SOMERSET COL­LEGE OF ARTS AND TECH­NOL­OGY

This South West Eng­land col­lege punches well above its weight

EDGE - - TIME EXTEND - SAM BAT­TEN Cur­ricu­lum area man­ager, ICT www.somerset.ac.uk

B ased in Taun­ton, in the heart of South West Eng­land, Somerset Col­lege may be rel­a­tively small, but it’s gain­ing mo­men­tum year by year. It has ex­panded its course of­fer­ings over the pe­riod the col­lege has been ac­tive in games – you can now com­plete a full de­gree here with­out need­ing to top up else­where – and it’s built up its avail­able tools and tech­nol­ogy at the same time. We speak to Sam Bat­ten, the cur­ricu­lum area man­ager for ICT for Somerset, about this in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar cen­tre for high-level learn­ing. What game-re­lated sub­jects can be stud­ied at Somerset Col­lege? We have a large and grow­ing co­hort of stu­dents, from those 16 to 18 year olds study­ing our Level 2 or Level 3 Di­ploma pro­grammes in Cre­ative Me­dia Pro­duc­tion – which is game de­vel­op­ment – to our higher ed­u­ca­tion pro­vi­sion of a FdSc in Com­puter Games Tech­nol­ogy and BSc (Hons) top up year in Com­puter Games Tech­nol­ogy. All stu­dents are taught by ex­pe­ri­enced and highly qual­i­fied staff in well-re­sourced class­rooms that use up-to­date in­dus­try soft­ware. Somerset isn’t tra­di­tion­ally thought of as a de­vel­op­ment hub – how does your work fit into the in­dus­try? Close links with the in­dus­try are es­sen­tial, as well as keep­ing a very close eye on de­vel­op­ments in the gam­ing com­mu­nity. It is im­per­a­tive that we know the sec­tor well and are aware of com­ing trends in or­der to pro­vide stu­dents with the rel­e­vant and most ap­pro­pri­ate knowl­edge and skillsets so they can be suc­cess­ful. The guest speak­ers we in­vite in to Somerset Col­lege from the in­dus­try pro­vide ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents and lec­tur­ers alike to learn more about the sec­tor, and all of our lec­tur­ing staff spend up to five days a year in the in­dus­try to en­sure that our course is closely aligned with what de­vel­op­ers are look­ing for from a grad­u­ate. How is this re­flected in the tools avail­able to your stu­dents? Our game stu­dents have ac­cess to a wide range of pro­fes­sional-stan­dard tools, such as Unity Pro, Au­todesk prod­ucts, Adobe prod­ucts and a range of game en­gines and mo­bile app de­vel­op­ment tools. All are given full in­struc­tion as to how to de­sign and de­velop games util­is­ing

these par­tic­u­lar tools. How has the resur­gence of bed­room cod­ing in­flu­enced your cour­ses? We of­fer train­ing for our de­gree stu­dents in de­vel­op­ing their pro­fes­sional prac­tice and in en­hanc­ing their skills and knowl­edge if they want to set up their own busi­ness or en­ter the in­dus­try on a free­lance ba­sis. Past and cur­rent stu­dents have been in­volved in set­ting up and run­ning their own in­die de­vel­op­ment units, and many of our stu­dents work on side projects in or­der to de­velop their skills. The South West of Eng­land is a real hub for mi­cro-de­vel­oper units and small and medium en­ter­prises re­lat­ing to the cre­ative in­dus­tries, and we ac­tively sup­port our stu­dents if they wish to pur­sue this di­rec­tion as a ca­reer.

“CLOSE LINKS WITH THE IN­DUS­TRY ARE ES­SEN­TIAL, AS WELL AS KEEP­ING A VERY CLOSE EYE ON DE­VEL­OP­MENTS”

As well as find­ing roles work­ing in es­tab­lished de­vel­op­ers and set­ting up their own stu­dios, grad­u­ates from Somerset’s var­i­ous videogame cour­ses have also gone on to work for the BBC, and in spe­cial ef­fects

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