Saturday, May 31, 2008

Edupunk... What a Great Term!

I've spent the morning lost in the blogosphere reading the latest buzz about edupunk. I find myself really liking the term.

It's really all about Web 2.0 concepts, but edupunk has an edgy connotation to it that likely appeals to artists and designers. And, many of the EduTech community have that same creative problem-solving mindset of our faculty and, hopefully, our students.

Edupunk seem to involve a renegade DIY (do it yourself) component, but with a strong focus on pedagogy before technology.

Although not specifically refered to as edupunk, Educause IS dealing with the concept in its 2008 Learning Initiative Conference Presentation called "Who's Afraid of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and the Big Bad CMS? A Digi-Drama About Fear 2.0." There are some very interesting videos on their presentation page. In particular, the last Voicethread slidecast is interesting in light of the discussions I've led recently at Senior Cabinet, Techology Committee, and Student Affairs.

More about edupunk:
From the Chronicle:
What I've been reading on the subject:

Interestingly enough, there is already a Wikipedia article about Edupunk created 5/30, and tagged for deletion for being too new on 5/31. I find this phenomena interesting. Having the ability to negotiate and perservere within the Wikipedia community is very edupunk. I'll be watching.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Otis Fit to Print: A New Blog

By Nancy Jo Haselbacher
In fall 2007 I received an Instructional Technology grant to create a blog for Printmaking information and resources. Offering step-by-step visual demonstrations, materials information, samples of current student work, and resources, the blog was created to serve students enrolled in Otis printmaking classes, but also for others interested in sharing information in many printmaking communities.

My hope was to also offer information on the conceptual and historical aspects of the multiple, since much of the curriculum at Otis currently focuses on the technical aspects of the medium. With a change in curriculum this past fall, the screen print classes doubled, and were shortened to half the time. As the only faculty member teaching the printmaking classes I wanted to find a way to get resources to my students outside of our brief class periods that also expanded their knowledge in a fun, easy to access, informal way.

In late summer and fall 2007 I tackled the immediate need, screen print support. With the help of Kathleen Forrest and Sue Maberry I set up the blog on the Otis site. I entered some basic links and wrote a series of advanced tutorial handouts, producing them in Adobe In Design. I photographed the processes and listed step-by-step instructions. I attended the TLC workshops on setting up blogs, e-portfolios, learning objects, DID, and enhanced podcasts. I discovered that I could not post the tutorial pdfs directly to the blog, so I learned how to set up an e-portfolio for downloads. This proved helpful since I was then also able to post student work samples fairly easily. This was a big request from my current students, to view work samples by other students in addition to my in-class lectures.

Addressing the conceptual aspect of the blog, I posted my report and images from The 2007 Southern Graphics Council Printmaking Conference. The conference is held every year; several thousand people attend and address the academic, technical and conceptual aspects of printmaking. Having presented a paper there, I posted an excerpt from it with examples of Fine Art student Brian Carroll’s work.

I finalized the screen print tutorials during semester break and uploaded them to the e-portfolio for the spring semester courses. In addition to the screen print tutorials, I created one to support a process in Printmaking I (lithography), and included resources for general aspects such as paper selection, shared tutorials, and the lab schedule.

Links to the comprehensive resource page on the Los Angeles Printmaking Society website, Youtube do-it-at home printing movies, the LAPS 19th National Printmaking Exhibition at the Art Museum, and a MOMA Flash printmaking demo have proved to be very popular items on the blog. I realized quickly that linking to actual videos was an excellent method for the students and added links that showed technical expertise. From Jennifer Lee:

"I clicked on your second link and started to wonder where the ball grains were. You can’t even find one in that picture but it says that it’s a Ball Grained Aluminum Plate so it’s kind of like “O, okay. I checked out the youtube video. That was way more informative than the picture. wow even though pictures speak a million words, videos speak quadruple that!”

More tutorials are in progress now in the form of enhanced podcasts and video since that seems to be very effective.

Linda Dare and I met in February 2008 regarding resources for Letterpress on the blog. I set up a section for the Lab Press, connecting to book arts in the library, and made pdfs and images for some of the bookbinding tutorials that Rebecca Chamlee had created. Linda has now decided to do her own Lab Press blog after seeing this one in action. Regarding book arts, a post I entered on “”, (a way to visually catalog your home library) proved to be very helpful and fun to many students alerting me that such general art/technology related items that I was interested were very welcome. In class several students created their own libraries and showed me the ones that had made at home.

