Over on DAM Guru this month, there is an interview with Elizabeth Keathley and Mark Davey from DAM Foundation about the training courses they offer. In particular, they discuss the trials they faced when attempting to partner with an established ‘bricks and mortar’ educational institution:
“Recognizing the need for a program that could educate and promote DAM as a career option, the DAM Foundation announced in early 2014 a pending partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC). Together, the organizations were to develop a curriculum that covered all the bases and would be delivered by a reputable institution whose name would add value to a resume…But that’s not what happened.” [Read More]
This certainly resonates with similar experiences I have also had with organisations who want to establish initiatives relating to the DAM industry (albeit in a different context to education).
I gather that DAM Guru sponsor, Picturepark, are now also paying for their clients to attend these courses and I can see why: if their users are better educated about Digital Asset Management they are more likely to make greater use of the software they provide and reduce the risk of it being abandoned or alternatives being sought due to misunderstandings about how to get the most from it. I would imagine that DAM Foundation are hoping that a few other vendors might see the logic behind this also and a further observation I could make is that a few of them (who I don’t care to name) could do with putting themselves on these courses so they have a better idea of what DAM actually is themselves before they try to sell it!
There are some interviews with those who have been on the course and it is a balanced consideration of the pros and cons of the online format. There is undoubtedly an ongoing trend that has been in play for some time where online alternatives are acquiring a value proposition which is comparable with existing established offline delivery models and we have talked about them before on DAM News.
The issue when some of the established academic institutions get involved with online education is the scale and inflexibility of the pricing proposed. This appears to be based on their conventional delivery method (i.e. lecture and assessment based formats where students convene at a given physical location) even though that is not what you actually get. A lot of the cost is removed if a pure online format is used and that should be reflected in the fees charged. A counter argument would be that validation of the courses has to be carried out and (in some cases) full-time staff fees paid also. In this case, the staff fess don’t appear to be very much of a factor (for UBC) and unless there is a qualification, the validation element seems like a bit of a thin benefit where arguably their partner is bringing as much to the table as they are in terms of authority.
This seems a lot like UBC applied their existing course pricing model to an online format without considering how to adapt it in a way that would have allowed them to obtain revenue from it but without the costs becoming excessive. With that said, this is just my opinion and I don’t know the full details of the discussion between them and DAM Foundation, nor any other pressures UBC might face (cost-related or otherwise).
It would be remiss to not point out there are some educational institutions who also offer DAM courses with formal qualifications where equal consideration given to the academic element as well as professional development. In the UK there is King’s College, who offer an MA in Digital Asset Management (and who also have provided meeting facilities for some of the London DAM meetups in the past). In the US, San Jose State University offer courses on Digital Asset Management including one that was once lead by metadata guru, John Horodyski. Both can count some well known names on the DAM scene among their alumni. There is also the University of Maryland School of Information Studies and their post-masters Curation and Management of Digital Assets (CMDA) Certificate and I’m sure there are a number of others (apologies to any I may have missed, please add them via the comments facility below).