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Course Spotlight: Game-Based Learning

It’s always exciting to offer new elective courses, especially in the burgeoning field of game design and learning. This summer, we’re offering the new 2-unit online course Game-Based Learning. Instructor Randall Fujimoto tell us more about it:

Why is this course important for my design education?

This course is important for design students because of two main reasons: 1) To become familiar with game design in relation to learning, and 2) To understand the design implications of designing for the gameful mindset generation.

Game Design
With approximately 2.2 billion active gamers worldwide, games are fast becoming the most important media of our time. Therefore, any good design education needs to include the study of game design. Game designers are typically interested in designing all aspects of a game, including gameplay, art and animation, environment design, sound and music, and user interfaces, in order to make games engaging and fun. In this course, we look at the design of games not only as it relates to engagement but also, and more importantly for educators, how it relates to learning.

Gameful Mindset
In the U.S., the average 21-year-old person has played an estimated 10,000 hours of video games. The sheer amount of gameplay hours has undoubtedly had an effect on the way that today’s “gamer generation” thinks and learns. They have developed what we call a “gameful mindset,” which describes the unique ways in which gamers think, learn, and live their lives. Anyone who is designing anything for the gamer generation needs to understand how a gameful mindset affects the way these people learn how to use what they are designing. This course can help future designers become familiar with the characteristics of a gameful mindset and how they relate to learning.

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?

One assignment will have teams working on designing a lesson plan or learning activity centered around using an existing video game to help students learn. In order to design such a lesson plan or learning activity, teams will have to identify one or more learning outcomes and objectives, conduct research on existing video games that can be used for these outcomes and objectives, and then create a design plan that details the entire learning process. Teams will share their completed design plans with the entire class to get feedback and improvement ideas.

What will I take away from this course?

This course will give you a solid knowledge base about the various aspects of game-based learning and how to design various learning activities that utilize games and game-like thinking. The course will cover video games, educational games, game design projects, gamification of courses, and other topics related to game-based learning, including the intrinsic motivations inherent in game-based learning activities.

Thank you, Randall!

Enroll in Game-Based Learning today.

Design IV Student Project Spotlight: Aviva Family and Children’s Services

We’re highlight three of the outstanding group projects created by students of John Beach’s fall Design IV: Advanced Design Practice course.

Next up: Aviva Family and Children’s Services by Jonas Lin, Yuling Liang, Flora Zhuang.

First John gives us an overview of the course:

Students get the opportunity to choose a real life non-profit organization to rebrand, refresh and reorganize the public’s perception of its value. We start with branding, and through web presence, social media and virtually any other method such as (but not limited to) pop up events, exhibitions, advertising, curated exhibitions (all of which the teams design), we look at ways to build awareness, extend and develop funding possibilities, or change social perceptions. The teams leave with an extraordinary brand/look book for their portfolios that chronicles the process.

Check out the students’ work below:

Great work, team!

Design IV Student Project Spotlight: Days For Girls

We’re highlight three of the outstanding group projects created by students of John Beach’s fall Design IV: Advanced Design Practice course.

Next up: Days for Girls by Carla Pera and Man Ting Kong.

First John gives us an overview of the course:

Students get the opportunity to choose a real life non-profit organization to rebrand, refresh and reorganize the public’s perception of its value. We start with branding, and through web presence, social media and virtually any other method such as (but not limited to) pop up events, exhibitions, advertising, curated exhibitions (all of which the teams design), we look at ways to build awareness, extend and develop funding possibilities, or change social perceptions. The teams leave with an extraordinary brand/look book for their portfolios that chronicles the process.

Check out the students’ work below:

Excellent work, Carla Pera and Man Ting Kong!

Design IV Student Project Spotlight: LA Makerspace

It’s our pleasure to highlight some of the outstanding group projects created by students of John Beach’s fall Design IV: Advanced Design Practice course!

First John gives us an overview of the course:

Students get the opportunity to choose a real life non-profit organization to rebrand, refresh and reorganize the public’s perception of its value. We start with branding, and through web presence, social media and virtually any other method such as (but not limited to) pop up events, exhibitions, advertising, curated exhibitions (all of which the teams design), we look at ways to build awareness, extend and develop funding possibilities, or change social perceptions. The teams leave with an extraordinary brand/look book for their portfolios that chronicles the process.

