This recent CFP caught my eye, so much that we (myself and several colleagues) have put together an abstract for the symposium. Here’s hoping that we get the opportunity to speak of our experiences teaching the 3D Computing Animation programme in a blended learning mode.
Keynote Speaker: Professor Aylish Wood (University of Kent)
Symposium co-organisers: Dr. Christopher Holliday (King’s College London), Joanna Samuel (Canterbury Christ Church University)
What is Anifest?
Canterbury Anifest is an award-winning animation festival and the largest annual event of this kind in the South East. It’s a great community event that invites people of all ages to come and experience the magic of animation; allowing them to get involved with something out of the ordinary. With its range of workshops, masterclasses, talks and films, it has something for everyone. Anifest also caters for specialists and those in the industry, featuring national and international awards, and guest speakers from some of the biggest names in animation.
As part of the Moving Image module, I am rounding up the semester with introducing the concept of animatics on the 3D Computer Animation programme – the students have recently completed tutorials on scriptwriting and storyboarding. The video below is an animatic from Toy Story and encapsulates the concept alongside the finished version of the animation:
Three weeks into the new academic year and to borrow a 90s album title, So Far So Good. This semester has brought with it some of the regular modules that I have taught previously including Introduction to Web Development, and Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries, while the year-long, Moving Image continues into the shorter days and longer evenings. I do have one new module, Creative Media Group Project, a final-year, shared teaching experience alongside some colleagues.
To date, the Introduction to Web Development module has brought with it the basics of HTML5 tags and CSS3 styling, while the learners have been exposed to exercises in marking up text, creating links, inserting images, developing lists and tables, and this week, integrating multimedia elements. Teaching CSS alongside HTML, as opposed to separately, brings with it its own opportunities and challenges. The complexities of integrating both formed the basis for The Muddiest Point, a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT) that I rolled out to last year’s students and which proved to be a really insightful exercise in formulating formative feedback on my teaching practices. This exercise led to some action-based teaching this semester (more on this over the coming weeks), which I ‘assume’ will lead to better learning experiences for the students.
Both the Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries and Moving Image modules are taught as part-time, Springboard, evening courses where the former introduces theoretical and practical paradigms to the students (I’m particularly interested in how the students perform with their Paperclip Challenge (detailed below)), while the latter builds on theory and practice from the previous semester with a shift in focus this time to narrative and character that ultimately leads to the development of a story, script, and animatic. Students on the Creative Media Group Project module have been assigned the task of developing a substantial, research-based project on the theme of ‘Evolution’. At present, we are introducing the students to potential technological avenues they may wish to pursue, while the focus will shift to forming and developing groups in the coming weeks.
The Muddiest Point is one of the simplest CATs to help assess where students are having difficulties. The technique consists of asking students to jot down a quick response to one question: “What was the muddiest point in [the lecture, discussion, homework assignment, film, etc.]?” The term “muddiest” means “most unclear” or “most confusing.” (Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, 2018)
At the turn of the year, the one that we’re a full gestation period into, I set myself a challenge to read one book per month. I enjoy reading, though one of the side effects of a PhD is that reading becomes something akin to an enduring experience as opposed to an enjoyable one. Endurance test aside, I took to the challenge with gusto, and an armful of books that had been gathering dust to some degree.
12 in 12.
…and to be fair, it has been enjoyable and not at all endurable, though some of the reads I have found tough going at times. At the minute, I’m at book number 16 for the year, which I’m quite chuffed with to be honest. The target is to reach 20 by year end, which is another challenge considering the academic year is soon upon us.
I’ll leave my ‘Top 5’ reads list until the festive season. Suffice to say, there are some really great reads in this pile. There’s another pile of similar size awaiting, but if you want to recommend a read, do get in touch. Book club anyone?
Some might say they enjoy the 175km challenge around the hills (and mountains) of County Kerry. I call them liars. Given that this was my second time around the circuit I wanted to enjoy rather than endure the cycle this time around. Trimmer (by 5kg) from the last time I took on the challenge, alas the Ring of Kerry was not so much enjoyed but endured, albeit much of this is down to the fact that I didn’t fuel myself sufficiently in the early stages of the cycle.
A short stop in Cahirsiveen at the 60km mark, was soon followed by the arduous Coomakista climb and while I reached the summit, I did so with little energy, owed entirely to insufficient food, particularly carbohydrates, in my body, and a rise in temperature, owed to the once-in-a-generation heatwave.
After refuelling in Sneem, albeit feeling somewhat nauseous due to the high sugar intake, I completed the remainder of the cycle incident-free, slowly and steadily summiting Molls Gap before the dangerous descent into Killarney.
In future, I will be more mindful of my carbohydrates intake, will get a better nights sleep, will put more kilometers in the legs, and will enjoy the challenge as opposed to its endurance. Who said never again?