Eastern Michigan University
Teaches Variable Data Printing With DesignMerge!
Michigan University is located in Southeast Michigan, approximately
30 miles west of Detroit. The College of Technology offers a course
in Digital Imaging and Reproduction which is part of the Communications
Technology major. Communications Technology is a multidisciplinary
major that prepares students to eventually move into mid-management
careers in technologies of the communications industry. The class,
CMT 207, implements aspects of digital printing and variable data
in the print industry.
The 207 class was revised from the previous content based on film
conversion and plate making to reflect new trends in the print industry.
This was a direct result of attending the Teachers Conference sponsored
by GATF and PIA in conjunction with Graph Expo. The future direction
of the print industry was very clear based on the various presenters.
Given the increased interest towards digital it became clear that
students needed practical experiences to meet the changing needs
of potential employers.
Following is a short interview with
David Gore, Program Coordinator, Communication Technology School
of Technology Studies discussing how DesignMerge helped meet the
needs of Eastern Michigan University's leading edge print curriculum.
||Why did you
choose to teach DesignMerge as part of Eastern Michigan University's
Communications Technology major?
virtue of being at Graph Expo it was possible to explore the
many vendors' solutions in variable data printing. After listening
to salespeople and watching product demonstrations, DesignMerge
variable data software seemed to have the best interface with
Adobe InDesign and appeared to be more flexible than other
variable data products. It also seemed less dependent on the
user having to be a database and XML expert. This is a clear
advantage allowing designers to design and still incorporating
variable data without having to spend an excessive amount
of time devoted to coding. DesignMerge seemed to be the best
fit, especially for the educational/teaching environment.
was the ROI for teaching this class using DesignMerge?
The expectation of exposing students to VDP in this class
is that they will be prepared to meet the needs of employers
by having had hands-on lab experience with variable data software
in their class projects.
The bottom line for us is that our students leave prepared
and ready to compete for jobs. From a fiscal perspective,
the ROI was the best we could find by working with the salespeople
at Meadows to purchase limited professional copies of DesignMerge
supplemented with less costly lab seats for instruction. This
provided every student an opportunity to work with the program.
Since our mission is educational/instruction and we do not
see a traditional profit based on our investment Meadows Publishing
provided us a way to keep within the very limited budget of
our university and still provide students with the best educational
student examples would you like to share?
is an annotated InDesign document from two of our many talented
design students, Kimberly Hopper and Jay Baucher. Kim and
Jay used DesignMerge to create personalized documents. In
this assignment students were provided the database that Jay
developed and created that included fictitious names, injuries,
images, medications etc. and were instructed to create a patient
medical release forms that would extract all the data, text,
articles and images to produce a personalized document for
each patient at the time of discharge from the clinic/hospital.
The annotated example below is Kim's design work.