We begin with the team comprised of Shadalene Adamos and Natalie Mizrahi. The name of the non-profit organization the group rebranded is LA Makerspace:

Excellent work, Shadalene and Natalie!

Course spotlight: AR/MR/VR for Immersive Content: Experience, Game & Media

We’re thrilled to be offering coursework this spring in Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality/Mixed Reality as we ramp up our game design course offerings. Instructor Jason Yim tells us all about what students can expect in this exciting course:

Why is this course important for my design education?

AR/MR will become the next computing paradigm. Just like smart-phones and apps changed human behavior and our connection to technology in a matter of years, AR/MR will have the same global effect. Secondly, designing for AR/MR/VR is very different from print or normal design for screen space. The user experience is played out over 3D space and blends with the physical environment, resulting in its own design language and best practices. And lastly, the case studies and guest speakers in this course will offer access and visibility into some of the world’s biggest brands and clients.

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?

Students will develop and present a concept for a real-world client and brief in mind. During this process they will create a prototype for user-testing in order to validate their concept. The prototype format will depend on the skill set of the student:
• Non-design students can create a paper mock up
• Digital Designers can create a click-through prototype
• 3D artists can produce a POV video
• Coders can create a working UNITY prototype
We will have a dedicated “user-testing” day for students and guests to review each other’s work and to capture results and insights.

What will I take away from this course?

You’ll feel like you spent 11 weeks IN the industry and not just learning about it from the outside.

Day one will start by giving you hands on access to several AR/VR/MR devices. By the end of the course, you will leave with an appreciation of the real-world challenges and opportunities from case-studies and guest speakers as well as your own personal experience developing, prototyping and testing a concept.

Thanks so much, Jason!

Enroll in AR/MR/VR for Immersive Content: Experience, Game & Media today!

 

Course Spotlight: Graphic Design Career Launchpad

The one-and-only Pash shares more about his elective, Graphic Design Career Launchpad:

Why is this course important for my design education?
I like to say that this class picks up—or even “wraps up”—where everything else leaves off. I created this course because after so many years of watching students make their way through the DCA program I found that they were really nicely prepared in terms of learning the fundamentals of design, how to use the various tools and software that we designers employ, and how to solve problems and think like a designer. And they usually had good solid portfolios or at least the start of one. But when I asked them what their plan was from here I would get mostly blank stares. Or awkward, unfocused answers. I felt it was time to remedy this!

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?
Overall this class is definitely homework-light. We will spend a little bit of time working on the basic elements of a designer’s materials toolkit (think business cards, resume, etc). But the main class project relates to the students’ interview of one of our guests. We will have a guest in the class each week from Week 2 through Week 10—a great designer who will be joining us to talk specifically about their career path. They will be interviewed by the students (in groups of two or three). Then the students will transcribe the interviews and create a double page spread summarizing the interview. A few examples from previous years are below.

What will I take away from this course?
At the very least a much better sense of what life in this profession is really like. Answers to a LOT of questions. A better idea of what you want and can expect in your career. Hopefully a renewed sense of confidence. And finally—if we do this right—some semblance of a game plan!

Thanks, Pash!

Enroll in Graphic Design Career Launchpad today!

Course Spotlight: Eye to Eye: Capturing the Face

There are few things more powerful than a beautifully rendered portrait. Photography instructor Scott Stulberg shares with us what students can expect in his upcoming one-day course Eye to Eye: Capturing the Face:

Why is this one-day course important for my photography education?

Photographing people…. and in particular faces for so many years now, the insights that you capture through so many different kinds of shoots, locations, weather conditions and the interactions of all kinds of different people, well, it all adds up to a great deal of knowledge. For a good majority of the people out there with cameras, point-and-shoot is really what they have become used to. The reason I love teaching how to capture people in different ways is because you can become so intimate with your subject. You can see and feel how to best capture them for your final outcome. You might realize they look better with a red dress than with blue jeans. That for their particular look, a unique hat completely changes your vision. Lying on their back, looking straight up at you while you were shooting straight down on them from above, might give you the perfect look and feel on that particular day.

