Academic Proposals, Pedagogy

Any peer-reviewers want to offer some non-anonymous advice?

I’ve whiled away a number of hours putting together my poster presentation for this Friday’s conference on Active Learning at the University of Texas at Arlington. In the process of preparing this poster I accomplished the following feats and/or made the following realizations:

  1. Adobe InDesign is super-powerful, and that my learning curve for that particular program is super-steep.
  2. PowerPoint, while perhaps the root of all that is evil in the world (the jury is still out), is pretty easy to operate (or least I have some degree of skill with it. Plus, I own it, meaning I could work at home rather than at the UTA Library’s Digital Media Studio.)
  3. I haven’t forgotten all of my newspaper layout skills from my time as Editor-in-Chief of the august Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s Gazette.
  4. The Screenshot Plus Dashboard widget is superior to OS X’s built-in screenshot functionality.
  5. Bubbl.us and the Bubbl.us 2.0 (beta) are intuitive and relatively powerful websites. I’d like a bit more functionality in terms of changing line weights, colors, and text size, but in general the websites fit the bill for designing schematic diagrams.
  6. Twitter continues to serve as an excellent source of non-anonymous peer review. Thanks to Dave Parry, Rachel Donahue, and Seth Battis for the feedback they gave me on my initial Bubbl.us-designed diagram yesterday. Hopefully my revised versions better encapsulate the concepts I’m trying to convey.

The one area where I’m still not entirely thrilled has to do with the nature of the schematic diagrams. While I think the diagrams generally convey my conceptual arguments, the size of text in the images (and the ultimate resolution at which they’ll be printed) causes me a bit of concern. I explored OmniGraffle a bit, but didn’t find it as intuitive or quick to generate diagrams as I found Bubbl.us.

Now I’m seeking some additional feedback about my (relatively)-finished poster. I’ve got to get the poster printed on Tuesday afternoon, but will be able to make any necessary changes before then. So, if anyone sees any egregious typos, illogical claims, or huge design faux pas (is that the plural form? Should it be faux passes, or is that how one attempts to sneak backstage?) please let me know.

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6 thoughts on “Any peer-reviewers want to offer some non-anonymous advice?

  1. Nate says:

    Is the image not showing in your browser? I embedded the PPT file into my webpage using a website called Scribd.

    Perhaps if you check out the poster at that webpage it might work better? I just emailed you the link for Scribd. Hopefully you’ll be able to see it.

    Thanks for checking it out!

  2. Ok, here’s some actual feedback, really just from a design perspective with a touch of editorial commentary.

    I think you might suffer from the same problem I have: having too much to say and trying to cram it all in. It might be worth cutting some text and hanging an envelope of handouts at the bottom of your poster. Is the text all at least 24pt?

    http://www.ncsu.edu/project/posters/NewSite/CreatePosterText.html
    and
    http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1//posteradvice.htm

    Are poorly designed websites, but have some good poster tips.

    It’s kind of hard to read your diagrams, and so tough to really comment. Maybe keep just the “Isolation” diagram, and the one from the second column? Getting rid of the first one will give you space to expand them a little so people have a chance to read the arrow text. You could -note- that the traditional classroom is teacher-centric, and include the diagram in your handout. There are spots you can condense the text, too, to create more room for your diagrams (which you put so much work into!) to shine. Looking at the last column..

    *Incorporate and embed multiple media
    *Promotes intertextual connections and citation
    *Teacher and peers comment easily

    Should get ya from 6 lines to 3.

    Personal preference, but I think your name/contact info would look better down at the bottom, creating a frame for the central info — helpful because our eyes don’t like text so close to edges.

    Nit picks:
    “Teacher models constructive criticism and act as lead-learner” -> “Teacher models constructive criticism and acts as lead-learner”

    Your last bullet under interconnectedness is inconsistent with the first 2 — I actually think it’s better. You don’t need the higher level bullet.

    RSS readers are aggregators, not repositories (they just suck stuff in, rather than storing)
    I’ma shush now.

  3. Nate says:

    Rachel,

    Thanks so much for the detailed suggestions. I just posted a version of my revisions (http://bit.ly/3cxQM) many of which incorporate your suggestions.

    I was a bit confused on your suggestion about the bullet points under interconnectedness, but I think I grammatically fixed the problem.

    Also, I should know to be more careful about what I call a “repository” when there are people who deal with those and “archives” for a living. Mea culpa. I did, however, make the changes as you are absolutely right — RSS Readers aggregate (I guess WordPress archives?).

    I’ll be interested to see if these new diagrams are more legible. At this point I think I’ve just about exhausted the extent of online diagram-makers, and hopefully Gliffy will do the trick.

    Thanks again!

    • (Just for clarity!)
      The interconnectedness thing was about consistency.. after a few years of editing documents that couldn’t decide what to call something (e.g., electronic records, digital records, blah blah blah. Pick one!), it’s just something I instantly notice. Other people are probably not quite as allergic to it =)

      All I meant was that you had the connectedness/flow indicated in words in the first two bullets, but with an arrow in the last, and I liked the arrow better.

      I guess I was thinking you could also do:
      Students Teachers

      and.. well, the international bit complicates it some.

      WordPress (and other blog apps) act as archives in the generic sense of keeping copies of all posts.. but not so much in the elitist information management/preservation sense. (Although, who knows — they may be better with that than I know)

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