Saturday, November 24, 2012

Studio 2: SPARC

These writings and materials are presented as an archive of graduate level work in the Instructional Design & Development program at UGA (Studio 2) in 2005, which was meant to be a second Master's Degree. Due to serious health issues at the time, I did not finish that program. Materials for my work in IDD program include my project journals, documents and links to projects (hosted elsewhere) for Studio 1 (project: Spiralism, a CSS/flash based online exhibit) , Studio 2 (project: SPARC, CSS/standards; interviews with artists on creativity), and Introduction to Instructional Technology (readings, presentations).

REFLECTION 9b (FINAL): Thoughts on the studio experience

These writings and materials are part of graduate level work in the Instructional Design & Development program at UGA (Studio 2) in 2005. Due to health issues, I did not finish that program (I already had a MLIS). Other materials in this group are my project journals and documents for Studio 1 and Introduction to Instructional Technology.

I'm not sure how many people come into the IDD program with an arts related background (actually my background is kind of all over the map, but it does contain some art studio experience) so I thought it might be interesting for me (and any others for that matter) to reflect on the studio experience in comparison with an art studio experience. I will say that there are some distinct similiarities and some differences...
  • Both are self learning experiences under the direction of an instructor. The instructor may give guidance, but a majority of the work is done independently.
  • Both have a critical review process by peers, IDD studio in written desk crits, and arts studio in critique, which is generally a verbal format. I think one of the challenges in both is that people really do not know how to critique. Doing it well is a very hard skill to learn. It's neither about being overly cruel (ripping something to shreds without justification) or conversely, singing its praises. Also, it's not necessarily just about pointing out small technical imperfections, but should look at the work in its entirety. I know that I struggle with critique (and desk crits, for that matter) but it is a good part of the process. One difference between desk crits and art critique is that it is usually a group (or in many cases the whole class) who look at the work. I do think there are good ideas that arise out of a group critique which would not normally come out in individual discussion.
  • At an undergraduate level, the arts studio classes are at a much more instructional and technical level: students are assigned general things to do (such as drawing from a life model) which is in some ways similiar to the exercises and proficiency check that 6190 first timers do. At a graduate level, students have much more freedom to choose their tools and medium, as well as the content of their works.
  • Both IDD studio & arts classes work toward an end goal: either submission of a portfolio, a final exhibit, or in the case of IDD, the showcase.

Friday, December 23, 2005

REFLECTION 9 (FINAL): The big picture

Just a couple of housekeeping stuff to start things off:
  • For those who don't know, I was hospitalized the week of the showcase with a bleeding ulcer and severe anemia. It was considered to be acute and potentially life threatening. I am slowly recovering now, but still kind of weak and my brain isn't quite back to normal just yet.Please forgive any typos, missing words or sentences that make NO sense (just drop me an email @ if you see any), I will spellcheck but one of the symptoms of anemia is cloudy thinking.
  • Thanks to everyone who helped me with my project. Certainly, I couldn't have done it without the artists, but I also want to thank my classmates who gave me such great feedback, Mary Miller for setting up my project at the showcase, and the instructors for their patient & understanding.
For my final post, I want to go back to the first article we read about the studio experience. Why? Well, if it hadn't been for my previous experience in 6190, the words of wisdom from 6210 folks & others, I might not have had a finished project for the showcase.

Part of flexible learning strategies is also time-planning and managing. Again, traditional instructional settings place the responsibility almost exclusively into the hands of the instructor. Learners are expected to follow the rhythm of instruction, practice, and evaluation, that is provided by the educational "authority" who is in charge. If this external guidance is taken away, it is likely that many learners will not be able to carry out adequate time planning and management on the spot. The multiple requirements of the Studio courses contribute to the difficulty of the task. There is not a definite line of events and only a few marked points on the time line indicate where certain requirements are due. This, of course, allows more flexibility for the individual learner, but also requires a much higher skill level in terms of planning and managing time and resources. (Fiedler, 1999).

