Events and Other Projects
Macaulay Night at the Museum
As part of the first-year experience at Macaulay Honors College, students take a seminar entitled The Arts in New York City. As part of this seminar, students attend arts and cultural events with their classes and learn to understand and appreciate opera, theater, dance, and visual art with a critical eye. A major part of their experience is the Macaulay Night at the Museum, an event that I help plan in conjunction with Associate Dean Jospeph Ugoretz, The Khan Academy’s SmartHistory founder Dr Beth Harris, and the Brooklyn Museum. We conduct workshops for our students to familiarize them with close observation techniques and SmartHistory’s conversational approach to analyzing art, before taking all 500 of our first year Macaulay students for a unique and private evening at the museum at the beginning of each Fall semester. Students are provided with audio recorders and are asked to document their conversations and take pictures at the museum. Later, we bring them together for the Media Arts Workshops (see below) to teach them how to edit their audio files and combine them with images to produce short films about their experiences at the museum. Students find the event both exciting and enriching, and the multimedia projects they create demonstrate not only an enthusiasm for the experience at the museum itself, but also a deeper understanding of new ways that one might approach the visual arts. To view these projects, see the Media Arts website.
Tech Fair and Media Arts Workshops
The Tech Fairs are events for first year Macaulay students and are held in the Fall as the Media Arts workshops, and the Spring as a series of workshops where students critically analyze the design, navigation, and presentational aspects of websites in preparation for their own website-creation project, part of their Peopling of New York City seminar. Working with Associate Dean Ugoretz and with the assistance of the Senior Instructional Technology Fellows (ITFs), I develop the curriculum of the events. Additionally, I manage the logistical planning of the events (including the student registration and staffing), and produce the required workshop materials while working closely with the 30 ITFs who lead the individual sections.
Each year on October 11th, Macaulay first-year students take a photograph of New York City that captures for them some aspect of New York City. Their photos are uploaded to a gallery that I create (using Gallery software), and a group of student curators, under the mentorship of artist and professor Corey D’Augustine, come together to create an exhibit of these photographs at Macaulay. The first-year class then convenes at Macaulay Central at the beginning of December to view the exhibit (of which they themselves were the artists), and armed with video cameras, still cameras, and voice recorders, they explore the exhibit. The assignment for them is to “re-curate” the exhibit by using selected images to tell a story, and to create 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. The student photo galleries can be seen here and here. An exceptional site showcasing their “re-curation” can be seen here, with links to previous years’ projects.
Below is the Flickr feed from the 2013 Snapshot Event:
Student Academic Conferences
At the end of each semester, our Macaulay sophomores gather for an academic conference that is structured similarly to traditional conferences with concurrent sessions, panels, and presentations where students can demonstrate their research. The Science and Technology conference focuses on topics of science in New York City, and includes a curated scientific poster gallery as well as presentations on scientific and technological issues that affect New York City. In the Shaping the Future in NYC conference, students address issues of public policy that analyze the current public policies and projects in New York and discuss issues of infrastructure and socioeconomics, as well as the “shape” that these projects will take down the road affecting all New Yorkers.
I organize these conferences through scheduling and registration, assign moderators and respondents for each panel, and assist students as they set up their galleries.
All presentations involve some form of multimedia component, usually using PowerPoint, Prezi, or even documentary films, and students benefit from the collaboration of the Instructional Technology Fellows who coach them in best practices of these softwares and applications as they build strong presentation and public speaking skills. Each conference has a participation of roughly 100 group presentations representing the entire class of 500+ students.