how can we save our courses?

crashReally had been looking forward to the Easter break – a lot of design work to do and more time for that, a nice break with an aim to return full of energy for the last term with my webdesign and animation students, looking forward to seeing all the hard work pay off for them in their final major projects. So much for that…

Yesterday I was called for a meeting with the team leader and the head of department – to be told that my 2 day animation course would need to be cut back to 1 day for the rest of the academic year. This now means that our students are being left with only 1 day of support from tutors (and time in our computer rooms) to finish off their final major project – and those of us teaching on the day which has now been cut have now lost our teaching hours.

We have also recently lost Tony King – the best technician the college ever had who was working hard to keep our computer setup working well for us and our students – I have Tony to thank for being able to teach the webcourse with actual internet access – rather than having to run against badly configured websense blocks all the time. So technical support for our 6 mac rooms is now done by 1 technician who is only working 2 days a week – more doom and gloom for now and next year… and another sign of how little importance is given to our courses….

some background

In addition to doing freelance webdesign – I teach part time in adult education. My work in both areas gives me great pleasure – and I enjoy being able to interlink the two: sharing my experiences and professional practices with my students, being challenged and inspired by them to explore new angles – while continuing to remain a student of webdesign myself and to work on crafting beautifully crafted websites for my clients. I started teaching at Tower Hamlets College (Poplar) in 2003 – initially only a few hours, then moving on to more and eventually becoming course leader of 2 amazing courses: Digital Animation and Design for the Web . Though I never saw myself wanting the responsibility – I absolutely love my job now and would hate to lose it.

Tower Hamlets College was a great place to work at. When I started there I felt the Creative Arts department was fantastic – a lot of talented and enthusiastic tutors, great equipment (though let down by fairly poor technical support at that time) – and the freedom to run my courses as I thought would be best for our students. Keen to deliver a successful course – we would take the relatively basic units (outlined by NOCN) and create a course outline with plenty of room for pushing further. We want to make sure that our students would get a solid grounding in software skills, develop their creative process and workflow but be also given the creative freedom to push themselves as far as they liked. The work our students produce is a testament to our students’ talent and hard work – and our tutors.

Design for the Web

This course (2 days per week – 1 academic year) has been running for over a decade, started by Jayne Wallett during the early days of Dreamweaver – its main aim initially was to give students an introduction into webdesign and produce a portfolio site for their work. It evolved and developed further with the times and in 2005 I was honoured to become course leader. I was keen to change the course entirely and to bring it up to date with modern practices: leaving behind the WYSIWYG environment and teaching hand coding with a clear focus on good design with web standards and accessibility. Now in my 4th year – I have Laura Moreno teaching with me and the course has yet again improved.

Laura MorenoLaura has worked as graphic designer and photojournalist back in Spain – and has since expanded into webdesign. She is a bundle of energy and spreads her enthusiasm to anyone working with her. I love working with Laura both in freelance webdesign and as tutors for the webstudents. Laura brings her expertise in Photoshop (coming from the angle of a professional photographer) and experiences as webdesigner to the course – and with both of us working within the field we teach – our students really benefit and can hopefully learn from our mistakes.

Digital Animation

The animation course (2 days per week – 1 academic year) was still fairly new when I became course leader – and though I am not an animator – I love animation! So I was chuffed to take over from Dionne King who had created the course. This course gives students the opportunity to explore animation (2D & 3D) and to gain the skills necessary to take their animation studies further. We started off with 4 tutors with varied areas of expertise – and have now grown into a team of 6:

Roger EndacottRoger Endacott Roger is fantastic ;) he has been working at THC for quite a few years by now and loves the energy of the creative process with all its ups and downs. His lessons are inspiring to our students as he jumps between application to help refine an efficient workflow and a good production cycle. Roger is our DVD master and ensures our students produce a good showreel for appliactions  –  and puts together our final show reel for our end of year shows.
Elroy SimmonsElroy Simmonsour animator :)  Elroy works as an animator and we are lucky to have him on the team to teach anything from story telling, life drawing, storyboarding and drawing for animation – and so much more. Having a professional animator as their tutor – our students are free to ask questions about the industry, get advice on their work as well as portfolios and showreels.
Nick FuscoNick Fusco3D all the way :) taking the students by the hand during their first steps into 3D – bouncing balls and playing with multiple dimensions – Nick covers all the angles. From modeling to animation – to lighting and texturing – our 3D enthusiasts work with Nick (as well as Roger) to create their amazing animations. With Nick’s help – troubled models are rescued, rigs constructed and repaired and characters become alive.
Zara TaylorZara TaylorMiss Multitalent :) Zara’s talent and love lie with anything from drawing, illustration, spray paints to digital work with graphics and animation and she brings her enthusiasm and resourcefulness into the classroom. No problem remains unsolved with Zara around – creative blocks are dispersed with her hints, tips and ideas and our students appreciate her input and support during their learning as well as animation production.
Raoul BrandRaoul Brandour sound man :) Ray is a freelance composer and sound designer and has this year finally become an official member of our teaching team. His expertise in sound recording, syncing and composition gives our students the input needed to work on their animations’ sound track and produce a well designed output.

