This award will support development of certificate programs in Technical Art & Photogrammetry and in Technical Animation. The project goal is to train technicians who have the critical knowledge and skills in art and programming that are needed for the design and development of realistic simulations for virtual and augmented reality. The project has significant industry involvement to ensure that both faculty and students gain industry-relevant experience, and to ensure that students who earn the certificates are fully prepared to enter the workforce. The project addresses the need to develop technicians with the ability to produce the sophisticated user interfaces, simulations, and training systems demanded by the future of work in a broad array of fields, including education, medicine, law enforcement, and engineering.
The project has six objectives. First, it will use a "developing a curriculum" (DACUM)-based process to create rigorous, project-based courses in operation, utilization, and programming using highly-technical hardware and software. Second, it will place faculty in industry externships to improve and update their skills and abilities, allowing them to share real-world experience with students. Third, four new courses will be created as part of two new certificate programs. The certificates will incorporate components such as work-based learning/job shadowing, industry tours, and employability-skills practice throughout the program. Fourth, the project will create a training studio for motion capture and photogrammetry. The studio will incorporate multiple stationary cameras around a moving object covered in data-capturing "dots" to convert data into 3D animations. It will also use data from multiple 2-D photographs of a stationary object at different angles to create three-dimensional output. This studio will provide students with hands-on, industry-valued skills and experience. Fifth, the project will increase diversity across the entire program through targeted, evidence-based practices aimed at recruiting and retaining higher percentages of students from populations, such as women and veterans, that are under-represented in STEM technical fields. Sixth, the project will utilize external formative and summative evaluation to monitor project success and make iterative programmatic improvements. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics will be utilized as a part of the evaluation. Data will be collected and analyzed to determine annually whether the stated outcomes have been met. In addition, the evaluation and project teams will provide annual reports on relevant quantitative measures of project success based upon enrollment, certificate completion, industry placement, degrees earned, and pass rates for the four new courses. The project estimates that more than 200 students will enroll in the four new courses over the course of the project. Additional students will benefit from the increased industry involvement in technician education programs, including studio tours, mock interviews, and portfolio presentations.
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