Thursday, 4 April 2013

Final Thoughts on Program

As student mentor for the Wolverhampton side of the program, I can say that I found it incredibly inspiring and engaging throughout from start to finish. I was amazed by how well the group of students managed to bond so quickly and closely with not only each other, but also the teachers which made the course run even more smoothly. The students were very confident in asking questions and interacting with each other but also to give new techniques a try in animation. 

I very much enjoyed being able to network with the various guest speakers to learn more about them myself and their tricks of the trade. Being on hand for every session allowed me to keep track of the students and help them better as I began to understand their various strengths and weaknesses. I even managed to learn some new techniques myself which I was able to use to help out the students sessions later. There was no issues with the students wanting to get my aid or contacting me and vice versa. Students were happy in being honest with me for giving feedback for the course and any advice they wished to share. The only main criticism was the timing of the sessions being in the evenings for 3 hours.

The group picked up on everything very well. Many of them wanted to use the software after hearing about it and some students even managed to find their click, for instance, one student learned that he very much preffered hands on approaches to animation such as stop-motion or traditional rather than digital like Flash. Where-as another got to liking simply building objects up in 3D or Photoshop and using puppetry. They all had the opportunity to experience a hand at many forms of animation with the more enthusiastic seeing particular techniques through longer than others. The students learned most of the major production timeline, from brainstorming and storyboarding to full on animating and post-visual effects. 

The only main criticism from some was the timing of the sessions being in the evenings for 3 hours. Many students wanted more time to develop an animation from start to finish (from pre to post) rather than small pieces of animation and the time to play with certain techniques for longer after learning about them. They all really appreciated the all day drop-in sessions that were available and some used them to the fullest as they could but the timing was awkward for others (happening on a weekday when they have school/college).

However, I am proud of what they have achieved and so are they. They have picked up on new techniques and learned about the industry from several proffesionals. Working as a team or alone, each student has accomplished something and enjoyed the constant practical approach. It was a great, no, fantastic experience for them and myself. I have picked up some new ideas, new friends and an insight into the world of teaching. 

Thank you for the opportunity! 
Jamie Cartwright