the decline of our adult courses

Please note that these are my personal assumptions and views – and not those of my employers.

Tower Hamlets College in regards to adult courses teaching creative arts used to have quite a good reputation – so I have been told – and word spread fast. Recruiting students for the courses never seemed to be an issue as word-by-mouth advertising worked well and not many digital creative courses were around elsewhere at the time. In the past few years however – the funding has changed fundamentally forcing the college to cut all evening classes and focus more on younger students. Recruitment for our courses suffered hugely.

With digital skills being more and more in demand and more and more courses being offered overall – but less access to courses for adults at THC – the landscape was changing around us. Recruitment via advertising and promotion started to play a more and more vital role – but failing us… With the evening classes cut – potential students had to find us via different means and had to rely on adverts in papers, course listings (in magazines such as Floodlight or online sites such as HotCourses) as well as the college’s website.

Amongst some other issues – this is where my grievance lies. I know how fantastic our courses are – confirmed by a huge number of our students who appreciate our efforts, time, patience and support and leave happy, having learnt a great deal. Though there are a lot of courses out there – our courses are still very unique, in my opinion – as we have professionals who work in the area they teach on the teaching team. I believe 100% in my team and the courses we have on offer. I do not believe that there are not enough people around to fill our courses year after year – quite the opposite.

However, things seem to have changed for the worse at THC. Funding issues and general course criteria for the adult courses have changed, affecting recruitment to some extent – which is in my opinion not a major factor here. Communications seems to have broken down between departments – wrong information is being pubished about our courses – student advice seems to have deteriorated, giving out insufficient or entirely wrong information. Advertising – though slightly improved over the last year – does not hit the target and fails to succeed in bringing in new students.

The college website is as bad as you would expect – or worse… Though it was updated in design and function only about a year or so ago – it is simply awful. Teaching webdesign – this is obviously something I care about a  great deal – so I am likely to be more critical. But I am simply tired to hear from each new group of students how they could not find our courses or any detailed information about the course content on the site (apart from a course title after downloading the adult brochure). The structure and display of information is simply confusing and not thought through at all — I don’t even want to think about the design and visual appearance itself….

taking pride in our students and their work

One of the aspects which gets to me most is the fact that we have some amazingly talented students who produce outstanding work of highest quality — and this fact is basically pretty much ignored within the college. The end of year show which exhibits the work of the Creative Arts department is getting quieter every year. The college management does not seem it worthwhile attending and promotion has shrunk – again another avenue of promotion lost.

Looking at the promotional material – even only looking at the promotion for the Creative Arts courses – I am sad to see how poor the quality of design is. Some of the leaflet and brochures I’ve seen are so bad that we would not have accepted them had they been project submission by our students – and I am not exaggerating. Poor and distorted graphics, horrible colour schemes, your standard boring photos of uninspired student representatives with forced smiles in and around the college…. a price list of fees with no course information at all as “brochure” for our adult courses….. I could go on…

It is a great disappointment to me that our students are not given the opportunity to promote our courses. This would benefit both parties as our students would have a portfolio piece showing their work being used officially and the college by making use of such a valuable asset. I know that we as their tutors are immensely proud of the work our students produce – and though of course not all students excel – every year we have a number of outstanding talent taking part in our courses.

I am glad to say that we always have an external exhibition at the end of the year to celebrate our students and their work throughout the year. This however is done by us individually – not via the college – as we believe it is important for the year to finish with a bang :) Here are last year’s photos:

→ view photos as slideshow
[for more photos see our ‘exhibition‘ collection on Flickr]

now & the future

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post – I have now been told that the animation course has been cut to be held on 1 day instead of 2 for the term 3 this year. Further changes will be made before the next academic year starts – and it very likely we will be required to lower the level of our course content and delivery. I enjoy teaching beginners and would not object to this at all had I not spent so much time and effort into working with my team to refine and improve our courses over the years.

