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UCI's Esports Program: Carrie Linden's Experience

We're all about doing things transparently here at Hitmarker, so we've provided some info as to why we partnered with the University of California, Irvine to promote their online esports program, and even spoke to an actual graduate from the program to share her experience with you.

If you follow us on social media or use our site regularly, there’s a good chance you saw us promoting an online esports program from the University of California, Irvine in the first few months of 2019. This was our first step towards monetization and our first official partnership deal.

The decision to place an advertisement on our homepage wasn’t taken lightly, and we tried to integrate it as neatly into the flow of things as possible. In fact, after hearing feedback from you all, we also made the advert dismissable if you'd seen it before and decided it wasn't something you were interested in. We were also sure to investigate UCI’s offering course to ensure it was authentic and legitimate, and that it would offer real value to our users.

One way we did this was by interviewing Carrie Linden, a graduate of the program who was happy to share her experience with us. We hope that this interview piece will bring a greater element of transparency to UCI’s program and that you enjoy the read!

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We were most eager to find out about the credentials and qualifications of the course instructors. In an industry where authenticity is key, ensuring that the people leading the program cut the mustard was our first priority.

Carrie graduated last fall and her opinion on her three instructors was that they “without a doubt were all industry experts, and two of them were very strong teachers. Although the other is perhaps not the best just yet!”

Honesty right out of the gate, huh?!

Next up on our agenda was to address how beneficial the course was for people outside of the United States. Our audience is global, and with the university being based in California we wanted to make sure that candidates from other regions would still receive a quality experience, regardless of any time difference.

“As the entire thing was online I think it worked fairly well. Some of my cohorts were outside of the US and didn’t mention any issues. VODs were posted of digital meetings so if you had to miss one, or time zones prevented attendance, you could at least watch the VOD later in the week.”

Given that we’re UK-based ourselves this was music to our ears.

The esports program that UCI offers consisted of three separate courses during our partnership with them: “Overview of Esports”, “Effective Communication in Esports” and “Esports Project Management: Live Events”.

At first glance these appeared to give a nice broad view of the industry, so we asked Carrie how she felt each module was taught. She told us that “the overview class was a great starting point as it did a very good job getting someone settled into the various aspects of the industry. The event management class was probably the best class though, as it taught all the steps to consider before, during and after an event, and also allowed you to walk away from the class with a library of documents for future events and a mock event for portfolio use.”

As well as the knowledge gained on the course and the certificate earned upon graduation, we were pleased to hear that students also got some other portfolio-boosting material out of the program.

Carrie didn’t mention the communications course when we asked about the areas she felt she learned the most in. After a little pushing, she actually told us that it was the area she “learned the least in” and “that it was not a solid class”. So perhaps something to keep in mind if you’re trying to decide between the three courses on offer, rather than undertaking the entire program as she did!

Overall, talking to Carrie reinforced our belief that UCI is about as relevant and strong a first partner for Hitmarker as we could have found. The instructors are credible and endemic to esports, two-thirds of them are great teachers(!), and the majority of the program got a strong review from someone who clearly had no issues giving her honest opinion on everything.

We'll continue being as transparent as possible with partnerships we form in the future, and will endeavor to keep you all in the loop of how we aim to integrate them non-obtrusively with what we already offer.