Tuesday, May 1, 2012
CCS Freshman Class 2012
I believe everyone on this blog witnessed first hand the firing line called CCS Freshman Reviews. Today, I had first hand experience of what it was like to be on the other side. Yes, that's right, dishing out the hard, cold truth to 12 impressionable students. Most of whom did an awesome job over the past 4 months, a few not so much. CCS policy prevents me from commenting on any particular students so I will refrain. As for this post, I wanted to first thank Luis and Ian for their impromptu contributions to the class. Your suggestions and comments were extremely thoughtful and all the students mentioned how helpful you both were. Thanks.
Above, is an image of our final presentation day (not the Freshman Review). What a wild ride. If I haven't said it to you in a conversation already - I highly recommend teaching a class if you are ever given the opportunity. It took me a full month to decide if I wanted to actually take on a class at CCS. In the end I couldn't pass up the opportunity. My experience has only been with Freshman but I can tell you it is one of the most rewarding things I've done. (Ready for a run-on sentence?) To have 12 individuals jotting down the words that are coming out of your mouth in their sketchbooks, next to that silly doodle of a Nike shoe, and then throwing challenging questions at you like rotten tomatoes only for you to suddenly realize you actually have an appropriate answer and can explain it in ever more detail if requested - it then hits you. We have learn a lot since graduation. Every week I felt more and more comfortable with the students. The advice I received from CCS teachers was pretty much the same across the board, "Just get through the first day." Turned out to be accurate.
After agreeing to teach, it took roughly 3 weeks to put together a syllabus I was happy with. I broke the semester into two half's. The first was a series of 2-3 week exercises which built on specific methods or processes. This system allowed for greater resolution in tasks such as branding and persona creation. The last half of the semester was a single project based off a character persona. The persona was developed in one of the earlier short exercises. Most student complained after the project brief was given arguing that the task of creating a lifestyle documentation device already existed in the form of an ipad. I said anyone who continued to believe that should quit school and go work at the apple store. The next week they had an abundance of ideas. Most of which were pretty impressive. In reality the decision to run with that brief was because it would be challenging in the world of tablets and smart phones. This was a great lesson for me in learning to hold strong to my initial ideas, the students would eventually come around. One student had a concept brief which stated she would be creating a sketchbook for drummers. Pretty neat. All in all there are things I would do differently but I guess that's the case with everything.
If you guys ever do decide to teach, please give me a shout because there are a few things that are easy fixes which I had to learn the hard way. For example, get to class before any student on the first day. This allows time for small talk with students as they trickle in. I was right on time for my first class and walked into a silent room full of students staring at me. Definitely a jolt of reality. If you guys are curious to learn more let me know. I just wanted to give you an update on this recent experience.