We have worked hard at optimising our potential in order to deliver good teaching to our students, working around college restrictions, making the course content as inspiring and useful as possible. I have even given up some of my teaching hours this year in order to bring in experts for our students and have a better animation course. and now….?  – Apparently none of this matters – conflicts are avoided rather than confronted – communication is poor – no one seems to have any say in what goes out as promotional material and there seems to be nothing we can do about how this is done – leaving us feeling utterly helpless, stuck in a college system where middle or higher management (or however the correct terminology for people in charge is) does not seem to know what is going on in our department at all – or not care a great deal…

Having the day cut on the animation course is now punishing our students and part time tutors for the shortcomings of a college system that is failing the adult students. And being told that we will possibly need to lower the level of our courses as recruitment and retention are not good enough for college targets – despite the fact that it is clear marketing and student advice are simply not working for the adult courses – is depressing and will just undo a lot of the hard work we put in and shortchange our students….

our courses online :)

courses courses

to view our animators work – also check out our channel on Vimeo :)

Though both course sites (created by myself independently from the college) are in dire need of a revamp (you can imagine why I have been reluctant to spend the hours required for this) – please do have a look regardless – it is worth it for our students work :)

Who knows whether there will be many more additions in future at all… worrying times…
I really wish I could take our 2 courses – uproot them and take them somewhere where our students would feel more supported and our tutors received more appreciation…

Feeling helplessly stuck in a rigid system – I would appreciate any thoughts you might have …

18/04/2008 blog,courses,thoughts

40 Responses to “how can we save our courses?”

  1. Gravatar laura says:

    Great article Prisca :)
    and I hope we will find other college or a nice solutions for our courses, it will be sad to stop to teach them.

    Thanks for your great words ^_^

  2. Gravatar Sugarflick says:

    Prisca, I am sad to read this. Bet you feel like you have been kicked in the teeth. I am racking my brains and will come back to you. I know that without your fantastic teaching skills and patience, I would never have been able to do the, although simple, graphics I now can manage myself. You inspired me and gave me confidence and I can only imagine that you continue to do this with your students and also your team, hence now a team of 6. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Daylight peeps through a very small hole and good will come to you all soon. xx

  3. Gravatar sat says:

    It is seriously inept to cut down a valuble course by cutting it to 1 day, it is probably one of the best at its level and some of the past students have moved on to great heights in the industry.

    Investing in education for all is nessecary for all who want to advance and it is a shame that it always comes down to profit.

  4. Gravatar Mustafa Hajjar says:

    This is really bad , as i am a student at (Design for the Web course) I hope they will not make it one day only as well,
    I am learning a lot from this course,
    you were right about the college website, lol, it is very ugly.
    I joined your course after i read about it in your website: NOT because I found it on the college website { can somebody tell me what is that huge blue empty area in the footer (bottom) of the website??} ;-)

    Well, Jonny & Me both paid 6300 pounds each for this course, and YES it is worth it, we will not be happy if they cut these 2 days to 1 day per week :-(

    Hope everything will be better with you Prisca & Laura

  5. Gravatar Gaia says:

    Very well said Prisca. I wonder how a college can cut down a course that adult students have already paid for.
    If that happens to our course I’ll go back to my Italian student days and sit-in the college for days (guards or not guards) in protest ;)
    It’s outrageous.
    And for the record, I wrote to the college for info on the webdesign course twice, once in 2007 and once in 2008, no reply.
    So much that I thought the course had been cancelled.
    Then Last year I called and I was given wrong advice over the phone by college staff.
    Had not been friend with someone who had attended the course in a previous academic year who really recommended it.. I would have missed out on a great course.
    Thank you Prisca (and Laura). I am really grateful for all the good work and passion you put into this.

  6. Gravatar Daniella says:

    Hi Prisca,
    I´m really upset with this situation. I did the digital animation course and loved it. I learnt a lot, and now I’m using the knowledge I got from the course in my own business ( I´m Brazilian and now I´m runing a English course in Brazil, I use animations in the classes and the students love it.). I hope they change their minds because the course is really great.

