Teaching Challenges in Singapore
Teaching classes in animation that have a heavy technical component is challenging in that the processes needed to understand and enable the student to rise to a point where they can express themselves with graceful aesthetic choices involve embracing a steep learning curve. This has proven a challenging group of subjects to teach. On the one hand, if I simplify the lessons then more advanced students stray off and lose interest, if I focus on their needs the less experienced students get lost and frustrated.
To find solutions to these problems I decided to alter the nature of my classes to encourage peer learning in group projects, create detailed online video tutorials as well as reference the many already online and to personally meet with students on a one to one basis to enquire on the status of their progress in each class. Students enjoy getting extensive notes for each subject and lesson, with a detailed approach and documentation in a video of what is expected of them they have better access to the materials that are important to learn.
In the recent past, I have dealt with the problems of delivering detailed instructions by creating a YouTube Channel that features all of the lessons taught in my class. I plan to further supplement these videos as the technology for content creation changes. Aside from my students, these tutorial videos have received almost 1000 views. Students often are overwhelmed by the amount of detailed information that they must learn in class and enjoy going over these tutorials after class time. This in addition to notes on the class seems to be best for students. Although I have used tutorials from other sources students prefer that this information is provided directly from the instructor. This strategy has paid off as evident in the student feedback forms. The videos online have as well received almost one thousand views since their upload from sources outside of the class and outside of Singapore. Utilizing this approach with a more personal touch in class I think is the best way forward. I plan to update lessons to keep the information pertinent.
I have created a Pinterest to supplement aspects of my courses, the boards therein have garnered more than 200 followers, a few of which are students of mine however most of which people who share an interest in my courseware. For example my Polygons, NURBS, and Displacement Mapping board is a resource of every aspect of modeling covering direct offset of geometry components e.g. vertex manipulation to manipulation using displacement maps.
In-line with my research I am exploring bots that disseminate information through user discourse. Currently aligned with a more entertainment focus these “bots” can be queried for particular data. Although the information that they provide is better used outside of studio instruction, the bots hold potential for alternative and supplemental instruction outside of the classroom. The creation of virtual characters with conversational interactivity is an interesting topic for study.
My current research focus is on responsive design in animation. I focus on design looking at the creation of real-time content and audio integration in a public setting.