Actually, I think time management is one of the key components of the studio experience (actually, of any self learning experience). Without good time management skills, a studio project can quickly turn into a nightmare of all nighters. Even with judicious use of time, breaking the project up into smaller, more manageable pieces, most projects will still provide some unexpected challenges (and inherent in those challenges are opportunities for creative solutions). I definitely hit a major challenge with SPARC. Not only was video capture time intensive, but so was video editing, complicated with additional challenges of bandwidth and web storage space. All of which was a challenge to overcome: How to get the maximum impact and most interesting content with the best use of time?

What this required was a redirection of resources (me, webspace, content) and my choice was to allow artists to contribute their thoughts via email instead of soley relying on video. What I gained from tweaking my initial plan a little is a much richer and more well rounded website, more artist participation, and hopefully, a more interesting project.

What I've learned about the studio experience is that it is just one big project with really only one deadline (because if you've been doing the work all along then all there is to do at the dress rehearsal is show where you are in the process). Dividing the project up into manageable parts is essential (see previous statement). The other parts of the studio project are just part of project planning for any project: have a vision, know your scope, develop a plan, layout a basic framework, and remain flexible and creative. Being flexible and creative would seem to be essential and a natural part of the process (and for those who want to stick to their plan regardless of its success, I imagine that they either find a way to make the plan work regardless of how much work is involved, settle for something which is less successful, or get frustrated and abandon their plan at some point,which leaves space for a revised plan).

Building in extra time for tweaking or revision or polishing up is a necessity in order to succeed in studio. I can honestly say that I was finished with my project by the end of November, which was my saving point. Otherwise, I would have been in the hospital with an unfinished project hanging over my head. The remaining time was to be spent reshooting some video (replacing the ones with poor audio), adding additional content (I still have some artists responses that even came in after the 8th), tweaking metadata and doing a final accessibility check (to ensure that any last minute changes hadn't impacted the accessibility).

Anyhow, I really enjoy the studio experience and if I could just take all of the IDD classes as studio, I would probably be a happy camper. ;)

Fiedler, Sebastian (1999). The Studio Experience: Challenges and Opportunities for Self-Organized Learning. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, Department of Instructional Technology

Monday, December 12, 2005

desk crit no. 9> From Jina

What an excellent project, Robin!

You may not need crits but I decided to go through projects on your STUDIO website and give my crits to folks who’s done great job.

It is very artistic and beautiful all around. I know you are kind of tired of hearing compliments by now…so here are a few minor crits.

Overall, I found it somewhat difficult to see the menus and navigate. I think it is because font sizes are too small and/or not eye-catching enough in comparison to everything else on a page.

On the main navigation, I literally had to roll the mouse over to see what it says…maybe it’s my eye sight.

I don’t know the whole purpose of this website…you can tell I didn’t read your project management site. But it would be great if you provide some sort of introduction on what it’s about on the main page or somewhere obvious. I was confused and still am somewhat wondering what it is about.

On the “art slideshow” page, “main page” link disappears from the main navigation bar.

I really liked the way you did the slideshow! Brilliant!

On the “about the artists” page, on the bottom…there are some blocks of purple bars or blocks or whatever you call it laying there… I just wasn’t sure what they were about. It seems like decoration…but nowhere else has them.

About the main navigation, I know you used CSS for it…it would be better if I can tell which page I currently am by just looking at the main navigation bar or somewhere. I was confused where I am.

These are all nit-picky things and I loved your project! You are very creative.

Good luck!


desk crit no. 8> From Mary Miller

Hi, Robin.
As is always the case with pretty much anything you create, your Web site is stunning!
I like the look and feel very much. A meta site, it both is art and is about art! It's very
warm and inviting, which is not always the case for something with so much style!
When I looked at your site during the studio showcase trial run on the 17th of November,
I suggested that you change the style of the text on the "Thoughts on Creativity" section.
You have now done that and it is much easier to read while still looking very cool.
I particularly like the way you have done navigation for that section. I do think it would
be nice if you added some sort of "back to top" link and I think you could do that at the
same point as each of your internal navigation sections without throwing things off
too badly.
I have a couple of suggestions for the artist info section.
  1. Begin with artist's full name. I noticed Rene's last name was not given. Perhaps put the name in bold to make it stand out a bit more.
  2. List your live interview participants alphabetically as you have done with your thoughts participants.
I also have some comments on the artist interviews and demos section.
You have a lot of dead space on this page. With the current image size, it would be possible to put the content in a table with two columns. Or, you could just add something fun to look at next to the info sections. But I am not loving the empty space in the tan box.
However, I do really love most everything else about your site. Thank you for creating
this valuable and interesting resource!