  7. Gravatar A. Dee says:

    So, the incompetence of Tower Hamlets College admin has finally bubbled to the surface and is beginning to boil over… It’s a shame, a real shame.

    I came to Tower Hamlets and did the Animation course there in 2003-04, and Prisca’s Interactive New Media course the following year. I would have done the animation course there again if I could because I think the team of Prisca, Rogor and Nick are absolutely awesome (Zak was also a great help whilst I was there).

    In all my educated life, Prisca and Rogor are within the top 5 teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure of studying under, and that’s saying something. I learned much on those Tower Hamlets courses, made some life-long friends and wouldn’t be the creative person I am today were it not for those courses and their guidance. In fact, my time there was part of the inspiration behind me heading a course this late summer at LCC at Elephant & Castle called ‘Identicons’. If it weren’t for people like Prisca and Rogor then I may not have had the inspiration, confidence and skills to pull it off. So THANK YOU!

    Possible solutions… It’s been shown that if you remain within the parameters of a disfunctional system – be it a family, organisation, council or nation’s government, progress – if any – will be hard, slow, and at ‘their’ pace. Whereas, if you recruit allies (in the case of the council and big business – lawyers!) to help fight your corner, it levels out the playing field. Also, you’re in more of a situation to hit them where it hurts; if not financially then somewhere else – in the case of Tower Hamlets College their carefully crafted reputations! Get other art societies and organisations, the press and associated businesses involved. If a campaign were to be launched then I’m sure we all have at least one or two clients that we could at least get to put their name to something… You already have my vote!

    Remember, strength in numbers people! Let’s get together and effect a change.

  8. Gravatar Constanza Martinez says:

    I am sorry to read what is happening at THC with courses that are important not only for the students but for the industry too. The future is coming on the web and web designers need good courses and teachers. That also means hours of classes. The population of Tower Hamlets will be the big looser.
    I know THC had web design classes for mature students at one point. I also know that that offer disappeared too. I know that the Working Men’s College still opened to young and mature students (I have been taken classes there). Can this college an option for your animation and web design classes? They offer those classes to their students and maybe your proposal can be a good option there.

  9. Gravatar linda says:

    As a student of the animation course that has just been cut down to one day , I agree with everything that you have to say. How we are supposed to produce any final project with only one day tutorage and NO technical support on the days we are in – is ridiculous

  10. Gravatar Col says:

    It sounds like there has been a conspiracy going on..for years..what has THC got against adult training courses?..I did the animation course 2003..and heard about it through doing a night short course and both were the best with the greatest teachers, but even then I could see the poor advertising of the courses.

    There’s over 3 million people unemployed right now because of the recession. Any institution with any governing intelligence would tap into that and reel them in. I’m sure if the public, who have a right to know, did know about the great courses at THC they’d be a stampede at your door. But that doesn’t seem to be what they want.

    Prisca, you are a brilliant inspiration to any student..and so is Roger and the rest of your team…the ones who wear the suits in THC are obviously just jealous of your great talents….and brilliant results you produce, for little pay and the countless free time you give to the college and then to be treated like this. Its demoralising, but then THC obvioulsy doesn’t know what morals or respect means anymore..i wouldn’t want to work around sad people like that anyways…. their great loss…

  11. Gravatar Cath Lepper says:

    Hi Prisca,

    I was rally shocked to hear about your animation course being cut in hours, especially at this point in the academic year, which is very unfair to you and your students.

    Having experienced the web design course at Tower Hamlets college this year, I know that your courses are very well designed and well balanced, and extremely valuable to the students who attend. We learn industry relevant techniques, up to date information, as well as sound design concepts and skills. You have built up a very talented and experienced team around you, and I’m sure that all my fellow students will agree that you go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that your students get all the support and inspiration they need.

    I cannot understand why the college management have not in turn supported the valuable asset that they have in the creative arts department, with such a dynamic set of people. There clearly has been a breakdown in their system. I hope that they can mend it and that common sense will prevail. If not it is their loss, as your talents would be quickly spotted and taken up elsewhere.

    I hope you have a good Easter despite this blow. Reading the posts above it is clear that your students, former students and colleagues are supporting you 100%, you can add me to the list!

  12. Gravatar mars says:

    Hey Prisca!!!

    I am very sorry to hear about the course cut down to 1 day per week, and i think is shame to do that, very sorry to hear that.

