Progress Report #2

1. What did you accomplish last week?

I started writing my chapters of eating and resources. I also did some more design work for different chapters. I made an illustration for the chapter on “hobo code” of a sampling of some of the different hobo symbols that have been used. I feel like I overcame my writer’s block to an extent.
2. What are your goals for next week?

I’m a little bit confused about when this is due. The class calendar says it is due next week. I’m pretty sure this is incorrect. I hope to have at least started all of my chapters by next week. I’m sure I can design the title pages for each chapter, but I’d also like to have a bit of writing done for each one, as well as some illustrations. This way, the next week, I’ll just have to add finishing touches.

3. What’s going well?

I really like the way the book looks. I also finally figured out sort of what I am trying to advocate with this, so writing is easier than it was last week. I think I was sort of limiting myself before by sticking to only old-timey hobo information, but now I am really writing more about techniques for surviving living in this modern depression and sort of loosely comparing them to depression era hobos.
4. What’s not going well?

I am sort of concerned about the length. I don’t think I can make this as long as I want it to be in the time allotted.  I need to either drop chapters or make each chapter really short. Maybe you guys have an idea of which would be a better idea?
5. What help do you need from classmates and the instructor?

I need a term for non-hobos. I want it to describe people who:

a) have homes

b) are reckless consumers who are destroying the world with their thoughtlessness

…but is also sort of sarcastic since I am one of the above people

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Progress Report

1. What did you accomplish last week?

I didn’t accomplish anything in the last week for this project, since you canceled class. The week before last, I figured out the general layout for my book. I completed a layout for the cover, the table of contents, and a sample chapter.

2. What are your goals for next week?

My goals for next week are to complete the illustration for the cover, the disclaimer text for the back of the book, and at least one complete chapter with both words and images. I would also like to gather some additional photographs, since I don’t have sufficient photographs for the entire book at this point.

3. What’s going well?

I like the look of the cover of the book and my general layout. I also have a lot of ideas for illustrations. I’m trying to finish my final project for my other class early, so I can focus more on this project, since it is more time consuming.

4. What’s not going well?

I am sort of having writer’s block. Getting actual words into the book has been nearly impossible for me. I’m trying not to worry about it and just get what I can do done. I figure it will come to me eventually. In the mean time I can work on design and layout stuff.

I really don’t know what font to use. I don’t really care about the font of the main text, but the cover and headings I think should be something neat, and I’m not sure what looks good or what is lame.

I’m also having a hard time juggling this final project and my final project for my other class.

5. What help do you need from classmates and the instructor?

If anybody knows a lot about fonts, I would love some advice in that area. I am also glad we are showing our projects in class, so I can get a critique of my layout from people who know more about this sort of thing.

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From Belles Lettres to Rhetorical Genre Studies: Writing Studies and Rhetoric in Canada 1900-2000

Graves’ lecture was about the history of writing in Canada, as taught in an academic setting. In particular he focused on the shift in Canadian writing studies from belles lettres to rhetorical genre studies. Today, in Canadian institutions, writing is taught within your major instead of in a general education type of composition class. If you are a nursing major, for example, you learn to write specifically for nursing.

I minored in Journalism in my undergrad. Obviously, we spent a lot of time learning to write in AP style and in a way best suited for news writing. I feel that that had its disadvantages, since I had to unlearn certain practices, such as not using a serial comma to write for other settings. Even if we are in a certain profession, we may still have to write for other purposes in our lives.

I guess what I think is that there should be some sort of compromise between the way writing studies are approached in American and Canadian universities. I do think that American institutions should offer more specified writing classes within majors. We are lucky enough to have many options for these types of classes in NMS. Though, I believe this is only because our chosen field of study directly involves writing. I also think that first year composition classes are valuable resources for students. Only having the ability to write for your chosen field is very limiting. We want to emerge from universities as with experts in a particular field, but also as well rounded human beings.

Here’s a link to Graves’ Prezi from the lecture.

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Revised Final Project Preposal

I opened Dreamweaver and had an anxiety attack. I decided it would be way too stressful to try to complete a website in 6 weeks with no previous knowledge of building websites. So, I’m making a book instead. I suppose it will be more like a zine than an actual full length book. I’m really interested in depression era hobos and the fact that there are still nomadic people traveling around the United States, as a lifestyle choice. Some of these people who identify themselves as hobos and some don’t. My book is going to basically be about the “Modern Hobo.”

