Monday, November 11, 2013

Everything's a Resume?

Our students will be working to craft a resume for their "About Me/Bio" page of their website. They will use a variety of resources such as:
BUT... there is more to a resume in the digital age than typing on a piece of paper.
Rhetoric Soup Blog
Students will visit RhetoricSoup' Blog to explore the larger issues of resumes in a digital age:

PLUS - check this weekend's NY Times article, "They Loved Your GPA Then They Saw Your Tweets!"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Working on Websites

Students are involved in "Digital Composition" by building a website! This composition involves writing, of course, but it is so much more: selecting and arranging materials, graphic design, visual rhetoric, addressing an audience, presenting a persona, creating a mood, providing a path of navigation, etc. Here is a general breakdown of the students' web project:


  • Students familiarized themselves with the tools and medium through tutorials and experiments using our class tool, Weebly
  • They described what their website would be like, and storyboarded the web pages. 
  • They investigated TIME's Top Websites and identified best practices for web design - PLUS they will use the list of Web Design Elements & Best Practices at Smashing Magazine to make a list of best practices for their own site-building.

Creating Content!

  • Students will incorporate in their site a broad selection from the following elements: photo galleries, slide shows, prose writing, links to external content, blog integration, resume, video links, social media connections,etc.
  • Students will create the following "pages" in their sites:
    • Welcome/Home/Landing Page
    • Feature Page (focus on a topic of interest selected by the student)
    • Bio/Resume/About Me Page
    • Blog Page (or link)
    • Portfolio Page
Links and discussions will appear on their blogs throughout the construction process.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Makes a Website Great?

Students will Explore websites from TIME's List of 50 Best Websites - and will choose 3 websites from different categories to examine and compare.
Students will use an analytical chart to discover what "works" for these websites in the following categories:
  1. Basic Aesthetic Design
    1. PARC
    2. Color
    3. Fonts/Type
  2. Content and Delivery
  3. Visual Best Practices
  4. Verbal (Textual) Best Practices
  5. Organization and Functionality
  6. Interactivity
Students will discuss their findings in a blog post - and will, with the collaboration of the class, develop a list of "best practices" from their research. They will use this list to inform the composition of their own website project.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Measure Twice, Cut Once: Website Planning

Rome wasn't built in a day!

Neither was NYC, Paris, or Vegas.


So, before CM412 students embark on constructing a website, they will do some imagining, decision-making, idea-gathering, brainstorming and other planning.

Each student will post a blog entry describing what they want the website to be, do, say, show, etc. They will refer to the planning module they worked through in Weebly, as well as to their simple storyboard for the site. They will make notes of ideas they gleaned from other sites, important info they want to include, and more.

After completing the project, students will look back on this entry to discuss how these ideas guided the website development, what ideas were changed or added during the construction process, and how effectively the website accomplished the first stated goals of the site.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Making "Meaning" in Video Production

Students will look at Semiotics, Rhetorical analysis and "meaning-making" in video - considering use of colors, type faces, camera angles, selection of shots, editing considerations etc. and will post their thoughts on examples such as these:

The Brady Bunch Intro

The (original) Law & Order Intro

D.O.A. (film noir)

Students will post reflections in their blogs on these and other film/video selections.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reminders for Smart Shooting

Students in CM412 will be shooting more "B-roll," establishing shots, cut-to shots, and interviews. As they proceed to move toward post-production, they will keep a couple of rules in mind.

First: the Rule of Thirds!

Second: the 180 Rule!

Students will take their collected video, photos, fx and audio into post-production soon! Watch for updates!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pitching the Storyboard

We looked at "The Art of Storyboarding" in our introduction to Storyboards and Video Production Planning. We made note that the storyboard is the first thing we must complete in a video project, since it will guide the entire production (and post-production.) Students will pitch their storyboard, get feedback, discuss options, and incorporate revisions and improvements in their plans.

Students can see the 1943 Storyboard Pitch for Disney's Lady & The Tramp as reconstructed from actual scripts and photos here: Lady & The Tramp Storyboard

But perhaps a more useful example is this example for a short animation of "Heroes & Villains." Happy Pitching!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Not Barney Stinson, but...