    I want to add something, i have study at THC for over 4 years, and the reason i stayed there is very simple because i wanted to learn more animation and web design and i am very sure no one will ever be as good as u guys are, Prisca, Roger, Zak, Nick all great teachers and u make a great team.
    In my years of studying animation at THC helped me a lot to achieve my goals and without doing this course i would never be as good as i am now, so as sad as i am to hear this i would feel sorry for other student to not learn as much as i did or other people did.

    I hope for the best and i hope they will realize they doin something wrong by cutting down the course to one day, its a shame..

    i hope for the best and good luck Prisca…

  13. Gravatar prisca says:

    Thank you all for your kind words and your support :-)

    I’m quite overwhelmed with your responses — and even more determined to find a solution to keep our courses, in one way or another…

    THANK YOU :-)

  14. Gravatar Hannah Terry says:

    I studied at Tower Hamlets for two years doing first Digital Fine Arts and then the Digital Animation course. These were both invaluable experiences which I thoroughly enjoyed and gave a lot to me personally and they both definitely played a major role in helping me out of unemployment and into a very rewarding job. I’ve been temping at the Royal College of Art since March 08 and in November gained permanent, fulltime employment as a Rapid Prototyping Technician, serving the college’s students and a wide range of high calibre commercial clients. Without the CAD and specifically 3D skills I picked up at Tower Hamlets I would not be in this position. Having felt let down by a deflated Higher education system on my BA course and still paying off huge debts for three years of ‘peer to peer learning’, Tower Hamlets was a gem to find. Two whole days of real tutorage! And so much valuable learning fitted into those two days. Solid learning. To cut to one day would shatter this learning experience. I have nothing but endless praise for Prisca as a precise, dedicated, enthusiastic and in all ways superlative teacher and course leader. The skills and encouragement I benefited from under tutorage there will stay with me a long time. I hope they are not further jeopardized for others to benefit from.

  15. Gravatar Hannah Terry says:

    PS: Roger, I really miss your chortle!x

  16. Gravatar luke says:

    It doesn’t really need reiterating that the THC animation course is of great benefit to those who experience it; above all it’s a very nurturing environment in which people can find their feet in unfamiliar territory. I heard about the course some years back through Shooting People, the film makers networking service; I’d assume that the publicity through SP alone would be enough to ensure the course be fully subscribed. I can’t see any reason why these courses aren’t attracting hundreds of applications and it’s frustrating to hear that this aspect is being handled so badly. I hope that this is a temporary blip and can be resolved next year, and if there’s any doubt as to the quality of the results that the course produces, well, the work speaks for itself.

  17. Gravatar Daiva says:

    Hello Prisca,

    I am really sorry to hear that your animation course has lost one day. That is a great lost both for students and yourself.

    I really enjoyed your Design for the Web course. I have never met such an enthusiastic and professional teacher who could be contacted in the middle of the night and who would not mind it! You can turn any person into a professional web designer and animator. Your love for web design and digital world is very contagious :-)

    I really cannot understand why THC would want to loose somebody like you. I feel really honored to be taught by you and I hope that THC will never cut your Design for the Web course.

    All the best and don’t loose heart!

  18. Gravatar brooke says:

    Ah, Prisca, sorry I heard late. This must be so frustrating! Enraging even… I really sympathise.
    Though it’s wonderful to see so much support for you. Close to an army. We can fight! I do agree with A. Dee. Take it further. I am one of so many people who have benefitted from your courses. How can they ignore that? Don’t let it go! Tis the season to protest! Would a survey help? Find out what former students were doing before and then after taking a web or animation course and how much the course affected their prospects on completion – eg in my case 100% positively. Or a petition? Seems to work for environmentalists in local government. Just don’t give up! I’ll sit-in with Gaia if I have to!

    Yes we can.


  19. Gravatar prisca says:

    Thanks, everyone ;-) your support is fantastic and very much appreciated ;)
    I am feeling a little less down now – reading your wonderful comments ;) thanks :)

    Regarding the courses – I doubt anything can be changed for this year – but I have no idea how this will affect next year … which is where my worries lie – with no change in proceedings I am worried we will struggle yet again in september …

    Thank you all again for your kind & encouraging words!

  20. Gravatar Julia says:

    Hello, Prisca!

    May I use this sad opportunity to say again THANK YOU! for teaching me Web Design.

