Computer Animation and Game Development

Temporary Virtual Classroom

What is CAGD doing to go online?

UPDATE 09-15-2020:

Virtual teaching modalities will continue through Spring 21 as stated in a recent communication by Chancellor Timothy P. White (PDF).

In a continued effort to provide more information about this transition we contacted some of our faculty and student assistants who have embraced these changing circumstances to the best of their ability. We hope the gathered information will provide insight of what learning in the Computer Animation and Game Development (CAGD) program will look like as you continue on your academic journey.

We invite you to explore some of the topics below!

Virtual Learning

This time has been challenging but we have some amazing faculty and staff that have been working diligently to provide the smoothest possible transition to online learning and are continuously focused on student success. Of course, we couldn't do this without the support of the equally amazing students in the CAGD Program!

Here are the highlights:

Zoom

On the plus side, an ability to share screens with students and for students to share their screen in return is a helpful tool utilized during synchronous classroom sessions and office hours. One of our lecturers shared that lecturing on Zoom can be more flexible than lecturing in a classroom; having remote control access to a student’s workspace has proved a  bonus when instructors are unable to physically help students with their assignments/projects.

On the other hand, in the absence of a stable Internet connection, Zoom can prove unsteady. Chico State is doing their best to address connectivity and wireless Internet challenges. To learn more information on how Chico State is addressing these concerns, please see the campus's page on Internet Connectivity Resources(opens in new window).

You can learn more about Zoom(opens in new window) through their website and students can access their Zoom account through their Chico Student Portal(opens in new window). Zoom can be accessed through a desktop app or in a mobile app available via the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store (Zoom Download)(opens in new window).

Discord

Discord in its roots was designed as a social connection for those involved with video gaming. CAGD has taken this platform and transformed it into something that works very well for a virtual learning tool. As an example, different aspects of a class may be divided into separate text channels for when students have questions in specific areas of projects or the class. Voice channels may also be established and some of our lecturers have used these voice channels as a communication mechanism for the various collaborative groups working on projects together.

An additional benefit to the platform is that most students in the class are on the server. If one student has a question that the teacher is not able to immediately address, another student that may provide the answer.

Quick Replies = Less Student Stress

You can learn more about Discord(opens in new window) through their website and anyone can sign up for Discord for free as long as you have a valid email address. Discord can be accessed through a web browser, through a desktop app, or in a mobile app available via the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store (Discord Download)(opens in new window).

Twitch

As an alternative to Zoom, some instructors use Twitch, a live streaming platform. Twitch has the ability to stream lectures while students watch them live and engage in the chat function or, if they are recorded, may watch or review them at a later time.

You can learn more about Twitch(opens in new window) through their website and you do not need an account to watch streams. An account is needed, however, to participate in the chat feature and to sign up is free. Twitch can be accessed through a web browser, a desktop app, or in a mobile app available via the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store (Twitch Download)(opens in new window).

LinkedIn Learning

Previously known as Lynda, LinkedIn Learning is an application that is free to students through theirChico State Student Portal

LinkedIn Learning is a useful resource to access and view a large library of online tutorials and videos that students can watch, review to augment what you may be learning.

You can learn more about LinkedIn Learning through their website and students are able to get full access to the site as long as they log in with their Chico State credentials. LinkedIn Learning can be accessed through a web browser or in a mobile app via the Apple Apple Store or in the Google Play Store (LinkedIn Learning Download)(opens in new window).

Office Hours and Academic Advising

Office Hours and Academic Advising Appointments are still available for students at the regularly scheduled times, however, there are also unofficial office hours and appointments that our faculty can set up with their students over Zoom or Discord if they are available at other times throughout the week.

For more information on Faculty Office Hours, please visit our Faculty and Staff Page for a listing of the Program’s individual faculty and staff availability.

To learn more about Academic Advising and to schedule an appointment, please visit our Academic Advising Page.

Advice From Our Faculty To Students

Time Management is so, so important!

It is easy to get far behind when you do not have your professors, lecturers, teachers, and to an extent, your peers there to push you along. Six weeks might seem like a long time for a project, but it will go by in a flash.

To see more on Time Management, Chico State has a program called Adulting 101 that had covered this topic, recorded a video, and uploaded it to their website as a resource for students. To see this session as well as other topics of Adulting 101, please visit the Regional and Continuing Education Site(opens in new window).

Remember to ask questions!

It seems like such a simple concept, but without consistent in-class guidance, asking questions becomes more important. It is easy to get lost in content and have no clue what to do next. Your professors might be at home, but they are still available to help you with everything you need!

Get savvy with Blackboard Learn and keep up to date with postings on your class pages!

In an online environment, our professors and lecturers are delivering most of their content to their students through Blackboard Learn. While this serves as a useful tool for our staff to get the content to you, it can be a little bit challenging if you do not understand the interface and/or do not check the site often. 

Our advice to get to know the Blackboard Interface and system by simply logging in through your Chico State Student Portal(opens in new window) and clicking around through the website. Additionally, Blackboard Inc. has an entire playlist of Blackboard Learn tutorial videos(opens in new window) on YouTube for you to watch and get a better understanding of all that Blackboard has to offer.

Take every opportunity to grow!

