Teaching computer-based media
TOO MUCH TO DO, TOO LITTLE TIME
I N T E R A C T I V E D E S I G N F O R U M
Issue 5 | November 1999
much to do
Unique to computer-based media, the level of constant change and expansion of capabilities of software and hardware mandate that faculty spend inordinate time and effort just to remain current. As the generation of new or updated products in this field is often nine months to one year, faculty must acquire new, or relearn existing skills once and sometimes twice a year with numerous software packages and need to incorporate new hardware as soon as possible after it is introduced.
can be done?
Keeping up with technology is essential: software changes, machines change, and student knowledge changes. Each year students enter into the field with more sophistication than the year before. If we do not keep pace, then our programs become outdated and students suffer. While research and creative production is essential in all studio areas, the computer-based media require technical research (learning programming languages or new technologies) as well as the aesthetic research with which we must all keep up.
recommendations (partial list)
An annual budget for hardware maintenance, consumables, technology upgrades, and new acquisitions should be planned for programs responsible for maintaining their equipment.
Decisions on hiring, reappointment, and tenure should consider the difficult balance that each individual in the field of computer-based media must keep between production of quality visual art and maintaining technical expertise.
Evaluation of teaching performance should consider the demands of the ongoing integration of new materials into course curriculum and the burdens this places on both students and faculty.
In accordance with CAA guidelines, faculty in computer-based media should not be expected to carry out duties not specifically related to their position as faculty without compensation. This includes: acting in an advisory capacity to colleagues, in the department and out, who want to adopt computer technology; the installation and maintenance of generalized computer equipment; and production of computer graphic designs for institutional use.