Matias Volonte

Human Centered Computing PhD candidate, Clemson University

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My philosophy of education is to create a safe environment where students are encouraged to share their ideas and are open to learn and take risks. I found that the best method for teaching to students is to combine hands-on activities and theoretical framework. My overall goal is to empower students with self-confidence through the realization that knowledge has been gained and can now be drawn on to solve practical problems.

I am very passionate about teaching, and I truly enjoy fostering students towards their goals and dreams. I taught undergraduate and graduate level classes during my Master’s in fine arts (MFA) and as a PhD student in Human Centered Computing (HCC). During my MFA, I taught a class named DPA 307- Studio Methods for Digital Production and during my PhD I taught a graduate level class, CPSC 8070 -3D Modeling and Animation. These two professional teaching experiences built my love for teaching.

For my DPA 307 Studio Methods for Digital Production class, I taught 3D Pipeline to undergraduate students. This course was taught entirely in Blender and exposed students to the basic’s methods and practices that a small-scale 3D production contains. These include basic organic and non-organic modeling, rigging and animation, rendering, and editing. For my CPSC 8070 - 3D Modeling and Animation course, I taught intermediate to advanced 3D concepts to graduate students. The class included advanced methods for producing a 3D short film focused on character animation. These were advanced character modeling, rigging, animation, camera and film theory, lighting, UV unwrapping, and rendering.

I created the full syllabi for both classes. This included each class lecture, projects, exercises, delivery dates, and grading scheme. I used my professional and academic experience to choose between many theoretical options which path could be more useful for the student at the end of the semester. I had to be very organized while teaching classes since I had many responsibilities. I was responsible for not only attending lectures and conducting research for my own degree but also for providing guidance to students’ inquiries about the class I taught.

I encouraged students to approach my lectures as something more than just submitting assignments for a grade. I intended to motivate them to go beyond the class’s topics and focus on learning and improving their skills. I always included research discussions in my classes since usually students are not actually familiar about what research is and what a researcher does. During my lectures, I combined practical and theorical material. In my experience, this is the best way to keep students engaged and motivated in the class. Furthermore, I dedicated extra time to students that needed help to attain the class assignments and goals.

I believe I could be a very good candidate for teaching several courses based on my academic training, my industry, and teaching experience. My academic education is very diverse, and I believe this could be useful to students. I have a Bachelors in Audiovisual Communication, an MFA with a Digital Production Arts orientation, and currently I am a PhD in HCC. Furthermore, I worked in the film industry for several feature films and TV Shows for Disney Latin America and for other film projects for Latin America and Hollywood. I believe that these diverse skills can be oriented towards different courses. For example, I can teach computer graphic courses (3D Modeling and Animation, Rendering and Shading), Game Development in Unity, Fundamentals of HCI, research methods, virtual reality, and an initial level of programming in Python and C#.

I take the responsibility of teaching very seriously and I put forth the best teaching effort that I am capable of at each stage of my professional career. I love teaching and I look forward to improving my usefulness as an educator.

Sincerely,

Matias Volonte