Mr. Robot is here to answer all your questions about the Digital Media major.

How to survive

Digital Media

at UMass Dartmouth

1. Gather supplies.

Storage Devices of many sorts
To hold your files. These are important — don't rely on just one!
Headphones
Whether listening to tutorials or playing your favorite tunes to pass the time, these are an indespensible tool for those long nights in the labs. Bring your own or borrow them from the lab assistants. Noise-cancelling headphones are a plus; not everyone will share your taste in music.
Sketchbook
For most classes, you will require a sketchbook of sorts to keep notes and jot down ideas for projects. Even if you are not required to do this, it is highly recommended to sketch out your plans.
Time-wasting activities or devices
As you will find, digital work often includes lots of waiting. This can be made more tolerable with some sort of enjoyable time-waster, whether it be a handheld game or embroidery kit. Just don't let it get in the way of your actual work!

2. Prepare for disaster.

Evil robot cat is always lurking, ready to destroy your life.

In the world of digital media, danger lurks at every turn. At any moment you could lose a flash drive, a server could shut down, or an evil robotic cat will press the "DELETE ALL" key on your computer.
So be prepared! Carry several different back-up media on you: flash drives, CDs and DVDs, external hard drives, whatever you can think of. Keep your back-ups current and you will be prepared for any sort of digital disaster, no matter when it strikes.

3. Choose partners wisely.

Robot is peeking at its potential partners.

Many of your classes will require group projects, which means you must choose teammates that you know will hold their weight. Who you choose to work with can make or break a project: deadbeat partners will hold your group back and make life harder for everyone else. Good partners are hard working and, hopefully, just as dedicated as you are to staying late in the labs and producing quality work.

Good Partners, Bad Partners?

4. Be nice to the labs.

Love the labs. They deserve it.

The labs are both a second home and a sacred haven. Prepare to be there for long hours, especially in your junior and senior year. You might feel like you live there, but remember that lots of money and work go into the labs such a great place, and they are not to be treated like your personal playroom. Respect the rules, respect the equipment, respect the staff. And read the posters; they tell you things.

5. Talk to your classmates.

Talk to your classmates, they probably know things.

Digital media is primarily a group-based profession. After you graduate, you will most likely be collaborating with other desigers for many of the jobs you perform. In addition, you're most likely going to spend most of your time with the other people in your Digital Media class. Get used to working with your fellow students by asking for help or critiquing your work. They may know something you don't.

This partner is wondering why he wasn't asked for help.

6. Get used to criticism.

Some people find this image adorable; some people do not.

Art is subjective; not everyone is going to agree on what is good. You will go through many critiques over the course of your academic career. Hopefully, most of the criticism you receive will be constructive, but that may not always be the case. Remember to take these comments with a grain of salt, and don't take them too personally. Some of the people to give you the harshest criticism may be from people who genuinely like you as a person. The intention is to ultimately improve your work and get you ready for the harsh, scary world.

7. Know your faculty.

Most classes in your major will be small and discussion-based. Knowing your professors in terms of how they run their class, how strict their deadlines are, and general personalities will give you an idea of how and when to do the work for their class, and can really help you out if you get into a tight spot now and again.

Let's meet them.

Scott Ahrens

Teaches: Graphic Design 1; Digital Media 1, 5, 6; Virtual Reality Design

Tall, classy and professional, Scott is extremely helpful with one-on-one critique of your work. A look at his virtual office in SecondLife implies that he may be hiding a dark side...

Joy Miller

Lab Technician

Goddess of the labs, Joy works behind the scenes to keep all the computers and printers in tip-top shape. She is to be loved and respected for all the work she does to maintain our amazing facilities.

Mark Millstein

Teaches: Digital Media 1, 2

Maker of kites and storyboards, Mark is kind and supportive of confused sophomores experiencing DM for the first time. He is a lenient professor who teaches the basic DM courses amd skills necessary for future work.

Harvey Goldman

Teaches: Digital Media 3, 4; 3D Modeling, Advanced 3D Animation

Harvey is the folically-challenged founder of the Digital Media program. He believes in strict deadlines and weekly homework assignments. His tutorials will fill your brain for your entire junior year.

Shawn Towne

Teaches: Interaction Design, Web Design

Master of Flash and flowing stallion tails, Shawn is the kind of professor you'll want to clone and keep in your pocket after you graduate. He is an indespensible resouce of knowledge of ActionScript and HTML/CSS.

Mark Millstein, Digital Media professor. Digital Media Faculty, from left to right: Scott Ahrens, Joy Miller, Harvey Goldman and Shawn Towne.