor of Practice Brian Maurer, two actors and a director of photography to take a deep dive into international media production while immersing themselves in Irish culture and scenery.
Students earned practical experience by completing a variety of rigorous tasks, including a full photo portfolio, a reflective video project and a short film shot entirely in Ireland. They learned the ins and outs of production, high definition and RAW video workflows, as well as working with actors, editing, gaining filming permission, completing projects on a tight timeline and much, much more.
“We put students through the ringer. … It was extremely successful. Everybody loved it,” Maurer said.
The group spent 25 days “exploring international media, photography, film and television production trends, and the challenges and rewards of film production in an international setting.” All the while, they had the opportunity to engage deeply with a different culture, gaining new skills and an appreciation for the ways and customs of Ireland that should prove beneficial as they move into careers in an increasingly global workforce.
They spent a majority of the time in Dublin and Galway, but in between those stays, they had the chance to visit a variety of beautiful, culturally important places such as Waterford, Blarney Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry and more.
“I don’t think a single student didn’t experience a moment of change while we were there,” Maurer said.
“You’re in a different country, culturally everything is different here. The importance of developing yourself as an artist and a profession, you have to get away from what’s comfortable for just a moment to realize that.”
At the end, students participated in a closing ceremony of sorts, showing off their various photos, videos and short films. It was followed by a dinner show with traditional Irish dancing and music, a perfect cap to a great month in the Emerald Isle.
“I think that we did a very good job of showing our students that it’s not just “go out and film.” That there is a process, that there is a science behind this stuff. That there’s an element of engineering behind it. Technology plays a huge role… How do you make a video for Facebook? How do you make a good story for Instagram? How to you manage a terabyte of footage that requires high processing power? We teach these students these things as well as the science and the personal elements of postproduction,” Maurer said. “I think these students walk away with way more than they bargained for. And with skills for employment, as well.”