First Week of Classes

The week of August 27, marks the first week of classes of the Fall 2018 semester for students at the ETC.  Our 77 new students will embark on an exciting, invigorating, and challenging experience, called the Immersion Semester.  There are four required courses that make up the first semester at the ETC including: Building Virtual Worlds, Improvisational Acting, Visual Story, and The Fundamentals of ETC.  These four courses are designed to work together to help engage students in the world of entertainment technology.

The Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) course  was created by the late Randy Pausch,  CMU Professor and Co-Founder of the ETC in 1999.  Currently, this course is taught by Professors Jesse Schell and Dave Culyba.  This course challenges students to work quickly, creatively and collaboratively by requiring small teams of students to create a virtual world every two weeks throughout the semester.  Students are able to use new technologies such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens, Apple ARKit, etc. to create these worlds, and some worlds go on to become student projects and spin-off companies.

The Visual Story course, taught by Professors Ralph Vituccio and John Dessler, has been part of the required curriculum since the beginning of the ETC.  Students work in teams to write, produce, shoot and edit several different assignments.  The course is designed to teach the essential skills for becoming a creative technological storyteller, i.e. learning how to tell a story in a visual way.

We consider Improvisational Acting to be the “special sauce” of the ETC that adds zing to our program and gives you an edge.  Taught by Professor Brenda Harger, Improv fosters team building, exercises spontaneity, sharpens focus and increases listening skills.  Students learn to solve problems on the fly, build from nothing, stretch their imaginations and overcome inhibitions when communicating publicly and working with others.

The fourth and final course of the Immersion Semester is the Fundamentals of the ETC, taught by Professors Drew Davidson and Mike Christel.    The focus of this course is on leadership, teamwork, innovation and positive social impact.  Students have the opportunity to begin shaping their professional networks, gain a sense of the industry, and establish a fundamental understanding of how experiences engage and inform.

The first semester at the ETC is exciting, difficult, time-consuming, and most importantly a lot of fun!  Students will learn a lot of new things and will come together as a cohesive class!  We look forward to seeing their work throughout the semester!


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