- 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 last day or so of our Kentucky sojourn has been “full of passionate intensity” (though not “the worst,” so my apologies to Yeats for mangling “The Second Coming”). Unfortunately, my photo of the twelve-person semi-drunken rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” which was performed during last night’s van ride from dinner to the hotel did not turn out, so I’ll leave the details to your imagination.
At the end of this trip, however, one of the things that has really struck me is what good colleagues our Macaulay students have been. They’ve actively listened and responded not only to one another, but to all of the other participants in their sessions, in ways that have proven very interesting to observe.
All of our students created great supporting materials, for example, using PowerPoint, Prezi, or their posters to convey research information in an engaging manner. But this wasn’t always the case in their panels–a number of other presenters committed the “cardinal sin” of reading a paper aloud for fifteen minutes. And we all saw how much harder it was to follow an argument or realize a topic’s intellectual potential when presenting that way, for sure, but even in that context, I thought our team asked smart questions and engaged in a respectful way with the content shared by such presenters.
I think we are all (Drew and I especially) ready to get back to New York, as this has in many ways been a whirlwind trip for us. We’re a tired bunch. But it has been an unreservedly successful experience for all of our students, and we’ve done Macaulay proud in our time in Kentucky.
We spent the bulk of our day today at the University of Kentucky. Gorgeous campus, and they appear to be very happy to host all of the students coming in for this great event. The energy in the air was interesting to observe; mostly, I was reminded that ten years makes a difference. Yowza. There was a hyper edge to the morning, especially, that seemed to emanate from everyone under the age of twenty-five!
The bulk of the afternoon was spent going from presentation to presentation–Vartan’s, Nazana’s, Laura’s, then Emily’s. The Macaulay cohort presenting at this conference is fantastic. From Emily’s research into the role of implicit and explicit memory in the acquisition of typing skills, to Vartan’s look at the role of leptin in mitigating some of the effects of meth, to Nazana’s study of the relative risk of different types of NYC bicycle lanes, to Laura’s project for this class, on Hitchcock and Poe–it really was a stellar day.
One thing I saw in all the presentations I witnessed is how invested our students are not just in their own particular research projects, but in the process of research, generally speaking. I think that our students are invested not only in becoming content creators (something we often discuss as a team of ITFs), but in becoming creators of quality content. All that angst about the millennial generation seems misplaced, when you attend an event like this. That hyper energy is going to be put to good use. It’s cause for optimism.
I also got to try the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale that some members of our crew ordered and raved about last night–that was well worth it. 🙂
Where apparently it is going to take me three tries to post this to the correct blog.
Well, we made it to Lexington safe and sound. Drew ended up reserving a party bus to take us from airport to hotel, which was a big hit, and we had a great Macaulay team dinner tonight, at Cortland’s Southern Kitchen–just a short walk over from the hotel.
We haven’t yet been over to UK to experience the conference proper, but it is already apparent how big and well-organized this event will be. There are NCUR info stations set up at the airport and in our hotel’s lobby, and even the key cards for our rooms come in an envelope with the NCUR logo pasted on it… I’m a big fan of quality informational signage!
Because we left NYC early, I’ve had a lot of time today to start to get to know all of the other Macaulay students on this trip. This is a wonderful group of students, researching diverse and cool topics–and as much as I like getting to know them better, I’m enjoying watching them get to know each other as well.
One of the ongoing topics of discussion at Macaulay is common events–how many should we have, what should they look like, how to get students to invest in the cross-campus experience. If we could find a way to send our students out into the world like this, though, I think we’d see some of the bonding we hope for when we organize common events. Down the table from me, a neuroscience student from Hunter and English and engineering students from CCNY are getting to know each other over a game of cards. Everyone took selfies in the party bus earlier–Laura brought a Polaroid camera of some sort (genius idea!).
I know that in a lot of ways an event like NCUR is a reward for our hard-working seniors. But it would definitely be nice to see more cross-campus mixing in a field trip/expeditionary direction, in smaller groups. Cost would be an issue (the students down the table are keenly aware of how much Macaulay has invested in bringing us to Kentucky, and we are all hugely appreciative), but it’s worth thinking about further.