In March 2008 I formally requested feedback from the Otis students, though they had been informally submitting feedback since December when the main info had gone online. The response was positive and I received comments both on the blog, via e-mail and in class, interview style. The blog seemed to generate a desire to learn more and I had requests to:
- Post books and artists that I am inspired by
- What comes next? Jobs, careers in the print world, where to print after graduation?
- More supply sources-local, for non-drivers
- Where designers can goto get their work print in bulk for large
- “How-to” info

In summary, this blog is a work in progress and is now beginning to have a life of it’s own. I had a post and recommended link to an online demo from a printshop in the U.K., that my students loved. Students have reported downloading the tutorials if they were working in the lab outside of class for support. I have observed my students discussing the blog posts in class and swapping info, artists, and resources based on what they saw there. With students from Fine Arts, CommArts, Digital Media, Photography, and IPD in my classes, I find that this is the most satisfactory aspect of this process, hearing this type of cross-departmental dialog related to the print. This type of sharing of info on and off the blog is what I had hoped for, in addition to my postings. I look forward to continuing with the blog updates and to what others post as well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Teacher's Buzz on Otis Island

As part of the NMC Teacher's Buzz on Feb. 18, Associate Professor Michael Wright hosted a group of teachers on Otis Island in Second Life. They toured the work of his students, viewed a slideshow, and asked questions. Complete report describing the course projects is here and here.

See also: Strangers in Strange Lands from the NMC Campus Observer.
More images here and here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Talking about Web 2.0

I'm working on a presentation for people at people at Otis about the participatory web using the tools of Google Docs. I first made a webpage "white paper" posted here to be read in advance. I then created a presentation which is embedded below.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

History of Graphic Design Wiki

Report on Instructional Technology Grant
by Kerri Steinberg

My motivation for applying for an Instructional Technology Grant was simple: each spring semester I teach three sections of the History of Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising—three histories which must be woven together within the structure of a fifteen week course.

This is a tall order, to be sure. To attempt adding additional points of interest to the class, like guest speakers or videos, requires letting go of something else. For several years, I was intent upon finding a way to integrate some of the fascinating sources related to the history of graphic design, illustration, and advertising contained within the Otis Library Special Collection into my class, providing students an opportunity to see what the history we were reading and talking about looked like in actual sources, some of which date back to the Medieval period.

Establishing an Otis History of Graphic Design wiki was just the solution. During the spring semester of 2007, the Communication Arts sophomores, all of whom are required to take the History of Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising, initiated three Otis College History of Graphic Design wikis. In preparation for the wiki project, I surveyed the sources held within Otis Library Special Collections, and identified those which I believed would be most useful for the project. From there, the students within my three classes were divided into four groups for the purposes of specializing in a particular era of graphic design history.

These periods include: 1) the Pre-Industrial—Medieval and Renaissance graphic arts; 2) the Industrial—19th century Graphic Design; 3)Modern Graphic Design: 1900-1935; and 4)Modern Graphic Design: 1935-1970. The navigation page for each wiki provides links to a timeline, historical overview, discussion of technology, design issues, the special collection sources for each respective period, and a bibliography. Ideally, the timeline should serve as an index to meaningful historical, technological, and design issues, which are then evidenced in the analysis of the special collection sources.

The beauty of the wiki project, as I saw it, was to allow each group to acquire more familiarity and depth within their respective areas, offsetting the inevitable “survey” approach followed in a fifteen work course. Moreover, I wanted students to take a more active role in their learning, and to understand themselves not only as consumers of history and content, but also as producers of history and meaning. In fact, this outcome—to have students regard themselves as generators of meaning—coincides with various articles the students read over the semester relating to issues of authorship and responsibility. Essentially, students were asked to step into different shoes—more professional “kicks”—as they began constructing their own histories from the ground up.

Not being much of a technology maven, I awaited the results with baited breath. As the wikis started to blossom, I soon realized that I was in way over my head, for essentially, I had put myself in a position of needing to manage the contributions of 85 students. I quickly realized that I should have started small, and then grown the project. And, most significantly, developing three wikis according to the same goals now strikes me as superfluous; at the time, however, I couldn’t imagine a way to involve all of my students. As for the quality of the wikis, I found the results to be quite uneven. This can be attributed to several factors: some groups simply weren’t able to effectively manage the wiki software, resulting in formatting complications. Others didn’t follow the basic standards for academic writing, resulting in insufficient citations, or poor grammar. Some groups followed all of the guidelines for developing a substantive discussion of the historical context, technological and design issues, but then failed to pull all of this together in their consideration of the Otis Library Special Collections.

On the flip side, there were a couple of groups that took their charge quite seriously, and were motivated by the knowledge that their work could be accessed by the public. I now find myself in a place where I must help the students pair down the three wikis, and to consolidate the three extant wikis into one. Consequently, this academic year (2007-2008), my Communication Arts sophomores are, once again, returning to the wiki project, but this time, with the purpose of editing, revising, consolidating, and extending the current wiki. Each of my three classes will be assigned a discrete period (i.e. one of the four chronological periods mentioned above), and will be required to review the material currently posted under each of the wikis. Again, the class will be divided into four groups, this time corresponding with the different categories on the navigation page. Each group will be responsible for organizing the material under a particular category. They will retain the best information, insert citations where necessary, look for opportunities to create useful external links to helpful websites, online museums, dictionaries, etc., create internal links, and clean-up formatting inconsistencies.

