The visually literate student designs and creates meaningful images and visual media.
Instructors, this page provides ways to guide your student through developing a visual. If you’d like help with incorporating technology and making into your courses, if you would like to get a sense of the maker resources available to you and your students, or if you are interested in tailoring making activities and processes to your particular project, contact Area 49.
Always figure out your message first, rather than letting your medium dictate what you will say. To start, look at your research and determine what needs to be said. Consider the following:
Your message can either convey a generalized idea or a very specific part of the idea. Usually, a general idea is much more difficult to convey than a specific one, so it's often a good idea to narrow down the subject. Here are some options:
s0s2. (2019-2020). "Shiny Earrings!" "Part of Your World," & "Underwater Balloons." The Little Trashmaid. Webtoon.
Once you figure out your direction, then you can move on to deciding on a method to convey your ideas. There are many ways to do this, but you may find the following approaches helpful.
Your time frame is important to consider. Developing something manageable for a quick turnaround time will be more successful than taking on a large feat in a few days.
Use a medium or skill that you know will be effective for your audience. If you don't feel proficient in the medium, your message may not come across as intended. If you plan to learn a new skill to complete the project, make sure you have enough time to learn it without adding stress before your due date.
When producing visual materials for a course project, consider the parameters for the project and which options might be more appropriate to complete the assignment. If you have a big idea that's not in line with the assignment, always check with your instructor first to see if your idea will suffice the assignment requirements. In some cases, you may need to develop your creative visuals to enhance your message, rather than to replace a traditional means of conveying the information.
Credibility comes from being able to demonstrate a keen understanding of what is happening within the context, but being recognized as credible looks different in different contexts.
What specific moves can you make that will label you as an insider? Use context, audience, and purpose to determine the ways in which you could convey your credibility. Keep in mind that the types of sources you invoke will have a direct impact upon how your audience will react to your message.
Planning your work and figuring out what you will need to complete your project will keep you from hitting a wall in the middle of your project. Here are some great ways to plan out your project.
Use the 7 Elements of Design together and in varying ways to create unique visuals with ideas that pop.
"Elements of Design: Quick Reference Sheet." Paper Leaf. Retrieved October 20, 2020. https://visme.co/blog/elements-principles-good-design/
Use the principles of design to manipulate the elements for unexpected, yet professional-looking visual results.
"Principles of Design: Quick Reference Poster." Paper Leaf. Retrieved October 20, 2020. https://visme.co/blog/elements-principles-good-design/
For a quick view of what Area 49 has to offer, check out the gallery below. You can also take a look at activities, tools, and resources on the Area 49's LibGuide. We're adding more all the time!
Even though you’re probably mentally finished with your work at this point, and would rather not think about it anymore, the finished product sometimes does not match up with your initial intentions, so it is vital that you look at your work at this stage and reflect upon how well you have completed your objectives. Often, another glance will give you the idea you need to pull it all together or polish your work. Consider the following:
For each of the above questions, ask yourself what you could do to make your visual more effective. Is there anything you could add, tweak, or take away to provide a larger impact?
The ability to reflect and articulate the decisions you made is very important. If you look back on different decisions you could have made, but didn’t, you’ll be better able to defend the decisions you did make.
Be proud of your work, but criticize your own work, too. It will push you to meet more challenges that will give you greater satisfaction in your work, and you’ll also be more excited to show others what you have done.
Instructors, figuring out how to grade creative projects can sometimes be trying, since value is put on a different kind of proficiency demonstration. If you'd like help with grading schemes for creative projects, let us know at email@example.com. We can help! For now, take a look at the content below, which will help you start thinking about the grading component of the project.
Value positive failure, discovery attempts, and the articulation of process work. Students often think about the end result, while reflecting on the process can be more helpful to troubleshooting their work.
Working from a maker mindset means that you are “creat[ing] the conditions for learning,” rather than “prescrib[ing a] learning experience” (Brahms as qtd. In Schlageter, 2017). This can, in fact, help students of all levels learn at their own paces (Burke, 2015), but comes with a different type of learning. One of the most challenging concepts for most instructors will be the difference in learning rates and concepts. Kurti, Kurti, and Fleming (2014) show that engaging in a maker mindset in the classroom means “recogniz[ing] that some peripheral concepts may not be learned by all students. Yet students faced with a common challenge to design their own unique solutions will naturally come to some common understanding” (par. 5). This type of interaction with concepts will ensure that students will be able to transfer their understanding of their (interactions) to new situations. However, they also assert that a well-planned design [will] allow students to discover the concepts the teacher intended them to learn all along” (par. 4). These methods also encourage collaboration and give students a chance to learn from other students as they develop team-building skills and consider alternate solutions.
Your assessment strategies will change when you move from directive-based assessment to a more fluid maker-based practice (Lake, 1994). For some, this may mean offering more specific feedback about different parts of a project. Others may find themselves altogether reconsidering what they are valuing from an assignment. Consider assessing concepts such as critical thinking, problem solving, revision, and other overarching concepts that will be manifest in student work.