Remembering the Size of the Universe

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Sometimes I worry about the direction we’re taking at the college. But then I remember how big things are–I think remember is the right word–out in the real world (see title) and calm down a little. The direction we’re taking shifts things fundamentally and I think for the better when it comes to the learning experience, the approach being to focus on creating opportunities to do, learn, and practice things and to offer people a chance to keep up the learning process in whatever way they may find profitable.

New Media has done a lot for this effort since many years ago J, B, and I began a program idea built around what we thought people should be able to do after completing a series of courses. Out of this effort came four courses that draw from growing abilities in several areas and put them to work on a common, team-based product. This semester we’ve been able to run New Media Perspectives to, thus far, interesting results since we have the first go around to learn from. Hm, there’s that word learning again. The first four weeks have lead to a synthesis of major foundational issues we think are important, as well as a means of assessing students’ growing awareness of aesthetics, connection, interconnection, analysis, and dynamics. Vagueness can easily enter in here, but not when Velázquez relates to Alan Moore and Harold begins to rear his slick head in the tool bar of Flash 8. With Flash, it’s easy to make sweeping generalizations about the power of computation and graphics. It’s just as easy, however, to illustrate why and how computation and graphics function affectively.

The students will have presentations already that illustrate their ability to express and explore a possible reaction from a usable object, control perception, and build a dynamic experience with media . These are “abilities.”

2 responses to “Remembering the Size of the Universe”

  1. susan says:

    You’re teaching Flash within the course?

  2. Steve says:

    No, just using it as an example of a new media environment. We’re finding that lots and lots of examples of new media are making things more concrete. Something we didn’t do enough with your class, but for us, it’s also a learning experience.

    In addition, the ability approach forces us to think about how to best to opportune making, thinking, and assessing in the stuff we and the student’s make.