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.