The end of the semester is here, and everyone is graduating and moving on to bigger, brighter things…it’s a bit bitter sweet, no?
So first, congratulations, Laura, Colby and Kerishma. All three of you are amazing, talented, intelligent, creative, and strong women, each in your own way. I’ve only known you for a short time, but I’m so proud of your accomplishments and inspired by your work. Colby: your film absolutely floored me. I can’t believe the quality of work you produced, especially given the time and budget restraints. I really respect your passion and ambition, and I know these qualities will take you very far. Laura: I can’t wait to see your final project. As someone who studies gender, literature and film (and loves photography), I am struck by how deep your understanding is of the intersections between Poe and Hitchcock. And Kerishma: Your final project is truly impressive in its scope and sophistication, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what your capable of. You had some tough moments this semester, perhaps partly because you have very high expectations for yourself. That is a great quality, but don’t let it diminish your pride in your accomplishments (which will be many, I’m sure).
I realize this is starting to sound like cheesy entries in a yearbook, but I sincerely mean every word! I also want to encourage all of you to contact me any time for any reason. Just because the class is over does’t mean our relationships are!
Last but not least, a huge thanks to Lindsey for putting together a thoughtful, lively class, and for creating a learning environment that was engaging and creative.
Have a lovely summer, everyone!
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.”
- 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
The completed digital thesis project that I looked at was “Ellen White’s Benevolent Millennialism” by Kaitlyn O’Hagan. The chief visual element used on the website is an interactive digital timeline that provides historical context to Ellen White’s life, as well as her own achievements. Another visual element that is incorporated is a wordle.net word cloud, which highlights key terms in the written thesis, such as “health,” “reform,” “Church,” and Methodist. Looking at that alongside the timeline provides the viewer with a fairly clear idea (at least of the background) of Kaitlyn’s written project.
The site itself if fairly simple and uncomplicated–the homepage is the timeline, and the other three pages provide a brief “About the paper,” acknowledgments, contact, and the written paper itself. I think the simplicity and the straightforwardness of the site make it accessible to a fairly large audience (one doesn’t need to know a great deal about American history or health reform or the Seventh-Day Adventists to understand it). The site is largely informational and educational about Ellen White.
This web site, Fixed Gazes on Grotesque Gorging, was created in 2013 to accompany an English (or English-ish) thesis on cannibalism tropes in zombie comics and movies, with special attention paid to The Walking Dead. The front page jumps directly into the research conducted by the student, with a couple of slides from her presentation materials included, to help explain some of her core theoretical content. The primary navigation for this site is through the slider menu at the top, and includes a set of pages (there aren’t really any “posts” here) that discuss her topics in a way that’s meant for a general audience, a full copy of her thesis, and some biographical data.
How does this site accomplish what it sets out to communicate? I think it uses the slider, more than anything, as its primary organizational tool. How well this works is an open question. It’s very visually appealing, but it doesn’t always seem to have a grasp on its audience (or it is trying to serve multiple audiences).
How do the different sections of this site relate to one another? Again, some of them seem to be for scholarly audiences, some not. There was an effort here to make the site a place where people could dip their toes into the topic or jump all the way into the pool.
What other possible audiences could there be for this site? I think that the visual media could attract the material’s fan base and help them learn something about the tropes the student is examining in her thesis.
What are this site’s greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses? It’s strength is its visual appeal. But I think the question of just who the audience is didn’t get fully addressed.
Readings and Resources
- Lindsey’s Google Doc
- Andrew McKinney, “Content Management Systems, Value, and the Interface as a Site of Production”
- “What Is Information Architecture?” (The Guardian)
- How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook? (TIME)
- 75 Amazing Facebook Statistics
- Facebook is collecting your data–500 terabytes a day (GigaOM)
Past Thesis Projects
- Ellen White’s Benevolent Millennialism
- Fixed Gazes on Grotesque Gorging
- Healing in the Abstract
- Hybrid Spaces in Memorial Architecture
- Flip or Swim?
Are you as excited as I am about our presentation workshop on Tuesday? You are?! Well then, here’s the Keynote we’ll be working from!
(and if the answer to the above question is “no,” well then I guess it’s okay for you to wait until Tuesday to see this uber awesome Keynote)
Intro to GIS
- Spatial Humanities at the University of Lancaster, UK
- Tooling Up for Digital Humanities: Spatial Analysis
- Barbara L. Hui’s Introduction to Litmap