COM 210 Reflection

A vector drawing done in Assembly for iPhone showing a natural scene with a tent at the end of a dirt trail, near some trees with a sunny day in view of a mountain
Done in Assembly for iPhone. Click to open the full-screen image in a new tab.

Question & Answer

Which project was your favorite?
The final draft of my logo design for this website, consisting of a blue shield, a simplified shirt pocket, a pocket protector, with a piece of bacon, mini ruler, fountain pen, and paint brush inside. The p for prodigimedia is on the front flap
From a previous project. Click to open the image in a new tab.

My favorite project for COM 210 was definitely the logo project (Graphic Design Project), in which we had to learn from some blog posts (vectors, gestahlt, and logos) and videos (logos, contest), come up with an idea, do some research, sketch our ideas, then start to work in Adobe Illustrator.

What skills did you learn in the course that you believe you will use in the future?

While I love doing graphic design work and logos, I really was pretty weak in terms of audio and video skills. It’s been a while since I worked in Premiere Pro (Winter Quarter at Clark College in January 2016), and I had never worked in any audio editing program, so the commercial I made for the Audio Project was a pretty neat experience. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be using audio and video skills a lot in my career, but I am glad to learn in case my future employer wants me to do that for a client.

What coursework or career path do you see in your future? What skills or
projects from this class may be influential in your chosen career path?

A GIMP drawing showing an anthropomorphised ear asking, "Say What?!?" to a shining bell pepper

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing as a career when I leave WSU Vancouver. My best guess is that I’ll be a digital generalist who knows at least little in every subject and can see how all of these skills tie together. In the end, I believe the best skill for anyone to gain is the ability to be able to explain what a customer, client, or boss should do in a given situation based on their best interest. Giving good advice is priceless, which is where my blog’s theme comes in, because you can’t truly do this without placing others’ needs equal to your own in your thinking. So, to answer this question directly: all of the skills I learned will be useful at one time or another, in one context or another.

Is there any skill that you wished you’d learned in this course that you did not learn? If yes, what skill is that?

The real question is this: what is more important than raw skills? The answer is good judgment. If someone has good judgment and, like I said above, can give good, unbiased advice, they will be worth their weight in gold to their employer or client (assuming their boss or client really wants to do what is best for them, of course).

Raw skills can be learned and forgotten quickly, so knowing which skills to employ at the proper time and where to look to gain or re-gain skills will be more important in the near future. This is why people shouldn’t just learn tools either, like Photoshop or Illustrator. Rather, learn concepts and functionality that can be done in any number of competing and ever-developing tools.

 

Did you find any websites or resources from outside the class material that were especially useful?

I’m surprised in many classes how little students apply themselves and use basic Google search to find out answers to problems they run into. It’s not a wonder-tool or anything, but being able to search for resources and information when needed is a good skill to have. I found a lot of resources throughout this class:

  • Instead of Photoshop, I used GIMP
  • I should’ve probably used Illustrator‘s open source cousin Inkscape
  • Audacity is a potential replacement for Audition
  • OpenShot video editor is a viable replacement for Premiere
  • Really the only program I haven’t been able to find a replacement for is After Effects, which is so much easier to use than Blender
  • I wish Assembly for iPhone/iPad would be able to replace Illustrator too some day, but for now it’s nice to do quick and easy projects or get started on something more important (it has SVG export, so you can continue working with objects in tact in Illustrator or Inkscape)
  • Lastly, I found a great replacement for Camtasia, which seems to be the best paid screen recorder program, called OBS Studio (stands for Open Broadcasting Software).
If the class had a one-hour lab session every week to help you along with the projects and solicit feedback, how likely is it that you would have i) enrolled in the class, and ii) found it beneficial? Should these lab sessions be kept voluntary or mandatory?

Lab sessions would be nice, but should probably be mandatory only for the instructor or a TA if at all. I would personally prefer just having a discussion forum on Blackboard (or Canvas, which is much better than Blackboard) where each student would have to post a URL to their projects and get feedback from each other each week. If feedback was to answer some specific questions, it would speed up the process and also make it pretty high quality constructive criticism. I would probably still sign up for the class even if the lab was required.

If you have any other thoughts, comments, suggestions, etc., on how this class can be improved please feel free to add them to your post.

No matter how fast the class goes by (this was a Summer course), I sincerely believe mandatory feedback helps students to do better work, which in turn should help them to eventually get better jobs. What is good for the student is inevitably good for the university also, since students will pass on word of mouth approval to other students, who will hopefully sign up for the class also. Ultimately, going without feedback is like turning in your rough draft every time, no matter how good your draft is.

 

Conclusion

Thanks so much for stopping by today and reading this post. Hopefully it has been helpful for anyone who wants to understand the big picture about why and how this blog got started, as well as getting a few helpful resources and tips. Don’t be shy now, leave a quick message in the comments section below to let me know what you think. Thanks!

Regards,

Benjamin Woodruff

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