Hey gang! We collected some great presenting tips and tricks from our fellow colleagues at NCUR last month. Some of them even harken back to their Seminar 4 presentations. If you have any other helpful advice, feel free to chime in in the comments!
Emily Paolillo, Brooklyn College: “For Seminar 4, my class was required to make video public service announcements. My group did ours on safer sex. Making a video was so interactive and fun that everyone in my class was completely immersed in their projects. Some did theirs on smoking and the obesity epidemic. I think it’s a pretty good sign that I can still remember their projects two years later. We also had to incorporate useful PSA tactics like using comedy or scary facts (mostly everyone used comedy), which made it very entertaining. When we presented at the Macaulay building, our videos had everyone hooked. Seminar 4 should be a FUN learning experience that incorporates using research skills to produce something that we will remember in the years to come.
Also, NCUR was a great experience! It was awesome to meet so many different undergraduate students from around the country and see how diverse everyone’s fields of study are.”
Jenna Peet, Brooklyn College: “One thing that really helped my presentation for NCUR was rehearsing my presentation with Macaulay students who normally would not see my work. When I prepared my thesis at BC, I was practicing with mostly education and physics majors, and so I wasn’t getting a sense of what would be clear or confusing to the average listener. Practice with Macaulay students made me reevaluate what my presentation needed to focus on, and the feedback they gave also made me think more seriously about what my research represented as a whole. The questions they asked in practice (and actual) presentations were more thoughtful and insightful than what I was used to, and made my presentation that much better.”
Jamie Mallette, City College: “My suggestion for seminar 4 students is to not take the conference too seriously. Yes it is at the Macaulay building and it is academic but if they just relax and feel confident in what they are presenting they will do great! I think the conference experience would be greatly enhanced if people stayed for one another’s presentations and listening rather than ducking out after their own or their friends. Seminar 4 students, and all other Macaulay classes, should take the time to get to know students from other campuses and begin to explore outside their comfort zone. My personal presenting style is to make note cards with a few bullet points. I don’t write out my whole speech because it actually makes me more nervous and I am not as engaging or as varied when I plan too much. I usually just get up there and talk informally (but still appropriately!).My general experience at NCUR was positive. I had a lot of fun, and met interesting people. I would recommend students go to conferences, even just local ones, even if they are not presenting just to get a feel for the style, and networking.”
Vartan Pahalyants, Hunter College: “NCUR was a great opportunity to see research from different perspectives. When you attend conferences in your field, you do not get to see the amazing variety of research that goes on in other spheres. I was particularly impressed with the presentations of my classmates in the fields of Civil Engineering, English and Physics was. Overall, it was an enriching experience and I am really glad I was given the opportunity to attend this year’s conference.”
Our Intersectionality and DH Flashcards were made on Flashcard Machine, and can be found here!
- Andrew Stanton on the clues to a great story
- Digital storytelling in plain English
- Josh Tyrangiel on storytelling across platforms
- The seven elements of digital storytelling
- NCUR travelogue
- Presentation Skills Project
Our audiences for our multiple projects and events for the thesis colloquium are quite varied, but overlap in many areas. We visualized this using Gliffy to create a graphic representation of who we believe constitutes our audience.
*Kerishma was left out of the bubble with the members of the class. This was Kerishma’s mistake.
Things are still up in the air right now with my digital project. I don’t have the funds available to me right now to set a budget or the know-how to create my online graphic novel. However, I still think that there is a way to address certain themes that stand out (or don’t get as much attention) in my written thesis such as split consciousness, Doubles, and feminist theory.
Within the next few weeks I will decide whether or not I can accomplish the self-portrait series I discussed in class. If not, I am open to utilizing film stills as a foundation for an intertextual layering project that visually represents my thesis’ argument about using Poe as a lens through which to read Hitchcock. These images are easily obtainable since I have the DVDs at home and VLC Media Player installed onto my computer (thanks Colby!).
Once I have the basic images (film stills or portraits as film stills) I can then work on superimposing text and other accessible images and hand drawn illustrations over the images. I can work on a program like Photoshop, but I prefer to work with my hands. Then, I would upload the layered images and present them on a digital gallery, like the one on Second Life that Lindsey described in class, that would be user friendly and encourage viewer interaction.
In class, we talked about the possibility of publicizing our essays online, and though I am still hesitant to post a PDF of my entire thesis, I would still like to work with texts and incorporate brief snippets of my thesis into my interactive image gallery, paralleling Hitchcockian images with Poe inspired texts.
In terms of context, I wish to focus on the women in these works (“Berenice,” “Ligeia,” Psycho, and Vertigo), considering I dedicated most of my paper to the “broken males” driven to self-destruction by these females. Their physical beauty is unquestionable, and it is their sexualized gender that makes them targets to the unwanted attention and violence that end their lives.
