Main Campus Orthomosaic

The VSA organization Vassar Urban Enrichment asked us to create an aerial image of the entire main campus (i.e. not including the Vassar Farm, Townhouses, golf course, etc.) After a few tries with the ACS drone, we determined that the wifi signal it uses to communicate with its controller was insufficient for handling the distance we needed and the occasional obstacles in between. Drone pilot Chad Fust then used his own drone, which uses an RF signal, rather than wifi, and we were able to complete the project in two sections. The result is a merge (“orthomosaic”) of about 900 individual photos.

 

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Puzzle Pieces

We recently used the drone for a fun project: getting an aerial photo of a large sculpture project. Sculpture student Antoine Robinson had created an interactive art project, comprised of 30 plywood boxes painted with a design. Passersby will be able to move the boxes around to “solve the puzzle,” or create their own arrangement.

Puzzle Sculpture

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Beaver Pond

Prof. Lynn Christenson of the Environmental Studies program and Keri VanCamp of the Collins Field Station are interested in using the drone to acquire various types of imaging of the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. One area of focus is the beaver pond, which they’d like to view from above at different times of the year and over the years. After several unsuccessful attempts, we were able to collect a series of 200 images and stitch them together into the following visualization.

 

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Early Spring Workshop Series 2017

ibook on macbook air, ipad and iphone

iBooks Author Workshop 

Friday Feb 3rd 2:00 pm Main Library Electronic Classroom 160

iBooks Author is a free program that allows anyone to create digital books with illustrations, audio, and interactive glossaries. iBooks can be shared or sold via Apple’s iBooks Store and viewed on any Apple device, or exported to other formats. Hands-on workshop led by Steve Taylor of Academic Computing Services. Open to the campus.

 

Final Cut Pro icon, desktop and camera

Final Cut Pro X

Wednesday Feb 8th 3:30 Library Electronic Classroom 160

Interested in learning editing video or recording a narrated presentation? Come to this hands-on workshop where you will learn to use Apple’s professional but easy to use video editing software. Led by Baynard Bailey and Amy Laughlin of Academic Computing Services. Open to the campus.

wordpress logo

Setting Up a WordPress Site 

Wednesday Feb 15th 3:30 Library Electronic Classroom 160

WordPress is an open source digital publishing platform that is great for building quick and easy websites for orgs, portfolios, research and more. Led by George Witteman of VC++. Open to the campus.

 

Linux Penguin

An Introduction to Linux: World’s Best OS!   

Wednesday Feb 22nd 3:30 Sci Vis Lab, Bridge Building

Linux is a free and open-source operating system used in all sorts of devices. Come and learn about the Bootloader, the Kernel, Daemons and the Shell!  Discover
why Linux runs most of the internet and how it is the one of the most reliable and secure OS’s available. Install it on your own machine! Led by special guest Stefan Crain of The Jahnel Group.

 

Photographing artwork lines

How to Photograph your Artwork

Friday March 3rd 2:00 Taylor Hall 328

Need to put together your senior portfolio? Want to submit work to galleries or other
exhibition calls for entry? Come to this workshop and learn how to photograph 2D and 3D artwork. Led by Amy Laughlin of Academic Computing Services. Open to the campus. Contact: amlaughlin@vassar.edu

 

illustrator environment pencil imac

Poster Making

Wednesday March 8th 3:30 Library Electronic Classroom 160

Need a poster for an academic conference? Want to print a giant poster for your event? Come to this hands-on workshop, learn basic design and how to use Adobe Illustrator to lay out a poster. Learn about campus printing resources. Open to the campus

 

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Visualizing the Greenway Site

In January, ACS was asked to create an aerial photo of the Greenway site. This is an area in the college’s Ecological Preserve that was originally created as a composting area, but over time had become a dumping site. While the college has begun to clean it up, some interested students wanted to document the clean-up over time. We were able to create this image, comprised of 57 individual photos.

 

While we were pleased with that result, we were surprised to realize that the photo-stitching software that we used— Pix4Dmapper Pro— also created a 3D visualization of the site, which you can see at this website (click on “3D.”).

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Towers and Gargoyles

One of the big reasons that ACS acquired a drone was to support the work of Prof. Andrew Tallon, who wished to make videos and photos of the out-of-reach aspects of gothic cathedrals. In order to learn about and get practice with flying close to buildings, we made several flights around the tower of Main Library. To focus our efforts, we specifically targeted the 8 gargoyles that reside near the top of the tower. (We eventually photographed all of the library’s gargoyles– there are 36 of them!– though most were photographed without the drone.)

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Our First Drone

In November 2015, responding to a Frances D. Fergusson Technology Exploration Fund grant proposal submitted by Prof. Andrew Tallon, Vassar’s Academic Computing Services group purchased a 3DR Solo Quadcopter, with a GoPro camera.

3dr-solo-sm

The drone is available for education-related use by anyone at the college, though it can only be operated by CIS staff or (possibly) an approved person with sufficient training. Prof. Tallon will have priority in its use, since it was purchased at his request.

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Streaming Copyrighted Films


copyright-white[ The following are the thoughts of ACS staff and should not be interpreted as the legal opinion of Vassar College. ]

Vassar College has the technology that will allow instructors to stream videos for their students’ viewing. But instructors must first determine that doing so does not violate copyright law.

