CQU's Digital Media course leads Rhiana into Learning Designer role in university sector

04 February 2022

Rhiana Murray has designed herself a new future with CQUniversity's Bachelor of Digital Media giving her the skills and knowledge to secure employment as a Learning Designer at Swinburne University.

Rhiana said the decision to study at CQU was an easy one' but she was genuinely amazed at the opportunities that became available to her while she was doing the course.

"I've always been interested in digital media – specifically animation and graphic design'" she said.

"I chose CQU for two reasons – one' because it was local. The second reason is because it had smaller class sizes. A class of 10-30 students' as opposed to 100-300 allowed for more time to ask questions and receive more hands-on help (such as demonstrations) from the teachers."

Although the COVID-19 pandemic meant most of her studies had to move from the classroom on the Rockhampton North campus to online' she found the support she received from teachers and staff invaluable.

"The support I received along the way was definitely worth it' I ended up with a 6.95 GPA' which I know I wouldn't have achieved without the support of certain teachers'" she said.

"Plus' during my third year' we were required to complete a collaborative project' which teamed us up with other students around Australia' interacting with real clients' so in a way' while it was a subject' we still had to meet objectives and deadlines' and cater to what the client wanted' so it felt like work experience' and was a fantastic opportunity."

Further opportunities presented themselves' when in 2021 her lecturer Michelle Roberts alerted her to a position within CQU's Learning Design and Innovation team.

"I was nervous' but Michelle dismissed my concerns and I applied for it' and' to my delight and amazement' I got the job'" she said.

"I got to use almost every aspect of my university studies in the role: user experience' graphic design' animation' web development' and it felt amazing to be part of that team."

While the job with CQU was a temporary one' it provided Rhiana with even more experience that in turn helped her land the role as a Learning Designer with Swinburne.

"I am again a Digital Learning Designer' and while their systems are vastly different to what I experienced at CQUniversity' my experience with the CQU job' as well as my studies' definitely helped support me'" she said.

"Studying digital media has taught me that there is more than one answer to a problem' and more than one way to find that answer. It has taught me how to use software such as the Adobe Creative Suite and developed my skills so that no matter which new program I am up against' I know how to work it.

"While I don't have any formal training in learning design' I was taught how to create effective user experiences' from simple things like having a proper layout of content on the screen to knowing which fonts will best engage the learner. I can't say there is one specific thing that was the key aspect to my current job' but rather a culmination of all of my subjects and experiences mixed together that allow me to understand the requirements and perform well at my job."

Rhiana advised anyone considering Digital Media at CQU to follow their passion.

"My experience a CQU has been such a positive and life changing choice' and for anyone on the fence about studying Digital Media' I say go for it'" she said.

"I used to just be a part time sales assistant and now I am part of a national team creating interactive learning experiences for other students. It is an amazing feeling and on top of that' I have made some fantastic friends and connections through CQU that I would have had no exposure to at bigger universities."