Friday, November 3, 2017

Drinking from the Digital Firehose

Students in Digital Literacies will be developing tactics to handle the constant deluge that is our modern digital reality. They will read: an Interview with Richard Lanham, and "Untangling the Web Through Digital Aggregation and Curation."

They will apply their knowledge into developing a strategy for handling the daily flood of digital information. They will polish heir social media profiles and set up HootSuite to handle their daily social media interactions.

Then, they will set up Flipboard to aggregate research from contemporary sources; then they will set up a Pinterest board to curate their relevant findings from the resources they discovered from Flipboard.

Their research topic for Aggregating and Curating is SOCIAL MEDIA.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Shaping Your Personal Brand in the Digital World

Students will be giving attention to how they "look" online. They will begin to shape and monitor their personal brand by analyzing and evaluating their digital presence.

  1. They will read this blog and view the video in the blog: RESUMES, DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS, and ONLINE ETHOS!
  2. They will use the BRAND YOURSELF tool (free version) to monitor and improve their online presence.

    • They will begin by completing the Brand Yourself Profile set-up.
    • They will run a report card and a social scan.
    • They will work through the steps (following the guidelines provided) to boost each site - paying SPECIAL ATTENTION to writing a good solid profile that communicates their BRAND VOICE. 
  3.  They will discuss their work in our next class.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Back to the Old Drawing Board

Students in CM410 have taken brand personality surveys, researched numerous approaches to website building, developed brand guidelines, built style sheets, and reflected on how their web presence can carry their personal "voices."

NOW, they will plan their websites by creating two pre-design tools:

First, a Site Map indicating all the components and content they want to publish on their websites.

Secondly, a Wire Frame of their home page indicating the layout of elements on the page.

They will also continue to experiment with 360 photography, and will click on links on the class website to check out just how much their iPhone knows about them...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Weekend Web Warriors

Our students are laying the groundwork for the "style" of their websites, social media and promotional materials. Here is what they will be doing:

First, they will survey some student websites for ideas and inspiration as to what they want (and what they don't want) in their own websites. They will make a list of features, information, layout ideas, and organization approaches from other student sites like these:
They will also revise their own Style Sheet / Brand Guidelines and reflect how they can incorporate their brand voice into the website they will build.

PLUS - they will practice showing their brand voice by REVISING / REDESIGNING their BLOGS! 

Of course, they will also be experimenting further with 360-3D photography by re-shooting their photo re-creations for Tuesday! For example: I re-shot one on my photos with Google Cardboard Camera, downloaded the image, and posed it in the website to make the embed code for viewing in my blog.

Tod Hido's Original Shot
My 2D re-creation

My 360 / 3D re-creation of the shot using cardboard camera.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

(Photographically) Channeling Hido and Baltz

Professor of Photography Brett Schenning visited our class to discuss photographic composition, and gave us this provocative exercise...

First assignment - appreciate and recreate Todd Hido's shot from "Excerpts from Silver Meadows"
Copyright Todd Hido
 Todd Hido discusses the "Excerpts from Silver Meadows" photos:

My attempt at recreating Hido's Photo:
without filter
with Instagram Filter
See also: 

Like Todd Hido, I drove around in my car, waiting to see the right sun at the right angle for the composition. I took a couple that worked - one from my moving car through the dirty driver's side window - and then this one, from the parking lot of a closed business. This allowed me to "frame" the shot with the windshield of my car. I splashed water on the window and shot with different focal points to vary the bokeh effect. Then, to imitate Hido, I used Instagram's Mayfair filter.


