Tag Archives: Watson

high-quality video CFPs

[argh, there is nothing like losing 20 minutes worth of posting because you accidentally hit the wrong button. grumble grumble…. here’s take 2.]

Due: 4:30pm Monday, October 13.

What: High-quality version of revised video CFP. High quality = exported for best playback on computer (MovieMaker) or DVD/CD quality (iMovie), or similar wording. The goal is to give me a BIG copy, not a small, super-compressed copy.

How: three options

  1. upload MOV or WMV to your student server space (see instructions on Resource page) and email me your URL
  2. make an appt with me by Sunday 4pm to meet with me sometime on Monday to hand me your flash drive with your video on it
  3. drop off a CD or DVD to the english dept office by 4:30 Monday. They’ll put it in my mailbox.

I’ll make a single DVD and take these to play at the conference. Below is the feedback from peer-reviewers. The first reviewer is a Watson attendee, the second is not, so take your audience feedback into consideration when revising. You’ll have to match up URLs to actual people, sorry.


  • I thought this was pretty effective, but as it remains analog/physical throughout, it does lose some of the effect of the challenge of working between/with two ‘media,’ if such a simple term can cover the difference. I’m thinking of Michael Wesch’s really impressive “A Vision of Students Today” and how effective the mix of media is in that video.
  • I really liked. (As a nonspecialist) I think that the combination of new technology and old technology was especially poignant. At one point about 2/3 in, the music sounded like it was looped and got distracting. I love Dylan so it was reminiscent of the classic video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” without being a copy.


  • Effective introduction, but the interview at the end seems to close elements of the conversation, at least to me, by giving an opinion. Also, the typing effect is supportive of the message in the early part of the video, but I think near the end it becomes more tiring than dynamic. Going back to the nameless PowerPoint scholarship (I can hunt this down if desired; I really need to build a reference database instead of relying on my already failing memory!), I’m wondering if the animation at that point supports the message.


  • I’m reminded of Michael Wesch’s work with this one (and I should be, since it’s part of it). I really dug it and found it to be effective. It could be complicated, of course, but anything could be and it might lose effectiveness. I think that maybe the visual balance of the URL might be improved, but that’s probably more a personal thing (I’d rather logically balance by organizational units than justify it as a text block and I don’t think http:// is necessary these days for URLs in videos).
  • was very interesting visually, but the music was a bit too choppy and the use of “Imagine” after writing the word “Imagine” on the screen was just too predictable.


  • I don’t know about the use of The Matrix to support these questions, but I’m probably just being finicky (a professional antagonism that developed while I worked in information security and had to endure endless comparisons between my work and the Matrix). I think the film might, instead of engendering new questions, confirm existing expectations of the work of new media studies because of the very expected man vs. machine structure of the film and its place in culture. Putting that aside, my concerns are that the text is too small and that, like the others, the typing effect works early on but then gets in the way of the information later on. Also, the sound on the Matrix clip could use a boost.


  • I love the opening and I love the first question (and its use of Sex and the City, which at 32 I absolutely know), but the second question and the Dead Poet’s Society clip loses the focus on composition (and the changes) and starts entering into the types of questions that Ray Kurzweil ponders. While these are some fascinating questions, I don’t know if it matches the focus that I see in the first question and in the other CFPs I’ve seen so far.
  • typo: “If technology make humans obsolete…” From an English major even….


  • Effective introduction, but the exploding graphics may be a bit too much, a bit too focused on  ‘I can do this with text’ rather than the function of the CFP. Much of the scholarship on animation and PowerPoint covers my concerns on this (sorry, I don’t have names right now).
  • was OK, but it felt more like a public service announcement warning me of the dangers of teenage computer abuse. Maybe I just don’t like being attacked by yellow letters on a black background.


  • I like the concept on this one quite a bit as the pure analog format seems to fit the function. It’s direct, to the point, and I think the music is an especially good choice (like the format, it’s not expected). However, I think some of those pieces of paper need to be re-written (traditional is fairly hard to read and the web address is illegible, at least to me – I struggled to recognize the URL of my own school!). I liked the playing around with moving things to and from the camera, which I think could work in the same way that effective text animation works.


