“Teaching Gems for Art and Design” by Eber, Mitchell and Elliott-Famularo

  • ©Dena Elisabeth Eber, Bonnie L. Mitchell, and Heather Elliott-Famularo




    Teaching Gems for Art and Design



    Despite the artistic maturity computer graphics has gained throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium, what we call the art student “wow” factor in computer graphics—the phenomenon of student obsession over new technology instead of artistic substance—is still a point of contention. It remains a challenge to teach computer graphics to art students while maintaining a balance between thoughtful art and sophisticated technology. In this session we will, with the help of the participants, reveal pedagogical solutions and uncover various approaches to teaching art students to use digital media in rich and expressive ways.

    When the curve of new computer graphics technology was steeper and interfaces were not as intuitive as they now are, much of student learning was centered on the hardware and software and students struggled to comprehend digital media’s place in the art world. In essence, we were in what Marshall McLuhan referred to as the first phase of a new technology—a stage in which, in the context of teaching digital media in the arts, the students were trying to understand computer graphics technology in terms of what they already knew. A digital image became a painting or a photograph, and 3D modeling and animation were understood in terms of film studies. Further, many students did not understand the scope of digital art and how it encompassed sculptural digital installations, how the art did not have to result in physical objects, or how the pieces could exist as interactive programs or websites. Students also worried more about the technology—what it could do and how to use it—rather than understanding the unique ways in which they could create aesthetically pleasing and profound works of art.


ACM Digital Library Publication:

Overview Page: