Internship Experience with Digital Wkshop
The Face of Change Project

Description of Work

The goal of the internship with Digital Wkshop was to design and produce a transmedia educational project. 
The nature of
transmedia is to combine different forms of media that have unique content supporting a particular topic.  As Digital Wkshop specializes in health education documentary style videotapes, the addition of interactive media and a print publication was viewed as an exciting way to incorporate content in a cross platform learning environment.


I met weekly beginning in September 2008 with the principles of Digital Wkshop, Robert Belinoff and Randy McComas to identify and implement the transmedia project. Brainstorming meetings were held to explore pertinent health issues.  Discussions ranged from culture and anthropology (I work at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology) to mind and health.  We settled on the current health crisis of obesity.  Obesity and diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions; billions of dollars are spent annually on treating the conditions; a tool for public awareness, education and action funded by state or federal government agencies is desired.
In November I began outlining a plan for the project.  I worked primarily in the evenings building knowledge on the topics.


 The motivation of the project was not only to gather statistical data on obesity/diabetes but to identify social and environmental factors contributing to the prevalence of the conditions; introduce measurement instruments and activities that help learners; describe interventions that community members are engaged in to reduce the obesity trend.  Applying the research skills that I have gained in the OLIT program I embarked on a literature review of obesity/diabetes trends in the United States.  I was able to find many peer reviewed articles and government reports to describe the growing prevalence of obesity/diabetes and the health outcomes for children and adults.  I was also able to identify tools that health officials use to measure the conditions.  In addition, research is available on the socio-economic effects and geographical factors that influence poor health outcomes.

There is growing recognition of the role of traditional local foods in fighting the causes of obesity and diabetes. Native authors and government agencies are  documenting the role of traditional diets and locally grown food in reversing the effects of calorie rich and nutrient limited diets.  Non-profit organizations are partnering with schools to improve diets and farmers are developing growing systems that produce supernutritious vegetables.

Design Document

Throughout the fall and winter of 2008 I synthesized the research and interview topics with a preliminary concept of the finished project.  The design document for Face of Change went through three iterations before being agreed upon by DigitalWkshop.  Currently it is the guiding document that has focused our work. The document incorporates learning theories, specifically activity and constructivist theories with the goal of transformative learning.  The target audience is middle school students and their parents and it is proposed to be an activity of the Maxwell Museum summer camp- our pilot learning group.  (The design document is attached below)


Working collaboratively with Robert and Randy, I sought and identified local subject matter experts (SME) working in anthropology, organic food production, and the restaurant business.  The SME’s were contacted and  preinterviewed. We discussed their expertise and how it might fit with the topic, and selected a few preliminary experts. Live interviews were arranged and videotaped, some in the studio and others on location.  The process was very fluid, while we didn’t know exactly what the outcome of the taping would be or how diverse interviews would be woven together for the documentary video, we pursued them nonetheless.  Editing the footage we found that the thread of subsistence living and cultural survival, traditional foods and their contributions to good health, and the production of healthy organic foods all contribute to health and wellbeing and can be applied to an educational program aimed at reducing the risk of obesity.

The website component of the project is designed as an interactive community building place.  I designed the graphic elements and look of the site and the interactive features of it.  They include resources describing the obesity/diabetes epidemic, a measurement index that individuals can use to test their weight, descriptions of traditional diets, a family food tree activity, community forum, and evaluation instruments to measure knowledge acquisition. 

The print publication that accompanies the video and website identifies wild plants that have contributed to subsistence survival for millennia.  These plants of the Rio Grande region had been used traditionally by people of the southwest but as lifestyles changed they had been largely forgotten.  There are however project that seek to reclaim these healthy foods and I have been successful in researching examples of their use to mediate the effects of the “western” diet.  I have developed a print publication in collaboration with ethnobotanist Lisa Huckell for the Face of Change project.

While many of the components of the project have been produced and a pilot implementation identified, we are currently seeking funding for a full implementation of the Face of Change.

Self Evaluation

I believe the work I have contributed to the project has been valuable to Digital Wkshop as it brings current educational theory and a knowledge of interactive technology  to enhance learners experience. Initial discussion of the internship and the skills that I could bring to the company were appreciated and agreed upon. We set up a meeting schedule that was adhered.  At the meetings I took copius notes, recording ideas for topics and style.  After the meetings I worked on developing the ideas, research topics and graphic look of the online component of the project.  These were presented at subsequent meetings and formed the basis of the design document. Evaluation and outcomes are becoming as important in proposals as the creative educational ideas, I was able to bring knowledge of assessment to the planning process..

With input from Robert and Randy I developed the initial design document, a skill that I have learned throughout my coursework.  The internship proposal outlined hours spent on tasks but missed the mark on the time it took me to research and write the design document.  I spent nearly one hundred hours on it- it was proposed to take forty- so in that part of the proposal I quite clearly underestimated.  This may be that previous design documents for classes were written collaboratively.  The video preproduction and production estimates were pretty much on the mark although I again underestimated the time it took to find and pre interview subject matter experts.  Though the hours were extensive, designing and producing the components of the Face of Change project was stimulating, enlightening and thoroughly satisfying. I am pleased with the work I was able to produce, the time element has not been detrimental to the project, it showed me that from proposal to implementation things change and that flexibility and commitment are essential to completing the goals of a project.

Professional Skills

The internship with DigitalWkshop gave me hands on experience working with professional filmmakers who I hope to develop projects with in the future.  Solutions to real life issues through education is what DigitalWkshop has been contributing to the area of social marketing and health for many years.  I believe that their experience and talent  has shown me that creative applications can be developed for pressing social issues.  Skills that I have developed include client development, interpersonal communication, attention to detail in a fast moving environment, and hands on experience with digital video media. Through the internship I was able to introduce a constructivist learning environment integrated with documentary and print resources. I was also able to develop graphic design skills and interactive design applications.  I understand some of the challenges that independent producers face in developing clients, interacting with funding sources and producing effective programs.

Relation to Program Focus

My experience has provided me an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the professional field of video and interactive media.  I am hoping to apply skills learned at Digital Wkshop and in the OLIT program in developing multimedia instructional environments for diverse learners. Continued work with Digital Wkshop will help me to develop a professional relationship with industry professionals.  I will continue to sharpen my writing skills and keep current on technology in order to make effective instructional designs.  One of my professional goals is to integrate learning theories that contribute to multimedia instruction with traditional media. I would like to eventually have a consulting business so working with independent producers was a great way to see how they run their business Current issues facing businesses and their clients has helped me understand that it is an uphill climb with a lot of uncertainty.

Internship ProposalD.pdf Internship ProposalD.pdf
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FaceofChangeDesignDoc.pdf FaceofChangeDesignDoc.pdf
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InternshipLetterRec.pdf InternshipLetterRec.pdf
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