Saturday, July 28, 2012

Multimodal: Been There, Done That

D.J. Scratching a Record
In my final text for my independent study, Jason Palmeri explores how  "[l]ong before the contemporary multimodal turn, compositionists have been articulating the deep interconnections between seeing and writing -- experimenting with ways that visual composing can help students both generate ideas for and consider revisions of alphabetic texts" (9-10). I wanted to read this book because I was drawn to his idea that today's composing, while there are different tools, is not the first time alphabetic texts have had competition for composing. I (along with many other educators) am leery of the advent of "brand new" theories, and Palmeri shows so well where we have been and how these old paths can and should inform our work today with digital technologies.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Little Details ...

I am at the stage with my Wordpress site where I am just tweaking things until I go live with it and get feedback and suggestions from my students.  I am looking at two aspects right now to wrap up before deciding I am ready to open it up to my classes in August:
  • Making it mobile
  • Linking it to our current database system

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Design Mind

The Non-Designer's Design Book
I have finished reading Robin Williams's design book, and while the prior four posts probably suffice for "enough said" about design, I want to wrap up by saying that Williams has shown me that I seem to have a natural flair for design.  There were a few moments in the prior posts when I had seemed to read her mind.  That continued to the end ...
  • I discovered in my contrast post that repetition was my favorite design principle and that I had founded my class site on it.  Well ... "While the same four basic principles I've mentioned over and over in this book (contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity) also apply to web design, repetition is one of the most important for a web site. The other three principles helps pages look good and make sense, but repetition lets your visitors know whether they're still in the same web site" (139). 
  • I also mentioned that I chose my theme because I wanted a horizontal navigation bar that was visible without scrolling.  well ... "Don't make visitors scroll to see the navigation links!" (140).
 Thanks for taking this design journey with me.

Book image source
Williams, Robin. The  Non-Designer's Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice. Third ed. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 2008. Print.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Design Principle #4: Contrast

Yellow Dot 1Yellow Dot 2Couch Contrast
"Contrast is created when two elements are different" (65).

"[C]reate some contrast ... their eyes will be attracted to certain parts ... as they skim ..." (72).

I am playing a bit of a contrast joke with my color choice for this principle. I chose blue as an accent color last semester on my first Google Sites page. Dr. Rodrigo kindly pointed out that this was not the best choice as most hyperlinks are in blue, so I was risking tricking my readers into thinking my blue words were hyperlinks. Blue therefore is a terrible example of contrast because "[i]f two items are not exactly the same, then make them different. Really different" (65).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Design Principle #3: Repetition

Green Leaf
 "Repeat some aspect of the design 
throughout the entire piece" (51).

Repetition is my favorite aspect of design. The ways you can do this overtly or subtly are very fun for me to play with. Repetition is definitely a design aspect with room for pushing the boundaries.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Can digital communication be real communication?

One-Sided Communication
This question has been on my mind for awhile.  I have written about it in myriad ways, from my course readings of Dick, McLuhan, Turkle and Baudrillard to my own personal discomfort with online interactions.  Through all of these posts, one thing remains as tough to solve for me as proving the Reimann Hypothesis: is the nature of digital communication defined foremost by its "digital-ness" or do personal tendencies have a defining role in digital communication?  Let me try to say it better: Are digital communications for extroverted and introverted people equally at risk for being shallow simply because the communication is digital?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Design Principle #2: Alignment

Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily. 
Every item should have visual connection with something else on the page (33).

I am a center-alignment user.  I admit it, and well, I can't deny it anyway because all you have to do is look at the post right below this one to see my center-alignment in action.  But that is about to change!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Design Principle #1: Proximity

"Items relating to each other should be grouped close together ...
This helps organize information, reduces clutter, and gives the reader a clear structure" (13).

My Class Homepage

Monday, July 9, 2012

Re-Viewing, Re-Working, Re-Visioning

Thanks to Dr. Rodrigo and her helpful comments, I have just ...
  • Asked 2 fellow teachers and 1 former student to give me feedback on the design and navigation of my in-progress Wordpress site.
  • Made and embedded a Google Form for adding to the class timeline.  I had no idea I could generate a form from an existing spreadsheet -- that is cool!  And Dr. Rodrigo is right -- the form is a much better interface than a spreadsheet.
    • Sadly, I discovered that making this Google form from my spreadsheet broke the timeline on my site.  I have experimented with this and learned that any adjustment to the Google spreadsheet template except deleting rows breaks the timeline in Wordpress.  So this good idea cannot be done, and I have fixed my timeline and re-posted the spreadsheet link.
  • Fixed my image sources since they were not all linked to the specific webpage where I got them.  I appreciate having Dr. Rodrigo see this mistake -- I thought I had the specific URLs but clearly did not for 2 of my images.  I also added the links to the MLA image sources here.
I also have firmed up my reading plans, having gotten all of my possibilities from ODU's ILL.  Here is my final list.  The first three are the same as my initial list, but the fourth one is new.

Brooding over Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard
This morning's task is to get my head around Jean Baudrillard's The Illusion of the End, my second reading for the summer.  This book is very different from Technologies of Wonder, as Baudrillard is a sociologist and philosopher looking at culture and society versus Delagrange, an academic looking at digital technology specifically.  So, this blog post will have two parts.  First, I am going to lay out my understanding of Baudrillard's philosophy of history, as history is the foundation of The Illusion of the End.  Then, my ultimate goal is to determine how Baudrillard applies to digital media work.