November 13, 2002

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Northern Oklahoma College MMDC Fast Track Program

In Fall 1999 Northern Oklahoma College accomplished a major milestone in the fast-growing multimedia and digital communications industry by creating the Multi-Media and Digital Communications (MMDC) program and establishing the world’s largest Media 100 iFinish laboratory, featuring state of the art hardware and software.

The interest of the business world in the program sparked the development of a fast track curriculum on the Tonkawa campus in which students undergo 16 weeks of intensive training in 3D animation and modeling, gaming, visual effects, broadcast design and digital video editing. This training replicates the pace of the field they will enter while constant applications of information received and software used allow them to retain more knowledge and master software programs quickly.

MMDC Fast Track Student
Northern Oklahoma College student Shane Read studies instructions during his Photoshop class in the MMDC lab.

Before applying to the MMDC program, students must complete 19 hours of general education. Once in the program, students complete 42 credit hours in one semester, attending classes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in 3-D Animation and Post-Production. Often they literally work around the clock on specific projects.

Graduates have found employment throughout the United States in post-production houses, advertising agencies, television news stations and specialty animation and game creation companies. Their positions range from Photoshop Artist-Web Development Team in Long Beach, California to 3-D Animator and Broadcast Designer for TNN Networks in Tampa Bay, Florida. Others work as animators or broadcast designers in such locations as Toronto, Canada; Boston, Massachusetts; and Cheyenne, Wyoming. A number of graduates work in various capacities for companies in Oklahoma, from Ponca City to Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

In order to improve the curriculum while keeping up with demands of the competitive MMDC industry, Patel has created a strong advisory board comprised of professionals in the field. Members include the Animator/Creature Technical Director for Weta Digital in Wellington, New Zealand; the Visual Effects Supervisor for Industrial Light and Magic in San Rafael, California; the Special Effects Director of Rhinoceros VFX and Design in New York City; and the Chief Engineer for Alias|Wavefront in Toronto, Canada. At annual Siggraph conferences, which attract companies, vendors and students from around the world, Patel attends Master Classes for certification in Advanced 3D Animation and Scripting. To promote Northern’s facility, he and his staff Brad Matson, Tanya Golubeva and Kyle Green, are producing a documentary, “Animator of One,” which follows two students during the semester and will be available online at the website www.mmdclab.com.

For a first-hand look at the high-tech facility, which includes a 24-hour-a-day, 20-Intergraph student lab, the Media 100 iFinish laboratory and Fibre Channel Storage Solution, interested persons may schedule tours by contacting Matson at 580-28-6777 or e-mailing matson@mmdclab.com.

On November 22, the MMDC department will host the “Animation Oasis” Open House in the Wilkin Technology Center. Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., area high schools are invited to attend, and at 6 p.m. the public is invited to tour the facility, view student demonstrations and visit with the staff.


Story contact: Marjilea Smithheisler, msmithhe@nocaxp.north-ok.edu