Archive of ‘design’ category

social media and the devaluation of information

Iran’s blogfather: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are killing the web

is it possible that the Iranian government realized the evolution of social media and his respective obsolescence and this is why they freed him prematurely?

Blogs were gold and bloggers were rock stars back in 2008 when I was arrested.

The hyperlink was a way to abandon centralisation – all the links, lines and hierarchies – and replace them with something more distributed, a system of nodes and networks. Since I got out of jail, though, I’ve realised how much the hyperlink has been devalued, almost made obsolete.

Nearly every social network now treats a link as just the same as it treats any other object – the same as a photo, or a piece of text. You’re encouraged to post one single hyperlink and expose it to a quasi-democratic process of liking and plussing and hearting. But links are not objects, they are relations between objects. This objectivisation has stripped hyperlinks of their immense powers.

At the same time, these social networks tend to treat native text and pictures – things that are directly posted to them – with a lot more respect. One photographer friend explained to me how the images he uploads directly to Facebook receive many more likes than when he uploads them elsewhere and shares the link on Facebook.

Some networks, like Twitter, treat hyperlinks a little better. Others are far more paranoid. Instagram – owned by Facebook – doesn’t allow its audiences to leave whatsoever. You can put up a web address alongside your photos, but it won’t go anywhere. Lots of people start their daily online routine in these cul-de-sacs of social media, and their journeys end there. Many don’t even realise they are using the internet’s infrastructure when they like an Instagram photograph or leave a comment on a friend’s Facebook video. It’s just an app.

A most brilliant paragraph by some ordinary-looking person can be left outside the stream, while the silly ramblings of a celebrity gain instant internet presence. And not only do the algorithms behind the stream equate newness and popularity with importance, they also tend to show us more of what we have already liked. These services carefully scan our behaviour and delicately tailor our news feeds with posts, pictures and videos that they think we would most likely want to see.

Today the stream is digital media’s dominant form of organising information. It’s in every social network and mobile application.

The centralisation of information also worries me because it makes it easier for things to disappear.

But the scariest outcome of the centralisation of information in the age of social networks is something else: it is making us all much less powerful in relation to governments and corporations. Surveillance is increasingly imposed on civilised lives, and it gets worse as time goes by. The only way to stay outside of this vast apparatus of surveillance might be to go into a cave and sleep, even if you can’t make it 300 years.

presentation design and tools for PSY 101

Plan for PSY 101 work with students on alternatives for presentation and design

short link to this blog entry:

Instructional Design

7 Things You Should Know About Developments in Instructional Design

Please read the entire EducCause article here: eli7120

discussion of IMS with faculty:

  • pedagogical theories
  • learning outcome
  • design activities
  • students’ multimedia assignments, which lead to online resources
  • collaboration with other departments for the students projects
  • moving the class to online environment (even if kept hybrid)

What is it?

the complexity of the learning environment is turning instructional design into a more dynamic activity, responding to changing educational models and expectations. Flipped classrooms, makerspaces, and competency-based learning are changing how instructors work with students, how students work with course content, and how mastery is verified. Mobile computing, cloud computing, and data-rich repositories have altered ideas about where and how learning takes place.

How does it work?

One consequence of these changes is that designers can find themselves filling a variety of roles. Today’s instructional designer might work with subject-matter experts, coders, graphic designers, and others. Moreover, the work of an instructional designer increasingly continues throughout the duration of a course rather than taking place upfront.

Who’s doing it?

The responsibility for designing instruction traditionally fell to the instructor of a course, and in many cases it continues to do so. Given the expanding role and landscape of technology—as well as the growing body of knowledge about learning and about educational activities and assessments— dedicated instructional designers are increasingly common and often take a stronger role.

Why is it significant?

The focus on student-centered learning, for example, has spurred the creation of complex integrated learning environments that comprise multiple instructional modules. Competency-based learning allows students to progress at their own pace and finish assignments, courses, and degree plans as time and skills permit. Data provided by analytics systems can help instructional designers predict which pedagogical approaches might be most effective and tailor learning experiences accordingly. The use of mobile learning continues to grow, enabling new kinds of learning experiences.

What are the downsides?

Given the range of competencies needed for the position, finding and hiring instructional designers who fit well into particular institutional cultures can be challenging to the extent that instructors hand over greater amounts of the design process to instructional designers, some of those instructors will feel that they are giving up control, which, in some cases, might appear to be simply the latest threat to faculty authority and autonomy. My note: and this is why SCSU Academic Technology is lead by faculty not IT staff. 

Where is it going?

In some contexts, instructional designers might work more directly with students, teaching them lifelong learning skills. Students might begin coursework by choosing from a menu of options, creating their own path through content, making choices about learning options, being more hands-on, and selecting best approaches for demonstrating mastery. Educational models that feature adaptive and personalized learning will increasingly be a focus of instructional design. My note: SCSU CETL does not understand instructional design tendencies AT ALL. Instead of grooming faculty to assume the the leadership role and fill out the demand for instructional design, it isolates and downgrades (keeping traditional and old-fashioned) instructional design to basic tasks of technicalities done by IT staff.

What are the implications for teaching and learning?

By helping align educational activities with a growing understanding of the conditions,
tools, and techniques that enable better learning, instructional designers can help higher education take full advantage of new and emerging models of education. Instructional
designers bring a cross-disciplinary approach to their work, showing faculty how learning activities used in particular subject areas might be effective in others. In this way, instructional
designers can cultivate a measure of consistency across courses and disciplines in how educational strategies and techniques are incorporated. Designers can also facilitate the
creation of inclusive learning environments that offer choices to students with varying strengths and preferences.

