Monday, November 12, 2018

Using Internet Tools to Study Web Sources about Social Media

Talk about META...

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 25, 2018

Social Media Matters

In or recent class, Dr. Nichols shared about the increasing performance of maintaining a positive social media presence. Students are taking control of their online personas by branding the look and feel of their social media sites, by reviewing the content of their sites for red flags (mentioned in class), by WRITING A GOOD SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE BIO, and by preparing to connect all their social media sites in a communications dashboard.

Two resources students will find handy are the BrandYourself Definitive Guide to Personal Branding, and the HootSuite article "13 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Profiles."

Dr. Nichols has re-branded his sites as an exercise and example for students. You can link to this social media sites from his personal page,, or you can see his social media profile pages here - note the various profile bios stemming from centralized content, repeated phrases, common theme, taglines, etc.:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Build That Website!

CC 0 from
Students have investigated other personal websites, developed a brand guide / style sheet, and created wire frames and site maps in preparation for building their own websites. They have noted the content and features they want to include to illustrate their strengths as addressed to their potential audiences, and of the images, colors and other factors to represent their "brands" (personas) on the web. These sets of sketches will serve as their guides as they begin to build their web sites.

Each student has been assigned a Weebly Student Account, and have started web-building! Students will watch and work through the Weebly Beginner's Guide Video, and will refer to the Weebly Help section for Web-building.

Each student will incorporate the following into their website:

  • Home/Landing Page
  • About Me/Bio Info
  • Resume (Note: Resume Workshop is scheduled for later in the term.)
  • Portfolio (various work by student: writing, design, art, photography, research, experience, etc.)
  • VR Research Page (with Pecha Kucha slides - more info coming soon)
Students may also add:
  • Special Interests Page
  • Hobbies Page
  • Job-specific Page for potential employers
  • Community/Issues Page
Students will bring to bear all their previous knowing, doing and making as resources for the site, including original photography, use of freegal images, New Media writing and research, etc.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

BEFORE You Build That Website

Digital Literacies Students will be building their personal, branded websites - but first..
  • They will complete personal brand guides/style sheets. (This will guide the aesthetic and visual rhetoric of their website designs.)
  • They will review other successful student websites. (This will help them build lists of content and usability features.) *See below.
  • They will draw a wire frame of their sites BEFORE building it. (This will ensure they keep an over all perspective of how pages and elements work together.)
  • THEN - they will familiarize themselves with the Web-building environment we will use in class - WEEBLY.
  • All links and information are available on the CLASS WEBSITE.
Check out these examples of student (and young professionals) personal websites:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Shaping our Personal "Brand" - Intro

This weekend, students 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

They will then add items to their "blog redesign" checklist and continue to redesign their blogs.

Deriving Heuristics from Engaging New Media Practices

Our CM 410 class compiled the following list of "best practices" from their investigation of award-winning blogs:

  • Eye-Catching: colorful, clear, visually organized, clean
  • Graphic-centric - use photos and visuals  
  • Style: consistency, representative, color scheme
  • Good Content: relatable to audience, helpful or useful, easy
  • Audience-friendly
  • Don't add too many words - use photos and visuals
  • Up-to-date
User-Experience / Interactivity
  • Social Media connectedness 
  • Easy to navigate
  • Easy access to most important info
  • Readily available contact info
  • Quick Response!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Making Up The Rules As We Go Along: Discovering New Media Grammars

Class observations on blog features
This week, Digital Literacies students examined "award winning" blogs and deconstructed them to do a little "reverse engineering" to discover just what made these blogs so well-regarded. In doing so, students employed a tool that can be useful when engaging a new medium or new genre. (And in the brave new digital world of the 21st-century, this will happen often!)

The students composed a list of features, qualities, and characteristics identified in these top blogs. (See photo) Now they will work to articulate design principles for making a good blog. By identifying "best practices" of awarded blogs, students will work together to compile a list of principles, rules, or guidelines to make a great blog.

(The final composite list will become the rubric for grading the blog design for student blogs.)

