December 2013
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Multimedia Authoring: A class you oughta know

The thing that I love about McDaniel’s English department is that it doesn’t just offer a bunch of literature classes. Whether they’re English major or not, students can take courses in creative writing, life writing, rhetoric, new media and more. One cool class our English department offers is a course called Multimedia Authoring, a course in which students learn how to use programs like Photoshop and Dreamweaver to create digital texts for clients and themselves, all while gaining an understanding of how the rhetorical choices we make shape our work.

I took Multimedia Authoring this fall because I wanted to gain some computer skills that would help me in the job market. Leading up to the class, I was nervous because I thought that learning how to code websites, one of the components of the class, would be terrifyingly difficult and consume all of my spare time.

But things ended up going pretty well. Dreamweaver, the program we used to do web coding, isn’t the best thing ever, but I was able to build a functional website and decent-looking website with a little hard work and not too much difficulty. I also learned how to use Photoshop and learned some cool things about iMovie.

But the neatest things about Multimedia Authoring were the things that went beyond the programs we used. For example, even though Multimedia Authoring is offered by the English department, students of all majors can take it. We had a lot of business majors in class, since the class can fulfill their writing in the discipline requirement.

And even cooler, some of the stuff we made for class was for a client. We worked with Hashawha Environmental Center, a local nature park, to create educational flyers and videos about the park. Next semester, the Advanced Multimedia Authoring class will again team up with Hashawha to create signage with QR codes to educate park visitors about birds that can be found at Hashawha.

I encourage anyone attending McDaniel to supplement their liberal arts education with classes that can teach them more tangible professional skills that can be used in the workplace. Taking Multimedia Authoring is one great way to do that.

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