Though the current conversion to a virtual learning environment may not be the most ideal situation, we encourage you to embrace this as a learning experience beneficial to your career path. When working in the industry, you may likely find yourself communicating virtually and the team in which you are a part may not be located in the same physical space. It is important to stay flexible and knowledgeable in how to engage and work remotely. 

We encourage you to take this time to continue developing your skills and remember how you overcame the obstacles in which you are currently presented. During an interview, you may be asked about how you both experienced and overcame a challenge. This is an opportunity to showcase demonstrated perseverance, motivation, and engagement as you work toward your academic goal(s) and future success.

Back to Top

Suggestions for Success in Online Learning

Over the past eight weeks our students have been doing what they can to stay successful and motivated as they navigate learning from home. We asked them to share what they were doing to stay on track for the rest of the semester.

Below is a collection of six helpful tips from our students on how to stay successful in an online environment...

1. Keep a calendar...and turn on its push notifications.

Whether it be the default calendar app on your phone/computer, a personal written planner, a series of sticky notes, a whiteboard, Google Calendar (which can be used with the student's CSU, Chico account), Outlook, or any other calendar, keeping a calendar is a useful organizational tool for students.

Through a calendar, students are able to keep track of Zoom Lectures, due dates for projects, and even set reminders for themselves. Through digital calendars, push notifications can be turned on for helpful reminders if the student is already on their device.

Should you want to know more about utilizing Google Calendar through your CSU, Chico account, simply log in to Google(opens in new window) with your Chico credentials and then visit Google's guide to getting started with your Google Calendar(opens in new window).

2. Utilize Professors' and Lecturers' Office Hours

We often find that even when we are not in an online medium that students do not utilize Office Hours as much as they could/should. Now is a wonderful time to take advantage of them!

Our faculty maintain office hours during scheduled times and are conducting them through various platforms. Discord and Zoom have proven most successful.

Discord is a free messaging service that our staff have been able to create channels for their classes as a means of connecting students with students while also being able to privately message their students if they have individual questions.

Zoom is a service that has been provided by Chico State that allows for video calling. One of the most useful features that faculty/staff/students have been utilizing through Zoom are the screen share and remote control features.

3. Connect with other students over class Discord servers.

Just as our faculty are staying connected with their students, students have been staying connected with each other.

CAGD faculty have found that Discord servers allow students to connect with each other if they are having assignment/project questions.

These Discord servers have also allowed student assistants to stay connected for peer assistance. We currently have a handful of students working within our courses and if faculty is not currently available to answer a question assistants may be available to provide support after hours.

4. Stay involved with student virtual communities!

We are very lucky to have a club that has been designed and is operated by the students in our program called the Computer Graphics Club (CGC). This club is completely student run and during this transition to a virtual environment, students decided that they would also work to make the club available online for its members.

For the past six weeks, the club has continued to meet online through Zoom and provide alumni talks, discussions, present industry news, have a movie night, and even conduct the annual Excellence in Computer Graphics Awards Ceremony!

This is not just limited to our major club, however,  Associated Students (AS) has also been working to host virtual events along with various clubs on campus who have made an effort to host their meetings and activities as well.

5. Take advantage of the Google Suite and its collaborative workspace.

A perk of the student issued @mail.csuchico.edu account is that it connects to the Google Suite. Through this account, students are offered nearly unlimited Google Drive storage (or cloud storage) which can be used to upload projects, create documents and presentations, and hold various course components for safe keeping and flexible access.

Before the transition to virtual learning, students in CAGD have been taking advantage of this collaborative workspace by sharing folders to work on projects together, creating documents that can be edited by multiple users at the same time, communicating feedback, and using Google Hangouts to chat.

To learn more about the Google Suite as a whole, you can visit Google's information page on the Google Suite.(opens in new window)

6. Plan breaks into your day!

We know all too well that sitting at your desk all day can be exhausting but fresh air and sunlight are great too. Students are encouraged to take breaks and factor in some planned and needed intermissions throughout the day. Allocating variations in your day may be helpful not only to stretch and move around but to give your brain a bit of rest which can trigger ideas and renewed vigor when you return to your task.

Whether going for a walk, playing some games, calling a friend, watching a movie, or participating in your favorite hobby, we believe that taking planned breaks is one of the biggest reasons that our students are thriving.

For more tips about working from home, we suggest taking a look at Zen Habits's Top 30 Tips for Staying Productive and Sane While Working From Home(opens in new window).

Back to Top

Got Questions?

The faculty and staff in the CAGD Program understand that this time can be confusing and you probably have plenty of questions. We would like to direct you to our Frequently Asked Questions Page as well as our Choose CAGD Page to answer some of those preliminary questions that you may have that pertain to CAGD specific inquiries. 

To direct questions to faculty and/or staff visit Faculty and Staff Page sending an email to cagd@csuchico.edu.

Chico State is doing what they can to be as transparent as possible when new information is available from the University, Butte County, and the State. To keep up to date with everything Chico State related, we invite you to also take a look atChico State's Coronavirus page where you will find additional FAQs, Student Resources, and the most recent updates.

We know that these conditions are not the most ideal, but we would like to reassure you in any way that we can. CAGD faculty and staff are dedicated to performing to the best of our ability in an online platform and endeavor to continue providing our students with the most effective and efficient instruction.

Back to Top