In December of 2012, Bret Dover graduated from Lubbock Christian University with a degree in Digital Media Arts and has since then generously shared his wealth of knowledge with recent Cooper High School graduate, Ashton Tipton. Cooper High School requires their seniors to complete a Senior Project approved by a panel of teachers. Some seniors choose photography, others choose to learn how to bake a cake, but Ashton decided to pursue something he always found fascinating: software engineering and application design. This pursuit was by no means easy. Seniors are required to find a mentor for their project so Ashton found Stu Childre, software developer for Micro Focus, a software company in the UK with over 6,000 companies as customers.
The app: a tic-tac-toe board game that keeps track of the score and text that lets players know when someone wins. To someone who is familiar with coding, this seemingly simple game takes an intense amount of work to create, especially for a high school senior. Stu mentored Ashton through the coding of the app up until it came time to deploy the app to the iPhone. Through the Digital Media Arts program at LCU, Bret had learned how to deploy apps to the iPhone. In fact, he has been the only student in the program to deploy an app to the iPhone due to Apple’s strict policies.
After working hard to prepare Ashton’s tic-tac-toe app for deployment, the team of three finally had things in order, but the day they sent the app to be deployed, Apple happened to have an update scheduled. This update took all weekend, the same weekend before Ashton’s senior presentation. As soon as the Apple site was back up and running, Bret says they were prepared and got the app deployed smoothly in time for Ashton’s presentation to go well. Ashton has since graduated from Cooper High School and has been accepted into Purdue University in Indiana.
The first app Bret ever developed was a volleyball stat keeper app, which he developed in his app development course at LCU. Bret took this class online, and by the end of the course everyone in the class had developed an app, however, Bret was the only one who actually had it deployed to Apple. Bret says he wants to design more apps in the future. He has been accepted into The Guildhall at SMU, a video game university where, if he completes his masters degree in game development, he will be designing games for the gaming industry.
Bret’s success story of being accepted into The Guildhall is only one of the success stories coming out of the Digital Media Arts program at LCU. Other successful graduates from LCU with a DMA degree include Jacob Parnell (’12) who is now a content developer at Tyler Technologies, Trapper Dixon (’12) who is the creative artist for advertising with Affordable Storage in Lubbock, Sarah McCoy (’13) who is a media designer for Rigel Images in Fort Worth, and Amy Tiller (’13) who is in marketing and social media content development with Bahama Bucks. LCU currently has 20 students declaring DMA as their major.
“The DMA program was a dream of mine. I wanted art people to get jobs. I wanted them to be on the cutting edge of employment. It’s amazing, if you send an art person out into the world, hardly anyone takes them seriously, but if you send them out with a suitcase full of business, marketing, and advertising, opportunities arise,” explained Karen Randolph, digital media and graphic design professor. “App programming is new to digital media and art students. I put them in programming and logic, if they like it, they will go further, if not, then at least they understand that they handle every project with the logic of design.”
The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media Arts and Applications is an Art and Technology degree. It is designed to support student interests in diverse areas of art, information technology, business, communication, and software applications. The major consists of 30 hours in art courses, both fine arts and computer graphics, as well as 3 hours of information technology in web design. The supporting courses include business, marketing, communications, advertising, programming and opportunity to choose additional hours in ART, BUA, COM, DMA and IST, thus providing the student the choice of specialization in one area.