Since my knowledge of digital media and the untapped power of the interwebs only goes so far, I would really appreciate any suggestions in terms of what would constitute (to you) a user friendly gallery that gets my themes across as well as what kind of platforms and programs can I use to make this project as accessible and interactive as possible.
If all else fails, I wouldn’t be opposed to making a snazzy photography portfolio, but we’re dreaming big here.
(Also, I can’t remember if I posted this last week, but this is the photography post that inspired my image layering idea. Much neater than what I plan on doing.)
Deciding what I want to do for the digital presentation component of my thesis project has been a bit difficult for me—I really want to engage with the visual nature of the assignment, and coming up with something interactive and engaging has been a bit of a struggle.
After receiving (very helpful and constructive!) feedback on my thesis from Jenny and Lindsey, I’ve realized that I need to better solidify my thesis (that is, my core argument) before proceeding full speed ahead on the digital presentation.
Something that we discussed last semester as a possibility for the presentation was incorporating the TV show Game of Thrones, as it didn’t really make it into my paper and the show is such a huge part of the books’ recent mainstream popularity. I was thinking about comparing the books to the TV show, and looking into the process of adaptation, and any major character/story changes that happened in book-to-TV. Jenny also suggested a discussion of audience (niche, sci-fi/fantasy readers vs. the mainstream TV-watching population) in my digital presentation, and how that could affect adaptation changes and decisions.
Sorry this is so short and nebulous, but I’m trying to better grasp what I want to say before I settle completely on a project!
Just as I struggled with choosing a topic and narrowing it down in the fall, I can’t seem to restrain myself when brainstorming my digital thesis project. The possibilities are limitless! My project wish list goes on and on, but I tried to restrain myself to proposing projects that can be realistically completed within the time frame of the course.
Last semester, I proposed a self-portrait photo series inspired by the works of Cindy Sherman, whose photos I was luckily able to see in person tonight at an art auction. By losing herself in the portraits, Sherman is able to fully take on the identities of other artists, personalities (like the Final Girl in horror films), etc. Choosing subject matter would not be very difficult: both Poe and Hitchcock play with varying degrees of female obsession that I would represent by playing with the objects of their fixations. In the style of Cindy Sherman, I would try my best to recreate the iconic Hitchcockian beauties (maybe including my own rendition of a toothless Berenice and ghastly Ligeia) in a portrait series that would be available online as a digital portfolio. As much as I love this idea, this could be a time consuming project, from finding the right clothing (thank goodness NYC is saturated with thrift shops) to getting the hair and makeup just right; not to mention actually setting up my camera to take the pictures and learning enough Photoshop to clean them up. I usually work with film, but it would be costly to work with right now, though the grittiness of film would work beautifully with this project.
Looking through my recent Tumblr posts, I saw a lot of work from photographers who adopt someone’s style and translate it through their own lens, literally. Though not exactly related to my topic, a photo set from an artist who took their own images and then manipulated them again to create entirely new photographs intrigued me. Another artist that I saw on Juxtapoz’s website does something similar, adding illustrations over her own images to create an additional layer of depth and artistry to their photos. It made me think that I could appropriate film stills and behind the scenes shots from the films and read them through Poe, including additional illustrations over them. In this case, I would print out the images, work on them by hand, and then scan and upload them onto my site.
Another idea was to create a sort of online graphic novel, using Hitchcock’s visuals with Poe’s text, either in plain text or as a voiceover using Vincent Price’s marvelous reading. Since I haven’t been able to find anything like it online to use as a point of reference, I’m not sure how far I can take this idea or even if it’s possible to complete within the next couple months.
Whichever project I end up pursuing, I still want it to speak to Poe and how his themes are traced through Hitchcock. I want this to be a very visual project, obviously, but I don’t want to lose the master of mystery in my quest to produce Hitchcockian visuals.
We began week five of this course with a sustained examination of Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (Verso, 2007). After each of you went off to try and master a chapter of this work (the resulting board work hastily captured by phone camera, above), you came back and created a sample piece, inspired by your assigned chapter, and based on a literary work you know well.
The results were naturally unique, but in all cases, you managed to collect data from your source text and successfully visualize it.
While this wasn’t a digital project per se, it was inspired by those sets of principles that have guided and/or arisen from Moretti’s own work, and the work of the Stanford Literary Lab.
And whether or not you choose to use a graph, map, or tree in your digital thesis project, I hope that engaging with Moretti’s spatial approach to literary analysis can be a source of inspiration.
P.S. We’re going to make maps and graphs and trees again later this semester, so keep your copy of the book handy. 🙂