The opportunities for this wiki are limitless. In the future, I can imagine asking students to feature biographies of important figures within the history of graphic design, illustration, and advertising, and also including a space where students will elaborate on contemporary issues affecting the art and design community. I am hopeful that by the end of this academic year, or by the beginning of the next academic year, we will have a single, fluid, Otis History of Graphic Design wiki, which will serve as an excellent reference not only for the Communication Arts students, but for the larger Otis student population.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Virtual Worlds Project

by Michael Wright, Associate Professor, Digital Media Department

During the Fall 2007 Semester, I
took three Classes of Otis digital sophomore students into the virtual world of “Second Life” where they developed and created content based on a class-developed theme.

The project, which was created on the Otis Island, required team building, out of the box creative thinking, introducing students to working with 3d & 2d virtual tools, working with a budget (3000 lindens per class), and working with a limited amount of building blocks (3100 primitives per class). Each team/class developed a production pipeline and a theme for there area. Three hours of in-class time and 10 hours of outside of class time were devoted to this project. None of the 55 students had second life experience.

They were required to learn perpriatory software to engage in the process. The process required students to create and design their own personal avatar. After creating the avatar each had to manage to get to Otis Island at an assigned time. At the island they were given brief introduction to movement, flying and building. The production pipeline began with brainstorming sessions. Once the themes were established the teams went to work creating content for their individual areas. The themes developed were “Heaven and Hell”, “Pirates and Atlantis” and “Lost World and Mythology”. The results of this project can be viewed in world, Second Life, at the Otis Island
(128,128,0) through the month of January 2008.
A formal assessment of the project will be published soon.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Art History Wiki

by Parme Giuntini, Director, Art History

Last January I received an Instructional Technology Grant so I could help the Honors Students develop a Modern Art wiki which would include a timeline for modern art. They would do this work in conjunction with their Modern Art course that semester. The wiki would become part of an ongoing assignment in the Honors course with the ultimate goal of opening it to the public.

I had never worked with wikis before and needed to learn how to structure them and post material. I did this in the early spring, practicing in both Wikipedia and eventually developing the format for the Modern Art wiki that my students would use. The TLC has developed more workshops and instructional material in the past year that I wish had been available when I was initially learning about wikis. Since I was learning and teaching at the same time, I don’t think that I ended up with as strong background in wiki formatting as I would have liked and I will have to devote more time to that in Spring 2008 when my next Honors class begins work on the wiki. Along with the students, I learned what kinds of modifications I would want to make and that would be the focus of my work on the wiki in 2008. I think that this is probably rather typical of anyone using a new 2.0 technology. Initially, I was content to follow the model; now I want to adjust that model to more specific parameters.

By mid-semester 2007 I had a working wiki format and students were posting material. They developed the timeline working collaboratively on 20 year segments during the first half of the semester and focusing on a particular issue/artist/work during the second half. They presented their final work in the wiki within the class in week 14.

Since the Modern Art classes had shifted from a textbook to readers, the wiki would provide both chronological information and an opportunity for students to participate in identifying, organizing, and developing material, especially the inclusion of historical and popular culture information which is an important feature of their course.

At the close of the course, the students evaluated their work on the wiki. They agreed that creating the timeline was the most valuable part of the assignment although they didn’t find the actual work especially interesting since it involved a lot of cutting and pasting from other sources. Although incomplete, it was an important starting point and, since many of the other Foundation students asked for some kind of available chronology, it filled an existing need. Finding information for the timeline meant that they had to research a variety of sources beyond traditional art history resources. Many of them investigated museum and educational sites to see how other online timelines were constructed and, as a result of that, made suggestions that the following year’s Honors class could consider. The students found the individual wiki writing assignments to be more interesting since there was more of an opportunity for individual expression.

As a result of their work and suggestions, the wiki assignment will stay in the Honors course although it will not be the only writing assignment. Optimally, the wiki should be opened to the Otis student population but this would entail some regular supervision since students could use this as a source. One option would be to make this a recurring responsibility of the Honors class for the year which would be a interesting opportunity for them to get experience in research and editing. Students from the mainstream Modern Art courses would be encouraged to participate and there is the possibility that such participation could be a course assignment. At this time, however, the syllabus is already finalized so it would not be considered until 2009. It is also possible that the other two Honors instructors would like to include the wiki as part of their class assignments in which case, the students would be including information on literature as well as popular culture.