Government structured tertiary qualifications (whether offered through public or private organisations) seem more focused on offering the actual qualifications rather than education, and no they are not necessarily the same thing. You see a qualification is something that can easily be advertised, measured, signed off upon delivery and charged for, it is something that can be slotted into a generic system that applies across all disciplines. You pay, jump through some hoops, a piece of paper is handed over and everyone is happy. This is happening across all tertiary levels and institutes (University, Tafe and Private Institutions offering government approved quals) and constitutes some very short term thinking, because ultimately it diminishes the value of the qualification being offered (why do you think employers in animation insist on seeing a showreel these days).
An education is something that is much harder to define and manage, it involves assessing an individuals skill set (even personality) and helping them to best manage them so as to get themselves into a position where they can achieve their goals. There is no clear finish line and the journey is different for every single student.
It seems to me that there is no reason why educations and qualifications can't exist in harmony, but for that to happen they would need to meet in the middle and compromise so as to find some common goals. For now it appears the balance is tipped way to far in favour of the qualifiers than the educators, rules and conditions come floating down through the bureaucracy (where the qualifiers live) and are placed upon the educators regardless of their specific circumstances.
On the front line where I have been working is a dedicate and talented team of educators (teachers and administrators), doing there best to fight the good fight under less than ideal circumstances. I am in awe of their patience and dedication. You guys rock. But as I said before a few external circumstances have left me hungry for a break from the situation.
I have absolutely loved teaching. Taken in isolation it is perhaps even more rewarding than animating itself (gasp!). I have also loved working with the two other teachers running our course, Jane and Terry, you guys are amazing and I'll miss you heaps. I also want to send out a big thankyou to all of my students over the past 4 years, especially those of you who were willing to put in that extra bit of effort and challenge yourselves.
I intend to continue involvement with the course in some less official way, I'll be sorting something out with the teachers in the coming months. Maybe permanent teaching will feature in my life again one day, but for now I'm off to explore something new.
In the past I've worked on feature length films, internet products, TV commercials, website animation, and educational software. Leaving one big sector of the business uncharted. I'm off to join Australia's biggest games studio,and am pretty dam excited about it. I think in many ways games is where the real innovations in animation happen these days, I'm coming to it later than many, but I feel its where the smart money is. I'm also looking forward to making games themselves a part my like again.
Industry work takes up a lot more of your time than teaching, so one big unanswered question will be how much time I will have spare for blogging. I suppose we will have to wait and see. I don't start my new job until the 12th of January so I hope to do a few more article like posts between now and then.
In the past I have played with the idea of having more contributors to the ARC with varied success, maybe there are some ex-students or friends out there who would be interested in giving me a hand. You could just post from time to time, let me know about new resources you find, or even have your own page that focused on a particular thing (say a page with news about animated movies or something). Anyway, pop me an email if your interested, many hands make light work.
Another thing I am looking forward to is being a little more opinionated, I think now that this is just my blog and its not going to have official or unofficial links with any organisations I may be a little more inclined to speak my mind. Should be interesting.
Any feedback or ideas are welcome as always :)
So hears to new adventures! More posts (with less text and more pictures) coming soon.