Tonight was our inimitable Macaulay Night at the Brooklyn Museum. The event went smoothly after a tremendous amount of preparation. About 550 Macaulay first-year students descended on the Brooklyn Museum for a private event where, armed with recorders, the students documented their conversations about the works of art they viewed (we had previously trained them in the SmartHistory methods of how to look at and discuss a work of art they are unfamiliar with – more details can be found on my Events and Other Projects page). To the left I included a snapshot I took of a large group the students convening in the corridors that surround the Beaux Arts Pavillion, and below is the Brochure we distribute to them (that I helped to design) that includes a background of the museum, guidelines for the project, as well as tear-out pages to keep track of group members and recorder numbers, in addition to room for notes. Later, the students will reconvene at Macaulay for a series of Media Arts workshops where they will create SmartHistory style videos based on the work they did this evening. In all, it was a huge success and I cannot wait to see and hear the students’ projects!
“The notion of a collective death or rapture can be very attractive to those who live a very solitary life. The protagonist of my film lives by herself, she has alienated her family, and she keeps her neighbors out by triple bolting her door. She is able to find solace through her church where her Pastor preaches that those who love God will be raptured collectively. The predicted day is December 12th, 2012 at noon (184.108.40.206). The protagonist has a dream the day of the expected apocalypse and is certain the Pastor’s prediction is correct. However, when she calls the Pastor in preparation to come to the church, he unexpectedly insists on the solitude of the rapture for unexplained reasons. This film shows the behavior of the protagonist in her inner fight between certainty and doubt.”
The above quotation is by student Colby Minifie, introducing her creative film project, “A Solitary Apocalypse,” for the cross-campus seminar Apocalypse: Before and After, taught by Professor Lee Quinby with me as the instructional technology fellow. The course follows a similar format to other courses that Dr. Quinby has taught, relying heavily on weekly blog posts by students to reflect the readings that address Apocalyptic narratives from a critical and creative standpoint. The sophistication of students’ written analyses and the level of their discussions in class rivals any graduate course. Although I’m not normally inclined to highlight one particular student’s project, I was astounded by the work that she did on this film. Although it was shot on a high-quality camera, the movie itself was edited in iMovie. I believe this is one of the best examples of what students are able to accomplish when given support by the university in the form of instructional technologists (whose job it is to conceive of projects that support faculty learning goals and help students as they execute them) and the equipment (video cameras, computers to accomplish these projects). Macaulay’s unique approach to instructional tech increases the digital literacies of its students at the same time excellent professors increase traditional literacies of reading and writing.
I do urge you to take a look at Colby’s film, as well as peruse the other projects and blog posts that were created by this exceptional group of students.
On October 11th, the members of the Macaulay Honors College freshmen class each took a photograph that would capture for them some aspect of New York City. Their photos were uploaded to a gallery – http://macaulay.cuny.edu/gallery/index.php/snapshot-2012 - and a group of student curators, under the mentorship of artist and professor Corey D’Augustine, came together to create an exhibit of these photographs at Macaulay.
The freshmen class came to Macaulay on December 2 to view the exhibit (of which they themselves were the artists), and armed with video cameras, still cameras, and voice recorders, they explored the exhibit. The assignment was to re-curate the exhibit it by using selected images to tell a story, and to created a multimedia presentation of their vision. With the assistance of their Instructional Technology Fellows, they used a variety of tools to create their projects: Vuvox, iMovie, Prezi, and Voicethread to name a few.
My role was to coordinate the event, from setting up the online gallery so 500 students could upload their images, to arranging for the technological needs of the curatorial team, to conceiving the shape of the multimedia projects that the students were to create. I also worked closely with Macaulay ITFs with the technologies that students were going to use and arranged for coverage and support. The day was a huge success, as is usually the case given the caliber of my colleagues and students, and the projects showed a level of creativity and investment on the part of the students that made me proud of what I do.
The “SocioWiki” was the first wiki project (I will be posting more) I directed with Macaulay Honors College students at Brooklyn College for their Seminar 2 “The Peopling of New York City.” When we began this project, none of us – not the students, nor I, nor most of my colleagues – knew anything about MediaWiki, so the learning curve was substantial. The main reason that we decided to create our website on a wiki platform was because of the collaborative nature of MediaWiki, as well as the ability to roll back pages and keep track of changes. For the professor, being able to see exactly who did the work based on each page’s “history,” helped him evaluate individual student’s participation. Continue reading