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.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Artists Need Websites!

by Annetta Kapon
Assistant Chair, Graduate Studies in Fine Arts

I am taking a Web Design for Artists class at Side Street Projects in Pasadena. We still have two weeks to go. Ten Saturdays, three hours each. There are about 15 of us in the class, taught by Jean Hester with Linda England as the TA. The Otis TLC (bless their hearts) generously agreed to support me in learning this. We covered everything from planning, demographics of our audience, web architecture, style sheets and tables, inserting pictures, and other technical aspects. I have learned a lot, but unfortunately I am not in a position to build a website from scratch. It's all my fault, alas! The class required about 8 hours of homework per week, which I have not been able to do...

But that doesn't mean it was a waste of time! I learned and have been able to update my resume in my already existing website (, I've corrected some mistakes, and have added a scrolling text next to my artwork, all on my own. It is also my hope that since I have the theory and the textbook, I will be able to do some of the exercises later, when I have more time. And maybe I will arrange for a couple of private lessons with the teacher or the TA, to go over some specific things I want for my site.

I don't need to tell you how useful it is for an artist to have a (good) website and to be able to make simple additions. I've gotten at least two shows from the site, and, after all, it is the ONLY place where I have a retrospective of all my work! If you plan to have one, make sure the domain name is your name, so that people googling you can find you.

If you feel making a website is daunting or expensive, use the Otis e-portfolio spots: they are fantastically easy to use and change. I have an ongoing one called Grad Fine Arts Life where I post pictures of grad activities plus newsletters and links to students' work.

Note from Sue Maberry

The Online Learning Library is available for use by the Otis Community and it has great Dreamweaver lessons in QuickTime video. Just send an email to Shelley in the Library and she'll provide you with login info. We allow 3 weeks of usage--just like a book-- and it can be renewed if no one is in line for it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Michael Wesch Has Done It Again!

I just read Everything Is Miscellaneous myself and loved it. This is such a great representation of the concepts.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Jenny Holzer on YouTube

Video of a Holzer projection of the words of JFK and Theodore Roosevelt from the Kennedy Center onto Roosevelt Island in Washington, DC. September 2007.

Thanks to Jim Groom at bavatuesdays.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Finding a Light

In the Chronicle of Higher Education this morning, there is a review about a self-published book on teaching by Joe Hoyle, a David Meade White Distinguished Teaching Fellow at the University of Richmond. According to the review, it is a surprising source of some valuable insights on the college classroom. The full text of the book is available through his website. It's also available for $5. I'll print out a copy and put it in the TLC. Might be worth a look.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

If Wikipedia Was Printed...

Thanks to Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog, I found this visual representation of how much shelf space Wikipedia would actually take up in a Library. Bottom line: 1250 volumes.

Image was created by Nikola Smolenski and is available at Wikimedia Commons.

Test Your YouTube IQ

How many of these do YOU recognize?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New YouTube Course at Pitzer College

Just read an article at Inside Higher Ed this morning about my alma mater, Pitzer College, and Alexandra Juhasz's new course, “Learning From YouTube.” I'm not sure the actual YouTube videos will be that exciting, but the course itself seems like a fascinating experiment. It reminds me a bit of early video art. Here's a link to their channel.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Otis 2.0

I began experimenting this summer with creating a web 2.0 wiki at Otis so that everyone could simply add a link to their own blog or wiki on a list. Very shortly, I realized that the wiki should be broadened to include discussions and listings of tutorials among other things for the TLC. In other words, a more interactive space related to teaching-- particularly teaching with technology.

That wiki is now available. Editing by anyone within the Otis community. You are invited to contribute.

Otis Instructional Technologies Wiki

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Info Lit Video

The Teaching Learning Center is experimenting with creating YouTube videos to help teach info lit skills for freshmen in particular. Our most recent one features our own extraordinary art history Professor, Parme Giuntini discussing some of the criteria useful in determining whether the information found in periodicals is scholarly, popular, or professional. Although not really scripted, she has worked closely with me for years on teaching info lit skills to students in the first year required art history course. She spoke extemporaneously for 55 minutes and we edited it down to 10. James Olech, a recent Otis Fine Arts grad did the shooting and editing on the video.

