On 2/23/19 at 10:15am, I attended the North Carolina Community College Fine Arts Conference Session How To Teach Graphic Design Online at the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, NC presented by Alison Consol and Julie Evans of Wake Technical Community College
Online teaching requires a different approach to bring in students and create the kind of t=virtual communities to help create a strong cornerstone of community and a presence which could be maintained in the course. You will have to anticipat the questions before they happen, because “writing is the new coding”. YOu need to have as much instruction and examples that you can to inspire but not allow materials to be copied. Students and millenials want the immediate feedback, timely materials in the gradebook, and discussions should be meaningful and relevant. Attendance can be difficult, so setting attendance to project deadlines is the easiestt way to accomplish this.
There are 452 active students at WTCC in the GRD program. Students take online and seated classes, although some are wholly online. How can we create a class which guarantees as similar or analog class online.
Graduates in the program at WTCC earn 5 certifications as they complete the degree. These certificates allow students to be motivated to continue in the classes, and be used as an advising tool These certifications are a nice way to keep students moving forward, but it also allows students from different degrees and those working in the field to step forward and take part. Over time, we see the rates of graduation and completions rates getting higher. Depending on the amount of time it takes a student to move forward, these certifications allow student numbers to maintain a level of completions which is asy to push forward to the next certification and stay motivates.
As part of our QEP program, all students have a mandatory E Learning Intro course. A student must complete this class before they can register for online courses. Students come to class with LMS learning, assignment materials standards, etc. so this is very helpful. EPIC removes barriers where every course maintains a similar look and feel, and EPIC allows teachers to get up to date.
The Human Element
We include welcome and weekly videos. We use ZOOM to assist with the idea of the teachers presence. The need to know who their teacher is and how to contact them. It seems like an increased distance in the online classes. We have a youtube channel for the department. These weekly videos are all conglomorated in the same place. Having this repository is easy to use, and can be pulled as needed from their classes.
Checklist Documentation is added to classes to keep information on the forefront. Art supplies, software, digital cameras, hardware, reliable high speed internet, etc. Having those supplies in the bookstore allows students with financial aid to get it day one. We keep 2 chapters in PDF form in each class, so that students without books can get up to speed. Hardware is a student priority and concern. We have opportunities on campus. If the student isn’t prepared, we have to have a meeting.
Structure is important, and offers consistency. Assignments are presented in a linear fashion. Failing to complete all tasks result in a tardy. Completing everything by deadline is full attendance. Missing the assignment results in an absence.
Welcome in week 1, tasks for the week, lecture materials, discussions, and finally assignments with examples. People cannot follow long pages of text, so including materials in a consistent fashion makes it easy for people to know where to go and what to do. We use icons and avatars to chunk materials and keep the visual presence for students.
Student Collaboration Online
WIkis, journals, google docs, forms and surveys, flipgrid, voicethread. There are lots of different ways to create the community and allow students to introduce and respond to one another. We use peer review such as behance, flickr, wordpress blogs and personal websites. Students need constructive criticism and they need to develop the thick skins which can easily allows students to improve and be ready for the workforce. Discussion topics are great for shared experiences and group projects. Use testing like DISC assessments or Myers-Briggs testing to find out their types.
Starfish is a nice way to alert students if they are in danger of failing. An ILC on your campus is a great resource. Compututor is a fantastic resource for our online students with texting, screensharing, and email.
REMIND.COM is a great resource. Social media is also a fine way to keep everyone on track, allows people to interact and network. We encourage them to use the student social media for professional purposes only. We use ZOOM to interact with students, and adobe SPARK is making a great deal of use.
How about the design process?
Original work only, plagiarism agreements, sketching, and feedback are part of every procject process. We have an assignment area and discussion board. This allows students to show to the instructor as well as the class. Finalization in situ is part of each process.
Its a beast. As the culmination of their work, students have to begin with a single idea. and think about how the end user will interact with thier materials.
Grades are based on PERFORMANCE. WIP, reflection and peer review in discussion boards allow students to get feedback. Inline commenting in blackboard with rubrics allow for stronger content. BLogs and reflective journals for self-assessments.
Begin with a set of best choices. Drill down from there to create a general rubric for creative projects that you can use as a go-to. Showcase this early and allow the students to see this rubric. THey’ll know what theyll be graded on and how.
Portfolio is a high-touch environment. Allowing online students to attend seated courses is a fine method for assisting students. Online meetings are great, and full size print.
An online class should be enjoyed. Its a journey, and we have to show that we are there and we can assist them become successful. We give visual attention via video and video meetings, but its a constant improvement model. Having a set of standards are especially helpful to us.
How do you handle group video meetings? It creates community, but what about those who do not wish to meet.
Zoom is used, and it records the session. If you don’t want in, no harm no foul. Its recorded and you can watch it the next day. Pop it on your account and its ready.
