West Virginia University at Parkersburg
300 Campus Drive Parkersburg WV 26104
Phone: 304-424-8203 | Fax: 304-424-8315
WVU Parkersburg to offer new courses in Animation and Digital Game Design.
CONTACT: Laura Kerbyson, assistant professor, 304-424-8302.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Virginia University at Parkersburg is offering new courses in animation and digital game design taught by an experienced game designer and the original web manager/animator for the Hard Rock Park website.
A course in Flash software will be offered from 3:50 to 7 p.m. on Mondays, beginning Sept. 29. Digital Game Design will start Sept. 29 and meet from 9:00-10:50 a.m., Mondays and Wednesdays. Interface Design will meet 9:00-10:45 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning Sept. 30.
The late-start classes will be offered in a 10-week format. There are no required course prerequisites. They will meet in the Caperton Center for Applied Technology on the WVU Parkersburg campus.
The CS 297 courses are being taught by game designer and web developer Laura Kerbyson, assistant professor, who has 20 years of experience in business and academia.
A native of Parkersburg, Kerbyson released Tertullian’s Tomb, her first video game in 2005. She followed up in 2007 with Fleming Castle and also began making web browser games. Kerbyson left Parkersburg in 2007 to become the original web manager and animator for the new Hard Rock Park, the world’s first rock ‘n’ roll theme park in Myrtle Beach, SC. She spent a year working on the $400 million dollar project.
“Creatively, it was exciting because there were parts of my life that I could really draw on," she said. "It really did combine some of my passions and interests – rock ‘n’ roll and theme parks. To have been there when it started is really a unique piece of history. We were all there to pursue a dream and share in a vision.”
Kerbyson noted that web developers and animators can have far-reaching influence.
“The web allows you to influence or make a connection that can be anywhere in the world, “Kerbyson noted. “I think developers sometimes forget that that can be powerful. I learned that when I released Fleming Castle. The story had international appeal and it went around the world. That and I released it for free just to see how far it would go. When I did a radio interview in Scotland, I discovered that some of the local residents had not even known that the castle had been there hundreds of years ago. So my interview educated their local community.”
“Playing Walt Disney is a lot of fun and there are few people in the world who get to say that, but it’s not the same thing as building people, as teaching, as making a lasting impact on someone’s life,” Kerbyson continued. “For me, I really missed that. I missed the students and the interaction. So I am back in my hometown with a passion and a desire to teach it all. But most of all I really want to build something that’s innovative, lasting and enduring for the school. And it’s kind of cool to show Rolling Stone magazine with a full page ad for your work and your silver Founders Edition pin that only a few people will ever have.”
Kerbyson has a WVU Parkersburg connection which gives her a unique perspective.
“I took classes when I was in high school at WVU Parkersburg," she noted. "I’m going to be able to walk into the classroom and say, ‘I started in the seat you’re sitting in.' I think I’m one of the success stories of this school. No one understands the value this college plays in this community better than me.”
Her interest in offering animation and gaming courses at WVU Parkersburg was sparked by another Parkersburg connection.
“One of the things that really motivated me to want to do this in Parkersburg was that I accidentally discovered that Ed Catmull, the current President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, is from Parkersburg,” Kerbyson said. “Then I started reading his background and it was ironic because we had many things in common. Then I thought, it seems a shame that we came from Parkersburg and this town doesn’t have an animation or game design program. We can either bottle the water or we actually teach it.”
After graduating from Parkersburg South High School, Kerbyson obtained her bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio University with specializations in business and psychology. She went on to write for The Miami Herald, The Columbus Dispatch, and United Press International and served as editor of several computer magazines. She took graduate courses at Florida International University when she was employed there and obtained her master's from OU in 1996. She has previously designed college academic programs in graphic design, game development and web design and has worked for a number of institutions. She was awarded the 2006 Outstanding Educator for Advancing Information Technology by Information Technology Alliance of Appalachian Ohio.
Additional information about the classes is available from Kerbyson at 424-8302 or by emailing email@example.com . Registration information is available by contacting the college Admissions and Records Office.