For Missouri State University student Derek Parker, it all began with his first cell phone.
“I was never satisfied with what came out of the box,” said Parker, an electronic arts major. “I always wanted to make it better.”
That drive to improve technology led him to his passion: human computer interaction. For his senior project, Parker developed an interactive display, featuring programs in the College of Arts and Letters, to be installed in Craig Hall.
“That project is really the epitome of what I’m interested in,” said Parker. “It’s touch-based. It’s interactive. It’s about the user and the experience they are having with that device."
The interactive display is a 42-inch touch panel that highlights three different programs at Missouri State: musical theatre, electronic arts and global studies. The display allows students to select one of the three different programs and learn more about the events and activities they’ve sponsored by touching different sections.
“It’s not just about you, it’s about learning to work with others and collaborate to create a better end result.”
“We want perspective students to be able to interact with the programs,” said Parker. “They can see the past productions that musical theatre as done and touch different places on a map to see where students in global studies have studied abroad.”
Parker emphasized the importance of the support he received for his senior project from his professor Mark Biggs and advisor Colby Jennings. Without their help, he said, the panel would have never come to fruition.
“A 42-inch touch panel is not cheap by any means,” said Parker. “Without their support I would have never been able to pursue this project.”
This support only reinforced the collaborative nature and focus of the electronic arts program, and that’s something that Parker loves.
“That’s what really got me interested in the program from the start,” said Parker.
Parker looks forward to graduate school and pursuing his master’s degree in human-computer interaction. He advises other students to live in the moment and enjoy every bit of their college experience.