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Gold Rush students make presentation to UC Trustees

On Tuesday, October 21, Electronic Media Division Professor Kevin Burke (CCM), Graphic Communication Design Professor Yoshiko Burke and ten students from four different academic programs at CCM, DAAP, and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences made a presentation about the Gold Rush Expedition Race Documentary production course to the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees. 

The group provided details about how, since beginning in Fall Semester of 2012, over seventy UC students from eight different UC programs at CCM, DAAP and A&S have utilized a variety of social media technologies to experience an interdisciplinary class that has been "team-taught" by these two UC Professors–and a former UC alumnus and professional producer/director who works in NY–in the creation of an award winning, documentary film series that is now airing nationally on NBC’s Universal Sports Network. The group showed videos from the 2012 and 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentaries, emphasizing that this is the first and only documentary series, produced by university students, to air on national television.

Gold Rush

For more information on the Gold Rush project, go to

This hands-on or "experiential learning" project has become an ongoing academic course, sponsored by the UC Forward Collaborative. The focus of the course was the creation of a three-year documentary series about the Gold Rush Expedition Race, held annually in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California that is part of the Adventure Racing World Series. The alumnus is Brian Leitten, a 2001 Electronic Media Division graduate, whose work on this project was recognized last April when he was named 2014 UC Outstanding Young Alumni by the UC Alumni Association.

Over the past three years, over thirty UC students have traveled to California to work with Brian, Professor Burke and a number of film and television professionals to film the race. The Gold Rush Expedition Race involves fast packing/trekking, mountain biking, paddling and cliff rappelling and is part of the Adventure World Racing Series.

Once the students returned to the UC campus, the project used video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts that allowed Brian Leitten to attend every class session. Other social media apps like Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube and Google Docs have enabled Brian and the other film and television professionals to work “one-on-one” with the students, critiquing their work in a manner that emphasizes professional practices and helps better prepares them for the "real world.”

Introduced by Electronic Media Division Head, Dr. John Owens, each student related some aspect of the project's history or their personal experience from the project over the past two years. The presentation was warmly received by the Board of Trustees and UC President Santa Ono.

For more information on the project, go to