  • On the video side, maybe a bit too heavy on the textual animation (especially when the words “How will the idea of writing change?” flew past), but otherwise the question of what is composition might take a bit from the other videos that included texting and other, less omnipresent technology (rather than the computer as word processor, which is pretty set in my mind).
  • The last one was good, too, except that the web addresses were unreadable (blue letters against blue sky).


  • All in all, some awesome, really impressive work. I hope some of this feedback is useful, and I hope the tone of this email doesn’t strike you as too unprofessional. If it does, my apologies.
  • Overall, I enjoyed seeing what your students are doing. Keep up the good work. Of course, I teach my Intro Linguistics students that 99% of all writing throughout human history is to fuel the economy and that is the specific reason that it was invented 5500 years ago or so. I wonder how that fits into the notion of “New Media” and “composition”?

homework: Watson session and research prep

Hey all, here is your updated assignment to prep for next week’s class (our last before the Watson conference).

(1) Read through the linked session descriptions for all the lettered sessions (Concurrent Session A-G) and choose one session during each time slot that you plan on attending. Most of your choices should figure into your group topic, although not all of them have to. Pick some you just find interesting as well. Post these 7 sessions (titles and authors) to your blog by midnight, Tuesday, October 7.

(2) Also in that blog post, list 5 assets you plan on gathering to support your project topic. These might include specific things like the following:

  • I will interview Richard Selfe, Laura McGrath, and Geoff Sauer [i.e., three people listed in the conference program who seem to know about what you’re going to ask them about, given what they’re presenting on…] about faculty technology training in English departments.
  • I will read Richard Selfe’s article about “Sustainable Techno-Pedagogy” that I found in Teaching Writing With Computers (Takayoshi and Huot, editors).
  • I will ask 10 of my dorm/apt/living-mate/students what computers they have access to on campus and whether and how their teachers ask them to integrate technology into their assignments.
  • etc.

iow, these assets can be things you want to gather at Watson AND (esp for those not going to Watson) things that you can research while you’re here.

(3) Meet with your groups prior to class next week and strategize how you will go about collecting assets and who wants to do what part of the group work, etc. Remember the pre- and post-production readings we did earlier this semester and assign roles accordingly. For instance, in the group consisting of [made-up names] Susy, Daisy, John, and Jonah, Susy isn’t going to the conference, then obviously she needs to choose a group role that doesn’t involve interviewing people at the conference. Maybe she does more research, or video-editing, than someone else does. It all will/should balance out, as you share responsibilities in the group. I can help you with this in class, but the more you can do before class, the better prepared you will be for the conference. (See the other post for a listing of who’s in what group, with which topic.)

Let me know if you have questions.

Grant Application for Watson project

Hi all. I wanted to upload a finalized copy of the grant application (minus cover sheet and signatures) that I turned into the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology this past Monday. It includes a full budget, including some additional technology purchases that will make our filming and behind-the-scenes work more effective, fyi. Here are the grant guidelines I was writing towards. My narrative of the project is longer (twice as long, actually) than what they recommend, but I couldn’t figure out (in the time limit I had to write this) how to get it any shorter. Besides being team members on this appilcation (since although it’s my teaching project; you all are the ones who will see it through!), you’ll find this narrative of interest because it gives you another view into the audience of faculty members your projects will reach. Particularly the assessment part, I think. Let me know if you have questions. We should hear about this grant (acceptance or rejection) by, I hope, the week we go to Watson.

If we aren’t able to get this grant, we will try pursuing the Graduate School grants I mentioned earlier this semester, although I don’t want this class project to take away from other research opportunities for which you might need that money this year. Either way, I am encouraging you to present your final project (perhaps as a group?) at the spring research Symposium, which will make you eligible for the $125 research grant from the graduate school. (See the Resources page for that grant-application link. In rereading the application, I realized you don’t need a project blurb; just a budget. And you can apply for the grant post-travel, with your hotel receipts, for instance. We’ll work out the details IF we don’t get the CTLT grant.)


remember when we were joking about bad news?