    I only want to say about my great regrets for not being able to take Animation course this year. Web Design course was fantastic and I am sure Animation course is not less professional. I’ll keep my fingers cross for you…

  21. Gravatar zara says:

    Well, as you can read from above – there are a lot of unhappy people out there with the recent cutting of courses at Tower Hamlets.

    As both a student and as tutor on the animation course all I can say is that myself and my fellow students and tutors are very disappointed with how we have been treated by the college.

    The cutting down of the animation course to one day is unfair as the students will have less time and support to help them with their final projects. And this in itself concerns me for next year. I know all to well that the college looks at quality of the work and bums on seats.
    But I have to ask can we expect our students to achieve their full potential without our full support?
    I find myself now worried for my current students and for any students in the future.

    I also feel that with the animation course being cut has sent ripples to other classes such as the design for the web. You only need to read the above comments to see the is real fear in the students of the same happening to them. As a student on this course I have worked hard even if I would say I’m not always the best student. And I would hate this course to be affected – it’s a good course and it should be made clear just how hard everyone works.

    And to be honest now I try to be that annoying cheerful person who says everything is ok, but with the way things look at the moment I have my fingers crossed for the forgotten adult learners of Tower Hamlets college but not much hope.

  22. Gravatar Ramesh says:

    Dear All

    I came to Tower Hamlets college by chance, as I was cycling past as an unemployed engineer…went in and got into a creative course! Since then, I have developed excellent skills in digital design, animation and web design.
    There are TWO issues challenging the likes of me: courses such as the ones I attended existing AND employers employing PROPER, ABLE and HONEST recruiters.
    I was lucky to get into the creative courses at Tower but very unlucky because of crap recruiters, who would probably choose the beast from beauty.
    Future looks gloomy sadly.

  23. Gravatar Nick says:

    Thank you everyone for voicing your support for the courses and us, the tutors.
    Reading through the posts I detect quite a few of you are of a radical mind and would like to mount / join a campaign. In a way, by contributing your opinions on this blog you’ve already started the process in the form of a digital protest, which if correctly directed may achieve desirable results by attracting the right kind of attention to the current dilemma facing us, and we should bear in mind that we’re not the only ones facing this plight.
    We have a new principle who has a reputation for bringing sub – standard education establishments up to scratch, if not more. Therefor,e we can only hope the incompetent administration that many of you have experienced will be effectively dealt with and that our Creative Computing Department will receive the acknowledgment it deserves.

    One can only but dream.

  24. Gravatar Andrzej says:

    Hi Prisca

    I have been reading this article and it is very anfair that your great courses are cut.
    I would like to appeal to administration: do not cut the courses, give the chance to meet the fantastic tutors in your college!!

    I cross the fingers, GOOD LUCK!

    I hope that everything is going to be fine soon

  25. Gravatar riccardo fala says:

    Dear Prisca,

    All my support for u.

    I remember you always said me to not miss any lessons but unfortunately I did…
    Anyway, after 2 years, I’m still learning by myself what I could learn from you.
    That’s because you should fight about this college decision to cut to 1 day the animation course.
    I think your position at THC is vital for all the students. From your rock style lessons to your web codes, I finally found myself and what I really like to do, web design.

    Come on Prisca, I know you will do it!


  26. Gravatar identiconarts » Blog Archive » adult course dilemma says:

    […] You can read more about it, voice your comments, lend your support – because this type of bureaucracy is like a cancer to all creative people -: How can we save our courses? […]

  27. Gravatar Ilona Spruge says:

    I’m an ex digital animation student of Prisca and completed my studies in 2006. Having experienced the course first hand I appreciate the complexity and the work required to complete the course over a 2 day a week period.

    I feel because of the complexities involved in getting an understanding of the course it would be almost impossible to complete it competantly working 1 day per week on the course.

    After completing the course it allowed me to gain employment in a European renowned animation studio “Rija” were I completed a number 3d animation tasks.

    Many thanks to all of my tutors for their guidance whilst I was studying.

  28. Gravatar Ilze says:

    I am a student of two courses, following on from the courses it has allowed me to gain work as a freelance web designer. More importantly though it is the confidence that these courses have instilled in me to continue building my knowledge in my fields of interest.

    I feel it would be tragic if this course was to be taken out of the curriculum.

    Many thanks to all of my tutors throughout my studies.

