[Bf-education] Bf-education: Blender College

Andrew Buttery & mkab at pacific.net.au
Mon Dec 23 01:32:36 CET 2013

Hi Joshex,

It's a good idea in theory. However, it got me thinking about some of your
statements and my experience her in Melbourne, Australia. 

Firstly, some education institutions allow Blender to be used in their
courses. e.g. I helped a student who was completing a film in Blender at the
Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and have given a lecture in Blender
Basics as VCA also use Blender for their game design unit. 

However, I agree that you will find a bias towards the software that is used
in industry as many education institutions aim to prepare their students
with the knowledge and skills required for the workforce. This is why you
don't see courses in steam engine maintenance and horse cart driving (though
someone probably offers them somewhere if you looked hard enough). I believe
this isn't a conspiracy, it's a side effect of a two company oligopoly in
the commercial software environment (i.e. Autodesk and Adobe). 

Secondly, you mention that you would like to see a Blender animation
bachelors degree. I think you need to separate training of technical skill
with a specific tool from broader generic knowledge (e.g. posing bones in
Blender to achieve overlap versus the overlap principle of animation
concept). Other more experienced readers on this forum can probably define
the separation better, but as an example you get a bachelors in Architecture
not a bachelors in AutoCAD Architecture. Though as part of the Architecture
course you may use AutoCAD and therefore learn much about the software. 

What I think you are getting at is that students should have a choice of
package (Blender, Cinema 4D, Max, Maya, etc...) that they use as part of
attaining qualifications. 

However, I can see why there is resistance to allowing the student to chose
whatever package as:
     - having different packages creates a headache for the teachers as
software varies on some of the most basic things (e.g. Z is "up" in Blender
and most packages except Max/Maya where I believe Y is "up");
     - when the teacher needs to provide technical direction to a student
the teacher themselves must be competent on all packages or engage an
external party at extra cost; and
     - from what I can see there is movement back and forth between the
education community and the professional workforce. 

All of these reinforce the preference for the incumbent product. Other ways
these barrier can be tackled is a different conversation. Your solution is
to establish a Blender College...

Thirdly, I'm not sure which country you were quoting your example from in
your BlenderArtists post (128 credits?), but it is not as simple as create
as "create a degree".
For example here in Australia for vocational training only a Registered
Training Organisation (RTO) can issue qualifications e.g. Diploma of
Interactive Digital Media which includes animation units which could be done
in Blender. To become an RTO is not a simple undertaking.

Anything that was issued by Blender Foundation from another country would
not be recognised in Australia, though that doesn't mean that a employer
would not value it. To establish Blender Foundation as a education provider
in many countries would be a major task and I don't believe it is a core
goal for the BF.

Fourthly, There is a large body of knowledge and skills around educating
students, be it adults or kids, face to face or remotely. Besides most devs
not being qualified to teach and assess students, I would imagine that they
are interested in coding, not spending days assessing student work. A better
group would be the existing BF Certified Trainer review board

Some of the above can be overcome by offering qualifications without
necessarily going through the process of having it officially recognised,
which may be an option in some countries (depending on the local
regulation). Again, more experienced individuals from other countries can
comment on this. However, the risk is that employers would have trouble
valuing a qualification unless it came from a reputable source.
Unfortunately, it is the way of the world that a MBA from Harvard will carry
much more weight than an MBA from the Online University of Southern Irkutsk.

Fifthly, there is no mention anywhere in your post of fees (student) or
payment (teachers and assessors) - how would you propose to fund the cost of
the course(s)? In the email below you say completely free. We all understand
that there is a great community spirit around Blender, but to ask volunteers
to spend hours assessing work seems to be asking too much. To me as a
minimum, the assessments need to be undertaken by qualified, paid staff and
conducted in a robust way so that the end-to-end process could withstand an
review or audit by a third party. Without this the value of the
qualification will be very low to a potential employer as there are few if
any checks and balances to give the employer confidence in the accreditation

Lastly, To set up, run and keep courses current and relevant is a lot of
work to undertake. I understand that you are keen to undertake this course,
but what evidence do you have that quantifies the number of students that
will want to take (and perhaps pay) for a course that leaves them with a
technical skill set that is going to restrict their potential future
employment (re: observations from the first point)? 

I don't mean to shoot the idea down, just to provide some further
information, some opinion and some tough questions that will (hopefully)
make your plans stronger...

	 - andrew

Blender Training
em: contact at blendertraining.com 
sm: 4 Gatehouse Lane, Albert Park, 3206, Australia
m: +61 0402 459 003

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Today's Topics:

   1. Blender College (joshex)


Message: 1
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2013 03:02:30 -0800 (PST)
From: joshex <joshex1 at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Bf-education] Blender College
To: "bf-education at blender.org" <bf-education at blender.org>
	<1387623750.47195.YahooMailNeo at web161605.mail.bf1.yahoo.com>
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Hi, I came up with a rather neat Idea, I'm sure the blender foundation could
manage it after a bit of research, An open source blender college, preset
criteria will detail whats necessary to get a bachelors in animation (using
blender) or a bachelor's in game design (using blender) those criteria will
be "tasks" with defined requirements based on regulated Degree requirements
set forth by an accredidation organization (you can find them quite easily
and they do state what the reqirements for a bachelor's degree in the areas
of computer science are and what the requirements for a BA art are.)

because the requirements are out in the open for all to see we wont need
teachers or anything just grading criteria and rubriks.

So I wrote a bit more on blender artists, I'd encourage the devs to take a
look and see if they can set it up.


I'd personally love it if I could get a degree in game design this way.

the final plan is to have it be an entirely free way for blender users to
get a degree whilst in return building a huge blender repository filled with
fancy animations, games, models and scripts under the GPL which in turn will
attract businesses to utilize blender and have a demand for blender artists,
which I'm certain will generate donations to the Blender Foundation.
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