After class I went to book the Ramada we talked about, not even having realized in class that the price had jumped from $45 a room to $80 a room. Obviously, with the cost having doubled since I looked at it (the day before!!), the new total would have put us well over our $1100 budget (of which we really only have about $900 to spend on hotels). Actually, fwiw, here’s our estimated budget:

  • ISU van rental: ~$50
  • gas for van: ~$300
  • hotels: ~$985 (5 rooms)
  • registration: $480 (waived)
  • per diem (meals): $1350 (~$115 per student for 3.5 days)

TOTAL: $2685

Actually, for 12 students (averaged), this is a prety cheap trip! 🙂 The school is not covering your meals, so you will need to bring money to eat. (The hotel I’ve booked includes a continental breakfast.) The school is covering $1100 of the rest of the expenses ($1335), so we’re almost covered and I’ll worry about any overage we may have. (The school may help some more, or the other grant I’m applying for may help. Or there’s still kegger/bakesale fundraisers 😉

OK, so for the hotel: The Ramada would have been over $1300, so I spent some more time looking for an alternative that would satisfy my and your requirements: clean, safe, as close to the U as possible, cheap, free wireless, breakfast, parking, pool/fitness area, and possibly an onsite restaurant. After weighing some pros/cons — like distance vs. pool :: cheap — I found the Howard Johnson’s right by the Expo Center/Six Flags. It’s about 3 miles (driving distance) from the conference building and the public bus system goes right by it (in case you don’t want to wait for Andrew to drive you back). The only drawback I could find is that they don’t have a pool. Sorry Tom. 😉 There’s also no restaurant on site, but there are plenty of restaurants in walking distance of the hotel. They also have an airport shuttle, so you may be able to ask the driver if they’ll go to the U (and maybe tip him a few bucks…). (Oh, and I see from the conference schedule that they also have breakfast and lunch available. It’s part of the registration fee, so those are meals you don’t have to pay for. Also, any “Reception” held at night will have hors d’oevres. So there won’t be too many out-of-pocket expenses for you on this trip.)

OK, so good news/bad news… it all works out in the end, eh? See y’all next week.

UPDATE 9/25/08 — As discussed in class today (re multiple vehicles), our budget has exponentially increased. I’ll post a revised copy after I’ve finished writing up the CTLT grant I mentioned in class today.

Welcome to English 239!

We have a rare opportunity in this class this semester–to produce a digital video based on the theme “The New Work of Composing,” which is also the theme of a multimodal composition conference we have been invited to attend, and film, in Louisville, Kentucky, October 16-18. This video will be submitted for consideration to the digital ‘book’ collection that will result from the conference. Thus, the main project for this class will be to collaborate on this scholarly video, which could be published in the first digital, multimedia book in the field of English studies. Should the video be accepted for the book (and I am confident about our chances!), then you will all be listed as contributors to this peer-reviewed publication — a coup for anyone in school, especially for those of you continuing on to graduate or professional work.

In order to prepare ourselves for this opportunity, we will need to understand what multimodal composition means in the field now, which we will learn about by reading and analyzing print and digital, multimodal texts that relate to the history of multimodal composition as well as those that are authored (or feature) the main speakers at the conference, who we will be filming and possibly interviewing while we are in Louisville.

In addition to the readings and group video, we will produce several smaller multimedia texts in a range of genres and modes to help you learn about composing and editing in multiple media. Some of these assignments will include designing and contributing to a blog, working in visual and auditory modes (such as creating graphics and soundtracks), filming and editing a 1-minute video, creating a remix, providing “director’s commentary” for projects, and producing a DVD portfolio of all your work. You will be working on multiple platforms this semester (PC and Mac), so I hope you will be flexible.

You do not need to attend the conference in order to take this class, although you will certainly have fun and learn even more by attending. I am making arrangements to get funding to pay for your travel and lodging, but we will have to discuss the issue more if such funding doesn’t come through. (I will not require you to pay your way; that option is entirely up to you. Should you not be able to attend, it won’t reflect on your participation for this class.)

This is a once in a lifetime learning opportunity for this course — a relatively new one at ISU — so I hope you will enjoy the experience as much as I hope to.

Dr. Ball