Professor challenges design students to think beyond print

SaraLynn Dobler, a design student, created an interactive page titled “The Sky Has Stories To Tell” which she describes as “a project inspiring the idea that constellations aren’t just dots in the night sky, but animals or people that can tell you stories.”

SaraLynn Dobler, a design student, created an interactive page titled “The Sky Has Stories To Tell” which she describes as “a project inspiring the idea that constellations aren’t just dots in the night sky, but animals or people that can tell you stories.”

After taking students to tour studios in Minneapolis, Michael Stamper, cinema arts and digital technologies, has noticed inevitable change in his world – the world of design.
According to Stamper, many of the studios that students will be applying to after graduation will be looking for students to be able to design specifically for mobile instead of print, something that many MSUM students haven’t had the chance to experience while enrolled in school.
Because of this lack of experience, Stamper took it upon himself to develop a fun, new project for his design students.
Stamper’s students, instead of designing for print as they have grown accustomed to, had the opportunity to design for iPads and other tablet devices.
“You have to be pushed into the pool sooner or later,” he said, “and the sooner the better.”
Stamper wanted this project to be fun, but he also encourages his students to have fun in general in his classes.
“I like my students to play with the software,” he said. “I think they learn a lot more than if they had to sit and watch Lynda videos all class. I want them to play. This way, if they have questions, they can ask me, and I can help them out. The more they play, the more questions they are going to have.”
Because Stamper made this project enjoyable, he said his students were doing work above their level without being aware of it.
“Constraints were very loose,” he said. “They could make whatever they wanted. They didn’t know they were doing advanced work.”
Because of the loose constraints, students were able to chose any theme for their page. Stamper’s students chose everything from cats to astronomy.

To display the variety of work his students created, Stamper developed a simple interface in which viewers click on the student’s work they would like to view and are brought to a new window.

Each of the students’ pages are designed in such a way that the page responds to, not only the orientation of the tablet, but any movement the tablet makes.
According to Stamper, many of his students were a little nervous to take on a project such as this, but after finishing the project he is assured that it was an overall good experience. Stamper plans to continue adding mobile based design to his curriculum.
“Next semester I will be doing more with creating more with Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite,” he said.
According to Stamper, this is something that was unable to be taught previously, but can now be approached because of newer iPad technologies.
Overall, it all boils down to Stamper wanting his students to be successful after graduation.
“Some of the agencies we visited would bring out their iPads and show us their whole portfolios,” he said. “So, students, if they don’t get exposed to things like this, they are going to be behind the other students that are, wherever they go to find a job.”
Stamper’s student’s works can be viewed on any device with an internet connection; however, the website works best on an iPad or other tablet.
BY ELLEN ROSSOW
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