desk crit no. 7> From Elizabeth

Wow! Your visual appeal is out the roof!
Suggestions: "examples of artwork, hear and read thoughts of artists, see artists creating art, and add your own thoughts on creativity. What is creativity? Will this project will spark your interest in arts and creativity?" - period after artwork. Hear and read..... take second will out of last sentence.

on Project Info
there does seem to be some common threads there does seem to be some common threads - change does to do
I can't see the "i" in relfection in the header.
I only wish I knew how to do half what you have done! Very impressive.

desk crit no. 6> From Yi-Wen Tan

These are desk crits that came in while I was sick, so I am just adding them now.
Hi, Robin:
I like your website. The color is so strong and powerful. The design is neat!

Only three small question/suggestion:
  • The slide show you makes on the art examples page has a small problem to me. The play button seems can not work. It is supposed to play the slides automatically, right?
  • On the end of "Thoughts on creativity", you may want to put a button to help audience go back to the top/menu of the page. Just like the button you make at the end of each section.
  • After I click "Add your thoughts", I don't know how to come back to your project. Maybe you could pop-up a new window for the blogger, or use frames to put the blogger in your website.

Hope it is helpful.

Yi-Wen Tan

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

desk crit no. 5> from Kristin

Hi Robin,

I came around during Reiber’s class and looked at your website. I think it looks awesome. I am really impressed with the artwork that you and the other artists have created. I like this site because I am so far from being artistic that I can appreciate when other people are artistic. I like the interviews with the artists. I think that you might could add the time of each interview next to their picture. Some of the interviews were longer than I thought. I couldn’t get the drek davis drawing clip to come up. The drawing clip of you was incredible. The blog was a nice touch. I like the fact that you made an interactive website where others could be an addition to what you have researched thus far. I am sorry that my crit is not more critical but it looks fabulous. Congratulations, Kristen

Sunday, November 27, 2005

desk crit no. 4 > from Jamie

Hi again, Robin,
I've visited your site several times already, always amazed not only by your design, but also by your vast artistic
abilities. Your yellow bar really helps to move through the site, and I love your use of color.

Here are some suggestions for modifications:

  • On your intro page, you could add the blue border that’s on the other pages (around the white box).
  • On your art examples page, you have written “visit the live interviews.” That sounds awkward to me. In this same box, the font styles of your links vary.
  • On your artist interviews page, you might consider changing the title from “Artist live interviews,” and there’s a lot of white space on this page. I would like to see larger images of the video links.
  • The yellow centered text on your “thoughts” page is awkwardly placed.
  • I’m not sure about how to add comments to the “your thoughts” page, but then, I’m still not familiar with the blogging thing. Also about this page, it seems like it might be better to leave off your studio links. You might opt to create a separate page for those.
  • Add a question mark to “Why this project” on your project info page (in the purple box) so that it’s consistent with the yellow text.
  • On your link bar, it would be great of all of the text fit on the same line (without the “only” hanging off the end. Also, I like your use of lower case. I would change “Add your thoughts” to lower case, maybe changing it to just “your thoughts.”
  • On your art examples page, consider adding a title in a purple box to be consistent with the other pages.
  • You’re missing a link for Mary Padegelak on your thoughts on creativity page, and on this same page, there’s some discrepancy in font style in the links (yours are not bold like the others, it look like).
  • Lastly, on your project info page, you might center your yellow links.

REFLECTION 8: Meeting standards and validating

Isn't it lovely? (ok, I was fighting with blogger over posting code, so I just did a screen capture... it's kind of a blurry gif, sorry about that....) This screenshot shows what the meta for my site looks like.
...and I was kind of lazy with some parts of the meta... especially the LC subject headings part, I know there are better ones...)
...and there are actually 2 kinds of meta in this project: stuff input by dreamweaver (keywords) and DC. The reason I am including meta even though I am using a NO ROBOTs tag (which tells the web seach engine & other spiders to go away & not index)
is that

  • accessibility checkers need some of this meta,
  • HTML checkers need some of this meta and
  • whenever I release this for public, I will change the robot tag but not have to worry about anything else. ;)

In the process of ensuring that my project meets minimal guidelines for accessibility and that the code itself validates, I hit a roadblock with the code validation. The accessibility part is not the issue; I was able to create a text only page using UGA's text only generator (fabulous!) and I made sure to use alt tags throughout. I do think one big advantage with CSS is that there is just not as much in the way of code on the actual html pages, which makes accessibility that much easier, I would think. (No tables and little code formatting in the actual pages...)

