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For those of you studying at the University


Squee
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Do you ever stop up and think, 'What in God's sweet and holy vagina am I doing here? I'm not learning anything at all, I'm just learning to repeat what my teacher tells me. And what my teacher is telling me is something he/she was taught many years ago to repeat.'

 

Rant:

 

I've studied Digital Design for 2 years now and I'm currently working on my bachelor in something called "Event Culture". For two years I've been analyzing digital art, iPods, games, websites and so on. It probably sounds a bit interesting but it's not because that is all we've ever done. It's supposed to be a creative education but we never done anything creative at all. Get this, we've ACTUALLY had a subject about what creativity is. Shit. There's no formula for creativity so how on earth can you teach about it?

 

I chose to study Digital Design because it was a new education at the University. We're the first bunch to ever study it. Back when it was announced that "Digital Design" was coming to the University they promised the up-coming students that they would be working on electronic music, computer games, digital art and so on, and I remember thinking that this must be the education of my dreams.

 

I could go on and on for hours about how shit it's been but I'm only going to give you one example of how ridiculous it is:

On our second semester we were going to make electronic music, and I thought that it was finally time for me to shine. We were then told that we were going to do field recordings and make something out of that. That was not what I had in mind, but nevermind. Field recordings are always fun to work with. We were then handed these huge bags with OLD, OLD, OLD recording equipment in them and 6 feet long boomsticks to use. I asked my teacher if I could use my portable hard disc recorder instead, because that would be a lot easier to carry around. He then told me 'no' because I had to use what my fellow students were using. I brought my own hard disc recorder anyway. We were then told that we HAD to do the 'music' in Java. Yes, Java. Dr. Java to be precise. I then asked if we could use a normal music application instead and the answer was 'no'. Fuck. Well, I took my own hard disc recorder and began working on my field recordings. When I got back and imported my .wav-files into Dr. Java I found out that Dr. Java couldn't use stereo sound files. Shit. I then turned them into mono files instead but Dr. Java couldn't read 44.100 khz sound files and no matter how I tried to decrease the quality it just wouldn't read the files. I gave up and let my team mates do all 'the fun'.

When our Dr. Java teacher arrived he showed us ALL these cool features Dr Java had such as reversing the sound file. Woooah! Pitching the sound file. Wooooooooah! Turning down the volume! Woooooooooooooooah! Cutting up the sound files! OMFG! FANTASTIC!

 

It's been like this for 2 years now and I'm currently on my third year and things are getting worse and worse. We're reading texts on how to analyze cultural events... seriously, how useless is that? I've decided to finish my bachelor and once that is done I'll go up to my old teacher and show him the article that he gave an interview for where he talks about ALL the job possibilities 'Digital Design' would give us and then I'll ask him to find me a job.

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I'm pretty much in agreement here. I'm doing it (and I think it's fair to say that a lot of people are doing it) for a sense of ambition - however empty it may be. I used to think I knew what I was doing and it was all so important and that there was light at the end of the tunnel, now I just think I'm at university as a means to fill a void that would otherwise consist of booze, music and masturbation and to basically appear scholarly....

 

I hate university

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Guest 277: 930-933

The only worthwhile things you can get out of these cultural event studies are marketing and some bookkeeping, I've never met anyone doing this kind of study who felt they actually got anything out of it on a creative level.

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The best way to learn is to be left using your own equipment and ideas especially in this sort of work, then at the end of the project, bring everything together with other students and listen/compare/ask questions about methods adopted by others in your class which you did not think of etc.. The whole idea of creative education is, I think, to give you the freedom to produce whatever you like with the skills you have adopted within lessons and expand upon them -- well that's the way I look at creative subjects. Unfortunately you can't always see the "teaching styles" of teachers and tutors prior to taking the course.

 

I have chosen to use the Open University here in the UK for my studies as the costs and course fees involved are no where as near the costs if visiting an actual university during the week and sitting in class rooms - it's all mapped out via home studies and online tutoring which can have it's downsides but from a financial point of view, it's well worth it for me and at the same time I don't have to sit in a room with a teacher I don't get on with.

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sounds like a total mickey mouse course... but if you're in your 3rd year you might as well see it to it's end though. i think uni/higher education is as much about self-directed study and development, so i can't imagine you not taking anything away from it whatsoever. most unis and teachers want constructive feedback too, and more often than not the students can have a large say in what they learn (for the coming years etc). the nature of the industry is that it is constantly changing, so you should be able to ensure they equip for the endless paradigm shifts!

 

currently i'm doing a course called 'multimedia design + technology' and i think it's exactly what you wanted to do (sorry!). it's actually a BSc and had it's fair bit of soft and borderline pseudo-science (modules like 'communication' etc) but is really varied as time progresses. the first year has much the tenuous 'learn to be creative' stuff with little solid learning, but we banded together and gave feedback. i now think in the following years, the 1st years have had a greater weight of coding (xhtml/css/php/actionscript) and work with DSLRs.

