More on Storify in the classroom

At the end of Winter term I started to use Storify in my classes. That term, I put out a short narrative about Marjane Satrapi for my Introductory Cultural Geography students, who had read Persepolis. In Spring, I made use of Storify for all of my courses.

For me, the most interesting application was in my Spring section of the Intro course. There I built a timeline around topics of interest where there was limited classroom time or where I thought there would be value in letting students explore on their own time, especially through multiple media.

I intended for this to be a supplement, and generally did not refer to the page during class discussions, although on a couple of occasions I added items to the story that had first been discussed in class. I particularly liked having a rich way to show students what I did while away at the Association of American Geographers meetings, and for which I canceled class.

I did announce updates via the class blog and there is some discussion of the timeline on that site. According to Storify’s stats, there have been seventy-six views of that page, but I don’t really know how many of those are from students in the class.

I am going to repeat this exercise next Fall, and maybe I will make more use of the narrative in class, or give students an opportunity to suggest additions. It occurred to me later that asking about use of the story would have been a good evaluation question at the end of the term.

In History and Philosophy of Geography, a small seminar course for majors and minors, I built a quick story outlining my path to becoming a geographer, and for Geography & Film I collected a set of infographics as an aid to discussing Inception. In both of these cases, I used Storify more as a presentation tool than as a way to build an independent resource. However, the web-based interface and integrated search function made Storify a better choice for making these presentations than a program like PowerPoint would have been. In the case of the Inception graphics, especially, I appreciated having that easily available to my students for preview and later reference.

Recommended daily reading – 15 March (got links edition)

End of the term, so the link compiling has been slow, but here are some good pointers:

On her Reassigned Time 2.0 blog, Dr, Crazy has an entry on what it means to teach a 4/4 load. She notes that most graduate school experiences prepare people for the R1 research track, and its corresponding 2/2 or lighter teaching. From that perspective, teaching 4/4 seems like an impossible burden on “one’s own” work. Crazy argues that this is a particularly blinkered way of seeing the kind of work that most PhDs are likely to find themselves doing, and lists a number of teaching and research strategies she has developed to be satisfied in her position, however far removed it might be from the grad school ideal.

In my comment to her post, I note that Western is on quarters, which turns 4/4 into 3/3/3, but in either case, I think her reflection is valuable for what it says about what working at a small, undergraduate teaching focused public university is not, and keeping the relationship between teaching and research in perspective. (I should note that her post is in response to this short piece by Notorious PhD).

Two entries on Guy Davis leaving as the regular artist on B.P.R.D. One, by Sean Collins on Robot 6, looks at seven of the best moments from Davis’ work on the title (the choice of seven is explained in the post, but should be easy to figure out if you read Hellboy and B.P.R.D.). The other is by Andy Khouri at ComicsAlliance and looks ahead to new artist Tyler Crook, about whom I know little.

From The Mary Sue, two items about art created by young girls. Jamie Frevele points to a hand drawn “video game”, and includes a link to an audio file where the kid explains her design. And, also from Frevele, is a series of photos showing some neat little hand painted rocks inspired by Exit through the Gift Shop.

Via Inside Higher Ed is this short item quoting Steve Jobs on Apple and the integration of technology with the liberal arts and humanities. No comment, just find this thought interesting.

Finally, I have been looking at the work at Moviebarcode for a couple of weeks now, and I am still not sure what to make of this art. This piece, which is Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, one of the three films I will cite as my favorite, is what moved me to post about the project.

On the one hand, I can see where these images could make lovely prints, blown up and framed. On the other hand, they are given the same title as the films they concentrate. What of In the Mood for Love is in the image? Would I know that this is that film without being told? Sometimes when I look at it, I see colors and partial figures that evoke the movie. At other times, I see little connection, leading me to think that this is an interesting formal exercise, but it is, fundamentally, separate from cinema.