Fos­ter­ing cre­ativ­ity with project-based work

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By YU RAN in Shang­hai


Us­ing just four tri­an­gu­lar acrylic sheets which she had cre­ated us­ing a laser cut­ter, Sun Yue made a sim­ple but el­e­gant prism which was able to project a holo­gram of an an­i­ma­tion be­ing played on an iPad.

The project was part of the end-of-se­mes­ter show for stu­dents of Shang­hai New York Univer­sity’s In­ter­ac­tive Me­dia Arts (IMA) course, which had for the first time in­cluded an­i­ma­tion in its syl­labus. The course had also en­cour­aged stu­dents to ap­ply sim­ple tools and ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate their own unique an­i­ma­tions.

“I was in­spired by an on­line post to cre­ate an in­no­va­tive pro­jec­tor to re­flect sim­ple an­i­ma­tions as a holo­gram. This is an ex­am­ple of a unique vis­ual ef­fect com­ing from sim­ple ideas and easy tools,” said Sun, a sec­ond year stu­dent who ma­jors in Math­e­mat­ics.

The show­case, which is held twice a year, is an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents en­rolled in the IMA course to show­case their fi­nal as­sign­ments and share their ideas with other stu­dents. There are around 150 stu­dents en­rolled in the course at NYU Shang­hai for this year.

In con­trast, the project by a team of four stu­dents, led by fresh­man Justin Amoafo from the United States, was more elab­o­rate. Us­ing aerial drones and a 7-minute doc­u­men­tary ti­tled “Breath” that showed the be­fore and af­ter scenes of air pol­lu­tion in five places around Shang­hai, the team’s aim is to ed­u­cate Western­ers on the re­me­di­a­tion ef­forts be­ing made.

“This event gives stu­dents the chance to ex­plain and talk to peo­ple who might not know any­thing about a par­tic­u­lar topic and it is also a great way for them to get to know new peo­ple,” said Mar­i­anne Pe­tit, as­so­ciate arts pro­fes­sor and di­rec­tor of IMA.

True to its lib­eral arts core, stu­dents at NYU Shang­hai are ex­posed to an ever-evolv­ing project- based cur­ricu­lum which is de­signed to fa­cil­i­tate the ac­qui­si­tion of both the conceptual in­sights and prac­ti­cal skills needed to build the in­no­va­tive hu­man-cen­tered de­sign projects imag­ined by the stu­dents.

“Our stu­dents are chal­lenged to cre­ate in­ter­ac­tive sys­tems that con­nect peo­ple, fa­cil­i­tate par­tic­i­pa­tion, con­vey in­for­ma­tion, com­mu­ni­cate sto­ries, en­hance ex­pe­ri­ences and bring both mean­ing and de­light to peo­ple’s lives,” said Pe­tit.

Lo­cated in Lu­ji­azui amid a clus­ter of sky­scrapers that tower over a bend in the Huangpu River, NYU Shang­hai has a stu­dent pop­u­la­tion of which half is made up of for­eign­ers. Most cour­ses are taught in English. All stu­dents, re­gard­less of na­tion­al­ity, re­ceive dou­ble diplo­mas — one from the US and an­other cer­ti­fied by China’s ed­u­ca­tion min­istry.

Full-timers at the univer­sity spend two years in Shang­hai and three semesters on ex­change at one of NYU’s many cam­puses around the world. NYU Shang­hai’s stu­dent body num­bers in the hun­dreds but is ex­pected to peak at 2,000 by 2020.


Stu­dents of IMA course at Shang­hai NYU ex­plain to their peers how their end-of-se­mes­ter projects work.

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