At UArts Continuing Education, web design is an 'art form' - Technical.ly Philly

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Jan. 11, 2017 7:31 am

At UArts Continuing Education, web design is an ‘art form’

Meet two tech-focused professors from the university's continuing education program.

Hamilton Hall at UArts.

(Courtesy photo)

The faculty in the UArts’ Continuing Education Program are actual practitioners and that’s a point of pride for the school.

“We are able to speak to experiences we’ve just had that day,” says Jessica Meeder, an account executive at Discovery USA who teaches courses that are part of a social media marketing certificate called Social Media Marketing Essentials. “It keeps us in the know, keeps us on our toes and it translates into teaching for the students.”

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Jessica Meeder. (Photo by Rachel Del Sordo)

Social Media Marketing Essentials “speaks to what it’s really like to work in a creative agency,” Meeder says. “For the final presentation, I let each student pick which business they want to represent. Often they can do this with their own business or program. It’s so rewarding to be able to see those results in real-time.”

UArts is accepting applications for its continuing studies certificates until Friday, Jan. 20. Orientation starts on Thursday, Jan. 26.

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Web Design Essentials is another certificate that UArts offers as part of its Continuing Education Program, which aims to train students practical skills that can get them a new job. (Last week, we wrote about four UArts Continuing Education students who made a career switch into tech after graduation.)

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“We start from a design foundation and we really look at web design as an art form,” says David Chaplin-Loebell, a tech faculty advisor who teaches web design. “That informs our teaching process throughout the program – we are teaching technical skills but we never forget that what we are teaching is an art.”

Courtesy photo

Caitlin Perkins. (Courtesy photo)

In Web Design Essentials, instead of teaching specific software that may be obsolete in a matter of time, UArts says it teaches skills that can be adapted. The focus is on front-end design, keeping in line with UArts as an art school. Usability, user experience, thinking about design solutions for problems and more are covered. Additionally, Director of Continuing Education and Special Programs at UArts’ Division of Continuing Studies Caitlin Perkins has built in a final presentation into each class. “We understand that being able to sell your ideas is really important,” she says.

Students graduate the program with three to five completed websites, one of which is done for an actual client, says Chaplin-Loebell, whose day job is IT director at Weaver’s Way Co-op.

“That’s a really great portfolio to take into the job market,” he says, adding: “We are very focused on bringing our students to the point where they can be an effective professional practitioner. I have seen students go from UArts program to major design firms all over the city.”

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Julie Lenard

Julie Lenard is a partner success manager at KickUp and also writes and consults for The Storyologist. She loves throwing dinner parties, making up funny voices for her cats, hiking and attending Story Slams.

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