What are the best solutions to engaging audiences in user-generated campaigns? This was the challenge that lay before Ramona Pringle and the Interactive Storytelling class this past winter semester. CBC and White Pine Pictures had approached Ryerson University to ask for help in creating a digital strategy for their TV show We Are Canada hosted and executive produced by Ken Dryden.
With 90 undergrad and graduate students and only one semester to meet the challenge, they set out to create a Virtual Studio. They knew that there would be many obstacles including ensuring broad engagement, finding diverse voices and appealing to individuals from all across the country but a Virtual Studio approach meant that their geographic location would no longer be a liability. Over the course of the semester, the Virtual Studio Staff and students launched a nationwide contest to engage audiences which received nominations from every province and territory. They selected the top 30 change-makers from across the country to be paired up with teams of students who would help them to co-create a video to showcase the work they are doing to make their community better.
By bringing professional production into the classroom and tackling real-world problems Ryerson students were able to gain hands-on skills that they can take into their future careers. The result? During the 30-day campaign the videos students created were viewed 44, 788 times and were able to actively engage Canadians from coast to coast in voting for their favourite change-makers.
Written by: Kathryn McKenzie, Virtual Studio Project Manager