My students are really good at design—I mean, they outshine me—but when it comes down to the power you have from actually programming, they can learn a lot from me. At first, it’s a little startling for them to realize that they’re not going to be able to just draw it, that you actually have to write some code. But once they get the idea, they really go to town. The students who get it—and you can see the light bulb go on—are totally empowered by how a little bit of scripting gives them all this magic.
I have students from Textile/Surface Design and Photography who have the basic web design class built into their curriculum. It’s just a fast-paced two hours a week, but by mid-term they’ve hand-coded an entire website, and that is such a thrill for them. You have to be slow and patient, and artists generally don’t slow down. They don’t think, “Now I’m going to paint a red circle.” They just paint the red circle. When you’re making a website, you have to write this so the red circle goes there. They actually get to develop parts of their brains that haven’t been worked much. I tell them this will keep them from premature senility. So I’m helping them in a few different ways, including their careers: Who doesn’t want a website?