Some Infographic/Visual Design Resources

Some useful resources for planning your infographics in class today:

Week of 10/27

This week, we’ll finish up the pecha-kucha presentations and begin thinking about the end of the semester. We’ll look toward wrapping up the blog assignment, beginning our discussion of data in the humanities, and planning for final portfolios. Screenshot 2014-10-27 08.09.33

Monday, October 27

We’ll continue with a full schedule of pecha-kucha presentations.

Wednesday, October 29

In sections A and J1, we’ll have one pecha-kucha presentation. Then, we’ll move on to a discussion of the end of the semester. First, we’ll go over guidelines for the final portfolios. Next, we’ll talk about wrapping up the blog assignment (which will be finished after the next round of posts and comments, in the weeks of 11/3 and 11/10. Then, I’ll briefly preview the infographic/visualization assignment, which we’ll begin working on in earnest next week.

Friday, October 31

Today marks the final round of pecha-kucha presentations.


Peer Feedback Assignment

This Friday, you’ll email a complete rough draft of your longer multimodal essay to two of your peers—and you’ll receive rough drafts from two of your peers. By next Wednesday, October 29, at 11:59 p.m., you should email those two peers with clear, useful feedback on their drafts. Please be sure to include me in all email threads related to this assignment.

In the emails to your peers, you should:

  • Briefly describe your understanding of the essay’s argument and paraphrase the claim of the essay. If the claim has major issues—if it’s not contestable, for example, or supportable with evidence—politely point out those issues.
  • Identify at least one place in the essay where you see room for disagreement with the author or complication/qualification of a point. Do any observations/points of analysis in the essay feel incomplete? Are there any holes in the argument?
  • Briefly point out two strengths of the essay
  • Clearly and directly describe TWO ways the author might improve the essay in revision. If the point of improvement occurs throughout the essay, cite one example of the trend from the essay’s text.

I will email class rosters, with email addresses, on 10/22. The two students you are responsible for responding to will be the two students below you on that list (if you’re at the bottom of the list, circle back around to the top).

Recording and Reflecting On Your Pecha-Kuchas

After you’ve presented in class, you’ll record your pecha-kucha as a narration and make it into a video for the web. Doing so means that this presentation persists, becomes useful outside our classroom, and potentially reaches a wider audience.

Once you’ve recorded your p-k, it should look something like this:

You should not record yourself presenting in front of a screen, but should instead present the p-k as a series of images with a voice narrating them.

The procedure for doing so differs in Mac v. Windows (and each platform has some advantages and disadvantages). If you want to explore other options for recording than the ones described here, for example using screen-casting software to record it, you are welcome to. At the end of the process, you should have a YouTube video that can be embedded on your class blog.

On Windows

Best Option

Your classmate Jeff, from section G2, has prepared a useful set of instructions for recording a screencast of your PowerPoint using free Open Broadcaster Software. Those instructions are here.

Less Desirable Option

Follow the instructions for recording directly in PowerPoint provided by Microsoft here. There are two basic steps:

  • Recording a narration for your presentation and
  • Exporting the presentation as a video.

You will probably need to click to advance your slides using this method… if that is the case, don’t worry about each slide occupying precisely 20 seconds (as long as your presentation is somewhere in the vicinity of 6:40, you’re good to go).

On a Mac

The process here is a bit different. You use QuickTime Player to record your screen as PowerPoint automatically advances your slides. The output here is a video file that can be uploaded to YouTube. Follow these instructions—make sure you select the appropriate microphone before you begin recording.

On Both

If you have any trouble recording, please visit me at office hours or at another time—I’ll get you set up in a quiet room to record. Once you have recorded, you should upload your video to YouTube. If you want to leave it public, feel free to do so. If you prefer to keep it private, set the privacy setting to “Unlisted,” then password-protect your blog post with your section’s password (which I’ll remind you of on Wednesday 10/22).

