ACS Technology White Paper: Digital Storytelling

Academic Computing Services (ACS) is embarking on a new initiative to share the best of our thinking on various academic technology topics with the Vassar faculty. Our Technology White Papers will be brief, informal reports on technologies that we think you’ll find interesting. Each will explain what the technology is, what its potential benefits are, how it’s currently being used in higher education, and how you can get started with it.

Our inaugural white paper, researched and reported by Senior Academic Computing Consultant Baynard Bailey, is on the topic of digital storytelling. Possible future topics include high performance computing, virtual reality, and microcredentials, or digital badging. Please let us know if these efforts are useful for you, and if there are particular topics that you’d like us to address.

Steve Taylor
Director, Academic Computing Services

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Introducing the Audio Nook

The Audio Nook

ACS has worked with User Services to install an “audio nook” in the Design Studio. Located in the north wing of the main library, this is a DIY audio recording station. It’s a great place to make a quick recording. 

Audio Nook Workstation

The Snowball cardioid microphone does a great job picking up the speech of the narrator at the same time ignoring background noise. You don’t have to talk very loud, you just need to be close. Listen for yourself!

There are two moveable sound baffle panels which dampen background noise and also provide a degree of privacy while you record.

Here’s another angle featuring Digital Media Consultant Jaineel Doshi ’20. 

Audio Nook Workstation overhead angle

The Design Studio staff sits at the design studio service desk and can provide help you if you need it.

Other Campus Sound Resources

Chicago Hall Audio Studio

Chicago Hall Audio Recording in progress

If you need more sound isolation or more privacy, you can arrange to use the Chicago Hall Audio Studio. The space provides more sound isolation and professional quality recording capacity. To arrange to use the space, please email Academic Computing Services acs@vassar.edu.

 

 

 

usb headsetUSB Headsets can be signed out from the circ desk for 2 hours at a time. They can also be signed out from Media Resources for a week at time.

 

zoom h1Zoom H1 Recorders can be signed out from Media Resources. ACS maintains a classroom set of recorders that can be used for class projects. These are perfect for field recordings. Contact mediaresources@vassar.edu for individual borrowing or acs@vassar.edu for class projects or training.

Audacity LogoAudacity is a free program that can be downloaded and installed on Windows or Macs. It is installed on all the Design Studio and Library Electronic Classroom machines.  If you need help, please ask a design studio student employee or email Baynard Bailey babailey@vassar.edu

adobe audition wave form Adobe’s Audition is a “comprehensive toolset that includes multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio content.” Audition is also installed in the Design Studio and the Electronic Classroom. 

 

 

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Technology Workshops Fall 2018

Technology Workshops – Fall 2018 Flier – post October Break

 

Intro to Video Editing with Premiere Pro          

11/02 Friday 2:00 pm 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 Adobe Premiere Pro. Led by Baynard Bailey of Academic Computing Services. Please rsvp to babailey@vassar.edu (suggested but not required).

 

Intro to Linux

11/07 Wednesday 3:30 pm, Sci Vis Lab, Bridge Building

Linux is a free and open-source operating system with superior security and Linux Penguinperformance to MacOS and Windows. Come learn how to get started exploring the Linux world on your very own laptop, or use one of our computers. Learn about the many “flavors” of Linux, how to use the terminal (command-line), and how to install and update software from a package manager. Led by Chris Gahn of Academic Computing Services. Please rsvp to chgahn@vassar.edu (suggested but not required).

 

Poster Making and Basic Design

11/16 Friday 2:00 pm Library Electronic Classroom 160

illustrator environment pencil imacNeed 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. Led by Baynard Bailey of Academic Computing Services. Please rsvp to babailey@vassar.edu (suggested but not required).

 

Photographing and Documenting your Artwork

11/28 Wednesday 3:30 Taylor 104

Need to put together your senior portfolio? Want to submit work to galleries or other Photographing artwork linesexhibition calls for entry? Come to this workshop and learn how to document your artwork and to do basic Photoshop editing. Led by Amy Laughlin of Academic Computing Services.  Please rsvp to amlaughlin@vassar.edu (suggested but not required).

 

Experience VR

12/07 Friday 2:00-4:00 pm Collaboration Studio, Main Library

woman wearing a VR headsetInterested in 360 video or experiencing Virtual Reality? We’ll have an Oculus Rift and a Playstation VR setup, as well as several 360 video viewers. Come try these devices out and discuss how they might impact education. Organized by Academic Computing Services and the Library.

