Chowan University Enhances Web-to-Print Curriculum
To prepare students in its Graphic Communications program for success as they graduate and seek employment in the graphic communications industry, Chowan University, in Murfreesboro, N.C., added Aleyant Pressero Web-to-print and Aleyant’s eDocBuilder variable data tool to its curriculum.
The department had previously been using a different Web-to-print tool, but it switched to Pressero to integrate with the Fujifilm XMF workflow in its in-plant operation. The in-plant does not use Pressero, nor any Web-to-print system, to receive live jobs, but by allowing students to order jobs through Pressero, the in-plant lets students see how jobs flow straight into XMF, which automates their delivery to various output devices.
This integration with XMF is important since students in the program also have a work study opportunity in the in-plant, and compatibility between the two enhances the ability to transfer work product and knowledge between the two environments.
“The goal of our program is for students to understand the entire process from idea/concept development through print and finishing,” says Jennifer Newton, assistant professor of Graphic Communications. “This knowledge contributes to better design techniques, since understanding the entire process makes it more likely the designs they create will be able to be accurately produced and finished. We see Web-to-print as an important part of that work stream, especially when web storefronts offer users the ability to customize or personalize their designs and documents based on templates made available in the storefronts.”
Newton notes that she actually introduced Web-to-print into the curriculum prior to actually having any software in place.
“I knew we needed to address it to tie what students are learning together,” she adds. “We used another solution for a couple of years before we acquired Pressero and eDocBuilder.
Web-to-print is addressed in a semester-long course in the students’ junior year, after they have learned the basics of the file building, print and finishing processes.
“Students are divided into teams with each team being assigned a fictional company for which I have developed a thorough profile. They are tasked with acting as a consultant to that fictional company. They write a proposal and then design and implement a Web-to-print storefront that meets their specific goals and needs. Students also individually design and implement their own web storefront using the software. I give them guidelines and say, ‘now go play!’ They are curious and unafraid to click buttons, even if they don’t know what the result will be. With the Aleyant software, no one has ever come back to me and said they can’t do it because it’s so easy and intuitive to use.”
Newton also cites Aleyant’s cloud-based strategy as another benefit for students. “They can access Pressero from anywhere with an Internet connect,” she says. “It’s freeing. It means they don’t have to come into the department and use our computers to get their work done. It also shows them how solutions like this can be managed remotely in a real-world company.”
She also states that these students have grown up with the Internet, and they expect to be able to do just about anything remotely. “The first thing we do in the class,” she says, “is a virtual field trip. I have them visit a variety of print websites, including large ones like Shutterfly and those of smaller companies. I ask them to evaluate them from a user experience perspective. That gives them starting points to go in and build their own websites.”
Newton has also been extremely pleased with Aleyant’s support, saying, “They are heavenly. We had one issue that put us in a low-key panic. I reached out to Greg Salzman, Aleyant’s President, and not only did he immediately resolve the issue, he took it a step further by asking how we were using the software and gaining an understanding of our needs and requirements. That was above and beyond the call of duty!”
She also reports that, as an example of the value of the program, one of her graduates was hired into a sales position. “Once she moved and got settled in,” Newton says, “she called me and let me know she was given the additional responsibility of implementing and managing a Web-to-print program. Her experience in class gave her the foundation, even as a fresh graduate, and she is still managing the site. That’s a real-world example of why hands-on experience with Web-to-print is a critical element of our curriculum. A lecture would not have prepared her for that opportunity.”
The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with Printing Impressions. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of the staff of Printing Impressions.