Your personal introduction video clip may not be this awesome:

But, CM412 students are making a compelling introduction video to include in their websites, portfolios - and yes, possibly in their digital resumes!

They will incorporate their knowledge of design principles, camera work, use of materials, video editing and more to produce a clear and cogent storyboard from which they will build a shot list for production.

Completed video clips will be posted on their blogs first, then incorporated into their other digital projects.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Shot the Sheriff... with two cameras and several angles

Students will put together their knowledge of their digital video "vocabulary" (and their skills at shooting and editing) o prepare an introductory video for their blogs, websites, portfolios, etc.

During this project, they will review class materials such as:
CC 0.0 (public domain) Photo from Pixabay!
  1. Various camera shots and angles
  2. Interview Do's & Don't's
  3. More Interview Tips
  4. Writing the Interview Questions
  5. Shooting B-roll interview filler
  6. Storyboarding
Before directing the shoot, students will storyboard their project, compile interview questions, create a shot list assign roles, set-up the shoot, review equipment, weather, lighting and other considerations.

Then... they will direct, shoot and edit a great introduction video!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Careful Where You Point That Thing!

Digital Literacies students will be building a repertoire of basic camera shots and angles in preparation to shoot some "B-roll" in the field. Students will review the Basic Shots and Angles worksheet.

Students will check out the free tutorials and examples of various camera shots at the Atomic Learning page here:

Students will also review the free "Rules" tutorials and examples at the Atomic Learning page here:

Students will be prepared to:
  • complete a Quiz on the vocabulary of angles and shots, and 
  • apply their learning to an "in the field" project wherein students will create "footage" from a number of angles as illustrated in this web page 
  • Students will compile their shots into a "Shots Samples Video" -using titles for each clip- and post finished video on their blogs by Tuesday midnight..

Sample for Baseball Opening

Digital Literacies students worked on a project to learn and apply various elements of video editing available in Premiere Pro. They were given a music sample and flag video clip (licensed for educational use from Video Blocks,) along with three still images (public domain from the Library of Congress.) They put these together to make an introduction/opening for a documentary about baseball. The instructor's "quick and dirty" sample looks like this:

Some of the tasks I completed while making this clip:
  • cutting a video clip into two segments
  • dropping in a music clip for background
  • shortening a music clip
  • "fading out" a music clip
  • adding title
  • adding photos and resizing photos for frame
  • fading in - and out - title
  • fading in photos
  • cross-fading between photos
  • "Ken Burns" Effect - rough cut - on still photos
  • fading video to black
  • and more...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Video Editing Basics

Digital Literacies students will tackle the software to edit video - with a view to producing their own video projects for the course. While editing software is only a tool - and is useless or worse without guiding principles of design and communication - tools are still important. Tools shape the "rhetoric" of our compositions. (See comments from Kittler on Nietzsche's typewriter.) So - Students will delve into learning the tools by:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gathering Digital Material While Ye May

Our Digital Literacies Students are gathering a few digital pieces for their inaugural video editing samples. Here are some sources they are likely to find some useful pieces to work with:
 Of course, students will not the creator/author/producer, and the site where the arifact was obtained, as well as the license under which the material can be used.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sometimes Free Stuff is Really Free, But...

In our CM412 class (Intro to Digital Literacies II,) we will be tackling video editing soon. In preparation, we will explore some places we can find music, video, and images that we can use without threat of lawsuit. So, let's get underway by:
  1. Learning a bit about Copyright - and copyleft, and public domain, and Commons licenses. visit a blog entry here that will provide you with resources to understand these issues:
  2. Exploring some permission-granted resources (Audio, Video & Images) at the Rhetoric Soup website:
  3. Gathering material into a central location (folder, flashdrive, cloud location,etc.) to be used for a Sample Editing project - a 30-60 second commercial.
  4. Documenting the source for each picture, song, video clip, etc. - noting the source, the author, the license, etc.
 So... get to gathering, but remember that not all free stuff is free. (And there is nosuch thing as Google images.)  Just ask Buddy the Elf.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 - The Year We Make Contact?

