Experts--opinions on college coursework on apps?

Posted by: yoyo52

Experts--opinions on college coursework on apps? - 12/04/02 08:18 PM

My college has an active and growing digital media department. From waht I gather, the focus seems to be on teaching applications--everything from Photoshop and Flash to FCP and Maya. The courses attract a lot of students, and as I say, it's a growing department.<br><br>Since there are folks here who make a living from digital media, I thought I'd ask what you all think about college courses for kids to learn how to use particular applications. Is it a good idea? terrifically useful? terrifically useless?<br><br>Great wits are sure to madness near allied.--John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"
Posted by: DaddyMac

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/04/02 08:25 PM

Well, shucks- that's how I learned those programs in the FIRST place!<br><br>Classes!<br><br>Of course they're a good idea!!!<br><br>[color:red]Hold on...it's time for a</font color=red><br>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/04/02 08:52 PM

Thanks, DaddyMac. That's what I want to know--do folks in the field learn by being in the field, by experience, or by being in the classroom, a different kind of experience.<br><br>Great wits are sure to madness near allied.--John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"
Posted by: RubenC

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/04/02 10:13 PM

Classes are a great starting point, obviuosly where you learn and from whom makes a big difference. If the schools got a rep for kicking out some quality students, then thats a place to look into. Secondly comes experience in the field, all those classes won't mean a thing if you can't inbed the teachings with actual usage and the repetition that comes with work.<br><br>[color:blue]If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. - Milton Berle</font color=blue>
Posted by: MacGizmo

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 06:06 AM

Here's my story:<br><br>I went to a private design school here in Phoenix Arizona called Collins Design College back in 1988-89. It was run by Al Collins who was an old-time creative director for several agencies and was the first person asked by Hughe Hefner to design Playboy Magazine (he even offered Al a partnership - but he turned them down). Anyway, it was a one year course, 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week. It tought a wide range of subject related to the advertising biz - including TV, Design, Typograhy, Production, and more. Some of the apps they tought were Mac Paint, Mac Draw, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop (before it was called photoshop). I THOUGHT I learned a lot. (Of course I already was using a Mac at home & at work, so that part was easy).<br><br>After graduating (1st in my class!!! ) I got a payed internship at the Arizona Republic where I quickly found out how much I didn't know about Adobe Illustrator. It was my job for 6 or so months to draw any and all maps, graphs, charts, and any other graphics for the AZ Republic. I learned soooo much about the application in "real-world" use that I felt embarrassed to tell them that I was actually trained in the use of the app.<br><br>The best experience I got was early on in my career when I began working in the print industry as a pre-press operator. You pretty much learn the ins and outs of every major app on the market. You see it all, and do it all - and usually, you do it on the best equipment with the latest versions of software. I also got to see the latest trends in design from a lot of different designers. It was probably the single most influential experience on my design tastes. I saw what I liked and didn't like.<br><br>Currently, I tend to always be the fastest & most knowledgeable person about the Mac and Mac software no matter where I work. I don't say that to gloat, but rather to say that "real world" work experience has no substitute. You can learn many things in school, but by the time you are in the workplace, the software will probably be outdated or at the very least, you won't have any "real" knowledge.<br><br><br>Visit me here!
Posted by: Krasni

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 07:50 AM

My experience is similar as yours, except that I didn't go to any art or graphic school. Just began to work when I was 18 years old... 18 years ago!!! And now I teach in a very important art school.<br><br>
Posted by: sean

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 08:05 AM

learning apps like those mentioned can happen any number of ways. in my experience of teaching teachers, i find that some people need me to walk them through things step-by-step and other teachers can see me do a demo and they are off. some could watch quicktime tutorials and learn from that. still others can learn the apps by just playing with it -- some people have built-in curiousity that makes learning new technology and keeping up with it much easier. other people have a built-in fear that won't allow them an easy time in learning no matter how it is taught -- they tend to not implement using technology into their "real world."<br><br>now, speaking of real world experience...i make it a point to visit with my teachers in their classrooms at least once a sememster if they want to have me (keeps me very busy). i also go into the schools 1 day a week just to keep up with the times. anyway, from these visits i think i am able to better approximate the "real world" when assigning projects for my classes. i teach apps to the teachers, but i *try* and stress the importance of being curious and trying things out. i explain about finding the undo command and using it extensively when learning a new app -- try something just to see if it does what you think it'll do. obviously, you don't *try* things on anything important, but you do it as a means of professional development for yourself. i show them how to find resources on the web (e.g., atomic learning has quicktime tutorials) and the importance of working together with other teachers to grow with the technology and to integrate it into the whole curriculum.<br><br>so, to sum...people come in all varieties...gizmo learned on the job; daddymac learned in school; others will learn in other ways. the bottom line is that the real world is the best teacher for many things, but a college degree can provide a good foundation and provides you with a piece of paper that may make you look more qualified than someone else. as much as our students are different, so are employers and the things they value when hiring. no easy answers to be sure.<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Posted by: DaddyMac

