The Teaching Portfolio of Ralph Murrell Larmann

The Process of Teaching Advanced Students (learning in four-dimensions)

Once a learner has made a practice of searching the universe of ideas for a good answer, they must then contend with constant change. Advanced learners must become aware of changes and learn to adapt to them as they occur. These students are connected to professionals, and professional situations as often as possible with the understanding that they will be making a transition. Anticipation of this transition is often a strong motivator.

The frame at the right is from a computer-generated animation. The course, 3-D Modeling and Animation at Southern Arkansas University, was designed for advanced students who already could design a still image and construct a three-dimensional one. These prerequisites made it possible for us to produce an entire short animation in one semester. The students began by writing scripts, doing animated GIFs, and learning a little storyboarding. The process of creating the characters was shared and students swapped figures. This animation shows models by three different students merged into one animated short.

advanced student work
still frame from computer-generated animation

Students had to conceive of the design as something that articulated time as well as image. The sequences and the rhythms became the central focus and the principles learned in two- and three-dimensional design still had to be present.