Welcome, digital literati of the 21st-century!
You will use this spot to check for assignments, find documents and other media, to link to your colleagues blogs, and to form a mini-network of fellow digital composers. (So, yes, in a way, we will make contact - with a brave new digital world!) Let's get started with a simple assignment that will help us connect to each other and establish a place to express our digital creativity:

Digi Lit II Students - Take Note - Complete Before Friday's Class:
Getting Started with Blogger

  1. Create a Blogger blog and customize it to your selection of colors, etc. (You will revisit and redesign it many times throughout the course - so just get something you like that is easy to use and easy to read.)  
  2. Watch the Video below. Then think about these questions:
    • What is my experience with digital media - e.g. blogs, websites, social networks, etc.? Particularly with digital video?
    • How has my world changed since the introduction of YouTube? Can you categorize and describe some of these changes?
    •  How is online video (YouTube, Hulu, Amazon, Vimeo, etc.) different than television?
    • What are some implications (social, spiritual, educational, professional, etc.) related to the brave new digital age that is shaped by our online connections, including video?
After watching the video and considering the questions - post your first blog entry about your thoughts.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Showing Off: Portfolios and Rationales

Students will compile complete their work for Intro to Digital Literacies I by compiling their work in a "digital portfolio," complete with "rationales" for their projects.

Photo from


The Portfolio will include examples of:
  1. Rhetorical Analysis of a Digital Media artifact
  2. Design Analysis of a Digital or Print artifact
  3. Original Digital Photography composition
  4. Digital Print Design project
  5. Digital Presentation slide design
  6. Blog Design (visual and interactive elements)


Each example will be accompanied by a written explanation of the sample, a description of the production process, and a discussion of all considerations that went into the design. The rationale is the opportunity for the student to explain their learning to thei blog audience, which may include faculty, family, colleagues and potential employers.


The Portfolio will be delivered via the student's blog - either as blog entries OR as a separate page on the blog. Entries may be labeled Portfolio Entry #1, Portfolio Entry #2, etc. and will include images, links, screen caps, video, etc. needed for the examples, with the written rationale accompanying the examples.

The portfolio will be shared with colleagues during the final exam period, and will be available to the student for research, reference, and other use after the class ends.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fair Use and Copyrighted Materials

Students will explore the issues of copyright and legal use of copyrighted materials in connection with Section 107 of the  U.S. Copyright Code, which reads, in part:

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.
  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
 While students will use, for the majority of their work, images that are in the public domain, or that are licensed under a Creative Commons license, they may, from time to time, find it is necessary to use a copyrighted image in their educational multimodal compositions. In these instances, students are expected to write and attach an explanation in keeping with the "Fair Use" section of the copyright law.

They can find more info at Wikipedia, or at the US Copyright site.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More PowerPoint Design Tips

If you haven't visited Garth Reynolds' Presentation Zen blog, then it is time for you to do so.

Reynolds' blog offers a plethora of insightful advice to help you make your presentations more engaging, effective, and awesomer. For example, look at how he encourages a fresh look at a tired  slide in this entry:

Visit his website for more tutorials here:
You can (and should) download a .pdf of his handout for "How to Design & Deliver Presentations Like a Pro."  ALSO - note that we have copies of reynolds' books in our library at Limestone - check them out! (Literally, check them out.)

It was through a Presentation Zen blog entry that I first ran across this great video on "The Art of Storyboarding," which illustrates the power of planning your presentation, whether it be a movie, slide show, or event.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fixing the "PowerPoint Problem" - Part II: The Slide Design

Let's start re-imagining how to do slides - without the influence of templates and common practices.

Assertion-Evidence Slide Design:

SlideShare for ideas:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fixing the "PowerPoint Problem" - Part 1: Presentation

PowerPoint can be dreadful. In the hands of the wrong person (which is most of the people who use PowerPoint) it can drive audience members to a point near screaming at the top of their lungs while trashing the meeting room. But the problem is not in the program. The problem is in the designers and users.

Students will address the "PowerPoint" problem in a two-pronged attack: 1) Thinking creatively about presentation design, and 2) Doing better slide design. In the first session, students will explore an innovative approach to presentation called Pecha Kucha. They will review articles and examples in the sites below - and will work toward story-boarding a creative presentation using this genre.

