What students can learn from VFX role models

In July 2018 I was honoured to give an oration for Paul Franklin’s investiture as Honorary Doctor at Norwich University of the Arts. It seemed to me that Paul’s story should find a wider audience of students, who could maybe model their behaviour on his, since his career narrative exhibits all those aptitudes we often tell students about.

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No more stories- let’s start building Worlds

(This is a slightly expanded text based on an article I wrote for the April 2018 edition of 3D Artist magazine.) It’s said that when Catherine the Great made a grand tour of the Ukraine in 1787 down the River Dnieper, Prince Grigory Potemkin was so keen to impress her that he ordered fake village…

Mind the Gap: Mindset and crossing the “Greatness gap”

Many of us are interested why some students don’t seem motivated to succeed at their chosen studies despite what might be thought of as highly extrinsic motivators like high University tuition fees and the need to be employable. After all, a degree isn’t compulsory- they opted in, but some don’t flourish. Is Mindset theory the…

The forgotten and future history of the Core Skills of VFX Repository

The original vision of an open and accessible online repository of training assets and documentation, raising standards of training in VFX universally, with donations from companies, training organisations and Universities alike seems further off now than a few years ago. What might this say about the industry to learners who want to belong? You’ve probably…

Rubble Trouble: World Building without a hard hat

Before pixels, both Architects and VFX artists were physical model makers. Today, they have each have made the transition to planning and constructing digitally, using similar if not identical software to create hugely detailed virtual environments towards different ends. VFX Course Leader Saint John Walker and Associate Professor in Architecture Jonathan Ellis-Miller have started collaborating…

The 8 (or 9) Studio Habits of VFX

We need to stretch the definition of VFX away from being a ‘guns for hire’ service industry for films to an art that can imagine and build new worlds that exist in their own right. The 8 Studio Habits of Mind can help us do this.

Cognitive Surplus and cognitive deficit: experience isn’t everything

The concept of Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus is a seductive one as expounded in his 2010 book, subtitled Creativity and Generosity in a connected age. Thanks to the networked world of new media we now all have the potential to donate the spare time we usually donate to leisure pursuits or more pointedly, passively consuming…

The Digital Scholar course

For 4 weeks in July 2016 I was a student on the online Digital Scholar course, led by the Geneva Learning Foundation, in partnership with the University of Illinois College of Education and Learning Strategies International (LSi). I successfully applied to join (it wasn’t open in that sense) as I wanted a parallel component to my HEA fellowship studies that gave me insights…

How to earn the HE Industry Dialogue Badge

Introduction: This text gives the specifications for the badge, listing all its technical aspects. This is how you earn it. This badge is a research prototype designed to Open Badge standards. It carries no credits and is not accredited or verified by me or my University employers. However, the badge has real value, being endorsed…

How I badgered and badged HE: my plan to offer an Open Badge

As part of my Action Research project I’m launching a Badge according to Open Badge specifications. Well actually I’m only issuing the badge- I’m not awarding it. It’s not about me, it’s about investigating the dynamics of motivation, reward and inertia in qualifications and credentials. I intend to investigate how the development of Open Badges…

Smoke, Mirrors and Badges: thoughts on HE and Open Badges

One of the elements that is often missing from the more theoretical Open Badges literature is that of the user’s motivation and willingness to learn. It’s easy to assume Badges will gamify people or make material the pathways of learning that the user never visualised before, without the learner having to lift a finger. To…