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Sharing Skills, Setting Goals

Texts to have read:

  • chapters 1 and 2 in Writer/Designer, on defining and analyzing multimodal projects
  • tutorials toward your visual project and/or keeping track of it

Work to have done:

  • some progress on your visual project, to get a sense of what's easily doable and what's a likely stretch goal
  • at least one new git commit per working session, with a meaningful commit message
  • bring in one thing you've figured out how to do with GIMP, to share with your group

Today we'll be going in and out of groups, which I've left alone for the time being:

  • Abby, Alyssa, Gabi
  • Annie, Lucas, Taylor
  • Caleb, Jack, Sammie
  • Casey R, Jojo, Will
  • Casey T, Jappmann, Jill
  • Eli, Gwen, Jeff

Quick review of the unit project assignment (2 min)

You already have the handout, but here are the basics:

  • The goal is to produce a single composite image that draws attention to something of your choice.
  • Related genres include posters, fliers, album covers, book covers, infographics, maybe even bookmarks.
    • There's no need to print these out, since full-bleed printing and stock paper get expensive.
  • The first draft is due in two days (Th 9/14), when we'll have workshop. The final draft is due in 2.5 weeks (Tu 9/26).
  • The content is up to your interests: what do you want to direct the rest of the class's attention to?
    • Parachute prompt: If you can't think of anything else, make an infographic about one of the reading assignments, i.e. on the Five Principles of New Media, or on the Lo-Fi Manifesto, or on Fair Use. For some examples of academic infographics, see the Thinker/Thought tumblr, showcasing work by Nathaniel Rivers, a professor at St. Louis University.
    • ALT: You may, if you wish, do a major redesign of an existing visual appeal; if you want to take this option, though, please run it by me first.

Sharing plans and progress (20-30 min)

In groups, bring each other up to speed.

It may be useful to use the terms from Writer/Designer: who is your audience? what's the context? do you have any additional purpose for the document, apart from the general one in the prompt? what authorial ethos do you want to project? what does that suggest you use for genre?

Building criteria (40-45 min total)

We'll start in groups here, then discuss as a full class.

Remember, every time you get in groups, to figure out who's the timekeeper; who's the historian, taking lead on taking notes; and who's the diplomat, making sure participation is balanced. (Hint: Usually, the first person to ask who wants which role is the diplomat.)

Group brainstorm (10 min)

To bring all our notes together while allowing for real-time collaboration, use this google doc.

Given the goals of the assignment and what you've been able to figure out so far about your particular project goals, how will we know if you've succeeded? What constitutes a minimum set of criteria for this assignment?

Beyond that minimum, what would be some good goals to strive for, even if not everyone should expect to achieve them?

Take 10 minutes in groups to make some lists.

Might I suggest again turning to some of the terms in W/D?

Analytical tools as generative heuristics (food for groupthought)

The authors of *Writer/Designer* offered us a bunch of lenses to use when we examine any multimodal text:


  • linguistic
  • visual
  • aural
  • spatial
  • gestural

Rhetorical Situation

  • audience
  • purpose
  • context
  • author / ethos
  • genre

Design Elements

  • emphasis
  • contrast
  • organization
  • alignment
  • proximity

By asking yourself what you see when you put each lens up to your eye, you can begin to notice different features in a multimodal text. But you can also use those lenses to imagine what you might *want* to notice – what you might want *to build*.

Without getting caught up in trying every combination, play around with these terms and see what they suggest for criteria in the context of this unit, this project.

Let's talk! (20-30 min)

Quickly read through the other groups' notes, and as you see overlap, propose an official version for our list of shared criteria.

We'll refine as a group, and repeat.

This process could probably take as much time as we can give it, but let's stop with 10 minutes left in class to make sure there's time for announcements. We'll be able to revise these after testing them out in workshop on Thursday.

Before we leave...

  1. Add me as a collaborator to your project repository on GitHub:
    steps to add a collaborator (text instructions follow image)
    a. From your repository on GitHub, click on the "Settings" menu
    b. You'll get a navigation menu on the left; select "Collaborators"
    c. Search by username for 'benmiller314' – that's me!
    d. Click the "Add collaborator" button.
  2. Can I have 3-5 volunteers to have your project workshopped on Thursday?
    • I'll ask you to put your work on the big screen, and we'll take 10 minutes talking through what it's doing, where it's working well, and where it might go next (describe / evaluate / suggest)
    • I know there were several of you who professed to a high comfort level creating / working on primarily visual texts...?

EXT: Studio Time / Planning and Sketching

If we somehow finish this conversation early, feel free to use the remaining time to work.

Recommended starting points; either pick one or do them in sequence:

  • Take a few minutes to make a list of the possibilities for your content. What are you interested in or excited about right now, that you might want to share with others?
  • If you know you want to work in a particular genre, take a few minutes to think over examples of that genre that struck you as excellent. What were they doing that caught your eye? What's happening or appealing in your life right now that their designs remind you of?
  • Make 2-4 different design sketches on paper, then try to make them happen in software.

Homework for Next Time

  • Administrative
    1. If you haven't yet done so, please do add me as a collaborator to your repo on GitHub, so I can see how your work is progressing. (If it's not working, please do email me.)
    2. You have the option of creating a single repo for the course, or separate repositories for each project. There are pros and cons each way.
    3. You may also want to add your groupmates as collaborators, to facilitate feedback...
  • Inputs
    1. Review the collaborative criteria that we developed today.
    2. Review any terms or concepts from prior readings that you want to firm up.
    3. Continue finding and viewing tutorials for specific skills, as needed. If you find an awesome one, let us know by adding a comment on my GitHub Issue Queue for this course.
  • Outputs
    1. If you're being workshopped, bring a working draft of your visual media project, as a Photoshop- or GIMP-native file, on a flash drive or accessible cloud account. (We need to get it to the projecting computer.)
    2. Everyone, push a draft for me to give feedback on. (If you're not sure what that means, email me.)