  1. Get to the PowerPoint (Wired magazine)
  2. Pecha Kucha and the Art of Liberating Constraints (Presentation Zen)
  3. All Talk (Time Magazine)
  4. A Primer on Pecha Kucha (The Bamboo Project) 

Students will explore these resources and write a brief reflection on each, discussing the origins of Pecha Kucha, its uses in various settings, its advantages, tips, etc. They will then look at examples of Pecha Kucha in action around the world: - and close-by:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Midterm-ish Exam

As a way for students to display their learning and to exhibit their analytical skills, they will engage in a Mid-term exercise where by they perform a full and complete Design and Rhetorical/Semiotic Analysis of a Print Ad. This will require research into the context of the ad, as well as application of their understanding of fonts, colors, images, etc.

Each student will be assigned one of the following examples as the focus of analysis:
  1. American Cancer Society: Michael Douglas
  2. Water is Life: Grapefruit
  3. IKEA: Valentine's Day
  4. Toyota: Rock Slide
  5. PlayStation: Beach Grenade
  6. Israir Travel Agency: Jeep
Students will use their Design and Semiotic/Rhetorical Analysis Worksheets to show off their mad analytical skills and considerable communicatin' knowledge!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Movie Posters Project

Students will adopt a book on digital literacies, social media, or design from the collection at Limestone's A.J Eastwood Library and will imagine the book being made into a movie. They will create iterations of three or more movie posters imagining the movie as different genres (comedy, action, mystery, crime drama, documentary, love story, etc.) and will compose "movie posters" that utilize all their existing skills and knowledge on issues such as:
  • Fonts and Types
  • Color Theory
  • Basic Design Principles
  • Digital Photography Principles
  • Image Editing
  • Rhetoric of Framing
  • Semiotics, and more...
They might glean ideas from sites such as Fandango, IMDB,, etc. but will also explore the design of great movie posters from the past at Paste's The Top 100 Movie Posters of All Time, and Salon's 50 Beautiful Movie Posters.

Limestone's library has many books that would make ideal movie treatment topics - some sample titles are listed in this ad:

Each Student will produce a project that meets these criteria:
  • 3 posters – each a different “take” on the same book.
  • Posters should be printed in "tabloid" or "ledger" size - 11"x17" and may be either landscape or portrait in orientation.
  • 1 poster must include original photography taken by YOU.
  • 1 poster must feature a “legal use” image – with credit given, license identified, and source cited.
  • Design consideration should be given to EACH element identified on the full Design/Semiotic/Rhetorical Analysis sheet.
  • The Posters will be accompanied by a written “rationale” explaining your process, how your design(s) address the elements on the Design/Semiotic/Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet, skills you’ve learned and applied, etc. Each rationale should be expressive and complete, but each should be limited to 500 words or less.
  • All 3 complete drafts due Wednesday, March 20 for workshop and review.  
  • Final Drafts to be presented, with rationales, to the class on Monday, March 25.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Analyzing & Imitating Style

Students will look at this print ad piece as an artifact to be analyzed, and as an exemplar for reflecting style.

Students will use an expanded Design Analysis Worksheet to analyze design principles of Contrast, Repetition, Proximity and Alignment,as well as Font/Type issues of Consistency, Contrast and Conflict. - and discussion of color as related to meaning, mood, complementarity, etc.

Students will also invent an ad that displays similar style considerations, e.g. use of fonts, alignments, image, proximity, etc. They will use images that have proper legal permission for use, such as public domain, creative commons, copy-left, etc. They will find an abundance of resources prepared for them at Dr. Nick's Delicious Links.  (They may especially like MorgueFile.)

They will post their creations alongside the original, along with thoughts from their analyses on their blogs. 

They will also post a separate blog entry with brief descriptions of various licenses for digital images, such as:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Imitation is the highest form of... design?

Our Digital Literacies Students are engaging design principles by imitation... to learn the ins and outs of their software. Here are a couple of project you might want to try...


Imitate this poster...

by using this picture and this picture.


And imitate THIS ONE...

by using this image - and this image..