Bonus: You will shoot and post SIX NEW photos illustrating what you know from our composition tutorials and lecture. Below are a few pics I shot as I was preparing this term's course work:

Get CLOSE to the subject! I shot this outside my dining room window. I got really close and he didn't fly away! I didn't have as much luck with the hummingbird.

Several principles: Structure in background is placed by using Rule of Thirds; diagonal line of wall connects foreground to background; sculpture fills the frame left to right; experimented with reflection.

An example of finding natural or existing frames and windows when shooting.

An example of filling the frame.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Taking the Shots!

In class, we learned some key principles of photographic composition. (See class website for Composition Tutorials - Parts 1 &2.) Students have gathered examples of photographic composition from "freegal" photo sites, and will explore other photographic resources on the site - including a couple of short videos: 7 Powerful Photography Tips and 9 Photo Composition Tips.

 Then students will shoot a number of photos based on the composition rules and tips from class and the course website. Students will post at least SIX photos and discuss the composition principles displayed in each shot.

Learning Best Practices from Best Blogs

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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Copyright, Copyleft, and "Freegal" Images

This image is a single frame from the video "Photograph" performed by Nickleback, copyright holder SMG 2007. This image is used for educational purposes in a class that examines copyright issues, and its use will have no bearing on the value or commercial use of the work from which it was taken.
Students in the Digital Literacies Class at Limestone are exploring computer-assisted design, digital publishing, intellectual property licenses, and more. They are finding "freegal" (free and legal-to-use) images, and identifying the licenses from a range of CC, Copyleft, and Public Domain permissions. They are even drafting a "Fair Use Statement" for their use of an image in a class project.

 copyright licenses

What's next? Hmmm... well, students will will explore semiotics in imagery and color, write a sample "Fair Use Statement,"  - and try their hands at Making a Movie Poster with "freegal" images.

What Fonts "SAY" in Your Design

Have you ever just searched through the pull-down menu to see what fonts looks like? Have you ever wondered what dingbats and webdings were all about? Have you surfed for a cool font that matches the Coca-Cola or Starbucks or Lego or IBM logos? Is it possible that font choice is actually a rhetorical decision that carries meaning?

Students in CM 410 are exploring typefaces and logos, and will re-visit their sample book design to experiment with different logos and note their effects on the feel and meaning of the design. But first, it might help to wonder... WHAT FONT AM I?
Take this Quiz to learn your "type"
Students will strive to avoid conflict, while optimizing contrast and concordance in their font/type selections of their re-design of their book covers. Watch for their designs in the links to the right.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Welcome Fall 2018 Class!

This is the Instructor's Blog - or as we will call it, the Class Blog. You will check here for reminders of assignments, summary instructions, and other feedback from the Professor. This page will also feature links to your colleagues in this section (and to colleagues who have gone on before you.)

You could think of this as a "hub" for our class bloggers, but in reality, each of your own sites will, in pretty short order, be "hubs" of their own, connecting with your colleagues.

The main site for resources will be our Limestone Digital Class Website. (Blackboard contains only syllabus, but it is hyperlinked to these sites and other digital resources.)

Bookmark this blog site, as well as the class website, and you will be off and running!

Now let's get this show on the road...

I wonder how many of you found this article: "The Six Laws of Technology."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Saints in Shelby: a Visit to the Earl Scruggs Center!

Limestone Communications students exploring spatial narratives at the Earl Scruggs Center. #SaintsinShelby - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Limestone College Communication Students visited the sate-of-the-art Earl Scruggs Museum in Shelby on March 20, 2018. They explored innovative approaches to Spatial Narratives, and engaged cultural narratology across the media of museology, screen, orality, music, and instrumental interpellation. See some shots of students in active research by searching for #SaintsInShelby.

... and our tweets

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cameras, Tripods, and Shooting the Vocabulary!

Students will acquaint themselves with their newly-assigned digital cameras, learnign the ins and outs of settings, downloads, footage organization, etc.

