Offering a wide variety of continuing adult education, the College of Extended Learning at San Francisco State University prepares students for career advancement, career change, or personal growth. The College offers a Digital Media Production Program, a Digital Video Intensive Program, and Multimedia Studies to students aged 16 to 62.
The College implemented a single Pro Tools workstation in the late 1990s, but there was no Pro Tools curriculum. By 2003, the College offered a Music Industry Program but students were still learning on 2-inch analog tools. At that point, Professor Craig Abaya recommended changing the program to focus on industry-standard Pro Tools to provide students with the workflows they need to succeed in the industry. “If people want job skills in this changing industry, then it better be Pro Tools,” Abaya says.
The transition to Avid workflows has been paramount to student success—SFSU graduates have moved on to successful careers in high-profile media companies, including E! Entertainment in Hollywood, Fox Sports, and PBS.T
From classroom to concert stage
The Digital Video Intensive Program is a filmmaking program for people of varied ages and interests. It offers instructional coursework with real-world exercises, working across a variety of media in the process.
On the audio side, students need to first take audio fundamentals and an interview field recording class. On the directorial side, they have had an interview techniques class, and camera and lighting classes. All of these courses are prerequisite to the interview exercise.
“Students are amazed at what they are able to do,” said Abaya. “It’s all about their creativity, so the tool becomes like an appendage to them.”
In addition to the projects and exercises that parallel their progression of courses, DVI students often participate in extracurricular projects. Digital Video Intensive students capture summer concerts every weekend at San Francisco’s Stern Grove. These projects include using multiple cameras, filming and editing the concerts, and interviewing the artists.
Technical skills for the job market
In addition to their certificates, students have the option to earn Pro Tools certification. “They don’t have a track record, but when they have on their resume that they have Pro Tools Certification, at that stage in their career, that might be the full third-party testimonial to their level of expertise,” Abaya explains.
“Most people who are first starting out need some kind of a gauge that shows, in this case on the technical level, what they’re capable of doing. And the technical level is vital, particularly to entry-level positions, internships, and things like that.”