June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Computers in Education
12.959.1 - 12.959.13
Introducing Art and Visual Design Concepts to Computer Systems Technology Students
Computer systems technology students attending Kansas State University at Salina are typically focused on technology and have minimal exposure to art and graphic design concepts. In the “Fundamentals of Web Design” course, we attempt to broaden student knowledge and experience by introducing art and design concepts that are not available elsewhere in the Engineering Technology curriculum. Although many students embrace this shift in emphasis, some are very resistant because the ideas presented appear foreign and irrelevant to a computer technology curriculum.
The challenge has been to discover ways of connecting art and design concepts to the needs and interests of computer technology students. For example, most computer students understand the theory of mixing red, green and blue pixels on a computer display to create any color, but few are familiar with the technique of optical color mixing used in Pointillism.
Throughout the course, students are introduced to design concepts and theory that can be used to develop visually pleasing websites and other graphic oriented content. Along the way, well- known artists are introduced to illustrate various design fundamentals that are applicable in both art and web design. On several occasions, projects that reinforce key concepts are assigned; some computer based and some that involve traditional paper and pencil. One of the most pleasing aspects of this course is when students begin to discover hidden artistic talents they did not realize they possessed.
This paper will highlight some methods of connecting visual design to computer systems technology. It will also discuss some of the successes and failures experienced thus far in teaching a Fundamentals of Web Design on a campus oriented more towards technology than towards design.
While universities aspire to interdisciplinary thinking and cooperation, the size of institutions and pressures upon individuals has often led to isolation rather than collaboration. 1 Interdisciplinary thinking is important and beneficial while excessive compartmentalization of thought ignores the realities and interconnectedness of the world. Some writers such as Peter Blewett have expressed dissatisfaction with “professional programs that treated humanities and social sciences as an after-thought at best and an onerous irrelevancy at worst.” 2 Others call for each discipline to recognize and appreciate the value of disparate fields of thought. “Scientists would doubtless be better people if they were culturally literate, and ditto for humanists if they were scientifically informed.” 3
The importance of a broad based education is reflected in current ABET curriculum requirements for engineering and engineering technology programs. According to ABET, engineering students must demonstrate “the broad education necessary to understand the impact
Genereux, B. (2007, June), Introducing Art And Visual Design Concepts To Computer Systems Technology Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2505
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