By Casey Domski
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Penn State New Kensington students are learning the basics of multimedia design in one of the campuses newest classes, multimedia production.
The comm 270 class, which is open to all students of the New Kensington campus, teaches students how to use a variety of multimedia programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office Publisher, and even advanced programs such as Adobe Dreamweaver.
Throughout the semester, students are asked to complete a variety of projects that relate to the basic principles of design and effective media writing. The final project focuses on building a fully interactive website with the skills that students have acquired throughout the semester. Multimedia is an increasingly large part of society, so it’s important that students learn these skills before entering the workforce.
Associate Professor of Communications Dr. Allen Larson said that effective communication skills are one of the key things that employers look for when hiring, and that multimedia platforms are one of the most widely used form of communication in today’s society, so it’s important that students learn to use these platforms while in college.
“The thing that employers say over and over again is that communications skills are one of the most essential things they’re looking for in hiring graduates,” said Larson. “Multimedia platforms are a continuously increasing portion of how organizations and people communicate, so it’s obviously quite important that students know how to use these platforms, and how to use them well in order to accomplish specific communication goals.”
Larson said that he hopes students learn not so much the software programs themselves, but rather the basic design principles that go behind making choices when using the programs.
“I hope students leave with a heightened attentiveness to basic design principles and an enhanced level of thoughtfulness about why they are making the choices they make,” said Larson. “The software will change from year to year and job to job, so the key is mostly about learning how to learn, getting comfortable with that process and using that skill to resolve the specific challenges that you are presented with,” he added.
Larson said the his biggest struggle in teaching the course has been attending to the different levels of skill and the comfort levels of each individual in the class when it comes to multimedia experience.
“Teaching multimedia technology is always difficult for various reasons, but I’d say the most difficult part is negotiating the vastly different range of aptitudes and comfort levels that various students bring with them at the start,” said Larson.
Penn State New Kensington student Regina Cherish is enrolled in the multimedia production class and said that the experience has been nothing short of exciting.
“It’s exciting to see a project come together,” said Cherish. “Actually seeing the final product and knowing that you created the whole thing is a really great feeling,” she added.
Cherish, like many others in class, has learned a great deal about HTML and web design this semester.
“Before this semester I had no idea how to write an HTML code, or create a webpage,” she said. “Now I’m designing a website for one of my photographer friends all my own,” she added.
Eric Bennardo is another student who is currently enrolled in the multimedia production class who says the class has helped him tremendously in learning visual design basics.
“Coming into this class I had no previous design experience,” said Bennardo. “I have learned a lot in this class and it has definitely helped me develop my visual design skills,” he added.
Any student looking to further expand their knowledge of multimedia production is encouraged to schedule the multimedia production class this spring. The course can be found under the communication offering on the Penn State New Kensington schedule of courses. For more information about scheduling please contact your academic advisor.