“Digital Design Education at UCLA” by McNall, Allen, Kataoka and Swanlund

  • ©Cameron McNall, Rebecca Allen, Mits Kataoka, and Gail Swanlund




    Digital Design Education at UCLA



    A panel of educators discusses the digitally oriented curriculum of the Design Department at the University of California, Los Angeles, and presents examples of student work.
    The UCLA Design Department completely revised its program three years ago to incorporate digital technologies. Every attempt was made to maintain the core studies needed for a well-rounded designer while fully engaging the possibilities offered by new digital media and technologies. Preparation of the new curriculum involved several challenges, including:
    • How can a liberal-arts based design education best prepare students for future work with newly emergent technologies and media?
    • What is the best balance of theory and studio work, of conceptual to professional work, of hand-to-computer exercises?
    • How does one teach with new technologies without spending too much time just learning software?
    • Hardware and software acquisition
    • Space planning
    • How to reconcile the “computer room” mentality with the studio environment so common to art and design programs.
    The panel illuminates these issues for educators who are interested in incorporating the new digital technologies into art and design programs. The presenters were all engaged in design education long before the emergence of the computer and are
    aware of the issues common to all programs facing the transition to digital technologies. They candidly discuss which aspects of the curriculum seem successful and which still might need refinement, and they offer predictions for the direction of digitally based art and design programs.
    Cameron McNall
    University of California, Los Angeles

    Rebecca Allen
    Mits Kataoka
    Gail Swanlund
    University of California, Los Angeles

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