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Celebration of Learning Spotlight: The Smiler: A Case Study in Roller Coaster Safety

Posted by on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 in Commentary, Events.

On February 13, 2020, the Center for Teaching held a Celebration of Learning, an exhibition of students as producers. The event featured students from all over campus sharing what they learned, created, designed, and discovered.

Each year millions of riders brave the courses of the world’s 5,000 roller coasters, but should passengers feel unsafe riding these behemoths of twisted metal and wood? By creating a video, Thomas Kozar explored the basics of roller coaster safety through a case study of the high-profile crash of The Smiler in the United Kingdom.

As someone who had done very little work in visual mediums prior to this assignment, Thomas learned a considerable amount about each step in video production. One set of skills that he particularly enjoyed learning was the editing software in the Adobe Creative Cloud. While he just scratched the surface of what was possible with the software, it greatly increased the quality of his final product.

Thomas conclude, “I absolutely love roller coasters! Nothing can quite compare to the adrenaline rush of a 300-foot drop or a large pop of ejector airtime. Creating this video was truly a project of passion for me. I never thought I would be able to bring this interest into my academics at Vanderbilt.”

Student: Thomas Kozar                                                                                                        Faculty: Stephen Ornes                                                                                                      Course: Science Communication Tools and Techniques

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