Article ScreenshotI was recently profiled as a featured graduate for winning third place in the Udutu Guru contest.  Because access to the Full Sail University online community is limited to students and staff, I've included the text of the article below.

FSO Grad Wins Big Designing Sleek Online Course

It’s become instinctual. When you meet someone new, visit a new place or become interested in a new business, your natural inclination is likely to look for more information on the Web. We have come to expect a lot from the Internet, and when the Internet disappoints, it’s like hitting a proverbial brick wall.

Now, imagine you have a disability that restricts your access to that same information. Suddenly, the Web becomes even more disappointing, and even frustrating. Making technology accessible for everyone became a dominant interest for Education Media Design and Technology MS graduate Emily Wray, and her work didn’t just pay off academically (although she was valedictorian of her class).

It also paid off in the form of prizes, including an iPod shuffle, $500 in Udutu services and Udutu gear. Wray built a Technology Accessibility online course using Udutu, an online course authoring tool, and because of a chance email newsletter she got after registering on the site, she decided to enter the "Are You a Udutu Guru?" contest.

“I got pretty excited about it. It’s like one of those contests that you just enter, like putting your business card in a fishbowl and hoping for a free lunch,” Wray said. “I didn’t expect anything to happen, but I was pleasantly surprised.”

Wray’s being modest. Her winning entry, which you can see here, was a sophisticated course that engages the learner through interactive materials with a sleek design that showcases how professional the course really is. She achieved this by really digging into the customization options Udutu provides, specifically choosing colors that weren’t as harsh to the eye as some of the default design selections.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that EMDTMS is strictly for educators looking to learn how to use more advanced technology in their classrooms. While the program is definitely useful in that sense, for someone like Wray, who is a designer by trade, her interest in the program stemmed from a different place.

“I felt like the EMDT program was the natural intersection of what my skills and talents are,” Wray said. “There’s this part of me that’s creative, and that’s the part that’s a designer, but then there’s this other part of me that is also kind of like a coach.”

Wray pointed out that Dr. Ian Gibson sometimes has Roger Mundell, the CEO of Udutu, guest lecture in his EMDTMS course and that the company recognizes Full Sail and is always looking out for student work, so students should keep an eye out for more contests in the future. In addition to finding the right degree program, she also said she had a lot to owe in terms of finding direction to spending time in the workplace between degrees.

“It’s been a very long and winding path to get to where I am,” Wray said. “It wasn’t until I started working that I started intuitively feeling out exactly what I should be doing.”

-Ashley Belanger

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