This method of teaching Info Lit skills hold promise. We'll see how students like it this fall.

Our YouTube Channel is at:
You can also download the videos through the Apple Music Store iTunesU link.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Design Expertise Meets Creative Commons

An effective presentation created by Karl Fisch became a powerful video with the help of has now been transformed into an even more compelling video. Thanks to Xplane for their design expertise. This is a fantastic model of beneficial collaboration through creative commons.

Compare the new version of Did You Know/Shift Happens with the older version.

Older version:

Quote from the video: "The original version of this presentation was created for a Colorado (USA) high school staff of 150 in August of 2006 to start a conversation about what our students need to be successful in the 21st century. By June 2007 it had started more than 5 million conversations around the world."

For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit

Le Grand Content

You can use Powerpoint to answer all the questions of the universe including the meaning of life. Who knew? Thanks to D'Arcy Norman.

Seriously, this film by Clemens Kogler is a very interesting piece.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Insomnia and Student Videos

At the NMC conference, Apple screened the winner of their video contest for students where all videos were made in 24 hours. Phenomenal. View them here:

Saturday, June 02, 2007

YouTube as Learning Platform

Today I've been exploring instructional videos that are available on YouTube. There are a phenomenal number of really excellent ones. The two I've embedded here about wikis. The first explains what a wiki is and why you would use one. The second shows how to edit with Wikimedia which is the wiki software we use at Otis and the one used by Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Great RSS Tutorial

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Information Literacy Equation

Great slide show that Debra found. Notice also that it comes from SlideShare, a fabulous web tool.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Otis Faculty: Get Your Website Now!

For a long time, Guy Bennett wanted us to find a way for Otis faculty to easily make their own webpage or site.

Happily, the new Portfolio system turns out to be perfect for this. Just look what Guy created!

He needed a place to put things that he refers to in EVERY class without having to upload them repeatedly in the LMS. His site now includes resources he likes to recommend to his students such as online books and links to his own published writing. He could also put his resume or CV if he wished. He can now add to it or change it as often as he wants.

The e-portfolio system (called Spots by our vendor, Digication) is extremely flexible and allows you to upload all types of content as well as customize the interface with your own images and header. Each “spot” has a unique URL which links directly to your site. The templates are nicely designed and extremely easy to use. You could do it on your own, but if you would like assistance, Heather Cleary offers workshops through the TLC and is available for individual consultations.

Ready to try? Simply go to, login with your Xnumber and password, and click on the CREATE button. Then share yourself with the Otis Community!

Monday, March 12, 2007

NEW! Otis College Channel on YouTube

Using Fletcher Jones Foundation funding, over the past year, the TLC has been working with faculty to create podcasts and make them available on the Otis iTunesU site.

Recently, we have also begun to experiment with creating videos of faculty demonstrations for courses and putting them up on YouTube (in addition to iTunesU). To that end we have created an Otis College Channel on YouTube:

At present, you will find several videos there. One is Bob Mackie talking about why he likes working with Otis fashion students. There are others by Foundation faculty member, Christian Mounger, demonstrating “Value Step Scales Using Graphite.” More to come. Please subscribe to this channel.

Marc Meredith started a YouTube Channel quite awhile ago called Otis Admissions with some excellent videos from the Ben Maltz Gallery as well as student interviews. Eventually he will migrate those videos to the more inclusive Otis College Channel.

Many Otis students have put their own work on YouTube and tagged them “otis college.” They are really fun to watch.

By the way, Marc also has been creating an interesting blog called, The “O” Observed. Well worth a look!

Speaking of blogging, many faculty are also experimenting with blogs and wikis for classroom use. You’re welcome to take a look at some other Otis’ experiments within the world of Web 2.0 by clicking here. The TLC is also blogging at TLC Notes.