  29. Gravatar prisca says:

    again, thank you all for your comments and thoughts ;) I’m so happy to get your input on this issue and very much appreciate your time ;)
    I know we will do our best to keep our courses running — so fingers crossed for a better year next year.

  30. Gravatar Elroy Simmons says:

    I’m going to write too much, Prisca.

    This kind of situation scares and sickens me. I’m not totally sure how Tower Hamlets College can even begin to justify reducing the hours of a course that is only two days a week. For the kind of associations made by students on such an intense, short course and the information/tuition offered on the Digital Animation For Adults course to be ignored – particularly on the cost/numbers bases referred to shows, ironically, radically short-term thinking – if not ineptitude. Admittedly, my opinions ought be couched; I’ve worked as a Traditional Animator for 14 years – nine of those before benefitting from being accepted on the course as a student – and four since being approached to and gladly tutoring on it.
    As a creative discipline, as an Industrial process and as an Entertainment form, the decision to pursue (gain ability) “animating” – in ALL of its forms, is a brave one. This is all the more the case when the student has decided to make a move into a creative pursuit – from whatever starting point, later in life.
    Each year, some students who apply and are accepted on to any course offering tuition in the processes involved may, and do realise it’s not – or the course is not, for them after all. That is unfortunate. That does not justify decreasing the amount of hours tuition offered by the course and the college – to ADULTS – who understand that that the technique taught takes time to understand/learn and that the course will therefore be an intense experience. In fact, the opposite – an increase in potential time afforded to computer use, tuition and inter-student discussion in a specific environment IS justified.
    Recently, a colleague came in to guest tutor during my session, and was amazed at the calibre of the students attendant and the facilities afforded. He, like me, is a Professional who has studied on a year long course some years into working in the Industry. He considered our course better than the one he took (at St.Martins – you’ll forgive my shock).
    Personally speaking, I’ve noted, in recent years, a distinct trend Industrially; more work being asked for in less time across the board. More work, by increasingly isolated, ill-informed and exploited ‘workers’.
    It’s arguably happening (through cutbacks) to students before they apply for a course that will see them becoming graduates as well.
    Both amount to a big lack of skills sought, properly acknowledged and witnessed – further isolating those that do pursue the skills necessary and committing a disservice to the audience and the Industry serving (yes, ‘serving’) the audience. The jobs do go elsewhere. The amount of work asked for diminishes. Everybody loses.
    A cut corner is just that. To inflict more of that on a Course – which has survived but is already stretched by budget-consciousness does actually typify negligence.

    The course is gold. Good luck fighting on, Prisca.

  31. Gravatar Jane Morton and Luc Stroobandt says:

    It saddens us that adult eductation is being treated with so much disregard for given people a chance to re-educate or change career. With such excellent facilities and Prisca running the course it is a shame that the animation course has been cut down to just one day.
    We feel for Prisca having to suffer this and hope this only temporarily.

  32. Gravatar Grant says:

    I am very sad to read about all this. Successfully completing the Digital Animation course transformed my life. Despite being a university graduate in Media and Communication (BSc) i spent many years in unemployment. Learning on this course gave me vital technical and employable skills and confidence at a critical stage.
    I feel very fortunate that i was able to find out about this course, as it was only through randomly finding a flyer advertising the external show that I was able to. I found this strange at the time because i had been looking into digital arts courses at all London colleges and universities but I did not come across information about this course at THC, apart from finding this flyer.
    I am now working in the industry in animation and motion graphics and i have only the exemplary tutorage of Prisca, Roger and the rest of the team to thank. Most of the people i now work with are animation graduates and it is quite clear that the teaching methods at THC taught me above and beyond that which they learned from 3 years at university.
    I feel sorry for the students whose days have been cut at a crucial time in completing their project, but i wish them the best of luck as i honestly believe they have some of the best teachers they could possibly find. I hope these issues can be resolved by next year because fitting the necessary teaching into one day appears impossible to me.
    This is a fantastic course and the project based approach really does deliver. It has given so much to so many people and i sincerely hope it can continue to do so, because I would not be able to enjoy the creative and satisfying employment i now can without the opportunities this course allowed me.