My CSS validated beautifully using the W3C validating tool. However, when I tried to validate the HTML, it kept failing. Why? Well, it has to do with the metadata that I have chosen to use (part of which is required for accessibility issues) I very much want to use LC's Dublin Core (DC). DC is kind of an old friend and well, being a librarian, part of me feels that I should ALWAYS follow LC policies and practices... well, they do not have policies and practices for everything in life ;) but at least for metadata!

If you duplicate any fields in the metadata, the HTML checkers will just toss it out. Thankfully, this was a relatively easy fix for me. I just had to delete my (title)(/title) tags and use the DC title tag. Kind of a scary thought.... (btw, I can't seem to use brackets in blogger as it conflicts with the templates somehow....) , but it seems to work just fine and validates. I also considered throwing out the html and just going with xhtml, but thought I would just stick with what I have at the moment. ;)

I am very keen on accessibility as a practice, although in my personal projects, I am not as good a steward of good design as I should be... I sometimes forget the alt tags when I posting images in my online art journal (it does have full meta and it is framed in CSS, but I'm not sure that it would validate... I supposed I should give it a try...)

For additional reading and reference, I've enclosed some additional links at the bottom about CSS and accessibility. Now on to my article....

In Stephen's article, which is in response to a discussion posted on NODE stating that " Lines will have to be drawn and limits to accessibility will have to be defined - that's just the nature of the medium," he agrees that accessibility is an important issue which needs to be defined. He goes on to state that "[u]niversal access involves rather more than including image and link descriptions... In some cases, the technology does not yet exist to enable full accessibility. In other cases full accessibility will be either impractical or impossible."

Considering this article was written in 1998, it is interesting to me that things have not changed alot. Yes, standards have become more common and people do talk about accessibility on occasion, but the simple fact that different browsers STILL render code differently is kind of amazing. It would seem like the web has been around long enough now, that standards should be the highest priority. Because without standards, there is no consistency, and without consistency, user experiences are different (sometimes bad, sometimes good), designers have to work harder to try to address browser issues, and companies who create software or hardware to interact with the Internet have to take into account how (or even IF) their product will work....

After reading this article I do feel a little better about my problem in getting my code to validate!

PROJECT PROCESS: I did add a blog where users could add their own thoughts on creativity. I also tried to add explanatory text in terms of the intent of this project. My project validates (HTML, CSS) and my project meets accessibility criteria for WAVE and Watchfire.

REFERENCE: Downes, Stephen. (1998). in Stephen's Web, Downes, S. (2005).

CSS and accessibility
Accessibility features of CSS,

CSS Accessibility,

Word Count: a whole bunch

Desk crit no. 8 Jamie González

I am using firefox on windows xp... (just to let you know...)
I like your project very much. The color scheme is nice and simple (which is not a bad thing!) and the content seems well organized.

Just a note:
on page

Las partes del cuerpo
I felt like I should be able to click on the images... or maybe some text above the images to explain that they are examples(?)

by the way, a neat little trick to give info to accompanying an image with a mouse rollover is to add a title to image properties. I believe you can do that in dreamweaver somehow but to do with the code, you just use the title tag... like so...
With your ears image...

../../My%20Documents/My%20Pictures/orejas.gif" alt="las orejas" title ="ears" width="229" height="196"

anyhow, just a thought... it might be a way to give 'hints' or answers without a whole lot of work.
I love the quizzes. Very well done.

Desk crit no. 7 Elizabeth Foster

I really like the color scheme on the main page. It's lively but modern. :) One thing that I am wondering about is whether the title on the main page might 'pop' more in white or a different color?

Also, the gold is such a strong color (which I very much like on the main page) I am wondering whether you could find a way to pull some gold - just a little - throughout the website... Maybe in your titles (...and it doesn't have to be the same exact color as the main page to give a feel of continuity...)

