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The SXTXState.com project has provided students in the Graduate Program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University with access to the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival as part of the Advanced Online Media course for the past six years. This year, the project is being offered as its own hybrid class. You have been selected to enroll in the class and receive a SXSW Interactive Badge. You are required to attend SXSW Interactive on March 7-11, 2014. During the spring semester, students will communicate and meet with the instructor via online methods. And, some preliminary preparation will be required prior to the beginning of the Spring semester. A final presentation to the Mass Comm Grad Association will be made at the end of the Spring semester.

This is a wonderful opportunity to take a unique course that includes attendance at an event emphasizing many of the concepts covered in other classes and to see many of the big thinkers in media. Past years have included Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Chris Anderson of Wired, social media expert and author Gary Vaynerchuk, Marissa Mayer – formerly of Google, now Yahoo’s CEO, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and many more. This year is already shaping up with some fantastic programming, including the Twitter founder Biz Stone, inventor Dean Kamen, Mashable’s Pete Cashmore and Andy Cohen of Bravo TV. More announcements are sure to come.

Students who have participated in the project have gone on to key roles in digital media companies including The New York Times, HomeAway, Spedfast, Mosak Advertising and Insights, Mason Zimbler and more. Some even work for SXSW. Check out the testimonials at www.cindyroyal.net/sxapp/testimonials. We want to use this event to reinforce learning and provide significant opportunities. Participation in the project can advance one’s knowledge, provide access to professionals and inspire a platform from which many future conversations can emerge.