Then, they will produce a "Video Vocabulary" consisting of examples of the following shots:
(CC0 -
  1. Wide Shots (Wide, Very Wide, and Extremely Wide)
  2. Mid-shot
  3. Medium Close Shot
  4. Close-up
  5. Extreme Close-up
  6. Cut-ins & Cut-aways
  7. Two Shot
  8. Over the Shoulder Shot
  9. Noddy Shot
  10. POV Shot
  11. Dolly Shot (aka Trucking or Tracking)
  12. Pan (left/right)
  13. Tilt (up/down)
  14. Following Shot
  15. Zoom (in/out) 
Examples can be seen here: 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Shot Lists, Storyboards, and Story-telling in Video

Students will hone their editing chops by producing a "music video" using song lyrics and "freegal" video & photo resources. This will help develop a simple planning process for editing (which can be transferred to shooting video, too.)
  1. Students will select a song to make into a video, and will script out the lyrics (with time codes) in a table to create a "shot list."
  2. Students will complete the table with a description of what images they want for each lyrical segment, making a "shopping list" for video footage and photos, etc.
  3. Students will begin "shopping" for "freegal" visual collateral, saving all assets in a folder dedicated to the project.
  4. Along the way, students should keep records of the assets which require attribution, (e.g. CC BY licenses.)
  5. Students will revise their shot list based on the images they actually chose to use, making the list into a Video Editing Guide - which will guide their editing in the lab.
  6. Students should refresh their knowledge of copyright laws and Fair Use guidelines to discuss how such materials may or may not be used.
Below is an example of a couple minutes of a music video of Mary Chapin Carpenter's "I am a Town"  using CC 0 (Public Domain) image resources from the Library of Congress and Wikimedia Commons, and video footage licensed through VideoBlocks, and a few CC BY images from VisualHunt (which will be acknowledge in the credits of the finished video.)

The Shot List / Editing List looks like this:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Histories: Editing & Semiotic Media Theory!

Students will review a couple of summaries for discussion: one (video) on film editing, and one (chapter) on Semiotic Media Theory. They will post separate blog responses for each summary - and will discuss in class.

PART ONE, Film Editing: students will view the video, research any connected lines of interest, and post their reflections.

PART TWO, Semiotic Media Theory: students will read the article/chapter, answer a series of questions, and post a blog with their observations, comments and questions.

"Semiotics of Media & Culture" by Marcel Danesi

Students will answer a set of questions (see below) and will post their reflections, observations, and questions in their blog.

Reading Questions for Danesi’s “Semiotics of Media & Culture”
1.     What is “semiotics?”
2.     What is the “semiosphere” and how it can be both liberating and constraining.
3.     What is the “semiotic law of media?”
4.     The author sees the 1938 Radio Broadcast “War of the Worlds” as a “simulacrum.” What does he mean by that?
5.     What did Paul Lazarfeld discover in a 1956 study on media and elections? What is “Flow Theory,” and why was the 1960 election different?
6.     Describe McLuhan’s idea of the “mediashpere.”
7.     According to Roland Barthes, how can a photograph have CONNOTATIVE meaning? What is “textual pastiche?”
8.     What is the “culture industry?” What forces does Chomsky identify as shaping factors on media production?
9.     Stuart Hall identified three possible “readings” to a cultural media text. Describe them.
10. What is “markedness?”
11. Roland Barthes held that all texts have denotative (linguistic) and connotative (rhetorical) power. Explain.
12. Name some evidence of Levi-Strauss’ idea of "mythic opposition" in Star Wars.

13. How would Mikhail Bakhtin describe and explain the antics of outrageous celebrities in modern media?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Movie Making Magic!

Students in Digital Literacies II have produced an Introduction Title Sequence for a fake TV series on Baseball - and have posted on YouTube, and embedded the video in their blogs.

Next, they will explore the numerous "Freegal" resources available to them via links in their course website (LimestoneDigital - CM412) and through VideoBlocks, a subscription service for video and audio sources. (The subscription fee is paid for access for the class by the department, password will be provided in class.)

Students will produce a short audio-video montage on a topic of their choice using legal-use audio, video and images - and will post the video on YouTube and embed it in their blogs.

Here are a couple examples from their colleagues in the previous year's class:

Shay likes Sushi, obviously.

Brandon likes Summer, it seems.

NOTE: These examples use popular music that is not in the public domain. Our 2018 Students will look for FREEGAL music to compose their productions. ALSO - students may incorporate these examples into their portfolios to show off their editing chops!