Next assignment: appreciate and recreate Lewis Baltz' shot from "The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California 1974"
Copyright Lewis Baltz

Lewis Baltz talks about his work in a video interview produced by the Tate:

My attempt to recreate the Baltz photo:

I drove around to several industrial buildings before settling on this shot - the side entrance to the massive delivery area of Hamrick Outlets in Gaffney. The vent lines echo (perpendicularly) the lines of the blinds in the Blatz photo, and the shadow play from the awning imitates Baltz use of the plants' shadows.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

For Fun: Some Cool Freegal Fotos

I avoided my go-to faves, and discovered some cool evocative images from other sites in our huge collection of Freegal Pics. Go ahead - click on them and explore their source sites!

from the National Archives
Autumn in the Hamlet Bornste (from Wikimedia Commons)
by Dietmar Rabich - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
The Fifties in 3D (From the National Archives UK)
Retro Fifties Lady from
Bicycle Leaning Against Yellow Wall from SplitShire
Sign Post on Tropic Island Beach by Ed Gregory from Stokpic

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Photographs and Personal Branding

CC 0 - from
Students in CM410 will tackle two different projects (which will come together beautifully in their next assignment.) hey will focus on demonstrating composition skills in photography - and will reflect on their own personalities, skills, interests and situations as they prepare to develop their own personal brands.

First, they will make notes from the professional photographer's presentation (found in the class website) - and will post a half dozen or more photos to illustrate the application of the rules and tips from the video.

Also, Students will consider these two short video clips on Photo Composition:

Second, the will read two articles from Forbes related to developing their personal brand (SWOT and Personal Branding) and post a blog entry on their responses to, and reflections on, the articles.
Photo credit: Limelight Leads via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ad Design Analysis (& Recreation)

Two Great Weekend Projects:

1. Students will complete a Design Analysis of several print ads for discussion and evaluation in Tuesday's class. Here are some sample ads (from BestAds) they will work from:

2. Students will use "Freegal" image sources and the graphics program of their choice to recreate a similar display ad (and ad for a product (real or fictitious) of their choice) plus a WIRED Magazine Cover!

Here are samples of recreating a cover and ad...

The ad on the left appeared on the back of the May 2016 issue of WIRED Magazine. The mock-up ad on the right was created in just a few minutes using the CC 1.0 photo "Male Beard Guy" (CC 1.0)
Photo via

 The cover on the left is from the March 2016 issue of WIRED Magazine. The mock up on the right was (sorta) done using the Public Domain (dedication) image "Cosmonautics Space Suit"
Photo via
Image resources can be found here on Dr. Nick's "Images for Multimedia Composition" Pinterest Board.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Best Blogs, Best Features, Best Practices

Digital Literacies Students are working on adding features, adjusting layouts, and improving design of their blogs this weekend.

In addition, the students will investigate several lists of "Best Blogs" from these (and other sources):

They will peruse the wide variety of blogs, observe how they function as a communication tool for a wide range of concerns, and see just what makes these blogs "the best."

Students will review a few or a few dozen blogs - and will select 3 blogs they find interesting, excellent, effective, beautiful, informative, etc.They will write a brief review of the three blogs they selected, and will provide a list of tips from each blog relating to these areas:
  1. Best Visual Practices (Design, color, use of photography, use of fonts, layout, etc.)
  2. Best Verbal Practices (Topic treatment, content, writing style, ethos, etc.)
  3. Digital User Experience (Navigation, interaction, collateral content, social connectivity, etc.)
Students will post their reviews and share their "best practice findings" on their blogs.

Here are NOTES we made during our evaluation of "best blog practices." (We will formalize these more as we continue to develop our blogs.)

Gonna See My Smiling Face on the Cover of the Rolling Stone!

"Cover of the Rolling Stone" was a novelty song written by humorist Shel Silverstein (famous for his book The Giving Tree, and his other novelty songs like "A Boy Named Sue.")
The "joke" of the song is that every rock group looks and acts very much like each other in order to get approval from the Rock and Roll Industry - and such an achievement is verified by the groups appearances on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine, the premiere publication of the music industry. The song was made famous by Dr. Hook an the Medicine Show, who put it on the charts in 1973.

The lyrics reveal some of the things "expected" of Rock and Roll groups to be accepted by the industry:
  • Song topics: Beauty, Truth
  • Making Money: 10k a show (trust me - it used be a lot of money)
  • Drugs
  • Groupies
  • Clothing (Embroidered Jeans - trust me - it was a thing)
  • Limos
  • Eastern Religions
But, in spite of all this, the group can't find acceptance and vaildation in the Rock and Roll community. (They can't get their picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone.)

