Course: UNIV 200.09: Visual Literacies in a Digital World
Faculty: Janice Mann and Emily Sherwood
L&IT liaisons: Courtney Paddick, Debra Balducci, Brianna Derr
Date: Spring 2017
Throughout this Integrative Perspectives course, students explored what it means to be a visually literate person in a digital age. Although we are frequent makers and consumers of images through social media and the internet, we don’t really have a full awareness of what images mean. Students were asked to consider the impact their own digital identities, audience, the relationship between word and image, and how some contemporary images engage with and push against old pictorial traditions.
In the second half of the semester, students created Digital Essays. The topic of the essay, “The Rest of the Story,” pushed students to think about the frequent disconnect between the curated image or online identity and the underlying influences or story that lead to the representation. In an increasingly visual culture, students often struggle to apply a critical lens to movies, television, commercials; however, they do so with ease when engaging with texts. Professors Mann and Sherwood selected the digital essay format in order to help students develop their ability to think critically about multi-modal work by understanding how image and sound impact our experience. In making choices to strengthen their written/spoken argument through the incorporation of images and sound, students begin to understand how others use such stimuli in order to impact their experiences and understanding.
Librarian Courtney Paddick developed a LibGuide for the course and provided instruction on copyright and fair use and the range of sources available for stock images and videos. Deb Balducci and Brianna Derr introduced students to visual storytelling through image exercises, taught them how to record and edit audio files, provided feedback on their narrations, and helped them learn iMovie.
Student examples and feedback:
Madison Weaver, Bucknell ’19
“I was a little apprehensive about the project at first because I had never used iMovie, but I found the program easy to learn and create with by the end. There were some parts of the story that I already images in mind for and found easily, while other times I found myself staring at the screen trying to brainstorm representative images. I really enjoyed finding the appropriate clips and loved when the music and images lined up perfectly – I especially loved adding the cracking glass in the middle of silence when the bulb breaks.”
Terry Hall, Bucknell ’19
“In terms of creating this project, I really enjoyed the experience. It gave me an opportunity to try all new things that I never even thought I would be doing in a classroom. The fact that we were able to choose our stories to tell as well gave me an opportunity to make this video very personal which made the task even that more fun. I basically was able to make a video to honor my grandmother’s life.”