April 1: class meeting April 2-5: trip to NCUR! April 8: class meetingcanceled
- April 29: class meeting (w/ special guest Prof. Lauren Klein)
- May 6: class field trip!
- May 10: class trip to dance performance (this is a Saturday evening show–please plan accordingly. If you can, bring in $15 to cover the cost of the ticket)
- May 13: class meeting (work session!)
- May 16: Macaulay research event (we will discuss further/make a decision soon)
- May 20: final class meeting
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.
I have decided for the digital portion of my thesis to do a mapping project–location and travel are a huge part of the novels, and I would like to track the movement of the women I examine in my paper. Obviously, this project demands that I pay close attention to detail, so for now, I’m focusing on two major characters: Arya (who serves as a link between Westeros and Essos, east and west, two continents, etc.) and Daenerys, who also does a significant amount of traveling. The other characters–Cersei, Catelyn, and Sansa–stay within Westeros, with less significant travel (Cersei hardly leaves King’s Landing; Catelyn never leaves Westeros, though with the Lady Stoneheart storyline coming up, who knows what’ll happen; and Sansa does some substantial travel within Westeros). Most of what I’ve done so far is starting to plan out Arya and Dany’s travels–going through their chapters, starting from the first novel, and tracking their movement (and how it is significant to their storylines, their characterizations, etc.).
My highest priority would be figuring out what medium to use to do my maps–choosing the mapping software that allows me to use maps of the (fictional) Westeros and Essos, as well as what website platform I would want to use. I think that–and this is partially thanks to the Game of Thrones TV show–explaining my project to other people wouldn’t be difficult. Mapping and epic fantasy also have had a strong connection since Lord of the Rings, so my project isn’t too far out (I think).
I’m so excited to get started on my digital project! The ideas are there, it’s conceptually rich, but I’m having trouble actually reaching the execution. A self-portrait project building upon ideas of reflection and the male gaze around Poe and Hitchcock’s themes is so promising, but I need a few things to happen before I can even get to taking the pictures:
- Make the website: essentially a photography portfolio
- Request AV equipment (lights and tripod) from Macaulay
- Contact the peeps! (Make-up artist, hair/stylist, photographers and computer savvy individuals) Bribe them with food.
- Draw up conceptual thumbnails. This would ensure that my shooting day is structured and that I won’t forget any important shots.
- The clothes! I’m not going for absolute replication of either of the films, but even for a modernization I want to have something aesthetically close to what Hitchcock wanted his actresses to look like. Maybe a visit to H&M would be promising (and cheap!).
- Rent a space. I have a contact at the NYPL branch by my apartment in the Bronx who might allow me to use the building’s lower level, as long I exchange services (face painting for events or a workshop for teens over the summer).
And that’s all there is, haha…Once the photos are taken, the physical Poe texts need to be scanned, the images need to be edited, and everything needs to be uploaded to the portfolio (which I will begin working on now to save me from any future headaches).
I’m still trying to understand the main point of this project myself, but it would be worthwhile to think about it now since I need to convince a bunch of friends to help me out. I would say that this is a feminist revisitation of the worlds that two men, Poe and Hitchcock, released to the public well before my time. My project is an intervention, calling attention to how women were represented in the works of these two masters of the macabre: ideals, goddesses, forms to be molded, objects of desire and destruction. I want these photographs to represent the artistic ideas my works have come to be associated with: self-identity, questionable femininity, fantasy (not the Tolkien kind), and horror. Gore is not my goal, but I’d like my audience (horror aficionados, Poe and Hitch fans, artists, the Goth kids on the dark depths of Tumblr, etc.) to understand what I’m going for.
Your NCUR Mission
- Enjoy the trip!
- Document the experience as much as possible: take photo, videos, even just straight audio (your phone may be able to record this)
- At the end of each day, write down your thoughts and impressions (do this either by hand, on a device, or through blog posts–whatever works best for you. Lindsey is going to try and blog to the class eportfolio daily.)
- Finally, please interview the other Macaulay attendees about the topic of presenting itself. What tips would they have for other Macaulay students presenting at conferences? What have they learned from attending NCUR? What would they do differently next time? Interview your colleagues on video, take photographs of their presentations, write down notes. Make sure that some of your data collection is specifically geared towards this question of effective presentations.