 

in the 2nd year we began doing more flash, film and 3d based stuff which was good. in the 3rd year they then help set up work placements - i was paid a very fair minimum wage (you can get less) to do lots of photoshop/illustrator work and xhtml/css coding. i actually designed from scratch and coded the front end of the new financial times mobile site which won an award for 'best mobile site' (ok, it's not cool to show off you work for THE MAN).

 

i'm starting the final year in 2 weeks. by this time they expect you to know which areas suit you, so you get to choose from a nice plethora of extra modules. i've chosen 3D design, sound design (hehehe) and 'the moving image' (bit of a lame 'filmn' module but one that shouldn't overload my workload), which is essentially the areas i want to go into (don't like the idea of being a website designer all my life).

 

basically, i think you should talk to your other course mates and push to have stuff added to the syllabus which you all want to learn. after all, it's your money and your education - and their duty to deliver. if you have 1 year left then maybe it's worth staying on - you'll have a solid foundation on which to maybe do a masters (or similar) that delivers on the specific technical front.

 

if not, quit immediately, move to england and go to brunel university. seriously!

Edited by idrn
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The best way to learn is to be left using your own equipment and ideas especially in this sort of work, then at the end of the project, bring everything together with other students and listen/compare/ask questions about methods adopted by others in your class which you did not think of etc.. The whole idea of creative education is, I think, to give you the freedom to produce whatever you like with the skills you have adopted within lessons and expand upon them -- well that's the way I look at creative subjects. Unfortunately you can't always see the "teaching styles" of teachers and tutors prior to taking the course.

 

I have chosen to use the Open University here in the UK for my studies as the costs and course fees involved are no where as near the costs if visiting an actual university during the week and sitting in class rooms - it's all mapped out via home studies and online tutoring which can have it's downsides but from a financial point of view, it's well worth it for me and at the same time I don't have to sit in a room with a teacher I don't get on with.

 

nice one on the free education! this year i'm arranging to sneak into the max msp/ reaktor workshops and lectures. technically it'll be illegally 'stealing' education, but apparently the teachers are just very happy to have anyone there who shows an interest!

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I understand the lamentations but since I'm seeing locations like "Netherlands, UK, Sweden", etc., aren't you getting this basically for free? That could be a myth propagated by the neo-cons to make everything look un-American but I'm pretty sure my German friend is catching his Master's at a full subsidy.

 

studying was free in germany a few years ago, but recently most counties charge you ~500€ per semster. Gonna have to deal with that next year :rolleyes:

Edited by plstik
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xxx, I see what you mean. But we don't necessarily get it for free since we pay for our education through taxes, but that's no excuse for preposterous educations and/or teachers who don't know what they're talking about it.

I think apprenticeship is the best method for education and I wish there were more educations that would embrace this because when I'm done with my bachelor I've got the exact same capabilities as the hard working guy sitting next to me even though I've worked alot less to get to where I am.

 

In the end we all get a piece of paper that says, 'This guy has been to our lectures for 3 years so... here he is. Take good care of him'.

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in england we have that weird strange duality labour seem so adept at creating between a socialist ideal and big bullshit business. there's a lot of subsidisation for students from low income backgrounds and they're pushing to get more and more people into higher education, but there's also a big influx of wank courses which offer very little in terms of employment or actual learning. essentially i think it's that ethos to just keep money being moved around, being spent.

 

at my uni you can do a masters in 'cult television'. you watch doctor who and buffy the vampire slayer.

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sorry to hear squee. sounds like you had the opportunity to have an amazing education but it was ruined by ridiculous teachers.

 

i'm in my third year for photography and i love it. my school has collected an all star team of professors that know what they're doing. most of them know how to walk the fine line of setting up assignments with restrictions and giving the necessary amount of freedom for you to work with.

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sorry to hear squee. sounds like you had the opportunity to have an amazing education but it was ruined by ridiculous teachers.

 

i'm in my third year for photography and i love it. my school has collected an all star team of professors that know what they're doing. most of them know how to walk the fine line of setting up assignments with restrictions and giving the necessary amount of freedom for you to work with.

 

I was thinking about photography a couple of years ago, because it focuses on this one thing. Plus, it would be easy and of course interesting to combine it with other concepts like live visuals, installations etc.

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getting my undergrad (CIS) just seems like a continuation of high school to me. most kids are fucking dumb and a surprising ratio have trouble speaking/writing coherently (not disabled students). the college has to teach kids things like how to take notes and how to manage your time so you don't have 23 hours of work to do in 1 day at the end of the semester because so many kids just have no idea. they've dumbed down the experience so much that i really don't think i've gotten any of that college enlightenment BS, and all i want is to get my expensive piece of paper so i can make more than $9 an hour. i feel pretentious but it has been really hard for me to meet new people as the few ones i've interacted with are nothing more than the status quo materialistic reality show/sitcom watching country listening faggots that i despise so much.

