I started my education in 2005 at Algonquin College in the 2-year Print Media Program. Realizing the print industry is being forced to adapt to the evolution of the Internet, I went into the 2-year Interactive Multimedia Developer Program instead to further my education and gain a wider variety of knowledge and expertise. I am a tech savvy individual and I wanted to learn as much as I could about web design, development, photography and video work, so this program was a perfect fit for me.
The program primarily focused on using the Adobe Creative Suite and offers you a taste of just about everything.
The classes are broken up into two sections of about 40 students. After the first semester, many people dropped out either because they couldn’t keep up or they realized that this program wasn’t for them. In the final year, the classroom went down to about 20 students a section. On a positive note, you can get more attention from the teachers and it frees up the open labs. We didn’t have any exams just large projects. The majority of the projects were done in groups.
In the last year, we had two classes to choose from, it basically came down to how much programming or design you want to do. I would suggest that you take at least one programming class; it will be well worth it when you graduate even if you struggled with it. We also had a client project where we were in groups of 3 to 16. We used everything we learned from our courses to create the end product, whatever that might have been. In this project, we learned a lot about project management and planning, and of course, what it takes to work with a real client.
In our final semester, we had a work placement. I suggest for you to try and find a placement yourself and to start looking for it early. In our portfolio class, we were supposed to get help finding a placement; unfortunately there was a lack of organization and variety of jobs. I felt like the whole process was rushed and the goal was just to get us out there in a placement no matter if it suited us or not. For instance, some students were left without a placement and they had to do work for the school.
There is something to be said about doing things on your own. You want to find something that will get you the experience you want. It is the perfect opportunity to figure out exactly what you may or may not be interested in. It would be wise to at least have a second option in case things don’t work out. It is a stressful time in the year and everyone will be fighting for a placement.
We were lucky to have some really good teachers. From web, video, and design, each teacher was very helpful and enthusiastic about what they were teaching. A lot of them provided inspiration and suggestions to events we should attend that were relevant to the program. We were also fortunate to have some teacher aides that came in from time to time to help students in the open lab.
I had huge expectations because we were required to purchase an expensive and professional camera.
One disappointment was the photography classes. I had huge expectations because we were required to purchase an expensive and professional camera. I don’t feel like the class was taught all that well. In fact, not much teaching was going on at all. Let’s just say I learned everything I know by teaching myself or learning from a friend. There were lots of resources online that helped me.
To make matter worse, the teacher who taught the photography class also taught portfolio development. Once again, I didn’t walk away from that class with much. Since I had taken a previous program, I already had a portfolio started and had worked in the industry. For new students, it was difficult to get the assistance they needed to prepare themselves for a proper portfolio. Unfortunately this teacher didn’t believe in providing us their teacher/course evaluation even when we asked for it.
There were several resources available for us and lots of different equipment to rent, for example camera equipment, video cameras, a sound studio, a green screen room and more. The computer labs were pretty nice. We used Intel iMacs running Boot Camp that also ran Windows. There was one lab that was shared between our program, the one-year Interactive Multimedia program and the Game Development program. The lab could be really busy from time to time and there was always a bit of worry when you would leave to go eat or go to the bathroom that someone would come and log you off your computer. Sometimes there would be an empty classroom that we could use if it wasn’t already full. Personally I avoided the crowded labs altogether and did as much as I could from home. If you have a decent connection from your home, you can connect to the school’s VPN and submit projects and connect to your school directory from the comfort of your home.
You are expected to purchase a Digital SLR in your first year. Expect to spend around $1000 depending on what kind of DSLR camera you choose. Myself, I bought a Nikon D200 and SB800. Unfortunately, the photography classes weren’t as useful as expected. Fortunately, I enjoy photography and was able to teach myself all about my camera, photography and lighting techniques. We were also required to buy a specific photo printer – the Epson PictureMate, which was the teacher’s preference. Everyone was supplied with an external hard drive as part of the tuition. There are some mandatory books that you will be required to buy, but there are also a lot of suggested ones too. I found the programming books to be the most helpful. I own a lot of Adobe related books and I hardly ever look at them. Usually anything you need to find, someone else has tried it and you can just find it online.
You have to be actively learning and teaching yourself all the time; it is up to you to keep up with the vastly growing industry.
I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to dive into the world of multimedia and web. The more comfortable you are with programming the better. In the end, what you learn in the classroom is just scratching the surface. You have to be actively learning and teaching yourself all the time; it is up to you to keep up with the vastly growing industry. Once you graduate, you will see how deep the rabbit hole really is.
You can find me at www.davinhenrikson.com