Buzz’s Blog: On Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web

Jun 5 2010   4:32AM GMT

The challenge of learning – and teaching – modern media management, Part 3

Roger King Roger King Profile: Roger King

This blog is dedicated to emerging technology for Web 2.3/3.0, the Semantic Web, and multimedia management.  Two postings ago, we looked at the dilemma of trying to teach general concepts to students interested in advanced media, in particular in the domain of 3D animation.  In the last posting, we looked at a pervasive problem: Students need not just abstract knowledge, but also hands-on experience,  if they are going to compete successfully in the marketplace – and faculty members typically lack applied knowledge of real world software.

In fact, direct training in the use of modern media applications isn’t just a practical consideration. In order to develop a firm understanding of the direction of modern computing and to gain insight into the problems that need to be solved by future developers of media applications, computing students need to be exposed to the breadth of media management applications.

Today, we take a look at another extreme challenge presented to teachers of modern computing.

Computing – specifically, media management – touches everything.

Computer Science departments in universities are sometimes in Engineering schools, or sometimes in Arts and Sciences.  A growing phenomena is that Computer Science is not just a department within a school, but is a school of its own with a name like the School of Information.

This underscores the extreme variety in what is considered to be in the domain of modern computing, including the creation of formal mathematical models with little or no immediate basis in the real world, the development of algorithms for performing complex computational tasks, the construction of novel software applications, the study of human interactions with computers, the development of standards for specifying medical information, the application of modern software technology to crisis management, etc., etc.

The point is that computer science graduates might find themselves working in virtually any area of human endeavor.

Interestingly, the domain of media management, including image, video, sound, and 3D modeling and animation management, is a perfect example of this.  It is, in fact, everywhere.

So, what to do?

The answer, I think, is that media management needs to taught in a highly collaborative fashion, with faculty members drawn from across most domains of study.  The collaboration shouldn’t be superficial, as is often the case, with students choosing isolated courses from multiple departments and counting them toward a roll-your-own major.  This leaves students with no idea as to how varying disciplines are woven together in the real world.  Faculty members, for instance, from fine arts and computer science need to plan and co-teach courses that look at the border between art and programming.

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