As for navigation, I really like the main page menus. Any thought to adding those into the rest of the html pages?

Also on the menu on the main page, something strange is happening with navigation on the great books. It looks like everything else in the table is divided into 2 rows, but that column isn't. In other words, just looking at it from a visual viewpoint, there is no black line between the button 'Great Books' and text 'Books 3rd graders recommend'.

Finally, the calendar link didn't work. I realize you are not finished with your project, but thought I would just mention it...

Oh, and just to let you know, I use firefox and your site looks fine to me. I've had a couple of problems viewing other people's sites which appear to related to firefox, so I thought I would just mention that. ;)

Good job. Your website seems clear in its purpose and I think structure and color wise is fine, except for the few minor things I've mentioned.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Desk crit no. 6 Candi Chandler

I'm a big fan of the scouts and I think you did a great job working their colors into your website... and lots of content. Really, amazing, in such a short time. However, in firefox something kind of weird happens with the blocks of color and a few of the fonts. It's not awful, but things just look a little odd. That may not be an issue for you (and come to think of it, I haven't looked at my site in IE in a while, so I better do that!....)

For example on the intro page, the yellow block near CubScout Pack 333 Eatonton, Georgia seems to be an in odd place, and the paragraph beginning pack33 is managed.... seems to be sitting very close to preceding paragraph. Again, it may not be an issue, but I thought I would mention it.

The font and block of color seem to be a little problematic throughout in Firefox.
You've really accomplished alot!

Desk crit no. 5 Leigh Davis

I really liked the blocks and primary color scheme. Very cute and appropriate for your audience level! I think the site has a very clean layout.

On the first page, I did notice that there wasn't a title up at the top of the browser. I wasn't sur e if maybe you just forgot it or missed it in dreamweaver (it is under page properties in dreamweaver). Having a title helps the user (me in this case) know where I am.

Secondly, I guessed that I would click on 'got social skills?' to get started. I hate to say that you need the obvious 'click here'... but from my experience in 6190 last time, I found that even IT students don't know where to go without obvious directions... ;)

I think everything else looks good. The text is easy to read which is probably a necessity for schoolkids. Good job. It's looking great.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Desk Crit no. 4: Mary Lewis

Hi Mary,I think it looks lovely and it explains what I know of quilting at my novice level (my grandmother was a quilter but I never learned...)

Just a couple of things...
-It felt kind of empty in some of the steps. I really liked the initial screen with the quilt images. You may be going to add an image in there, but I just wanted to mention it.

-On step 3, just a little typo..., the word assembly is misspelled. (asembly)

- On the glossary... Is there any way to list these alphabetically or see a complete list (i.e., an index?) just an observation from a librarian. ;)

-on the design your own quilt (wow! very cool!) I couldn't get the top left box to ever fill. I tried all of the remaining/unused squares but I couldn't get anything to work.

--Maybe a contact me button? Not necessary, but I always find them a nice touch.

-Colorwise, it is lovely. Also, did you make these quilts? They are absolutely gorgeous.

Project site:

desk crit no. 3> from Haley

I really appreciate the concept of your project.!
Here are some suggestions
  • perhaps a message about browser and what size needed to best view this site – I had some issues with iE – just spacing. No big deal, but I know you may be concerned with details.
  • When clicking through the photos on art example page, the number skips from 16/16 to 2/16. I viewed the pic and clicked to get through them, but couldn’t get back to 1.
  • On the same page…the blue links are a bit difficult to read. I’d suggest using a lighter blue or grey.
  • The navigation disappears and is a bit confusing when I get to the “add your thoughts page” if this is an external link, try opening in a new window. Just a suggestion.
  • Nice work!

desk crit no. 2> from Mary

Your website looks great! I love the main page logo and the design that even went into the name! I love the banner graphic atop all your other pages that have your elongated title and the design for that. I do have a few suggestions:

  • On your art examples page slides 14, 15, and 16 do not have artist information or medium listed below them
  • Make your navigation bar larger and easier to read
  • Also, when I roll over some buttons they white out completely and make it impossible to read- it’s probably on purpose

It looks great and I love the interactivity included with the blog and also the video interviews!