Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Adventures in Mind-Molding

I taught my first class last night.

Well, "teach" might not be the right word. I attended a class meeting, introduced myself, read a syllabus and then asked them all to become members of Veer (its relevant, I swear). The only real teacher-ly thing I did was assign homework, which went pretty well - if I do say so, myself.

The class that I've been charged with the duty of instructing is a foundational computer applications course (teaching the Adobe Creative Suite). I have 10 students: 2 full-time undergrads and 8 part-time continuing ed students. In true haberdashery form, they come from all over the place. There are 2 former psychology majors, 2 former fine artists, a girl who works in publishing, a paralegal assistant from Brazil, a printer rep, a former computer science major, an art education major from Saudi Arabia and an advertising student - all with the desire to become graphic designers. Their experience ranges widely, from comfortably familiar with a few of the programs to borderline scared of Macs altogether.

I can think of no greater evidence of the power and consuming nature of design in today's world than these 10 people. I'm excited that they're mostly continuing ed - not that undergrads can't be serious and committed to their education, but continuing ed students are paying per class, out of their own pockets, working full-time and sacrificing a significant portion of their personal lives to return to academia because they have finally realized what they really want to do and they're willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Design has become a force of nature. People see it, get inspired by it and want to jump on the bandwagon. There is a lot of debate out there, especially in graphic design, about the DIY design culture and the inundation of "average" people doing "designer" things. With the spread of Mac-usage into the non-designer demographic and the prevalence of amazing, user-friendly design tools like iLife and Blurb, anyone with the most basic computer knowledge can design, publish, produce and create. I'm of the mindset that these tools can do nothing but make the world a prettier, better-designed home for all of us and that no amount of user-friendly software will ever replace true, artistic talent and a real design education.

That being said, I'm so excited that my students have choosen the latter, that they have decided to become real designers. I only hope that I'm up to the task of helping them on their way.

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