Critical Thinking and Writing for New and Interactive Media

Cinema and Communications WID Project W2018

Cinema and Communications and WID are collaborating on a Winter 2018 WID Department Project under the leadership of Cheryl Simon and Myriam Rafla.  Cheryl and Myriam responded to the annual Call for Proposals with a detailed project plan to develop resources to support effective teaching strategies for new and interactive media.  Read an excerpt from their proposal below, and watch here for updates on the project.

“Working with new and expanding media content and platforms (on-line, interactive and 3D storytelling) requires the rethinking of traditional storytelling and writing practices, and also needs take into consideration the ethical, political and social implications of expanded and adapted media applications. This is still a relatively new media environment so teaching in this area is limited by the availability of curricular models and documentary resources.

The proposed project aims to redress the absence of resources by developing evaluative tools and gathering relevant documentary materials to be used in teaching about writing, creation and critical thinking in new and interactive media. The project will unfold through the review of relevant literature on new media (practices, ethics, social and political implications), as well as a survey of available materials and resources, and the testing and application of instructional approaches for teaching.

The project brings together two teachers in the Cinema and Communication department, Cheryl Simon and Myriam Rafla, to develop and gather these new curricular and documentary materials. The collaborators pool expertise from a range of media and communication fields, including scriptwriting for traditional and new media, experimental documentary practices, new media and installation art, art criticism, linguistics, languages, technology and Writing in the Disciplines.”

Call for Proposals: Department and Program WID Projects Winter 2018

Writing in the Disciplines at Dawson invites faculty members to submit proposals for department and program-based projects focused on writing, critical thinking and active learning in the disciplines.  Building on the college-wide presence of WID Writing Fellows and Spring Institute participants, these projects provide WID support for innovations in instructional and curricular design.  One or two projects will be selected for the W2018 semester.

Proposals should be submitted to Ian MacKenzie, WID Director, by Monday October 30, 2017.   If you would like to discuss a potential application, don’t hesitate to contact Ian.Continue reading

New Teaching Portfolios: David Weeks, Industrial Design

The act of designing products is a complex process and is a form of communication of ideas with the goal of solving problems or needs.  Creating sketches of ideas is just one form of visual communication that is used to convey the designer’s ideas.  Product designers also use presentation renderings, computer-generated virtual 3D models, dimensioned technical drawings, actual real-life models and working prototypes, written communication, as well as oral communication to explain their ideas to engineers, manufacturers, regulatory bodies (where applicable), sales and marketing personnel, management, clients, and any other stakeholders implicated in the design, manufacture, sales and service, purchasers and users, and increasingly, the recyclers of products.  Product designers are concerned about materials, manufacturing and assembly methods, ergonomics, sustainability, regulations, and semantics, among others.  So, it will be evident that communication is a complicated undertaking in this profession!  Mistakes and misunderstanding can be very costly in terms of time and money lost, materials waste, and sometimes the safety and security of both products and their users.  It is crucial that designers be competent in these varied ways of communication to ensure success for all stakeholders connected to the lifecycle of a product.

Can Writing in the Disciplines be of value to students in the Industrial Design program at the college? The answer is ‘yes’!  Writing and written communication is considered very important, as students will be required to write research reports, project proposals, descriptions of project work, and annotations to design concepts, among other types of writing, depending on their courses’ individual requirements.  They are required to be clear and concise in their work to convey what they are thinking, which also allows them to better consider and evaluate their own ideas themselves.  Therefore, any techniques which can be of benefit to helping students attain the program’s competencies and to become more autonomous as they progress through the program are welcome.

Fortunately, students work creatively in their program courses, so they are already open to numerous project formats and to experimentation.  This is an advantage when implementing new ideas as they are more willing to accept change.

Through interesting and informative WID group discussions and the excellent accompanying text by John Bean, Engaging Ideas, I found that there were many interesting and appropriate methods of implementing writing into my courses that can create more dynamic and varied learning activities for students, which should lead to more effective attainment of the program’s competencies.  For me, implementing WID principles is a continual work-in-progress, an evolution of experimentation and analysis from one course to another.  I have found that it is beneficial to me as well as to students, as I consider the results of my experiments and their effect on students and their work.  Explore these experiments in depth on my teaching portfolio page.