How the Digital Cinematography Program Advisory Committee Helps Keep Curriculum Relevant
Committee members with active roles in the industry help Full Sail maintain up-to-date classes and tools for Digital Cinematography students.
At Full Sail, staying on top of the latest industry knowledge is paramount to student success. One of the ways the university brings that knowledge to students is through Full Sail’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC) members. These teams of experienced professionals provide insight into the current state of a given industry and help Full Sail maintain an up-to-date curriculum for each of its areas of study. The Digital Cinematography PAC members are no exception.
Students studying Digital Cinematography at Full Sail learn how to script, produce, film, and edit their own original content using the latest tools. The Digital Cinematography PAC members help keep the classes relevant by going over the current curriculum and suggesting changes, making sure students have up-to-date cameras and other equipment, and keeping tabs on the latest advances in online learning. They also occasionally participate as guest speakers both on campus and online, offering industry insight and tips for success directly to students. The PAC members have started their own production companies, worked with studios like Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures as well as networks like HBO and AMC, and contributed to Oscar-winning projects.
“Each [PAC member] has experience related to what’s covered in the program,” says Bob Truett, Full Sail’s Program Director for Digital Cinematography. “This way, every year when we meet, they're looking over the program as a whole. [We have] subject matter experts [in the PAC] covering whatever the curriculum covers. [We have] someone that's also covering distance education, and someone that covers general education as well.”
“They're looking to see all the different elements that we're teaching, if it's current, if it's relevant to whatever the degree is, and [they’re also considering] the professional side, once a student graduates,” Bob continues. “They're looking at how we connect with students through our learning management system. Our whole program is online, so we want to make sure that [we’re keeping up with] any new advances, like certain types of applications, or if there's books for the library or any special guests that we might be able to connect with and bring in. We really appreciate the help from our PAC members.”
Recently, Digital Cinematography PAC members like Michael Phillips (who co-invented Avid’s Film Composer and Symphony software and won an Oscar for Scientific and Engineering Achievement) have helped implement changes like adding new books and software to Full Sail’s library.
“I have helped with third-party tools and references for the library, [and talked about] the proliferation of short-form video in the digital media space and the importance of writing and self-presentation,” Michael says. “With [PAC] board members coming from and working in all different parts of the media landscape, the curriculum can be shaped to help students as they enter the workforce.”
“We have created our PAC board meetings to be open to new thoughts [about the program]; they’re a free flow of ideas that strive for evolution and ongoing improvements,” adds member Craig Richardson, the owner of full-service production house Big Diesel Films. “Both the Digital Cinematography program and [Full Sail] have moved forward in such a positive way over the years, and I think the PAC board has had a small part to do with that growth.”
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