This is an exciting time for Otis as we watch its web presence spread into social networking sites.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mind Mapping to Support Creativity

Tony Buzan calls mind mapping a “swiss army knife for the brain.”

Mind Mapping software is being experimented with at Otis by Marcie Begleiter, for one. If you are interested to try it before investing in the software, there are 3 free web tools that you can use. A review of the free tools is available on the Web Worker Daily blog.

Friday, March 09, 2007

WACK! The Blog

One of the most innovative uses for a blog that I've ever seen is the MOCA blog for the WACK! exhibition . There's no website for the show, just the blog. Given that there are so many people who want to comment, and have stories to share, this is the perfect vehicle.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Next New Thing

Newcast from 1993 discussing a new phenomena, the Internet.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

My Second Life on the Submarine Channel

What an great website dedicated to showcasing new media! The Submarine Channel will be of interest to many departments at Otis. You'll find a mix of offbeat and original content including independent narrative short films, music videos, animations, and interviews with filmmakers.

There's a new feature called Forget the Film Watch the Titles, a collection of title sequences--examples of film credits including animation, motion graphics, and 3-D animations which elevate film titles to an art in itself. Although not a database where you look up all classic titles, it's still a wonderful resource.

I found the Submarine Channel through Angela A. Thomas' blog posting called Second Life Media. It was there I learned about a compelling experiment in digital storytelling. My Second Life is a mockumentary machinima. Apparently a man in California vanish, but a man of the same name mysteriously emerges from within the online world of Second Life. Released as a series of video diary "dispatches" by this Traveller, it's a lot of fun.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

This is a SplashCast show by Britt Bravo, a blogger and consultant who specializes in stories about individuals and and organizations who are creating social change. This show contains five videos created by nonprofits who use YouTube to distribute some incredible content.

Monday, February 19, 2007

An Amazing New Tool

I'd been hearing about this new Web 2.0 tool that lets you make audio visual presentations and then embedd them in your webpage or blog. Here is my first attempt.

To see the 8 items, roll your cursor over the top part of the frame and advance through each. Some are slides, some videos.

The Social Web at Work

Right away after my last posting, I received a comment from trickiniki telling me how to embed this video into my posting. How trickiniki found me, I have no idea. But it was very helpful. Thanks.

This is a great example of the social aspects of Web 2.0.

And, isn't it ironic how familiar that video feels...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Technologies

Although very interested in technology, I'm not really a technie. But, like you, I find myself continually having to learn new technologies and update stuff ALL THE TIME.

This morning I decided to update this blog and Blogger gave me the option of migrating to the new Google Blogger--with added functionality. Great, I thought, and hit UPGRADE. Worked fine. So I went about adding a new thing--my Delicious Links that you see on the left. Took a few minutes to figure out, But, no big problems.

Then I thought, I need a new post. I'd seen this great video on YouTube called "Introducing the Book" which is a humouous look at how nerve-wracking it is to adapt to new technologies using the book as the methaphor for a "new" technology. That would make a good quick post, I thought.


As I ususally do, I hit the "Post Video" link on YouTube which is all configured to simply and easily insert a video in this blog. "Your video will appear in your blog shortly," the message said. I waited.... And waited.... Nothing.

Eventally I noticed that I had a message in my YouTube inbox. (Actually, I didin't even realize I had an inbox.) It said: An error has occurred. Fault: UserMigratedException: The given Blogger account has been migrated to a Google Account on the new Blogger.

OK. I'll just edit my blog settings and all will be well, I thought. Again...WRONG!!!!!

As it turns out YouTube doesn't yet support posting to the new Google Blogger, but they "will be adding support for other blogging platforms and personal sites soon."

So, until that time, you actually have to click on the link to see "Introducing the Book."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

This is a brilliant learning object which explains about the Web and its impact on our lives. It's nothing like a typical screenshot tour, but rather an extremely creative visual representation of the subject.

It’s been one of the top viewed and most highly-ranked videos on YouTube for the past few weeks.