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Inside the UAT Production Studio Experience: Where  Ideas Become Industry-Ready Projects

What is UAT Production Studios? 

University of Advancing Technology (UAT) offers a unique differentiator for its students called Production Studios, a class designed to create a real world, industry project experience.

"The UAT Production Studio course allows students to learn and apply the steps, practices, and processes linked to technology project creation. Through the class, students take on the roles and procedures of teams working in production pipelines that mirror the workplace,” says Derric Clark.

Clark is UAT's Game Studies Program Chair and has been an integral part of UAT Production Studio since its conception and has significantly influenced its evolution to where it is today. Clark currently runs the curriculum and class for Production Studios for all UAT students. 

T. Lynn Understiller, UAT Professor for the Game Art and Animation and the graduate courses for the Game Production and Management master's degree, was also an integral pioneer for UAT Production Studios, launching it as UAT Game Studios in 2011 and offered to only game studies majors at the time.

Understiller stated, “UAT’s Production Studios has led students through the job process beginning each semester with the Game Job Fair where students are recruited onto Greenlighted team projects and take on owning and managing their teams on their own while working with professional outside stakeholders. UAT Studios has become one of the University’s greatest assets and has been adopted by all programs of study.” 

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Fostering Innovation from Students and Industry  

Following each semester’s Student Awards Ceremony, an event called ‘Greenlight’ takes place where students and external industry clients can pitch projects to become teams for the following semester’s Production Studios class. Projects can be in any stage of development, from idea to fully functioning business, such as Grab The Axe and Full Fabric.

For Greenlight, any UAT students have the opportunity to pitch and manage their projects, as well as engage with external projects involving real clients and diverse personalities. They often are able to have a graduate student on their team to help with project management, or interact with alumni who contribute to the studio enhances networking opportunities. Additionally, the class mimics an incubator for launching companies, empowering students to hire interns and further contribute to the industry. Overall, Production Studios not only inspires students but also serves as a technology nexus connecting various UAT classes, enriching the educational experience and culture for all students.

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What to Expect in the UAT Production Studios Courses

The Production Studios class at UAT offers a comprehensive array of benefits for students. Through this course, students not only create high-quality completed works but also develop expertise in production and discipline. By collaborating with teams, they witness the fruition of a collective vision, gaining valuable experience in team leadership and mentorship. The class experience facilitates collaboration between online and on-ground students, fostering a dynamic learning environment. Moreover, students are immersed in real-world industry expectations, honing both soft and hard skills essential for success. 

Students are required to take at least two sessions or semesters of Production Studio and in each, they work toward the creation of market-ready, professional applications of technology. This class typically is part of a UAT student’s curriculum in the final four semesters, alongside Student Innovation Project (SIP), Internship, Boards and Portfolio courses. All classes combined pull together the culmination of a student’s unique accolades and achievements, readying them to be able to present and articulate their skills to the world. 

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Major components and priorities of the UAT Production Studios course include: working together as a team to accomplish completed works, creating opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery for their chosen fields, have industry-relevant projects Portfolio Works to showcase to the industry and prospective employers, as well as create innovative projects for the industry that solve real-world problems. 

Course objectives for UAT Production Studios includes: 

•    Collaborate with all team members to develop a project and progress it to the next major milestone. 
•    Design and implementation of all necessary features, functions, and assets. 
•    Develop cross-disciplinary and leadership skills using industry-standard management systems and tools, team, and project management techniques which includes interfacing with external QA teams, and creating supporting documentation that provides detailed specifications of all features and content, as well as a record of the project’s development.
•    Project’s progress is presented at the end of the semester.

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The UAT Production Studio Experience According to Students

Alexis Sloan, UAT Network Security Alum and Brooke Cayce Scholarship award winner ran her Student Innovation Project (SIP), STEM For Kiddos, for 3 semesters through Production Studios during her undergraduate time at UAT.

I enjoy the hands on experience we are able to get in the class no matter what your major is you’re going to get something out of it. I think with the leadership aspect of being in the class, I have learned a lot from how to manage a team, delegate tasks among others, and overall time management skills. Everyone will say communication is the number one thing to have but I also think that the organization through the project is also a major role. It has helped me find ways I work better with a team and how to grow within a team,” says Sloan. 

Sloan is continuing her education with a Master of Science in Technology Leadership at UAT, beginning May 2024. She hopes to continue running her project through Production Studios to provide a great opportunity for the UAT undergraduate students to work on a matured, vibrant, and fun student project. 

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Echoing Sloan's sentiments, Stace Dixon, a UAT Digital Marketing degree alum who ran her SIP, the GENkids app through Production Studios in the Fall 2023 semester stated, “Production Studios is comparable to and works parallel to UAT’s Internship experience. Students are getting exposure to what it's like to work in the real world, facing the same challenges organizations deal with every day. I've also seen student projects launch careers if they continue pursuing it after Studios, like Escape Room AR. Production Studios is a unique, foundational, and transformative experience for UAT students to sharpen their career readiness and leadership skills, readying them for the challenges they will face in their future careers." 

Discover more about Production Studios and other unique and cool courses in UAT’s Course Catalog.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward a degree and Tech Respect, apply today or schedule a meeting with your Academic Advisor to begin your enrollment process. 

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