When I e-mailed Michael about the project he was concerned that hobo was an offensive word for a homeless person. I explained that hobos are homeless by choice because they love to travel. They have a similar set of values to the flâneur that we talked about last week. There is nothing negative about valuing experience more than possessions. Hobos just take that to the extreme. Michael thinks that I should focus on the etymological tensions of the word hobo. I had sort of envisioned the book as a helpful guide to living a hobo lifestyle. I was thinking of having chapters about hobo fashion, train hopping, eating, banjo playing, etc… Would it be possible to do both in the same text?

I plan to make my book in InDesign. The book is going to include a lot of illustrations, which I will make in Illustrator. I have used both of these programs before, so I feel much more confident that I can deliver what I am proposing. I feel much more passionate about this project than my previous project.

Although my project is more traditional, it is multimodal, since I will be using both text and illustration. There is not much in the Wysocki article that applies to my project. I would like to respect my reader with the text. I think this is harder to achieve in a traditional book than in interactive media. Its more about tone and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions than giving them choices. I also intend to convey information using illustrations. I can’t honestly say that the text and illustrations will be, “equally visual and equally visually weighted” (Wysocki 151). I do think, in this case, the text will be more important. If time and my technological skills permitted, this would be an interesting project to make into an interactive website.

Wysocki critiques passages such as this one:

“In designing a document, you have five major goals…:

  • To make a good impression on the readers…
  • To help readers understand the structure and hierarchy of the information…
  • To help readers find the information they need…
  • To help readers understand the information…
  • To help readers retain the information… (Markel, 1998, pp. 309-310)”

But I think that this is a good list to reference while working on my project.

Sources:

Wysocki, Anne. “Impossibly distinct: On form/content and word/image in two pieces of computer-based interactive multimedia.” Computers and Composition. 18. (2001): 137-162. Print.

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Final Project Proposal

When I thought about this final project, I had a really difficult time coming up with ideas. I am so used to instructors giving detailed guidelines and constraints, that it was hard to even fathom that I could do almost anything I wanted. I had a ton of ideas and it was difficult to narrow it down. Finally, I decided that if I will be spending so much of my time working on this project, I should probably produce something that will benefit me beyond passing this course.

Prior to returning to school, I was trying to start a small business making and selling crafts. One of my motivators for going back to school was learning new skills that would benefit my business. I don’t currently have time to make or sell things because of school and work, which is preventing me from achieving my goals. I propose that I will design a website for my business. This would allow me to achieve both academic and personal/professional goals at the same time.

I plan to build my website using Adobe Dreamweaver. I have never made a website before, except for one or two using basic html during my undergrad. I am hoping that because I am familiar with some other Adobe programs, I will pick it up fairly quickly. I intend to use online tutorials to assist me with questions. I have CS4 at home, which will facilitate my web design project.

I currently have a blog about crafts and an etsy shop. My website would pull both blog and shop into one cohesive domain. I think this will be really good for branding, since I will have more control over the aesthetics of my own website, than I would using the templates provided by blogger or the layout of etsy.

Wysocki’s essay has a lot to do with my final project. My current blog is very photograph heavy and word light. Because I am blogging about/selling crafts, it’s much more important for the reader to get the information through photographs than words. I don’t think anyone would read a blog about crafts that focused mostly on writing and very little little on photographs, videos, patterns, etc., and they certainly wouldn’t purchase something they could not see. On the Maeght CD Wysocki notes that, “the words have been designed to be as much a part of this screen as the art and the photographs, making the words photographs and paintings equally visual and equally visually weighted” (Wysocki 151). The non-text elements of multimodal projects are what makes them multimodal. Therefore, other visual elements should bring equal amounts of information to the project. I hope to find a good balance of different modes within my webpage.

Another point Wysocki stressed that seemed relevant to my final project was the concept of, “how the visual aspects of these texts work to compose us and how we go about composing pages and screen that encourage us to be responsible and critical readers” (Wysocki 159). I would like to think about being respectful to the reader when designing the site. Although one focus of my site will be selling a product to a consumer, I don’t want that to overwhelm other information contained there. I want to form a relationship with the reader beyond “please buy something.” I’m really passionate about handmade things. This is why I want a blog and a shop in one space. The blog would provide other information such as tutorials, interesting related links, and photographs.

I think I will gain a lot from this project. This is the sort of thing I wanted to do when I finished the NMS program. It’s nice to be given the opportunity to begin work on my outside goals while still learning how to best use this media.

