COTC Digital Media Design Students Take Skills to the Community

​Service-learning projects in Coshocton and Newark enrich student experience and community.

NEWARK, Ohio, April 30, 2019 – Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) digital media design (DMD) technology students participated in two service-learning projects during the spring semester that exposed them to the processes of working in an ad agency or design firm, while also meaningfully contributing to two communities that COTC serves. If you attend the 38th Annual Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival or stop in at NEWORK Space, a coworking space, you will see their work.

A graphic design II class led by instructor Leslie Najjar worked with the organizers of the annual balloon festival to design t-shirt graphic options that were then presented to the organizers for their selection of a winning design. Students spent two weeks on the project participating in several rounds of presentations and critiques before finalizing their design for submission to the event organizers.

ImageStudent Brandon Bowman's design was chosen and will be featured on the t-shirts available for purchase at the event June 6 – 8 in Coshocton. His design features a hot air balloon hovering over an outline of the state of Ohio with the basket of it being directly over Coshocton. "I'm honored to have my work on these shirts; it's a great feeling," said Bowman. "It was challenging, but it was also fun because we had a lot of creative freedom.""We love to give our students opportunities to work on projects like this not only because it is great for their portfolios, but also it is a chance for them to experience how things work at a real design firm or ad agency," said Najjar.

Najjar also led students through a service-learning project to help NEWORK Space promote itself. It is a completely furnished and equipped space that allows freelancers, entrepreneurs, academics and students to work in a collaborative, affordable, professional environment. Students were tasked with creating eye-catching infographics for the coworking space.

"One of our goals is to ensure that students leave our program with a full, professional portfolio so that when they graduate, they can be successful in the industry," said Najjar.They developed poster-sized displays highlighting the features, benefits and amenities of NEWORK Space that were submitted for review and feedback to Cherie Boyer, community and technology manager of the space, and her colleagues. Boyer and her colleagues have displayed all submitted designs in the front windows of the space, and are inviting the community to vote on their favorite which will be used to promote NEWORK Space. Both Najjar and Boyer are hoping collaboration between the space and COTC will continue beyond the project.

Service learning is the teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.

COTC offers an associate of applied science in digital media design technology with two options for specialization, graphic design or web design – some choose to learn both. The program's curriculum is a broad and intensive exploration of the process and the business of digital design. Students study the principles of design, color theory, social media and typography. Students take courses in specific digital software tools. Skills taught include critical thinking, design approaches, the underlying theories of digital media, and a variety of digital media production techniques.

To learn more about COTC's digital media design technology program, visit

Photo captions: Top: Bowman's t-shirt design that will be available for purchase at the 38th Annual Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival. Bottom: A poster-sized display created by a COTC DMD student to promote NEWORK Space.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.