To help free up faculty time currently given to in-class software training or even home grown and self-curated online video demos, DoIT and Visual Arts (VART) have partnered to share a one-year, limited license to Lynda.com, a leading provider of approximately 130,000 tutorials on the latest commercial software and effective business processes. The license is available now, and will allow all VART students, faculty and staff to use their UMBC login to access Lynda.com during the academic year.
Note: Anyone can try Lynda.com free for 7 days and it is free to patrons of Anne Arundel and Howard County Libraries. If you are taking a visual arts class, you will also have access to Lynda.com.
Typically when it comes to teaching how to use software, faculty often create their own tutorials by using screen shots and assembling their own custom guides or they curate a variety of existing online videos and demos from YouTube and other sources. However, this creates a time-consuming production process that can compete with faculty course design or goals for student learning. With Lynda.com, the content itself is constantly updated to be current which helps provide the latest and greatest tutorials.
“Students will be the most avid users of Lynda.com because it will function much like a comprehensive textbook…”
Dr. Preminda Jacob, Chair and Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies in the Department of Visual Arts, was one of the main people involved with bringing Lynda.com to VART.
Dr. Preminda Jacob, Associate Professor and Chair for the Visual Arts Department, believes that both students and faculty will benefit immensely from the site. Jacob said, “...students will be the most avid users of Lynda.com because it will function much like a comprehensive textbook throughout their four years in training at UMBC.”
Faculty will be able to conduct part of the preparation for software programs in the classroom, but get students to learn the remaining sections in their own time. “This allows faculty to devote a larger percentage of class time to discussing the conceptual fundamentals of the course work instead of teaching students the mechanics of the software.” said Jacob.
“...a student can go there with a specific problem, use the search function, and usually get very good insights.”
Faculty are already excited with the prospects of online tutorials being widely available to everyone. Cathy Cooke, professor of Cinematic Arts, said “I also use Lynda.com to teach myself the ever-evolving technology changes that are happening rapidly, by the minute!”
Dan Bailey, professor of Animation, said “Lynda.com is good for tutorials, but it is also great for just "help"...a student can go there with a specific problem, use the search function, and usually get very good insights.”
Gary Rozanc, professor of Graphic Design, worked with Jacob on the initiative to bring the site to VART. Rozanc emphasizes how great the site will be for faculty to incorporate it into their research. “Print designers looking to learn more about interactive design can take courses on HTML/CSS or web developers can augment their toolbox with tutorials on programming for iOS and Android.” said Rozanc.
Welcome video to the course on Photoshop on lynda.com
Jacob estimates that her department will be able to leverage Lynda.com to teach students approximately 60 different art and media related software programs. These include but are not limited to tutorials on Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop. Apart from its ease of use, what distinguishes Lynda.com different from other sites is the consistent quality of its instructions and training design.
Although the Lynda.com license is only available to VART for next year, DoIT hopes to use the experience to gauge demand for a possible site license in the future.
“Unfortunately, we could not offer this to the whole campus this year, but we’re excited by VART’s willingness to partner on the Lynda.com license and use it to essentially ‘flip’ their classes,” says John Fritz, Assistant VP of Instructional Technology. “During the year, we will definitely be working with VART to identify and share their lessons learned using Lynda.com to support student learning.”
“Self motivated students can make themselves so much more valuable to employers…”
Rozanc recalled how one self motivated student used Lynda.com to position himself to be a valuable resource for a future employer. “I had a student completely teach himself front and back end web development from Lynda.com courses while earning a degree in Graphic Design and now is a senior designer/developer for Weebly," said Rozanc. "Self motivated students can make themselves so much more valuable to employers with Lynda.com as a resource.”
Screenshot of Lynda.com. Here you can see some of the top courses on the site, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.