Web Design & Interactive Media
Web Design & Interactive Media Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
The more you learn and the more versatile you become, the more successful you'll be. Jenna Setticasi , Web Design & Interactive Media Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
My father, a computer programmer and instructor, inspired my love of computers at a young age. When I was 11, I taught myself Basic and took off from there, quickly learning HTML and graphics editing so I could start designing my own websites. I was so excited by what I could create that it never felt like work to me, even when I began developing sites for clients. Thanks to my father’s support and encouragement, I knew I wanted to be a web developer.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
Sharing my work experience with students helps relate the course material to the real world, and sparks interest in the course. My job as a software developer requires me to constantly learn new things and keep my skills up-to-date, and I love sharing these new concepts, techniques, and tips with students. I also talk about the challenges I face—and ways to avoid them.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
An assignment in one of the introductory web design courses requires students to learn basic HTML tags to create a simple web page. I give them a sample web page and some resources to get started, but I encourage them to perform their own research and put together a unique page. I teach them how to validate code, help them work through common mistakes, and provide individualized tips to help them correct their code. Inspiring students to find the answers, rather than handing them the solutions, helps them become successful and confident in their careers.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Being able to work well with a team is a vital skill in the workplace. I promote collaboration by having students critique each other’s work; this teaches them how to give and accept constructive criticism. Working together on a project, students can spot each other’s mistakes and bring up design ideas that they may not think of on their own.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Deliver more than what’s required, and you’ll stand out from other job applicants. Keep learning throughout your career, because technology is always changing. The more you learn and the more versatile you become, the more successful you’ll be.