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Multimedia Certificate to Arm Students with Multi-Talents

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PCC’s Multimedia program, which recently received state certification, will give students entry level skills and experience needed to work in a wide array of jobs in the world of multimedia such as Web designer, Web content creation specialist, multimedia programmer and many more!

The digital world has opportunities for those people equipped to take advantage of them. Portland Community College has a newly accredited program that aims at arming students with the skills needed to be multi-faceted entrepreneurs. PCC’s Multimedia program is designed to provide students with the skills and experience needed to be a valuable employee in the professional world of multimedia. Some of the types of jobs that await a graduate of the program include multimedia associate producer, Web designer, Web content creation specialist, interface designer, multimedia programmer or authoring specialist, digital video specialist, interactive technical writer and multimedia project manager.

The new certificate program also gives people already in the multimedia profession ongoing skill development to bolster their skills. The program was formally approved by the Oregon State Board of Education on Thursday, June 15. The classes for the certificate program begin this fall, starting Monday, Sept. 25 at the Cascade Campus, located at 705 N. Killingsworth St.

Michael Cleghorn, a PCC Multimedia instructor, chairs the fast-growing program and teaches a lab in the program’s introductory class Introduction to Multimedia. "For the past year or more it seems that most classes fill within a week or two of the initial registration start time," he said. "The good news for students is that we offer our beginning classes, the 100-level, nearly every term, and many of the advanced 200-level classes are offered several times a year."

The Multimedia program was created out of necessity and quickly became a partnership between the college and the industry. Its beginnings were a PCC faculty task

force formed in 1996 after a multimedia conference in Portland. An advisory committee
to the task force was then formed, composed of representatives from a variety of Portland companies starved for graduates versed in the emerging technologies of the burgeoning multimedia market. By fall 1998 a complete multimedia program had been created. However, there is no such thing as a typical multimedia student.

"The only common link I can think of with our ‘typical’ multimedia student is their addiction and dedication to the work," Cleghorn said. "I have over 23 years of college classroom teaching experience, and my multimedia students are the first that I have ever seen that more often than not, shun breaks, lunches, and never seem ready to leave at the end of a class."

David Thorsrud, a part-time instructor in the program, directs interactive development for Cenquest Inc., a Portland company that helps colleges and universities take their graduate programs online. He said the multimedia industry is "portfolio based" when it comes to hiring students out of college. In response, he is instructing his students on how to develop and review their portfolio of work. "They’ve got a great foundation because that lab is really nice," he said of PCC’s Multimedia program. "They definitely have a head start on anyone else. There are some (students) that have a great ability and a passion above everybody else."

The program is an opportunity for people interested in the digital arts to take advantage of a medium in high demand. Companies that produce multimedia for the World Wide Web, CD-ROM kiosk presentations and computer-based delivery employ multimedia specialists. The multimedia specialists focus on business, marketing, education, training, presentations and entertainment applications. Students entering the program need to possess strong Macintosh or Windows computer management skills and should be familiar with essential software as word processing and draw and paint programs.

The one-year Multimedia certificate requires a total of 60 credit hours, including 45 Multimedia credit hours and 15 hours of approved electives. Some of the courses that are included in the Multimedia program include multimedia design, graphics, video and audio, authoring, Internet-building interactive Web pages, digital video editing, and vector graphics and animation.

The Multimedia Web site’s student gallery ( also offers a glimpse into the creative work these students produce. For more information on this program, contact Terri Greenfield, division dean of the Business and Government division, at 503-978-5235.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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