Sources:

Wysocki, Anne. “Impossibly distinct: On form/content and word/image in two pieces of computer-based interactive multimedia.” Computers and Composition. 18. (2001): 137-162. Print.

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Lauer Reading Response

Example 1: New York Mapping

My first multimodal project is “New York Mapping” by Mark Edward Campos, a student of Architecture at California College of the Arts. It is a map of a specific location in New York City and the places surrounding the location. The map is in a circular shape representing a 24-hour period. The surrounding places are represented by colored coded arcs, which appear on the map only during the hours of day that the places are open. “The “gaze” and “energy” charts of the map attempt to take a stance on what people are trying to achieve by going to each place” (Wiederkehr). The corresponding video shows an orb traveling through the 24-hour period and the corresponding noises coming from surrounding places during this time.

“New York Mapping” meets Lauer’s definitions of both multimodal and multimedia, which are seemingly interchangeable. It is a multimodal project because information is represented through the modes of “words, sounds, still and moving images, animation and color” (Lauer 227). It is also a multimedia project because it uses multiple modes “(such as image, animation, and sound) disseminated through a single medium (such as a computer screen)” (Lauer 229).

This project is far more effective because it is multimodal/multimedia. Even though just the map would be considered a multimodal/multimedia project according to Lauer’s definitions, the video aspect of the project adds a higher level of understanding what the author is trying to communicate. “The medium of the screen is becoming the primary site where multiple modes can be composed to make meaning in dynamic ways” (Lauer 227).

Example 2: The New Yorker iPad App

My second multimodal project is The New Yorker app for the iPad. I’ve posted an advertisement for the app, which is basically an introduction on how to use it. It’s just an issue of The New Yorker, with some extras such as video and audio included with the stories. It also gives you the option of scrolling quickly through stories and the ability to access all of the issue’s cartoons at once.

I’m going to insert an opinion in here. The New Yorker app is multimedia/multimodal, but it is done in such a way that it isn’t really necessary. Lauer states that, “modes and media are independent of and interdependent with each other, meaning that although media and modes are different from each other, the media we use affect the ways in which we can realize meaning through various modes. For instance, the mode of writing is affected differently by the affordances and limitations of the medium of the book versus the medium of the screen” (Lauer 227). There are not enough differences between a printed version of The New Yorker and this app to make the app worth having. The publication is essentially the same in both media, which is surprising considering the interactive possibilities of the iPad. I certainly don’t think enough thought was given to The New Yorker app such as, “identifying who the audience for a particular text will be, what the purpose is, and which modes or combination of modes might best suit the communicative event” (Lauer 237). It seems to fall flat as a multimodal/multimedia text and perhaps, because of it’s target audience, is better suited to print form anyhow.

Example 3: Man or Astro-man? Performance

My final multimodal project is a live performance from the band Man or Astro-man? They are a mostly instrumental surf rock band that incorporates sounds and images from old science-fiction movies and television shows into their records and performances. Their performances are multimedia because they incorporate television, film, and recorded voices into their sets along with their music. They are multimodal because of their use of sound, image, and color.
Man or Astro-Man? uses multimedia/multimodality both to maintain a solid and consistent image as well as to enhance their live shows. During a show they have a large screen behind them playing clips from old sci-fi films and television. Their songs each begin with a sound bite from the same. Lauer says that, “Briand recognized the multi-channeled characteristics of multimedia and its ability to “assault” students on as many sense levels as possible” (Lauer 226). I think that Man or Astro-Man? also understand how to use multimedia/multimodality to “assault” their audience. Seeing them live is really captivating. Although the music is good, without the spectacle provided by the multimedia/multimodal aspect of the performance, they wouldn’t have the same effect on an audience. Although, Man or Astro-man? are a more underground band, I think that similar uses of multimedia/multimodality in performance are manipulated by more commercial artists in order to sell themselves as a product. If Lauer’s whole idea is that multimedia is commercial and multimodal is academic, though they are used interchangeably, I suppose this would make this particular project multimedia.

Sources:

Lauer, Claire. “Contending with Terms: “Multimodal” and “Multimedia” in the Academic and Public Spheres.” Computers and Composition. 26. (2009): 225-239. Print.

Wiederkehr, Benjamin. “Sound Mapping in New York City.” datavisualization.ch. Interactive Things, 26/08/2010. Web. 28 Sep 2010. <http://datavisualization.ch/showcases/sound-mapping-in-new-york-city&gt;.

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McCloud Images

Additive

Parallel

Interdependant

Here are my McCloud images. I was in a group with Zoe and Joanna.

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