And while you're at it - pick a color used in one of these designs - or in a design of your choice - and think about what colors "mean" in design.  Explore this interactive site to learn about complimentary colors, split compliments, use of colors as symbols, etc...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Best Blogging Practices

Here are some examples of comments from students on sample blogs they investigated:
  • Game On - pictures, video, good mouse-over information, tabs easy for navigating, good contrasts in design colors, content had relevant and plentiful information -Zach
  • Domino's (actually NOT a top blog - but a "blog we could do without")- video demonstrated quality of their product, games, apps, lots of videos, a lot going on,  can share on Facebook and twitter, etc. -Nolan
  • Basketball Jones - Lots of Sports good title, very up-to-date, outlooks on different teams, audio (podcast), videos, photos, news, good name - Anthony
  • The Everywhereist - good conversational style - but used offensive language, easy to navigate, photos,engaging stories - Keri
Based on a study of the Web's "Best Blogs" as exemplars, we compiled a list of "things to look for" in making a good blog - sorting the factors into two categories: visual and verbal.

Easy Navigation
Visual Navigation
Photos, photos, photos
Easy to read font
Good use of white space (not too busy)
Cool logo –
Simple is sometimes better
Social Networking connections

Good Title
Speaks to a topic of interest
Provides detailed information to readers
Useful and relevant links to other resources
Short, but GOOD writing
Provides more detailed info for interested readers
Gives a “behind the scenes” angle
Up-to-date (fresh) content
Connected to other related blogs
Easy access to earlier posts
Identifies blog content by category
Good grammar and writing

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Exploring New Digital Literacies

Our students have dealt with some interesting new approaches to how technologies are shifting and growing to accommodate the literacies demanded in our new digital world. One such example was the "searchable videos" at TED Talks, where a viewer can search the transcript and go directly to that part of a digital talk. You might explore this technology by viewing this talk by Kevin Kelly on technology. (Turn on the transcript in your choice of languages and follow along.)

We will also be exploring how a classroom incorporates real-time digital devices by using Via Response. The students will log-in to to access this digital enhancement of our course. (This element of the course can be accessed by smartphones, tablets, laptops - or even our lab desktop computers, which we will be using mostly.)

AND... since our Digital Literacies Students are now becoming bloggers, they will work together to answer the question, "What Makes a Good Blog?" by exploring the top blogs of the last couple of years:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blogging: It's What's for Dinner!

In class, CM 410 listened to Arcade Fire's "We Used to Wait," and began discussing the shifts from literacies of the page to literacies of the screen. They explored the interactive version of the song via "The Wilderness Downtown Project," and discussed how "being connected" affects our lives.

Over the weekend, our bloggers will be expanding the functionality of their blogs by adding active blog lists of their fellow CM410 bloggers, and will be posting some reflections on a couple of important articles about digital literacies.

I wouldn't be surprised if some even begin adding other gadgets, like quotes or weather or news - and maybe even adding images to their blog entries. At the very least, they will add hyperlinks to their readings, such as the ones to these articles:

It should be interesting to see what a weekend will bring with our digital explorers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Springing (digitally) into 2013

The adventure of Digital Literacies begins... 

You are entering the wild world of Digital Literacies for the first time - Welcome!

We will use this blog space - and your connected blogs - for our ongoing class discussion this term. You will link your blogs to those in your class - but you can come here to see what students in the other section are doing - and what those who've gone before have done.

Digi Lit I (CM 410) Students - Take Note - Complete Before Friday's Class:
Getting Started with Blogger

  1. Create a Blogger blog and customize it to your selection of colors, etc. (You will revisit and redesign it many times throughout the course - so just get something you like that is easy to use and easy to read.)  
  2. Watch the Video below. Then think about these questions:
    • When you were a young child, what did you imagine the future would be like? What inventions, improvements, changes?
    • Which of these things have come about so far? Which of these things have not come about? Do you expect some other facets of your vision of the future will come about soon?
    • What things developed that you would never have imagined as a child? What would the "child you" think of this future?
    • What is my experience with digital media - e.g. blogs, websites, social networks, etc.?
After watching the video and considering the questions - post your first blog entry about your thoughts.