I’ve been a teacher, instructional designer and faculty developer for much of my professional life. Both the courses I teach and the graphic design I use to supplement my teaching are heavily focused on how we see, the concept of critical making, and the use visual narratives to enhance understanding.
2D DIGITAL DESIGN
This is an open, credit-bearing course build on Wordpress. Students learned basic design elements and approaches to the 2D plane using graphic design software. Emulation of contemporary digital artists was encouraged as a learning method.
Lessons in Legos
This mini-course is meant to be used with faculty to help them understand a number of ideas about online courses. It's also structured so that the lesson can be used by others. A key idea is the visual nature of good instructions.
Literature of the North
This was an open, credit-bearing course built on Wordpress. Students read, discussed, and wrote largely about non-indigenous Alaskan and Yukon literature from the late 19th to 20th centuries.
Course Design & Delivery
I've designed and taught quite a few courses over the years; some face to face and some online. These online examples show the range of open, asynchronous courses I've designed and taught end-to-end and they reveal some of the perspectives I bring to the intersections between curriculum, design, and delivery.
*Most of the courses I've built on LMS platforms are not open on the web and not shown here.
One way to encourage students to read the syllabus or instructions is to design things to be user friendly from a graphic design perspective. I've often used the work of Lynda Barry, specifically Syllabus: Notes from and Accidental Professor, to help faculty understand how design principles and visuals can help students navigate the often unfriendly world of higher education. Though not highly polished, the hand drawn, rough image can be less intimidating.
DEPICTING COMPLEX IDEAS
Complex ideas can sometimes be distilled into simple images and at other times they need a metaphor to support the need for heavy text. I try to use color and metaphors that are relevant to the ideas themselves.
OVERLAYS TO SHOW TRANSFORMATION & COMPLEX DEPENDENCIES
In order to show how one set of concepts relates to another, using well-aligned graphics that change as one progresses through the images can create an additional measure of understanding. By allowing the viewer to see how missing or additional parts change the whole, viewers understand dependency.
*Click through the slide show to see this principle at work.
Teaching Teachers to Make Interactive content
Though this slide deck isn’t very graphically slick, it’s intentionally so. This deck was used to teach K12 teachers to create simple interactive content for instruction in an accessible way. Glossy graphics can sometimes be intimidating for those who aren’t very comfortable with design and who think they’re “not creative.” By using
*Click any of the highlighted areas in the slides to see this activity at work.
Presentations that illuminate, not Duplicate
Nothing was worse as a student than listening to a boring lecture, unless it’s a lecture where the instructor is reading from a Power Point deck comprised of summaries of a textbook chapter I’ve already read.
The best synchronous presentation decks are ones that provoke thought and illuminate what’s being said without competing for the audience’s attention. Slide decks meant to be used in asynchronous situations have the opportunity to expand on ideas mentioned in video or lectures.