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Teaching Web in Art Class

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November 16, 2009

A friend teaches an Intermediate Digital Imaging class at RPI. We've discussed web design and development best practices in the past and during those discussions an idea was born - I was going to stand in front of a class of undergraduate students and teach them about web. They needed help with their final projects - a web portfolio that will include all the work they have done during the school year. The class - Intermediate Digital Imaging - was a combination of art projects, learning how to use sofwtare like Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and Dreamweaver, some photography and printing, but not much that had to do with web development. I was offered to teach a total of four classes - 2 classes per group. The dates were set, everyone was notofied and the wheels were set in motion.

I started to prepare for my teaching debut and was getting nervous. What was I going to talk about? How was I going to do it? I've trained poeple before, but only in small groups. Teaching in a college setting was a different game. I decided to talk about web porfolios - show some examples, analyze them and point out what makes them successful. I researched some articles, spent hours analyzing personal portfolios and finally found what I needed. I also prepared a list of best practices and resources. I finally felt better - this should be helpful, I thought, that is what they need to make their final projects successful. I was ready. 

I walked in to class, setup the projector, my notes and my examples. After a brief introduction I started talking about portfolio best practices, dos and donts of web design, etc. I had plenty of time for my lecture and a lab, so after I was done with my most important points I asked for some feedback. One brave soul raised a hand. The rest of the class was completely silent. The question that followed took me by surprise.


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