Computer Graphics World

Edition 2 2020

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56 cgw e d i t i o n 2 , 2 0 2 0 I n this era of COVID-19, educational institutions have had to rethink the way they teach. In the spring, schools had to move to online/remote learning with just a moment's notice. With many animation and visual effects schools/departments current- ly on summer break, institutions have been using the time to look beyond their earlier Band-Aid approach and more thoroughly re- search and evaluate their teaching methods and directions as the fall semester quickly approaches. We spoke to a number of animation/ visual effects schools to find out what types of alterations they had to make to finish up the spring semester, and how that affected the students and curriculum. We received various responses. We also asked what kind of changes they are looking to adopt for the fall and what kind of impact this ongoing crisis might have on student learning. Indeed, plans are under way to provide the best experience under the circumstanc- es. (Keep in mind, the schools were queried in early July, just about the time when severe outbreaks were re-occurring. So, schools may be forced to alter their plans once again before fall semester begins, as the pandem- ic situation remains fluid.) SCAD Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is on the quarter system, not semesters, with its traditional academic year span- ning Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, with Summer quarter optional. Earlier this year, two weeks before the Spring quarter started, the university announced the need to move all courses and instruction online due to the virus. SCAD wanted to be sure students had that time, as well as the first week of class, to decide whether they wanted to take classes in a completely online environment, or drop courses and receive a full tuition refund. Furthermore, if a student was dissatisfied with an online course experience this past spring, SCAD has offered the option to re- take that course for no additional tuition and in-person when on-ground courses resume. "Our successful spring and our ambitious, thoughtful plans for fall are not really about following some mythical 'playbook.' This is simply SCAD at its finest: inventive, strategic, positive, collaborative, transformative," says SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace. "Very soon, our beloved campuses will reopen and students will swarm joyfully through our doors and classrooms once again. It is a new day in academia, and SCAD is poised to shine on and keep shining, thanks to the resilience, light, and love of this heroic learning community." In March, SCAD launched a new ini- tiative, Guests and Gusto, a Zoom series programmed exclusively for SCAD stu- dents during the university's virtual Spring quarter 2020. The dynamic series, which will continue, features new weekly content that represents all of SCAD's 40-plus top-ranked degree programs through illuminating con- versations, surprise drop-ins, and interactive games. Guests have included: author and New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz; award-winning producer and songwriter Tricky Stewart; TEDtalk's head of television Juliet Blake; film director and producer Morgan Neville; actor Alan Cumming; and GQ creative director and author Jim Moore. Students also engaged with industry leaders in their individual classes, which led to many students receiving job offers and internships. Meanwhile, SCAD commencement 2020 was a high-energy, live-streamed event. SCAD celebrated its newest alumni with a personal digital commencement experi- ence, featuring speaker Alicia Keys and host Rachel Brosnahan. For the Fall 2020 quarter, SCAD will offer real-time on-ground instruction, real-time virtual instruction, and anytime online instruction. These methods all individual- ize the acquisition of knowledge and the advancement of student outcomes. SCAD will resume real-time on-ground instruction at SCAD Atlanta and SCAD Savannah this fall, inviting students back into the university's award-winning studios, classrooms, and historic buildings while adhering to health and safety protocols. A SCAD task force, in close consultation with outside health and safety experts, has created plans for maintaining appropriate social distancing, with enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas, as well as recommenda- tions on PPE requirements where appropri- ate, especially in situations where full social distancing is challenging. SCAD classes are already small in keeping with the university's mission to ensure all students receive individual attention in a positively oriented environment. The average class size is 21 students, and lecture-style classes are capped at 35 students. Real-time virtual instruction, what most SCAD students experienced during the spring quarter, will continue alongside on- ground learning this fall. SCAD eLearning allows students to work independently, explore content, participate in online discussions, and move at their own pace on a Monday-through-Sunday sched- ule. SCAD eLearning offers 24 graduate and undergraduate degrees in everything from animation to interior design. "Because SCAD has always been com- mitted to the 'what's next' philosophy and execution in professional practice, I see our students excelling in this digital and virtual wave. Twenty years ago, we took art and design education online; over a decade ago, SCAD was one of the first universities to use REVIT as a required part of the curriculum, now it's an industry standard," says Anthony J. Cissell, AIA, chair of Architecture and Urban Design. Virtual reality and the online collabora- tive studio is going to be a standard of the architectural practice of the future, and this is where our students, who are digital natives, are going to be professionally ready. "Here at SCAD, we are already working in the virtual reality realm through our programs in Motion Media, Digital Effects, and Game Design. Now we're exploring how to bring Classroom Disrupted TEACHING THE NEXT GENERATION OF ANIMATORS DURING COVID BY KAREN MOLTENBREY

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