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Working with Dual USB headsets for input and output (Mac OSX)

I wish I had known this years ago when I ran the Media Cloisters! It turns out you can connect multiple USB inputs and outputs on Macs. This is great if you want to team-edit video or record two people at once. You’ll need two USB headsets for this to work.

Getting Two USB Headsets to Work:

This is built-in functionality for Mac OSX. Plug in both headphones, then open Audio Midi setup from /Applications/Utilities.

searching for Midi

Find the Audio Midi Setup by searching “midi” in the spotlight

Click the plus in the lower left corner and choose “Create Multi-Output Device.”

Make two usb headsets play together!

Make two usb headsets play together!

Check the checkboxes beside both headphones.

Uncheck the built-in output.

Uncheck the built-in output.

If you want to rename your new virtual device, you can double click the new entry in the list on the left and give it a name like “Both headphones.”

In System Preferences, you can now set the output to go to your new Multi-Output Device.

Setting up Two USB Headphones Mics

A similar arrangement will work to create two USB inputs. Create an aggregate device for the USB headsets.

Make two mics record on separate channels!

Make two mics record on separate channels!

Check the appropriate boxes.

To record in Audacity onto two separate channels, choose “(Stereo) Recording Channels” as your input:

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Making Posters and Fliers at Vassar Spring 2018

by Baynard Bailey

Making Posters at Vassar Presentation (link requires VC gmail login)

illustrator environment pencil imac

You can use any software you like to create posters or fliers. The most common applications used are Adobe Illustrator and MS Powerpoint. The goal is to create a .pdf that can be shared with the printer. Adobe Illustrator is available in the library electronic classroom and the 24 hour space of the library (AKA DMZ).

Here are some ACS created tutorials for creating academic posters with Adobe Illustrator:

  1. Graphic Design Tutorial (12 minutes)
  2. Illustrator Tutorial (25 minutes)
  3. Exporting Tutorial (4 minutes)

Print jobs smaller 11″x17″ or smaller go to the Copy Center, and can be picked up at the post office counter in college center.

Print jobs larger than 11″x17″ go to Media Resources, which is in the basement of the College Center. Further details and to submit a print job please visit https://servicedesk.vassar.edu/catalog_items/307242-poster-request

If you would like to arrange training for faculty or classes, please email acs@vassar.edu

If you are hosting a poster event or poster session, please contact campus activities to reserve their foam boards and/or easels: campusactivities@vassar.edu

I’ve helped many classes create posters for academic purposes. Here are various poster sets created by students I’ve trained (some links require VC login):

 For additional inspiration, here are some useful links:

For a list of upcoming public workshops keep an eye the events listed in our Moodle site or visit http://pages.vassar.edu/dissco/events/

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Digital Storytelling Work at Vassar

I love teaching digital storytelling workshops to classes at Vassar. The students seem to enjoy it and the faculty are pretty happy with the results. Departments include French, Japanese, Psychology, Education and Anthropology. I was reviewing students’ examples in preparation for the upcoming LACOL panel and I was blown away by all the amazing and diverse work done by the students.

Here’s a quick summary of the kinds of digital storytelling projects that I have helped classes with over the years:

French – Digital Storybooks for FREN 206 with Mark Andrews, Tom Parker and Susan Hiner.

Japanese – Digital Storybooks for 200- and 300-level courses with Peipei Qiu and Hiromi Dollase.

Psychology – End-of-term research presentations with Mark Cleaveland’s students

Education – Semester-long collaborations with Adolescent Literacy students and their middle school partners (workshops every week)

Anthropology – A variety of uses, including digital ethnographies and engaged research

We use Final Cut Pro X at Vassar for these classes. FCP X is a powerful and easy-to-use editor. It is available in the Library’s Electronic Classroom and Digital Media Zone. Students with Macs can get a 30-day free trial license.

The goals vary by classes. Sometimes the professor wants a rich medium to tell a story. In Mark’s class, he wanted polished presentations that acted as crucibles to bring together all their research. For 

Lessons Learned:

  • Provide lots of support
  • Don’t assume the students know how to do things
  • Sound is more important than video
  • Things improve with iteration
  • Set clear expectations 
  • More faculty / instructional technologist collaboration is better
  • It is helpful if the faculty member can model or provide examples
  • Allow time for things to go wrong
  • Try to keep track of where you put things
  • Measure success by faculty “happiness” level

This is an example of a digital ethnography.

