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Meeting Student And Industry Needs Through Experiential Learning And Soft Skills Study In Computer Graphics

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Curriculum Development and Applications

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.884.1 - 13.884.9



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Paper Authors

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Jana Whittington Purdue University Calumet

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Kim Nankivell Purdue University Calumet

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Joy Colwell Purdue University Calumet

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Meeting Student and Industry Needs through Experiential Learning and Soft Skills Study in Computer Graphics


Students in a Computer Graphics (CG) degree program need a variety of “real-world” portfolio projects and experience before graduation to prepare them for their careers. One way to incorporate “real world” experiences is to use experiential learning (EL) components in the CG curriculum. Faculty within a CG degree program would benefit from an understanding of the experiential learning instructional methodologies to pedagogically develop curriculum for an EL course in computer graphics.

Generally, employers who hire CG graduates want proof of “real-world” experience and often ask for a minimum of three years experience in the field. Real world experience, to employers, often includes not only the technical skills but also the “soft skills” of teamwork, appreciation for diversity, and communication. Traditional classroom learning, as well as traditional classroom simulations of real-world portfolio projects, may not always fully prepare the learner for the CG work environment. Conversely, immersing a student in the “real-world” CG work environment may not always provide the needed pedagogical structure that will fulfill EL requirements or standard course and program requirements. Incorporating “soft skills” classes into a CG plan of study can help provide the other component of “real world” skills that employers seek.

This paper addresses how experiential learning can be implemented in the CG course or program structure, which will provide a significant transfer of learning through involvement with real- world projects.


An appropriate identification of EL methodologies and criteria needs to be accessible to faculty, as well as, assessment methods for evaluating the EL course. Luckner and Nadler1 defined the EL process in the Book Experiential Learning: A Handbook of Best Practice for Educators and Trainers: This type of learning occurs when students participate in some activity, reflect upon the activity, use their analytical skills to derive some useful insight from the experience, and then incorporate their new understanding(s) into their daily lives. What experiential learning does best is capture the interest and involvement of the participants, but most importantly it contributes significantly to the transfer of learning.

Instructional Intervention

To implement EL learning in a degree program, faculty need to be made aware of the experiential criteria so they can design an appropriate and effective EL course. Faculty at our institution gain insight about EL through workshops and criteria provided by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE).2 Once the National Society for Experiential Education standards of practice for EL have been defined within the course, faculty can share

Whittington, J., & Nankivell, K., & Colwell, J. (2008, June), Meeting Student And Industry Needs Through Experiential Learning And Soft Skills Study In Computer Graphics Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3275

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