The creation and ongoing development of a collaborative work environment within the Media School, which allows students and staff to provide resources and feedback pertinent to the media project undertaken.

Authors: Efstathiou, S.


Over the past three years, I have been developing processes and tools that allow staff and students to communicate ideas, decisions and feedback to one another in an efficient and applicable manner; a practise that is continually being developed within the private sector. Over the years, we have seen a shift in certain teaching practises associated with animation and film, driven by new developments in digital media, which in some cases have been very successful. Examples include DVD training media, website tutorials, online forums or virtual learning environments. However, because this type of content tends to be generic in nature (therefore appealing to broader market), it fails to advise artists on their individual projects.

In 2006 to present, we have set up a number of systems that allow industry practitioners to mentor student projects via long distance tools, feeding best practise and innovation directly into the student work.

In early 2007, we began to develop and utilise a number of tools which allowed staff to record their onscreen button pushing whilst explaining the theory or best practise associated with that subject to the students. These video files would finally be archived via a content management system.

In early 2007 we negotiated a deal with HP Computers to purchase their ‘Remote Graphics System’ that allows us to mirror the lecturers desktop to every student monitor in the MA3D studio, using a software solution, as opposed to more bulky and expensive hardware alternative. This system also provides other opportunities for future requirements within teaching. For instance, using the same software, it is possible for someone anywhere in the world to securely connect to the lecturers desktop in real time, giving us the tools to deliver virtual classes and workshops within minutes.

Moving forward, we investigated ways in which lecturers could draw on screen whilst viewing a student animation film. We used customised and third party tools to enable this type of interaction. This was an important development, as it allowed feedback to be informative and pertinent to the student’s animation, the likes of which had not been seen before at the school. Instead of providing written feedback which takes a long period of time to write, whilst in many cases, being inappropriate to the visual media we work within. These visual sketches and voice recording allowed students to quickly understand and put into action the changes or suggestion required.

Presently, we continue to develop and explore ways in which we can provide feedback that is seen as excellent, beneficial and informative. We are now working with a third party software developer, who for the past two years, have been developing software that packages the tools that we use in to one solution. They have become a strategic partner, allowing us to deploy a collaborative work environment across the Computer Animation Academic Group, with the added option of spreading it across the university. We have a 3 year deal which has been substantially discounted. The software is OS dependent, requiring only a browser with Adobes Flash Player installed. More information can be seen here:

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Sofronis Efstathiou