The goal of the IMRC Outreach project is to refine and create internal systems that will streamline equipment use, reservation, and training, and to promote the use of the facilities to the University of Maine community and local businesses. Bringing in users outside the New Media and Intermedia departments is crucial to the future success and sustainability of the facilities and equipment. This project will be a collaboration between IMRC staff, New Media and Intermedia students, and eventually the Foster Center for Student Innovation and the Target Technology Center.
The IMRC Center has been operational for a little over two years, and though it has established operating procedures and New Media and Intermedia students are aware of, and some trained on, the equipment available, the center has not had the resources to expand and promote its offerings into the campus community and beyond.
There is a strong base of New Media and Intermedia students that have been trained on the equipment in the Fabrication Labs at the IMRC Center. Classes such as NMD 430/IMD 530: Intro to 2D & 3D Prototyping, and training sessions now available on a regular basis have greatly aided this process and will continue to expand the user base. With that said, there are many students and faculty members on campus, outside the New Media and Intermedia programs that would greatly benefit from access to equipment such as 3D printers and laser cutters, but are unaware of the offerings at the IMRC. Due to a lack of resources, the IMRC Center has not been able to promote the equipment and services available into the general campus community. Beyond this, the center is currently establishing a business member package to allow commercial customers in the community to train on and use the equipment, but the program is not ready to launch as of yet.
Phase One of the project will consist of designing and building an online application where equipment users can check their certifications, account balance, etc. as well as sign up for training sessions and reserve equipment. The system will be tested with a select group of New Media and/or Intermedia students before it is made accessible to all users.
Phase Two will be the compilation of several promotional videos along with a formal presentation to be made to deans, department chairs, and other faculty or groups of interest on campus. Tours of the facility are key to attracting users outside the New Media and Intermedia programs, so the presentation will aim to entice viewers to tour the IMRC and speak with the staff about the available equipment and services that could be beneficial to their programs and students.
Phase Three ideally will establish a partnership with the Target Technology Center in Orono to run a pilot business-member program. This program will consist of a separate (or child) website with commercial pricing and access to an online account manager (based on the one created in Phase One, but adapted for business use.) The Technology Center offers a unique opportunity for a pilot program because of its close partnership with the Foster Center for Student Innovation and local startup groups.
In the future, the collaboration between students of various disciplines across the University of Maine campus (and beyond) on projects involving prototyping and design should be commonplace. Further, the students of the New Media and Intermedia programs should have opportunities to work with the commercial customers of the IMRC Center to gain real-world experience and to help clients achieve their prototyping goals.
October 1, 2015 – confirm collaborators
October 10, 2015 – flesh out the concept
November 1, 2015 – finish an alpha version (prototype)
November 5, 2015 – get feedback on alpha version
December 1, 2015 – finish a beta (pre-launch) version
December 5, 2015 – get feedback on beta version
December 15, 2015 – launch a public version
January 10, 2015 – promote the project
March 2015 – assess your level of success
Collaboration with IMRC staff, New Media and Intermedia students, and eventually the Foster Center for Student Innovation and the Target Technology Center will be crucial to the success of this project. IMRC staff will provide the information necessary to create an effective and intuitive online tool for equipment users to check their certifications, account balance, etc.. Staff collaboration will also be necessary when determining how to handle an increase in users at the facility and when establishing the pilot business member program. New Media and Intermedia students will aid in system testing as well as be featured in promotional videos for the IMRC Center, to be shown to members of the campus, business, and general community.
50 hours Programming @ $30/hr
30 hours Graphic Design @ $30/hr
50 Web Design & Population @ 20/hr
30 hours Video Editing @ $30/hr
Domain Name @ $10/yr
16GB iPad Pro @ $799
Macbook Air @ $999
For the programming that I am unable to do myself, I will ideally partner with a New Media student. There will be an agreement for compensation established before the student begins.
The IMRC Outreach Project is unique because the project itself is built around a marketing campaign to get the word out to the campus community and local communities about the equipment and services available at the IMRC Center. This will be done through a series of phases first targeting students and faculty on campus with promotional videos, presentations, and a strong social media presence, followed by a campaign targeted at the local business community through a partnership with the Foster Center for Student Innovation and the Target Technology Center.