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Multimedia authoring class uses project for greater good

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When students in TCU’s Multimedia Authoring class were assigned to create a collage that would influence viewers, they were also contributing to the greater good.

Associate Professor of Rhetoric and New Media Joddy Murray used a creative assignment as a vessel to persuade people to donate to famine relief in the Horn of Africa.

Students made visual appeals for donation to Operation USA, an organization that helps communities “alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty throughout the world by providing privately-funded relief, reconstruction and development aid,” according to their website.

The class chose to focus on Operation USA because of the program’s reputation for effectively sending aid to affected areas, said Murray.

Murray said his students were assigned to compose a persuasive image that mixed old and new technologies to create appeal.

Shelby Atchison, a senior strategic communication major and a member of Murray’s class, said the objective of the assignment was to use images and text to persuade people to donate. The goal was for each student to raise $75 for Operation USA.

“I liked that it was a hands-on art project, and that it helped me see imagery as a persuasive element,” Atchison said.

Murray said the assignment benefited students.

“It’s not just for a grade or the small, isolated cause of the class,” he said. “It connects [students] with what’s going on in the world.”

Anyone can contribute to the cause on the TCU Famine Feeding page of www.crowdrise.com, an online portal that allows users to solicit and give donations to a variety of charitable organizations.

Although the students’ visual projects have been completed, donation efforts through the site are ongoing.

Atchison said she was hopeful that the class would make an impact.

“If we pool our efforts, we may be able to make a substantial donation,” she said.

Murray said the project helped his students expand their viewpoints.

“[I’m] pleased to see the students see a connection between the community and the world at large,” he said.

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