Do students know they might have to have the meeting?
The ELI course says that you may have to attend on-campus testing or use recording to meet the needs of the class.
What about students who cannot visit?
We work with them to mail materials.
Has online impacted seated?
Some classes have removed entirely to online. Online students are a different population. It impacts enrollment, but it is really about convenience. Some population will only work partly with online classes. Online students also come from out of city and out of state. Completion has actually increased because they have time management issues, and having access to one online class allows them to continue on their course.
I know Woody Holliman from FlyWheel Design in Durham, NC. Truth be told, I’d sent him some letters back in the day trying to get hired. At the time, his firm was looking for a torn-paper look to their designs, and that didn’t interest me in the least. Today, Woody came to talk to us as a representative of Meredith College, and to discuss ways of getting our students hired.
This even really turned out well. We had several classes show, and he spoke not so much about him, as much as he talked about what our students could do to succeed. Two excellent points:
Send them a Love Letter. The feeling is, you should throw out as many letters to as many people at as many companies as possible. This will not work. Your best bet is to find a few companies you like and send them a love letter. Let them know what you like about their work, what you like about their business, stalk them a bit through social media and find out what things you might have in common. Then craft your letter and spellcheck it. Then spellcheck it again and spellcheck it again. Then have someone else proof it. Send the letter in the mail with a nice resume and a link to your online portfolio. After 4 mailing days, consider calling them and simply inquire if they happened to receive the letter. Offer to take them for an iced coffee and ask if they might consider looking at your print portfolio and possibly suggesting another location if they aren’t hiring.
Look Like You Already Work There. When hiring a new employee, most agencies don’t want to have to train someone. Secondly, they have a brand with a solid look and feel and they don’t want to have to get you up to speed for too long. If you’re already about to send a love letter, consider adding some pieces to your portfolio which are similar to the kind of work that they do. If you already look like you belong there, it might be a no-brainer for them to hire you. Alternately, if it looks like you went on their website and copied their designs, it will look really bad. Get an idea of the kind of work they do, and feel free to take inspiration from it, but don’t plagiarize.
We were very pleased with the materials shown and the presentation skills.
NCCCS Conference 2012: Annual Graphic Design Portfolio Day: Preparing Graduates for Employment Success
Monday, Oct 8: 4:15-5:15
Annual Graphic Portfolio Day: Preparing graduates for employment success was presented by Margaret Reid of Central Piedmont Community College in Greensboro.
As part of Wake Tech Community College’s professional development seminar, I attended the Capstone Course Roundtable presented by Walter Rotenberry. Walter Rotenberry is the lead for Wake Tech’s SGD department (simulation and video game development).
In the roundtable discussion, Rotenberry laid out his procedure for a capstone course, which I have vaguely outlined below:
- Establish the course as a capstone for your program. Inform students prior to entering and upon their first day in the class the details involved with the planned courses of action. Include all expectations, all contingencies, the level of quality required, and how their potential employment may be affected by their level of commitment. Remind them that they will get out of the course whatever they put into it.
- Set a final date for presentation. Plan that date and make sure that the course centers around the expectations required on that date.
- Focus on what is achievable. Students in Rotenberry’s class presented all their materials to the class in their first week, each choosing their best project to work with, fleshing it out over time to a perfect, finished project to present.
- Involve the community. Rotenberry contacted his closest contemporaries at surrounding colleges (in his case, NCSU and their graduate program in Game Development) and had a few joint sessions in which his team and their team could exchange ideas, discuss current projects, and discuss current topics, trends, and ideas in the industry. This was instrumental in achieving a program in which questions would be posed, answered, and attended to BEFORE presentation
- Pitch your programs to the best in the business. OK, we presented to CEOs and presidents of video game companies in our area, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Walter Rotenbery lined up the individuals and set their dates to attend, reminding them prior to the festivities, and following up with each one.
- Make an event of it. Students came prepared to discuss their work, networked with the individuals present and enjoyed snacks. After a short time had passed, each student presented their projects to the group, and in some cases individual computers were opened so that industry folk could try out each game on their own.
- Don’t let the music stop. Walter’s students passed out business cards and links to online portfolios and games. Students followed up with individuals, and several made appointments to meet with industry designers. Several employment opportunities came out of the presentations, and it has become a permanent addition to the SGD (simulation and game development) track.
In attending this training, I could clearly see how our Graphic Design IV or our Portfolio classes could easily become capstone courses. Portfolio could easily transition to involvement with local organizations such as AIGA here in Raleigh, NC or TIMA (triangle interactive Media Association). Graphic Design IV could easily ally with the Addy Awards or with GDUSA and other magazine contests. I look forward to discussing this with Damu Murray, Woody Hayes, and Marsha Mills.