Moodle Me: an ePortfolio community of learning for the graphic design student
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Graphic Design is a discipline that is undergoing major changes in its associated technologies; while underlying design principles may remain fundamentally intact, new digital technologies and publishing mediums provide new challenges. The graphic design student today is equipped with devices such as digital recorders, mpeg players, iPhone, iPads, Cell phones, Laptops, Smart Phones the list is endless as new models and devices. In a recent review it is forecast that print would be a minor output in the graphic design industry within five years. Substantive changes are also occurring in approaches to teaching and learning, with new technologies offering new opportunities. This project sought to redevelop the Graphic Design curriculum to incorporate the use of digital technologies and a personalised Moodle based ePortfoio site. Furthermore what is becoming more and more alarming is the reduced amount of contact time we have with the students. We are seeing increased classroom numbers, and having to deliver the same content. With ever increasing budgetary restraints the learning environment for the graphic design student is being pressurised to sit in the same mound as other education programmes that operate on a more financial economical basis. The purpose of this project was to engage in out-of-class communications that would enhance the learning and teaching. This was seen as engaging with an on-line Moodle based ePortfolio area that was specifically tailored for the students so they could communicate with each other and the tutor of the class. There was also the need for the students to up-load their designs, to obtain critique from their peers and tutors whilst away from class. This would have several benefits as feedback could be given outside of class making the precious time in class much more productive. In doing so it also creates a healthy collaborative design community. The current prescribed educational procedure is to embrace the constantly changing technology within the secondary and tertiary educational institutes. While this is seen as forward thinking and beneficial both to student and tutor, is does however lead to certain problems of trying to keep up with what is current and what is good, giving little time to analyse particular platforms. In other words the students and tutors are forced to work with what is on offer and to ascertain if it is worthy; in a lot of cases by hearsay or just working with what is available. Students of today own and use a plethora of digital devices that can store, capture, and transmit information. They use social media sites for communicating on a regular basis for social and educations means. Whilst this idea is good in its functionality, it does however open up a discussion of being the right tool for the job within educational institutes. This paper discusses the outcomes of a yearlong research project that looked into the technologies of learning and teaching through the use of digital technologies to enhance the graphic design students learning capabilities. The project looked at new and existing technologies not used in the current field of graphic design and introduced them into the leaning curriculum. The project also looked into what was on offer in terms of an ePortfolio platform that could enhance the students learning community and environment.