At a certain point in the semester the digital media tutors and I begin to develop a love/hate relationship with our plotter. Everyone loves the ability to create and print large scale graphic representations of our work but we hate the error messages, ink stripes, and “Plotter is down” signs on the doorway to the lab.
Finals week spring term 2014. Not a pretty day for the plotter.
Like any piece of mechanical equipment that is heavily used, the plotter will occasionally break. Although we usually have no warning when this is about to happen, there are a few things that everyone can do to help us tame the plotter.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us of the timeframe when your students will be working on and printing poster projects. (The earlier – the better! First week of class = PERFECT!) If you can send us a copy of the assignment – even better!
- Be sure your students know how to use the best tools to create a poster. (A lot of students come to the lab with PowerPoint files that can be challenging to scale correctly. We recommend using Illustrator and provide docs for how to do this too!) Faculty can also request a poster tutorial session for their class by submitting a helpdesk ticket here.
- If you are requiring posters for your class and want your department to cover the cost of poster printing follow these instructions early in the semester.
- Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to create a visual piece of work. It might seem like it will come together faster than a paper, but often there is just one component that you can’t get to look just right, or a feature in Illustrator that is not working the way you expected.
- Make an appointment with a digital media tutor if you need help with more than a couple of questions. This will allow us to dedicate more time focused on you rather than reloading paper and ink in the plotter and helping everyone else in the lab. (We’ll schedule another tutor to do that.)
- Fully proof your poster on the screen before sending the file to print on the plotter.
Recycle your scraps and remember that advanced planning is often the key to success!
After compiling the fall semester usage stats for the Wilson Media Lab one trend became apparent: increased usage. When compared with the usage stats for the fall 2014 semester we saw:
- Increase in hourly lab usage counts from 5525 to 7154 which equates to a 29% increase over the 2014 count.
- Peak hourly usage count increased from 454 to 657 (45% increase over the 2014 count). In 2014 this occurred during the 9 – 10 pm time block, in 2015 in occurred during the 3 – 4 pm time block.
- Increase of help requests from 884 to 1075 (22% increase over the 2014 count). In both years help requests peaked the week prior to finals (145 in 2014 and 200 in 2015). Kudos to the digital media tutors for handling all these questions!!
Below is an infographic of lab data. If you are interested in more granular information feel free to contact Heather at email@example.com.
We’ve finished tabulating the usage counts for the Wilson Media Lab which can be found in the Piktochart below or here. Some interesting differences from last year’s summer session include:
- An increase in requests for help from 11% in 2014 to 33% of users in 2015.
- We are also seeing an increase in graphics and video usage and a decrease in text usage
If you haven’t visited the newly redesigned Wilson Media Lab we encourage you to do so!
Good news! Thanks to our partners in ITS, faculty can now embed a video from Middlebury’s repository of Kanopy streaming videos in their WordPress sites. We’ve documented the process here. Below is a sample of what this would look like once it is embedded in the site.
You can do this in Moodle as well. The process is a little different, and is documented here. (Look in the section “Additional Options” below the YouTube instructions.)
Adobe Photoshop is a pretty amazing application, but in the hands of artists, it’s breathtaking. Check out the work of Erik Johansson via this post in Mashable. I’ve included a Behind the Scenes video below that shows you how he works his magic. (Hint: LOTS of layers.)
“Why digital natives prefer reading in print”
10 reasons scholars should start writing BuzzFeed articles
Infographics in 3 Steps
NEW! Moodle Users Listserv – This group is for Moodle teachers who would like to use an email forum to ask, answer, and share Moodle questions and tips. To join the list you can either visit http://sites.middlebury.edu/ct and use the sign up form in the right hand column, or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org and include:
- subscribe in the subject field
- subscribe moodle-users in the text of the email
Time for a Thesis – From the Senior Admissions Fellows Blog, a self-reflective essay by a History major on the impact of our annual message to seniors about thesis carrel signup and research support. His conclusion is quite nice: “When I think ahead to the books and research, I am not so much nervous as I am excited,” he says.
Practicing Collaborative Digital Pedagogy to Foster Digital Literacies in Humanities Classrooms – This article presents two case studies of classes who employed different techniques to “foster digital literacies in humanities students using distinct approaches for each course.” My key takeaway hinged on one student’s observation: “Through creating an infographic in Easel.ly, I learned that it is very important to develop skills in being able to pick out important information from the vast amounts that you can easily find online.”
How Stress Affects the Brain During Learning – A fight or flight reaction may be useful in some situations, but it is highly detrimental in the classroom. Whether anxiety stems from test taking or from an unstable home environment, the brains of students experiencing high levels of stress look different than those who are not — and those brains behave differently, too. In this article, we’ll take a look at the neural and hormonal responses that underpin a student’s stress response, and make a few suggestions for continuing to teach through the challenges it presents.
Upcoming Battery Will Charge Phones And Electric Cars in Minutes – It takes about an hour to fully charge a cell phone, and the battery lasts about two to three years over 500 charge cycles. However, a new design could reduce charge time to only a few minutes and the battery is expected to last for 10,000 charge cycles over a 20 year lifespan.
FireChat in Hong Kong: How an app tapped its way into the protests
(CNN) — The revolution will not be televised but it will be tweeted, instant messaged or, in the case of Hong Kong, broadcast on mesh networks like FireChat.
At Sea in a Deluge of Data
By Alison J. Head and John Wihbey
Chronicle of Higher Education
People in charge of hiring at large organizations such as Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance and the FBI say that recent college graduates lack skills in research and analysis. “The new workers default to quick answers plucked from the Internet. That method might be fine for looking up a definition or updating a fact, but for many tasks, it proved superficial and incomplete…”
How unexpected opportunities can inform practice – As a part of some of my coursework I have had the opportunity to read some interesting educational research. I thought it might be helpful to share a brief overview of some of the articles that I’ve reviewed. This is the first post in a series that I was planning to share. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you’d like to discuss further.
11 University and Library Groups Release Net-Neutrality Principles – The nation’s colleges and libraries have a message for the Federal Communications Commission: Don’t mess with net neutrality.