There is so much to think about when shooting portraits from lighting, from equipment, working with people you hardly know and trying to capture the essence of who they are and so much more. In this class, I want to share my knowledge of years and years of working with people from not just the United States but from all over the world. And not just adults but also how to capture children which is one of my favorite subjects.

Exploring methods to push yourself out of your comfort zone can lead to a whole new world of self discovery with your photography. This course will help you discover and develop your own personal vision and individual style and push yourself to get images you’ve always imagined but were not really sure where to start.

Capturing people is a huge part of photography and probably the number one thing that people photograph. There are so many ways to create amazing images of people and we will cover so many different methods and ideas and hopefully spark curiosity and creativity among many of us.

What will we spend the day exploring? 

Hopefully, we will have a model for some part of the class with whom I will be working to show everyone what it’s like to capture using different ideas and techniques. We will also probably have time to go outdoors, close by on the UCLA campus and try some different lighting equipment to see how easily you can control and work with the light outside to get beautiful results that can mimic studio lighting indoors.

I will be bringing different kinds of camera and lighting gear to show what might be worthwhile to purchase… to achieve different results whether indoors or out. And although we won’t be shooting as a class, with all of the demonstrations by the instructor, much will be learned. We will also look at many photographs and discuss what makes them work.

What will I take away from this course?

One of the most important aspects of this course is learning how to feel and see light differently and understand the impact of light in your photographs. My goal is for everyone to realize the importance of light in your images as the definition of photography really is “painting with light”. It is absolutely the most crucial part of anyone’s photography but especially with portrait photography. Even the new iPhone 8 and X has some new portrait lighting methods…. and when you can start to understand the importance of what light can do….. and how you can work with that light to give you what you envision, you will have hopefully opened up a whole new world for your photography. There is so much to know about shooting people and especially the face and by the end of the class, hopefully everyone will have a much better understanding of what it takes to push your portrait photography in a new direction and give your images “Stopping Power “.

There’s nothing like a great portrait, no matter who is the subject. It’s been the most photographed subject of all time and the more you play…. the more you experiment… the easier it gets. We will be playing a lot in class!

Thanks, Scott!

Enroll in Eye to Eye: Capturing the Face today!

*Photography courtesy of Scott Stulberg

Course Spotlight: Web Coding Intensive Bootcamp

DCA instructor Mitch Gohman

This winter, we’re thrilled to debut an intensive web coding bootcamp course with veteran DCA instructor Mitch Gohman. Mitch tells us a bit more about what students can expect from this new course:

  1. Why is this course important for my design education?

    The modern website requires the ability to wield engaging, interactive applications. Even the most basic brochure websites require the ability to wield content (HTML), visual (CSS), and behavior (JavaScript). The demand for these technologies continues to increase, as each becomes more and more robust. Understanding these three technologies and how they work together as a team is an essential toolkit for any designer looking to take their skillsets to the next level.

  2. What’s the benefit of studying HTML, CSS, jQuery/JavaScript, frameworks, and responsive layouts in the bootcamp format instead of one by one?

    The ability to see how all of these technologies work together as a team gives the student a more comprehensive understanding of what is possible in the world of Web Design and Development. It also simulates the real-world in the sense that you would never only utilize one technology at a time. While learning one at a time can bring focus, it isn’t always easy to see how it fits into the whole.

  3. Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?

    All of the work we do in class is project based. Rather than just lecturing theory, we learn the concepts through application. For example, learning HTML/CSS/JavaScript is easier to see when we apply it to a slideshow or form validator.

    Here are a couple of example lesson/projects we will be building.

  4. What will I take away from this course?
    • A strong understanding of HTML & CSS (content and appearance)
    • An intermediate understanding of jQuery/JavaScript (interactivity)
    • A clear understaning of Frameworks, Responsive Layouts and when to use them
    • Modern Web Design and Development trends and concepts (e.g. development process, constraints, optimization)
    • See these real-world skills applied to actual projects via guest professionals.

    Thanks, Mitch!

    Questions? Contact Kate Reeves for advising at dca@unex.ucla.edu.

    Enroll in Web Coding Intensive Bootcamp today!

    web design by DCA graduate Ena de Guzman

Student Work Roundup: Summer 2017 Edition

Enjoy this gallery featuring selections of student work from the courses Design III: Branding and Design History and Context, both taught online this summer by instructor Shirin Raban:

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