Media Arts & Animation
Media Arts & Animation Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
It's just not about a 4.0 GPA. It's about truly learning the techniques and producing the best work possible. DaShawn Hall , Media Arts & Animation Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I’ve always been a creative person. I started to draw at a very early age, and I always wanted to create comic books. I got into publishing in my freshman year of college, which led to working in fine arts—sculpture and watercolor—and traditional animation, and from there to the fairly new medium of 3D animation. The complexity of that was really exciting to me.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My background is pretty diverse. I started out as a pre-med student, then switched my minor to Fine Arts. I ended up spending more time in the studio than the science labs so I can relate to students looking to change careers, along with those who have a passion to be in the industry. I encourage them to network, show their work to industry professionals, and get as much feedback as possible.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I think the final projects in each course I teach are great ways to show students exactly what they’ll be facing in the real world. Presentation is the key to be success in the industry, and the final project teaches students to keep working until they’ve created the presentation that best showcases their final project.
What are the benefits of teaching an online course?
It’s a very different way of interacting with students. I'm able to really push my students to a professional level. Due to the accelerated nature of online courses, the projects I assign demand the same time management skills that students will need to be successful in the industry.
What are the benefits of an online education for students?
The online programs help students learn time management. Also, I think studying online can work better for non-traditional students because they often want to further their career or make a career change.
What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?
And with so much digital technology available now—and so much more being developed every day—students are encouraged to use all of that technology to the fullest.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Collaboration is how the industry works. I love projects and courses that foster teamwork, because they teach students not only about working in groups, but how to manage their time.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
The more you work on a project to polish the presentation, but better the artwork will turn out. And the more you practice the techniques, the quicker you’ll master them.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
I think the main challenge students have is learning from failure. It’s just not about a 4.0 GPA. It’s about truly learning the techniques and producing the best work possible.