4m20s

This was produced for community engaged research:

t=33s

This is an example from a final group project for a Psychology class.

t=27s

French 206

t=1:25

Japanese stories (behind Moodle login Moodle

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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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ACS Collaborates with ART 386 students and faculty on “first-of-its-kind exhibition.”

Amitabha Buddha, Central Tibet, 19th century; pigment on cloth; 38 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.; The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, F1997.6.3.

Amitabha Buddha, Central Tibet, 19th century; pigment on cloth; 38 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.; The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, F1997.6.3.

ART 386,  Embodying Compassion in Buddhist Art: A Curatorial Training Seminar was taught by Karen Lucic during Fall semester, 2014. The purpose of the class was to give students the opportunity to research and curate an exhibition at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. During the summer of 2014, Professor Lucic contacted me to discuss creating a website for her students to use as a repository for their research and eventually this site would become a companion site to the final exhibition in April, 2015. Over the course of the Fall semester, students wrote and compiled content for the site and they worked closely with ACS to design and populate the site.

From ART 386 Syllabus:

Each student will be responsible for the digital content and interpretation of 2-3 works in the exhibition. The instructor will assign the objects to each student, based on her/his experience and preparation. These student contributions will be posted on the exhibition application and/or website. (60% of grade.)

Students will work in teams to produce additional resources for the exhibition: gallery guide, interactive maps, guide to web resources, etc. Students in the team will also give feedback on other team members’ work before submission (20% of grade.)

From ART 386 Assignment Sheet:

The purpose of this assignment is to create digital educational content for the exhibition. Always remember who your audience is: visitors to the exhibition, or online users, who might not know much—or anything—about the topic. What you write, and your choice of materials should be based on your assessment of what will enhance their experience and understanding of the exhibition. Texts should be concise and to the point. Other materials should be short but engaging.

For each work you have been assigned:

1) Write an interpretative text (no more than 100 words) for app/website

2) Select one comparative image (must be open access and high resolution); include full caption of comparative image

3) Write a text (no more than 100 words) explaining the comparison

4) Select an audio file, if possible, that enhances the work (no more than two minutes). Examples: chanting, singing, mantra recitation, etc.

5) Select a video file, if possible, that enhances understanding of the work (no more than 2 minutes). Examples: practitioners circumambulating, prostrating, spinning prayer wheels, making sand mandalas, offering incense, etc.

6) If there are no appropriate audio or video files, choose another comparative image.

7) Compile a list of unfamiliar terms from your texts, with definitions

8) Map your work, at least by country. With some works (Putuoshan, Nachi, etc.), it may be possible to be more precise about locations.

9) Record your written contributions.

While students were working to create the content for the site, ACS student employee Bryce Daniel worked on building a wireframe for the WordPress site. Professor Lucic also collaborated with Duke University students to design an App for the exhibition. The App hosted audio files recored and edited by ACS Consultant, Baynard Bailey. These recordings, narrated by both students and Professor Lucic, include short commentaries describing individual pieces in the exhibit, as well as a pronunciation guide for a glossary of terms.

The Embodying Compassion WordPress site is a comprehensive online exhibit reference guide, containing audio, video, images, interactive hotspot maps, and extensive research, curated by ART 386 students. This project proved to be a excellent example of how students, faculty, and ACS consultants collaborate to produce educational materials for the classroom and public audience.

 

Links:

Embodying Compassion Website

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art  Center: Embodying Compassion is a first-of-its-kind exhibition celebrating one of the most important figures in Buddhist art, April 23-June 28, 2015

Get the App

 

 

 

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Downloading Audio and Video from YouTube

If you want to download the audio or the video from a YouTube video, here’s a great resource for you: http://offliberty.com/

It is very straightforward. Paste the YouTube url into the box, and press the power button. After a shortish wait (can be longer if the video is long) you will be given the choice of downloading the audio as .mp3 and/or the video as .mp4.

The demonstrative part of this video begins at 51 seconds in.


I can imagine any number of situations where this utility would be extremely handy. (It is always good to have a backup plan when you are teaching a class.) However, as the website points out, “Sometimes browsing offline content requires permission from its author or owner. Remember to be sure that you have it.”

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Remix your Syllabus

I found a good idea for Vassar faculty in my email today and I wanted to share it. One of the ideas mentioned in 10 Things the Best Digital Teachers Do seemed like a simple yet powerful idea that might be useful to some.

If you are rethinking how you are teaching a course and want to invite the students to collaborate on redesigning the course, stick your syllabus in a wiki (like a Google doc or a Moodle wiki) and invite them as collaborators and rewrite it together. I imagine the process could be very invigorating.

 

 

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