 

the whole campus is depressing when i really think about it

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Guest futuregirlfriend

I did Interactive Media. When I signed up it was Multimedia, there was a name change and slight direction change towards the end of the first year. Pretty much no teaching from those heading the course. Sometimes they'd bring someone in but it was always one of their friends who had next to no experience in teaching. Perfectly capable of doing their day to day job, but their lessons would just be watching them project actionscript for us to copy all day, perhaps some er, um explainations in the morning. You could get a good grade if you pandered to the interests of the course leaders, printed off a mountain of undigested research and submitted a knock off of something they liked. There were no resources. We had some sweatbox little room (shared between three years and some other courses), couldn't use all these labs and studios we'd been teased with.

 

In the first year I was too shy to say that the course was terrible, I just said "eerr this isn't really what I expected" and I got the reply "hoho! What did you expect? Girls running around with their tits out?" from one of the course leaders. I should have bailed then, but I thought perhaps it'll get better next year. Then the second year it was what will I do if I quit and don't get that precious degree/how will I get funding to cover some of the cost of another course and I'll be back two years or whatever, even though now I realise being 'set back' 18 months is absolutely nothing when you're 19. Third year wasn't so bad. I'd come to terms with how bad it was, and there was a new tutor who liked what I was doing and I scored a few good grades. I still did badly overall, but that's my fault as I didn't put the effort in with some things in the second year as I just wasn't interested.

 

I've pretty much just tried to forget that I went. Graduated last year and I'm only just now getting back into doing anything creative, even though I was interested in doing things years before signing up to the course.

 

Make the most of what time you have left and try to meet and stay in contact with people that might be able to help you get work. Making a blog and posting your stuff all over the place will probably help too.

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it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it. in other words, i don't think it's as much of a question of the area you chose to study, more the lack of foresight and imagination that the staff have that's perhaps being displayed by the way you're reacting : a mixture of both interest and disappointment in the subject, as a result of knowing there's something there worth looking at, just not necessarily that interesting in the way it's been done. i did a similar-sounding course, in the 90's, and although there was a hugely stimulating range of things studied (both artistic and technical) in a substantial and inspired way, it had it's faults in it's lack of funding, the inexperience of commercially applying the skills to a profession postgrad (even though it was intentionally tilted to BSc instead of BA, in order to make it a better balance of subjects) but i couldn't have been much happier with the kind of field in which i worked for those years; it was clever, challenging, without being pretentious or cliched. there's a value to university that goes beyond the historical, in that we've still to become used to achieving graduate level in a manner that may not intend to affect commercial value directly - it's better to be living sensing you're able to get more out of whatever you're doing subsequently, thanks to an intense and character-defining period, than it is to imagine what it would have been like if you hadn't have asked so much of yourself (and to have had a lot expected of you by others) by starting out on that path and having not seen it through to the end.

 

apparently a commonly-held opinion of university is that it's both the hardest and most rewarding time of your life; that it's both a nightmare and a dream at once, which can be very confusing. i suppose that's potentially true. it is for me.

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@ chaqos - that's sort of true for me, but only because i got a job on campus in the computing dept. i'll possibly have a full time job there or at the least a bunch of very strong recommendations.

Edited by theSun
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Guest ezkerraldean

university is just a massive pyramid scheme, especially in north america.

 

 

 

they should get rid of all these bullshit courses like media studies. you pay through your teeth for a piece of bog roll that won't get you a job in a million years. i do take pride in the fact that my degree has at least a veneer of applicability in the real world [/snob]

Edited by ezkerraldean
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Guest Renivatio

getting my undergrad (CIS) just seems like a continuation of high school to me. most kids are fucking dumb and a surprising ratio have trouble speaking/writing coherently (not disabled students). the college has to teach kids things like how to take notes and how to manage your time so you don't have 23 hours of work to do in 1 day at the end of the semester because so many kids just have no idea. they've dumbed down the experience so much that i really don't think i've gotten any of that college enlightenment BS, and all i want is to get my expensive piece of paper so i can make more than $9 an hour. i feel pretentious but it has been really hard for me to meet new people as the few ones i've interacted with are nothing more than the status quo materialistic reality show/sitcom watching country listening faggots that i despise so much.

 

the whole campus is depressing when i really think about it

 

With your paper bag dimwits you also have your pretentious douchebags that do their damndest to prove that they're smarter than you. All sad, really.

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Guest ezkerraldean

getting my undergrad (CIS) just seems like a continuation of high school to me. most kids are fucking dumb and a surprising ratio have trouble speaking/writing coherently (not disabled students).

so true

 

 

 

 

 

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