  33. Gravatar Mshel says:

    Hya Prisca,
    I can only echo everyone views. To quote ‘Family Guy’ “It really grinds my gears!!” the lack of support for Adult Education. In particular the Arts. In the 80’s I taught and attended several different pottery classes for Adults, now there are less than 20% of those classes left.
    What is puzzling is that they were always full, with waiting lists of up to ten people. My pottery friend says it had nothing to do with attendance or funding. She believes Government funded Adult Education is being deliberately wound down.
    In a Borough as Creative and yet deprived as Tower Hamlets you would think they would be actively promoting the little gem of a course your offering! I hope there is some way in which you can convince them that with maybe a little restructuring and correct promotion, the course will not need to be reduced to such an unworkable size.
    Good Luck!

  34. Gravatar baiba says:

    Hi, Prisca!
    I’m very sad to hear this.
    I loved and very enjoyed web design course, and I can imagine what it would be like if my last years course would get cut.
    And-Thank you! Because of you I fell in love with web design.
    I hope there will be solution for this situation.
    My fingers are double-crossed for you!

  35. Gravatar Nacho says:

    This is bad news. For all the former students who are writing here, it wouldn’t affect us since we have already profited from the course. So it is a matter of conscience and solidarity with the teachers that were there to help us, and with the students who could be if Tower Hamlets College keep its doors open to them. It is about denying them the possibility of being formed in these digital fields, and lowering standards won’t do neither, it will lower their education and their professional capabilities. If funding is the problem, that’s something the administration should deal with, it’s their job, and if they think they are not to blame for losing it they will have no excuse for not finding a replacement. Less students, less courses do not reflect too well in Tower Hamlets College’s record, but I am surprised to find out that they can’t find students now, when only a couple of years ago I tried to get in the Design for the Web course but it was already full in the first day of recruitment. These are the problems Tower Hamlets College has to focus on, closing down is defeatist and it’s not what the students who attended learnt there.

  36. Gravatar Francesco Sala says:

    Hi Prisca,
    I am really put down by this news. It is a big shame to know that one of the best (if not THE best) courses in London is having to struggle to stay alive. I thought the management had realised ages ago what sort of course they had at Tower Hamlet.
    If I had a chance to say something to them it would be this:
    “The animation course run at Tower Hamlet offers the most practical approach to Animation Industry. Hard-core software training combined with flexibilty of the lessons (5 days a week courses are obsolete!!!) are the perfect solution for Media. People that seriously consider Media as a future career and have attended the course are surely forever gratefull for the experienced gained at the Tower Hamlet. I am one of them. I spent long time in the past searching for a good animation course in London, and I must say the level offered by TH College was unprecedented. No beating around the bushes, just straightahead intense software training and motivation from all sides. That is just what is needed to a person from thinking about Media to doing it!
    I do hope with all my hearth that you reconsider cutting down hours of the course. I attended the course now 2 years ago, paid full fee, and I can say that it was worth every penny!”
    I can not put into words how thankfull I am to Prisca, Roger, Nick and Elroy… I am just sorry for not having attended all lessons. What I have missed in knowledge if I think about it.
    Always in my thoughts laads! Keep it up !


  37. Gravatar Zak Peric says:

    Dear Prisca,

    I am very sad to hear that Animation course is cut to one day a week. As someone who is coordinating Adult Level 3 courses I am worried that this sort of situation can happen to me also. My opinion has always been that you and your Lovely team are offering a very good service for people who want to reeducate. I think we have suffered for years of being under exposed or under advertised, to me this seems to be the main reasons why the situation is the way it is. I wish we can move forward and overcome this very difficult situation.
    I am truly sorry..

  38. Gravatar Toby says:

    This is deeply concerning. One day a week? How can students possibly get all the support and teaching that they require by having a class that is only one day a week? It’s a shame – The students produce great pieces of work during the course and for the end of year shows. This is partly because of the excellent support and teaching that they receive from tutors like Prisca, who really want the students to succeed. I really hope and pray that all works out.

  39. Gravatar Valeria fonseca says:

    I am very sorry to hear that the course is been cut to one day a week.
    I have studied with Prisca a few years back and I only have good things to say about her abilities to teach. I am currently Completing a BA-HONS in animation at the London College of Communication. Prisca’s tuition has given me all the necessary skills to progress into my current course. She is a wonderful teacher who cares for her students and I fully give my support to Prisca and the course future.

  40. Gravatar prisca says:

    Thanks for all your lovely comments, everyone :) Your support is very much appreciated :)

    I have since had a few meetings and conversations at college and will soon follow this post up with some more information on general funding issues affecting adult education – it’s a sad state of affairs :'(

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