Well, we're big rock singers
We got golden fingers
And we're loved everywhere we go (that sounds like us)
We sing about beauty and we sing about truth
At ten-thousand dollars a show (right)
We take all kinds of pills that give us all kind of thrills
But the thrill we've never known
Is the thrill that'll gitcha when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone
want to see my picture on the cover
(Stone)Wanna buy five copies for my mother (yes)
(Stone)Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone (that's a very very good idea)
I got a freaky ole lady name a cocaine Katy
Who embroideries on my jeans
I got my poor ole grey haired daddy
Drivin' my limousine
Now it's all designed to blow our minds
But our minds won't really be blown
Like the blow that'll gitcha when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone
want to see our pictures on the cover
(Stone) want to buy five copies for our mothers (yeah)
(Stone) want to see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone

(talking) Hey, I know how
Rock and roll
Ah, that's beautiful
We got a lot of little teenage blue eyed groupies
Who do anything we say
We got a genuine Indian Guru
Who's teaching us a better way
We got all the friends that money can buy
So we never have to be alone
And we keep getting richer but we can't get our picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone...
The ironic thing is, that once Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show have a hit with a song about not being able to get on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine, they make it! Rolling Stone puts the group on the magazine cover in March, 1973.

The interesting takeaway for this class is how the "culture industry" of old media (networks, film, publishers, radio, etc.) tends to homogenize cultural content. Music is a perfect example: each time period is dominated by music that sounds alike, groups that look alike, artists dance the same way, wear the same style clothes, etc. (Read Adorno for more on the Culture Industry.)

Compare this to Chris Anderson's comments (in The Long Tail) about how new media fractures the dominant style-setters with more agency, more choice etc.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WInnebago Man: From VHS to YouTube to Cult Hero


In 1988, a Winnebago Salesman named Jack Rebney went to shoot some promotional videos promoting the features of the new Winnebago Itasca Sunflyer models. It turned out to be one of those days when nothing goes right. Rebney had to do numerous retakes and expressed his frustration in outbursts that would make a sailor blush. Little did he know that the cameraman would keep these outtakes, and pass them to a friend or two on VHS tape.

The outbursts were so entertaining, the tapes were copied and shared and copied and shared, and Rebney became known as the Angriest Man in the World, or simply, The Winnebago Man. And, although already earning a cult following, The Winnebago Man video was the perfect kind of thing for the new video sharing service, YouTube. Rebney went VIRAL.


But what happens to Viral Video Stars like Rebney? Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer set off to see if the Winnebago Man could be found, and to learn what happened to him. The result is a full-length documentary film that premiered at SXSW and released in 2009. You can now see the whole bittersweet story of what happened to Jack Rebney by watching "The Winnebago Man" - (It's on Amazon and Netflix!)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hitchcock as Media Innovator

Over the summer I took a course on the films of Alfred Hitchcock from Ball State University and Turner Classic Movies. Did I find something that tied into our approach to new media? You bet your Bates Motel I did! Here is a mini-presentation I gave during the Fan Panels in the course. Note the principles in common with our course discussions on "What Makes New Media NEW."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Putting the Tour to the Test: refining the VR Experience

This week, our students are reviewing their "Beta" version of the VR Tour and making notes for improving the final version. Each student (along with outside reviewers) will share comments in their blog to be discussed in class, and will work together to address these issues in the VR Photo Shooting Plan.

One outside reviewer shared these thoughts:
  • Take more shots of Dixie Lodge student center, such as the billiards area, loung area, etc.
  • Take shots of other areas of of Dixie Lodge, such as mail room, student services, etc.
  • Take shots of other computer labs in Hamrick.
  • Take a shot of classroom in Montgomery.
  • Take a shot upstairs in Library.
  • Enter into the main floor entrance in Winnie Davis.
  • Take a shot of classroom in Winnie Davis.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ready, Aim, Shoot Video

In addition to working in VR this term, CM 412 Students have already produced several video pieces including: imitating a "series opener," using freegal footage for a themed piece, and a video vocabulary of shot types. They have also been reading the book "How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck," by Steve Stockman.

