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A whole brain paradigm for the training of multimedia practitioners
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This study explores the notion of whole-brain engagement in the curriculum and instructional approaches for the training of multimedia practitioners. There is tension within the instruction of Multimedia Technology in that learners appear to prefer working somewhere specific within the range of the technical-aesthetic design continuum. This is important since MMTECH (Multimedia Technology), as an academic discipline, and certainly multimedia practice draws mainly from Aesthetic Design, Audio and Video Technology and the Programming aspect of Information Technology. MMTECH students within the current curriculum dispensation migrate to either being more Designorientated or more IT/Technology-orientated on the whole; only a relatively small number of students become truly specialist MMTECH graduates that can function in a whole-brained way. Multimedia is a hybrid and adhocratic discipline which incorporates both information technology and aesthetic design aspects. It is this duality of cognitive engagement which characterises the whole-brain engagement in the training of multimedia practitioners. Multimedia is a discipline in its own right but because it relies on a blending of skillsets that, traditionally, have resided in earlier, more mature disciplines, like Computer Science, Design and the Arts, the interpretation of this by various people, and indeed, institutions offering qualifications in this is, varied. At CPUT, for example, Multimedia as an offering, agglomerates aspects of aesthetic, visual and artistic design with software programming, video and audio technology to be presented via an electronic platform. The projects, too, further emphasise the hybridised nature of the programme in that all major projects are integrated across the four subject offerings. The aim of this research is, thus, to understand how it is that our learners have this perceived preference. The significance of the study was that this better informs our understanding of what these preferences are so that it better informs an instructional approach to improve wholebrain engagement in the academic programme to inform multimedia practice. Within the context of the interpretivist paradigm, the methodological approach was subjective and qualitative and the approach that was followed included: Structured and semi-structured Interviews (face-to-face) and formalised literature analysis (documentation - institutional and other documents were used). The data analysis followed a qualitative approach. The study revealed that Multimedia as a discipline is interpreted and presented with significant variance in focus across the twenty three institutions that were scrutinized. It also revealed that that within the current programme, there appears to be a more aesthetic/design focus and preference by students but that this could be as a result of the technology aspects of the programme not being adequately supported. This suggests that our programme offering requires redesigning if we are to present a more holistic approach to the curriculum.