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The user is a rapidly evolving creature being defined by possibility.
opinions from the head lemur
[Posted] Sunday, April 01, 2001

Web Design & Digital Art Schools

The most amazing about the web is the almost entirely self taught nature of what you see. The majority of sites are created by folks who say to themselves, "hey, I can do that", and proceed to do it.

We do know that the cost of entry to this media has never been lower, with the potential worldwide audience that is available for the price of a computer and a phone line.

We have also discovered that a trend toward civility and reasoned discourse is the norm rather than the exception. We have discovered that we share what we know.

Techniques in web development spread at the speed of light on the web. We see things, we view source, we cut and paste, we tweak until we develop new techniques, document our successes and failures on web sites and forums and maillists. The browsers change, the standards change, the tools change.

The problems with formal educational structures is they are formal educational structures. The amount of work that goes into creating courses in digital art, then wrapping a educational structure, such as a school, academy, or art school is not doomed to failure but is real close. Not in the offering, class work or accredidation, but in the real world usability.

By the time you have signed up, met elegibility requirements, done the course work, received an degree, the tools that you learned your craft with have been superceded, or are no longer available. You are not alone. Every industry and field has been fighting this for years. Trade schools teach old techniques on old equipment, turning out students that have shined in the classroom and are lost in the workplace.

The tragedy here is that, right-sizing, downsizing, horizonal intergration, and my personal favorite, the cluster, has given business management a lot of goals with no discretion in terms of achiveability. Reading the requirements on job boards and in the newspapers bears this out.

So you have a sheepskin, talent, desire and ability. You just don't fit into a structured environment created by people adapting the latest business paridigm on the road to profitability and return on investment.

We don't know what the web is for.

The web is 7 years old counting from Mosaic. In that time browsers have made substantial changes 6 times, Standards have changes 4 or so times with new ones on the horizon.

Is the web the greatest target rich environment for commercial success?
Is the web the greatest medium for personal expression?
Is the web a playground for every hate group with an agenda to divide us?
Is the web the great isolator causing every introvert with 20 bucks a month the ability to lurk and become a psychic Vampire?
Is it the most democratic medium devised by the brains of humanity?
Does it build consensus or division?
Does it enrich us or waste our time?
It it the cesspool of pornography that requires legislation because of the lack of parental inaction, control or values?

We don't know what the web is for.

It is too early to pidgeonhole ourselves, or to allow ourselves to be boxed in by people who have a tiny grasp of the medium.

We haven't reached puberty at this point and with what has happened in the last 7 years, the next 7 look to be real exciting.

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