Movies are made with the MIND, not the camera or editing software!

Before they launch into producing video pieces for themselves and their clients, they are refreshing themselves on some basic concepts from our text that will help them "make movies with their minds" before shooting a frame. They will share "17 Nuggets of Video Making Truth" in their blogs, gleaning one principle, motto or concept from each of the first 17 chapters of our text.

And then, storyboarding, shots lists, and shooting begins for our final projects!

My take on 17 “Before the Shoot” Tidbits from How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck by Steve Stockman:

1.       Here we are now, entertain us!
2.       Have a clearly understood purpose.
3.       Tell a STORY.
4.       Get new creative ideas.
5.       Create for the Audience.
6.       Simple Storylines work best.
7.       Storyboard (in your head.)
8.       Every shot is a story within the story.
9.       Keep it Short, Stupid.
10.   Don’t tell too much.
11.   Prepare a Pitch for your video.
12.   Understand what your type of video does best.
13.   Understand the basic elements of your video type.
14.   Remove the guesswork, script it out.
15.   Get the most out of the least amount of words.
16.   “Unplanned” is not a good word.
17.   A shot list before shooting is like a grocery list before shopping.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Limestone College Campus VR Tour - Beta Version

Comm 412 students will roll out the Beta version of the Campus VR Tour on Friday, February 24 at the OpenHouse session. Here is a sneak peek of their prototype:

To see this VR Tour on yoru mobile device, laptop, desktop or in your Cardboard or Daydream or other VR headset, CLICK HERE.
To see this VR Tour in your GearVR headset, CLICK HERE. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Composing in 3D, 360, and Virtual Reality

We will be combining our learning, experiences and skills to build a Virtual reality Tour of the campus using TheViewer. Here is an idea of how the program interface "works" as a tour builder:

We plan to release the Beta version of the tour on Friday, February 24 at the Open House Session in Hamrick Hall Room 127. This Beta version will focus on the central campus and buildings facing the quad.

Students will use their Class Website to see more of the information, tutorials, and guidelines on composing in this dynamic emerging medium.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Making Movies!

Students will use Premiere Pro (and provided video, audio and photos) to recreate the 25-second introduction to a fictitious documentary called "Baseball: America's Pasttime."

In doing so, students will demonstrate their learning of the program interface, importing collateral, using photos, layers, timeline, transitions, effects, editing clips before and after insertion to the timeline, titling, the Ken Burns effect, and exporting to various video formats (in this case, a format suitable for YouTube.)

They will upload their videos to YouTube and embed them in their blogs (or upload them directly to their blogs) with additional prose commentary on the process.

(In follow-up projects, students will create a sample of camera shots, and a brief tutorial on tips to make video better.)

Students will build on the instruction in the classroom, but can find additional support at sites like these:

Adobe has some helpful links to instructions and video tutorials to help you get started HERE.

A couple of tutorials you might have particular interest in are these:
  1. Managing & Viewing Assets
  2. Dynamic Slide Shows (aka the "Ken Burns Effect")
MORE HELP Available at the Course Website!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year, New You (the online YOU, that is!)

A new term begins with a new look at our online presence.

As this blog and video indicate, our online presence is more visible, and more important, than we may realize. We will refresh our knowledge of our online presence tools, like Weebly and HootSuite, and will read an article titled "How to Design a Memorable Brand."

We will note the elements that will go into making the "brand" that represents us - then use tools like Canva, Spark, Endesign, Illustrator, Weebly, etc. to make the brand vision take shape. We will revamp our social media presences (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Etc.) and use our branding vision to reshape our websites.

After our "brand" is reflected in our online presences, we will begin to optimize our presences using BrandYourself to promote our online presence and remove negative search results.

All our resources for this phase of the course are included in our Class Website.The result of our efforts will be an online presence that is positive, authentic, and accessible to our audience.