with Diana M. Dagefoerde, Susan E. Metros, and David J. Staley, all of Ohio State University.
Literacy: the condition or quality of being literate, especially the ability to read and write
A literate human being possesses core communicative and quantitative skills--reading/writing and speaking/listening.
21st-century literacies: language, scientific, economic, political, cultural, technological, ecological, information, media, and visual
We live in a world of tremendous visual overload. Clutter is in our everyday environment, physical and virtual. We have tremendous visual dependency, too. (Slide depicts famous Nixon-Kennedy TV debate)
Visual overload + visual dependency = visually simulated, visual learners (but not necessarily visually literate students)
Ohio State's revised GEC: WOVE - Written, Oral, and Visual Expression requirement
Students needed to learn to retrieve and use written, oral, and visual information analytically, and also to think critically about this information. Writing emphasized. Stressed decoding, slighted enoding. Boiled down to "teach 'em Excel and PowerPoint" because they can write and make a chart, and thus we can check off the requirement.
So a visual literacy panel recommended: integration of VL throughout the curriculum, not just a single visual literacy course. Courses with a component in visual literacy develop visual intelligence.
- Students should decipher, analyze, interpret, and share visual materials
- Communicate ideas visually and create and compose virtual materials
- Be an informed critic and consuer of visual information--judge images' accuracy, validity, and worth.
Historians' mindset toward visual literacy (with Staley):
Historians are "word people." Tenure and promotion depend on words.
The visual is OK for school kids, history buffs, and museum goers, but it's not what "we" do.
The visual is not a rhetorical form that historians tend to accept on their own terms.
Book to look up: Eyewitnessing by Peter Burke. Subtitle: The Use of Images as Historical Evidence.
At OSU, 82% of History department faculty make frequent use of visual images in their classes. Again, images are OK for students. Hardly any faculty said they were trying to reach out to visual learners.
Survey at OSU found students are visually stimulated but not good at analyzing images.
David Green, survey: "Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning"
How images are employed by professors and grad students:
- As illustrations, to provide a mood or setting in ways that words cannot always communicate
- As evidence to be analyzed
In history classes at OSU, students are asked to analyze images (decode), not asked to produce their own images (encode)
Most images presented during PowerPoint (70% of users), transparencies (50+% of users), CMS (20% of users), and others (web page, paper handouts, opaque projector, etc.)
Support services from the Goldberg Porgram:
- Goldberg Instructional Center
- Goldberg Multimedia Archive
- eHistory at OSU: a public history portal - grad student book reviews, magazine (current events in historical perspective), images, more
Helping (informally) grad students to learn about creating visual documents, esp. short films
- Faculty have scant concern for metadata and the provenance of images (versus their huge concern for provenance of texts), even assuming ownership when they don't have it (just because they scanned in an image themselves)
- Need for "translation" between "technology terms" and "history terms" (e.g. using "archive" instead of "database." "Bibliographic references" instead of "metadata").
Aligning IT Decisions with Visual Literacy Practices (Dagefoerde)
OSU developed Media Manager, which is based on the idea that faculty are mash-up artists. In order to bring visual literacy to the curriculum, faculty need to find, create, annotate, and share the images. Media Manager is optimized for images, but it will take any kind of digital file. Can annotate at the collection or item level. You can share your collection with people anywhere in the world, or can be placed behind a layer of authentication.
Media Manager developed by a collective of groups at OSU. So far, 24,000+ items have been uploaded. It's just starting to take off.
Everything paper-prototyped, and faculty approved everything before it went into development.
Pulls in course rosters to assist with authentication.
Ideas to keep in mind:
enable collection sharing
support collection flow
valuable collections will grow - bridge people can help
Faculty building "visual literacy" courses tend to work within ersonal collections, Google, and scanned images. Institutions tend to invest in digital libraries, databases, or archives.
The Long Tail of collections: Huge collections of libraries, museums, archives. But also numberless smaller individual faculty and small-group collections that are most relevant to curricular teams. Yet these last get the least amount of institutional support. Storage and tools need to move faculty from personal collections to their institution's collections of greatest hits--which may mean institutional collections or others' personal collections.
Important to have flow of images from scratch disk to sharing.
Key challenge: To maintain high-quality support and system performance while we expand the user base, the infrastructure, and the collection growing.
Q from audience member: How do you deal with copyright?
A: All images that come from personal collections are by default behind authentication. If there's any question that the institution doesn't have ownership of the image, then it's not made public. But individual faculty can make things public if they want. In that case, faculty are responsible for determining copyright info. In their experience, very few faculty are making their images publicly available.
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