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 09:22 AM

Oh, I agree that the real world and learning all of the practical uses for apps is FAR better than trying to cover everything in a classroom- but if you can learn enough to get by and land that first job WHILE you're in school, then by all means do so.<br><br>I learned nothing but Freehand, for example, while I was in college. When I got out, everywhere I wanted to work used Illustrator. So, I had to get by on the basics until I got the hang of it. But having those fundamental skills proved to be invaluable.<br><br>On the other hand, a lot of what I know was NOT from schooling but from 'Quickstart' guides and tutorials. Programs that I taught to myself: Dreamweaver, Flash, Acrobat, InDesign, Final Cut Pro, and a few others that I can't think of right now.<br><br>The point is that the world of design and multimedia is ALWAYS changing- you can't possibly cover EVERYTHING in a couple of semester's time. What you CAN do is teach the 'basics', and most other knowledge can be built on that.<br><br>Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark- 'The Big Three', as any of the headhunters I work with call them. Apart from that, I would maybe touch on a little of HTML, Dreamweaver/GoLive, Flash, and a non-linear video editing program of some sort- Avid's probably more practical for the real world, but learning FCP will get you by anywhere as well...<br><br>My problem is that I want to learn EVERYTHING, and every time something new comes out I HAVE to go and play with it. The only feathers missing in my cap are some sort of 3-D app, and Director- which I would also recommend including in the curriculum if there's time. There were classes at my school that taught it, but unfortunately I never had time to take them. <br><br>[color:red]Hold on...it's time for a</font color=red><br>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 11:39 AM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>My problem is that I want to learn EVERYTHING<p><hr></blockquote><p><br>I feel your pain! I have such a backlog of things to learn that I'll have to live till I'm a couple hundred years old to get to it all. And by then there'll be more stuff, of course. Guess I'll just never be able to die <br><br>Great wits are sure to madness near allied.--John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"
Posted by: hayesk

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 12:05 PM

Me too! Right now, my learning list is:<br><br>Cocoa<br>Java (well, I know a little, but I want to get better)<br>XML<br>PHP<br>PostgreSQL<br>Photoshop<br><br>I think I'll have to slow down and try one thing at a time. Right now, it's Cocoa.<br><br>
Posted by: RubenC

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 12:20 PM

With my current work schedule it's tricky fitting in the learning time, but nun the less my learning to do list is:<br>HTML<br>Maya (I know a bit but need to be up to snuff)<br>3D StudioMax (again worked with the program for a year on the job but it's been over 1 &1/2 years since)<br>Illustrator<br><br>[color:blue]If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. - Milton Berle</font color=blue>
Posted by: lesh

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 02:06 PM

Yes Yoyo - learning happens by both ways - but as other have said - what you gain from each is a very different aspect of the whole picture. I never had the chance to learn these apps in the classroom before I hit the "real world", for the simple reason they didn't exist yet. Being taught about the apps in a classroom situation is just learning how to use the tool - out in the workplace you then have to learn apply that knowledge of how the tool works to achieve the desired end result. And there are so many oddball variables that occur in on the job situations that just can't be covered in a school course - ever when the assignments are meant to be "practical". I first learned to use a Mac (in the Mac Plus times) through the "trial by fire" method - at the offset newspaper plant when the resident art person left. Fortunately for me I'm very adaptable and intelligent so it was no problem - I figured things out pretty quickly and was very resouceful in finding sources of help. I got a job at a screenprinting company a few years later - and by then had acquired a second hand Mac to use at home - but had to wait 5 years before my employer saw the light and computerized the art department. And then all my knowledge of the apps only helped partway - because we printed only in spot color and not process color - and needed to use these apps in ways that were generally not taught in your average course. So it was back to figuring out for myself how to do it - and then teach the rest of the department...and subsequently learned a lot about how different people learn in different ways.<br><br>Ack - I'm starting to ramble...all in all I think it's definately a good thing for kids to have the opportunity to learn these apps as early as possible - and if that includes time in school environment - so much the better.<br><br>[color:purple]If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.</font color=purple><br>
Posted by: carp

Re: Experts--opinions on college coursework on app - 12/05/02 03:41 PM

My daughter who works as a Graphic Designer/Account Exect she did not have Any formal graphic education or even seminars. She is one of those natrual artist with brush and digital. She learned the apps just by doing.<br><br>However she can design a great web site. But she says she does not know lick about HTML, JAVA codeing - that she needs to take classes on.<br><br>