Reflecting On Your Process

You should embed your video at the top of a new blog post, then offer a 400-500 word reflection on the process of making it. In your reflection, include at least two images from your presentation—explain how the image works in relation to the narrated part of the presentation, and explain how you are doing something with the visual imagery that you couldn’t do in text.

Beyond these close explanations of two slides, write about other aspects of your process. Don’t view this set of questions as a catalogue to be answered in full, but as a series of ideas for aspects of your process you might reflect on: How did you select a topic? How did you narrow that topic? How did you develop an argument based on that topic? How did you select images for your presentation? How did you prepare to present in class? How is the version  of the presentation in class different from the presentation on the web? Did you have to answer challenging questions? How did the focus of the pecha-kucha change as you worked on it? Would you approach any aspects of the project differently if you had to do the assignment again?

Post your video and reflection to your section’s blog by 11:59 p.m. one week after your presentation. If you presented on 10/17 or 10/20, you may have a bit more time—post the videos by 10/28 at 11:59 p.m. In WordPress, mark the post with the category “Pecha-Kucha.”

Week of 10/19

Screenshot 2014-10-20 11.32.19

This week, we’ll continue with student presentations of pecha-kuchas. On Wednesday, we’ll discuss matters related to the longer essays and pecha-kucha recordings/reflections. On Friday, you’ll distribute a rough draft of your longer essay to two peers.

A reminder that the blog posts for this two-week period have been canceled to give you more time to work on pecha-kuchas and longer essays.

Monday, October 20

Student pecha-kucha presentations.

Wednesday, October 22

Today, we’ll discuss a variety of logistical matters: recording and reflections for the pecha-kuchas, for example, and best practices for citing sources in your longer essays. We’ll also talk about the feedback you will be giving classmates on their rough drafts. The reading for today is optional, but it’s interesting, so I’ve left it as an optional reading on the syllabus.

Please note: my office hours Wednesday will be from 2:00-3:30 instead of the usual time.

Friday, October 24

Student pecha-kucha presentations. This evening, you’ll email your rough draft to 2 peers to get their feedback on your draft.

Links for Today’s Rhetorical Analyses

Here are the links for the Google Slides presentations for today’s class activity:

Section A

Section J1

Section G2

In your groups, analyze the assigned artifact as a rhetorical object. Think about ways the object uses ethos, logos, and pathos, and consider the varied purposes of the rhetorical object. How might its purposes vary when it is viewed/used by different audiences? Some of these objects will seem “neutral,” but what aspects of them have an agenda? Include some images on your slides that point to specific, important details/evidence from the rhetorical object at hand. You might also consider how/whether the object at hand affects your view of data-driven education reform.

Week of 10/12


As we return from what has hopefully been a restful fall break, we’ll turn our attention to education and data reform. We’ll also begin hearing—and seeing—the work of classmates in the pecha-kucha presentations.

Wednesday, October 15

The reading for today is a think-tank piece about how big data and analytics can/will change the way colleges do assessment. I’ll ask you to reflect on your own experiences with the datafied education system, which undoubtedly included lots of standardized testing and preparation for the same. We’ll also talk about proper citation practices for your multimodal blog essays.

Friday, October 17

Today, your classmates will begin presenting their pecha-kuchas to the class. You should come ready to listen attentively and to ask question that push the class’s conversation forward. Presenters should email (or otherwise share) their Powerpoint presentations with me before class—things will go smoothly if everyone presents from  the main classroom computer. Each presenter will have around 10 minutes—6:40 for the p-k, and about 3 minutes for questions and answers.

Potentially Interesting Links/Resources
  • Relevant to our discussion of education and data: an article arguing that contrary to conventional wisdom, American public schools are better than they’ve ever been.
  • We’re all used to hearing that Wikipedia is a no-no when it comes to classroom research and writing. This article argues on the contrary that it can be a great teaching and learning tool.
  • Data-journalism guru Nate Silver argues for some of the qualities that makes for a good infographic. The piece includes examples of strong infographics, such as this one about famous writers’ sleep habits and productivity. A selection: