Grad School Blog #2 for R541 Instructional Development and Production – Imagery and Media

The blog is finally getting some much-needed attention. As an undergrad English major, I do miss the cathartic nature of writing…so now that it’s for a class as well as about Instructional Design (instead of bad college poetry). I’ll keep these associated posts focused on: self-study choice of design software, major collaborative project, individual projects, and module readings…with an eye on open, of course!

Self-Study Choice of Software

I invested a remarkable amount of time – and blogged about it – in figuring out how to download and run the open alternative software GIMP, Inkscape, and Scribus. Although I am committed to “open versus proprietary” as much as I’m tech-able, there were several moments of exasperation when I nearly paid for the non-open versions.  My all-nighter I think is to blame for allowing that dastardly flu-virus to beat my immune system this week.

In spite of the frustration and pain, the reward was the self-study in pages upon pages of Google searches, homegrown wikis, YouTube videos, and discussion boards with a huge thanks to Richard Koch’s page for the Ghostwriter download to run Scribus.  Despite knowing it would save me time just to cave and buy, having to understand elements of my iMac and MacBook (and, yes, I could have synced the two, but I wanted to be sure I was succeeding in the downloads and running the programs in a way I not only understood, but could also replicate if needed) was fun.  I gained a greater appreciation for all the programmers, users, even complainers – who share back their knowledge, experience, and passion a la Raymond’s Cathedral and Bazaar.

I already put to use GIMP (the Photoshop open alternative) with last module’s Project 1 Form and Function. I found the self-study with Meet the Gimp Collective Knowledge Wiki phenomenal, especially as knowledge transcended GIMP itself and addressed best practices and tips in the image editing.   My first self-lesson goal was “trimming” photo objects by isolating foreground and background layers with selection tools, my favorite: ‘intelligent scissors.’  My project form choice was ‘blanket’ so when I started photographing the forms, I actually nailed the first to a dark wall for contrast. When I uploaded the unadulterated version to my Flickr account (so I could attribute my work with a Creative Commons license) I hated the way the background detracted from the form.  Then I remembered I had spent all that time researching and installing GIMP, so I figured this project might as well serve as a maiden voyage of sorts.  GIMP made life much easier, not to mention saved many nail holes in my wall (I used the floor for the canvas and didn’t worry about whether it had dog hair on it or not).

Removing the background layer was one simple example I learned using the GIMP wiki as a guide:

WithChair WithouChair

I also found out the GIMP icon is a coyote.

I found the Word template was too limiting for the project and instead decided to use a plain, white background PowerPoint for the final project with an upload to Slideshare.

I’m excited to apply more self-study with GIMP to image editing, especially after looking at what GIMP was capable of doing in the wiki site. I’ve yet to dig too deeply into the other open software alternatives.

Progress on Major Project

Our team used Google Hangout this week to get acquainted, talk logistics and limitations, and think about topics for our major project. We plan to meet again this weekend to finalize our main project idea on a shared Google Doc planning sheet with ideas, timeline, and action items, then divide and conquer the proposal due in the coming week.

Work on Design Projects

My tangle with the flu this week stole precious time in perusing infographics as well as pulling research, but I do plan to spend a nice chunk of the weekend in infographic-land. I’m still excited about doing more to make OER easier to mine and want to develop an interactive infographic…which makes me wonder if the interactive piece disqualifies it from being an infographic?  I’ll flesh out these ideas more with the infographic example and topic assignments TBA in the separate blog post as directed.

Current Readings

My overall interpretation of the Boling PowerPoint made me wish I had registered for more art classes in undergrad.  I thought about how art can be taught, like English, but there is no denying the natural inclination of some individuals’ abilities to creating with value, dominance, and balance in mind.  Thankfully, analyzing visual displays, especially with instructional materials, is not reserved for those with the innate talent and, thus, can be learned.

The Morrison (1994) text harkened to the importance of debating semantics as related to the relationship between media and learning. The gist:

Clark asks “Do media influence learning?” and Kozma asks “Will media influence learning?”

Morrison suggests, “it is not the capabilities of the media that facilitated learning, but the creative development of the instructional strategy which actively engaged the learners” (1994, p. 42).

I liken Morrison’s idea to the art and science of what designers do – the ID pedagogy – for it resonates with my work in supporting faculty to adopt and perhaps even appreciate the importance of sound instructional design.

I expected Hai-Jew’s (2009) procedure in image creation to include essential ADDIE, and it did. It also gave me some ideas for approaching an upcoming project in creating a series of photos depicting economics principles for a Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative faculty collaborator, especially with respect to the early stages of scope, extant resources, and gap analysis (p. 145). The reading further extended the importance of legal permissions beyond what I already know about licensing into the ethics of imagery from permission of the people and property, to contextual representation, accessibility, and standards. I also found the back end screenshot of a module (p. 161) compelling, although I couldn’t figure out what the Lyra program was from a quick Google search. I plan to add the Alpha and Beta questions (p. 163) to my personal QC toolkit for it synthesized from a design perspective much of what I’ve learned from Quality Matters training.


Hai-Jew, S. (2009). Procedures for creating quality imagery for e-learning. In Digital imagery and informational graphics in e-learning: Maximizing visual technologies (pp. 142-168). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference

Morrison, G. R. (1994). The media effects question: “Unresolvable” or asking the right question. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 41-44.

Image 1 Throw Blanket Function Comfort and Image 2 BlanketComfortIntelligentScissor by Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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