Most film and audio recordings are protected by copyright law, meaning that you can’t make copies and/or distribute copies unless certain exemptions exist. It is incumbent upon you, the instructor, to determine if any particular material can be copied and shared in any particular situation.

Ideal Scenarios
If the work is in the public domain, due to its age or because it was produced with federal funding, or simply because the creator waived copyright, you’re free to copy it. If you’ve gotten explicit permission from the copyright holder or acquired a license to that effect, you’re free to copy it. If, after a reasonable and earnest effort, you’ve been unable to contact the copyright holder to request permission, you may copy it.

TEACH Act
Under the TEACH act, you’re allowed to copy a non-dramatic work (i.e. a documentary)  and post it online for members of your class, as long as it is required for the class, and as long as it is directly related to issues that the class will be discussing during class meetings. The copying and posting should be done yourself, not by an institutional unit. For dramatic works, the TEACH Act only supports posting small portions of the work.

Fair Use Exemptions
Copyright law does allow for making copies of a work without the copyright holder’s permission, if “fair use” will be made of the copy. In determining whether or not a particular situation is fair use, you should take these four factors into consideration:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of copyrighted work. (Creative work is protected by copyright, but facts and ideas are not.);
  3. Amount and substantiality; (The smaller the portion of the work that you use, the more likely the use will be considered fair.);
  4. Effect upon the work’s value. (Copying a work is less fair if it is used as a substitute for a product on the marketplace, depriving the copyright holder of potential income.)

There is no exact formula for determining fair use; you must consider all four factors and base a conclusion on the aggregate of all four. The American Library Association makes available this tool for helping you make a determination about the fairness of a use that you are considering:

Fair Use Evaluator

If you’ve determined that your intended use cannot be strongly defended by the fair use guidelines, or any of the other exemptions, then you should consider other ways of providing your students with access to the work, such as scheduling a screening or leaving a copy of the material on reserve. Many films are also now available inexpensively, for online rental to individuals; Google the film title and the results may show that Amazon Video, YouTube, or iTunes may stream the video to individuals for $2.99 each.

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Computing Workshops Fall 2016

WordPress 101wordpress logo

Wednesday Oct 26 3:30 GIS Lab 
WordPress is an open source digital publishing platform t
hat is great for building quick and easy websites for orgs, portfolios, research and more. Led by George Witteman of VC++ and Academic Computing Services.

High Performance Computing & Amazon Web Services AWS Logo

Friday Nov 4 2:00 Sci Vis Lab

Come and learn about the “why” and “how” of high performance computing and the resources available at Vassar. Specific topics will include an overview of the field of HPC, and an introduction to Amazon Web Services. Led by Academic Computing Services’ Chris Gahn.

Intro to HTML and CSS html css picture

 

Wednesday Nov 9 3:30 -Web Design 101 – I Sci Vis Lab, Bridge Building

Sometimes Tumblr, Squarespace or WordPress just won’t do it! George Witteman of VC++ will walk you through the beginning steps of hand coding a website.

 

Game Design 101
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Wednesday Nov 16 3:30 Sci Vis Lab, Bridge Building

Ever want to get a taste of making a video game? Thinking of an alternative to another boring paper? Learn the basics of game design by hacking pong! Tom Lum of Indiebrew will lead a hands-on workshop on simple game programming using Love2D.

3d idea to print

3D Printing Open House

 Wednesday Nov 30 3:30  Library Electronic Classroom 160

Curious about 3D Printing? Come to our open house where we’ll discuss and visit campus resources for 3D Printing. Hosted by Amy Laughlin of Academic Computing Services.

Sound Editing with Audacityaudacity logo

 

Wednesday Dec 7 3:30  Library Electronic Classroom 160

Interested in podcasting? Perhaps have an interview you need to edit? Come to this workshop and learn tips on making good recordings and the basics of editing sound files with Audacity. Led by Baynard Bailey of Academic Computing Services.

 

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Make Better Videos with Your Phone or Computer (Free!) – Vimeo Video School

Impressed by Vimeo’s Video School

by Baynard Bailey

I am a long time fan of Vimeo and I’ve used it to share video for a bunch of Vassar projects over the years. (FTR those who don’t know, Vimeo is “a video-sharing community for original creative work and the people who create it”.) I was excited to see that Vimeo has launched a series of videos under the heading of “Vimeo Video School“. The series is really well done, practical, and even entertaining. I have watched and sent out links to a lot of instructional videos over the years and I have to say, this series is as good or better than anything I’ve ever seen (in the genre). Here’s an example from the series “Mastering Mobile Video“:

In addition to the Mobile Video Series (which by the way totally vindicates my ire when I see people shooting their video in portrait mode) they also have these series of lessons:

Video School Lessons

Introducing Windows Movie Maker
For PC people who are new to video editing, this free series is a friendly introduction to Windows Video Maker.

iMovie for Mac
Mac-friendly folk: edit videos without the stress. Easily master iMovie essentials in this free Video School series

Final Cut Pro X
Kick your video editing up a notch (or three) with our premium series focusing on the ins and outs of Final Cut Pro X for Mac. BAM.

Adobe Premier
Brush up on the basics and learn the finer points of Adobe Premiere in this free Video School series.

This is a fun series and makes good use of technology we have in hand or on campus.

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