Program Spotlight

Learn by doing

As Ferris is known for having the most hands on television and digital media production program in the state, TDMP seniors work hard to finish their senior sequence.

There are only two courses in the entire TDMP program’s curriculum where students are not making media productions. These courses are Intro to Digital Media and Script Writing. Every other course involves intense video production that incorporates hands-on experience.

Ferris’ TDMP program is distinguishable from other degree programs because the curriculum is not entirely theory-based. The program is designed for students to get immersive industry experience.

School of Digital Media professor and 2023 Distinguished Teacher Award recipient Joshua Pardon compares the art of TDMP to painting.

Andrew Tingley (left) helps organize and run shows put on TDMP students. Photo by:

“A painter needs to know how to wield their paintbrush in order to make great art,” Pardon said. “Just like our students need to know how to wield cameras, microphones and software to be able to make great visual storytelling.”

Pardon teaches a seminar course and a TV and digital media course. Within these courses, he helps his students get placed for their internships. Every TDMP senior must take an 18-credit internship over the span of six months.

Covering different forms of media like broadcast, narrative and documentary production, the TDMP program at Ferris has versatile courses that prepare students for the media workforce.

TDMP senior Davis Fosgitt believes that the program was “designed to make a well-rounded media professional.”

Fosgitt competed with many of his classmates for a position with Yellow Dog Creative. Fosgitt enjoyed the competitiveness around applying and interviewing with his classmates. He accepted his internship offer with them on April 19.

“[Competing] forces you to become the best version of yourself,” Fosgitt said.

The internship is meant to catapult students into the workforce, which the curriculum constantly prepares them for.

“Ferris Sports Update” is a show that is completely produced by TDMP seniors. This project is built into the program to develop students’ skills in media production.

The show is integrated into an advanced producing and directing course taught by Glen Okonoski. Students rotate through different positions like producer, director, technical director, audio mixer, lighting, graphics, stage manager and camera operator.

TDMP senior Micah Sealock prefers doing camera work and editing.

“I came to Ferris from Nebraska with pretty much no knowledge of working with cameras, editing or software, but now I’m about to accept an internship and graduate, and I can confidently say I’ve grown so much from where I started,” Sealock said.

The program has professors that come straight from the industry. With this being said, their expectations are set at the industry level.

TDMP senior William Mcelfresh worked alongside his professor Nick Kuiper during the filming of “Mystic Michigan,” a series of books by Mark Jager.

“When you’re working alongside these professors in the field, they don’t feel like teachers, they feel like peers,” Mcelfresh said. “They assist you in creating your vision.”

The senior sequence class has been creating a visual story to correlate with the “Mystic Michigan” books throughout the semester, following in the last senior sequence’s footsteps.

As an instructional design professor and “Mystic Michigan” overseer, Kuiper consistently worked alongside students in the field to enrich their ideas on significant techniques. Mcelfresh stressed that Kuiper’s high standards and style of teaching helped him become more aware of mediocre work compared to greatness.

“The intricacies that he emphasizes about film and editing separate an amateur from a professional,” Mcelfresh said.

Currently, all faculty offices are located in Bishop Hall, while most TDMP courses take place in the IRC. The fall semester will bring huge changes to the TDMP program, as the entirety of the School of Digital Media is moving over to the Center for Virtual Learning.

“One thing we’re looking forward to is being able to have our offices and classrooms on the same floor of the same building in the Center for Virtual Learning,” Pardon said.

As the semester is coming to an end, TDMP students are finishing their senior sequence. The 30-minute, three-segment show will premiere on May 4 in room 111 of the Business Building.