More on instructional design in this IMS blog:

Tips on Pairing Fonts Well

Tips on pairing fonts well using four methods:

how to pair fonts

This is extremely helpful when designing anything with typography.


You can use color and font weight to add interest and differentiate between words, like PayPal and Piktochart below.


Applying different font sizes or typefaces within the same font classes creates differences between headings, subheading, and body text.


Combine your text with a picture and you’ve got limitless potential to create an interesting moment.


Check out this post for more infographics resources.

“whiteboard screencasting” and “lecture capture” apps: please enter your choices and suggestions

Greg Jorgensen emailed us with his new darling:

Explain Everything –

and raises a very good question:

What do we know and how do we organize our tools and apps for whiteboard screencasting and lecture capture?



Greg’s choice of the day is atop of a list from the Ed Tech/y and Mobile Learning web site:

next on that top-6-list are


Show Me

Educreations Interactive Whiteboard

Doodlecast Pro


Doceri ( is a very promissing app, which Bob Lessinger was pushing to be installed on campuos computers (being free), but it is ONLY iPAD-bound (not even iPHone or iTouch)
In addition to Doceri: Stage : Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera and Splashtop Whiteboard per: 3 Apps to Turn Your iPad into Interactive Whiteboard ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Here is a neat table about the compatibility (iOS and Android) for several of these apps:

Here is another good resource from Alaska. The screencasting apps reviewed are the same as above, but other good sources regarding a pedagogy involving the technology.

A broader approach to this issue (Presentation & Screencasting Apps) on Pinterest:

More apps and possibilities, as well as “how-to” directions here:

Here is an useful blog entry, comparing  ExlpainEverything with Educreation —

More apps:

Lecturnity ( )


a lengthy review is available here:

basics of design: new handout

The new, 10th edition of “instructional Technology and Media for Learning” by Smaldino et al is out. on p. 191 there is a good layout of the basics for design as discuss during the design session of January 22, 2013. Link to the handouts of that session here:

This is the link to a scanned copy of the pages related to visual design:

Adobe Photoshop sessions in February

Please consider a series of Adobe Photoshop sessions in February:

Workshop registration at:

Computer Skills

Photoshop, Part 1 of 4


Monday, February 04, 2013 at 11:00 AM until Monday, February 04, 2013 at 11:45 AM 

Sponsoring Campus: St. Cloud State University 
Location: MC-205

Photoshop, Part 2 of 4


Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM until Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:45 AM 

Sponsoring Campus: St. Cloud State University 
Location: MC-205 

Photoshop, Part 3 of 4


Monday, February 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM until Monday, February 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM 

Sponsoring Campus: St. Cloud State University 
Location: MC-205

Photoshop, Part 4 of 4


Monday, February 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM until Monday, February 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM 

Sponsoring Campus: St. Cloud State University 
Location: MC-205

basics of design

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2PM, we met to discuss the basics of design, graphic design in particular.

Sliderocket and SLideshare

Here is the handout with sources and outlines. Pls feel welcome to contribute with your sources and ideas.

Design Basics


–          What is design and how to we approach it

to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), especially to plan the form and structure of
what is graphic design
The process and art of combining text and graphics and communicating an effective message in the design of logos, graphics, brochures, newsletters, posters, signs, and any other type of visual communication is the formal, short definition of graphic design. Today’s graphic designers often use desktop publishing software and techniques to achieve their goals.

–          Why is it important to consider it
Graphic design helps clarify meaning and ease communication from one person (persons) to another, and it does so in a few ways.

–          How do we enact it

Hands-on exercise: create well-designed PowerPoint.

–          Keep it simple
Your slides should have plenty of white space, or negative space. Do not feel compelled to fill empty areas on your slide with your logo or other unnecessary graphics or text boxes that do not contribute to better understanding. The less clutter you have on your slide, the more powerful your visual message will become.

–          Limit bullet points and text
The best slides may have no text at all.

–          Limit transitions and builds (animation)

–          Use high quality graphics

–          Have a visual theme but avoid using PowerPoint templates

–          Use color well
Color evokes feelings. Color is emotional. The right color can help persuade and motivate. Studies show that color usage can increase interest and improve learning comprehension and retention.
You do not need to be an expert in color theory, but it’s good for business professionals to know at least a bit on the subject. Colors can be divided into two general categories: cool (such as blue and green) and warm (such as orange and red). Cool colors work best for backgrounds, as they appear to recede away from us into the background. Warm colors generally work best for objects in the foreground (such as text) because they appear to be coming at us.

–          Choose your fonts well
Fonts communicate subtle messages in and of themselves, which is why you should choose fonts deliberately. Use the same font set throughout your entire slide presentation and use no more than two complementary fonts (e.g., Arial and Arial Bold). Make sure you know the difference between a serif font (e.g., Times New Roman) and a sans-serif font (e.g., Helvetica or Arial).
Serif fonts were designed to be used in documents filled with lots of text. They’re said to be easier to read at small point sizes, but for onscreen presentations, the serifs tend to get lost due to the relatively low resolution of projectors. Sans- serif fonts are generally best for PowerPoint presentations, but try to avoid the ubiquitous Helvetica.

–          Spend time in the slider sorter
According to the Segmentation Principle of multimedia learning theory, people comprehend better when information is presented in small chunks or segments. By getting out of the Slide view and into the Slide Sorter view, you can see how the logical flow of your presentation is progressing. In this view, you may decide to break up one slide into, say, two or three slides so that your presentation has a more natural and logical flow or process.

Graphic Design Fundamentals

Graphic Design Basics

50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory

Graphic Design: The New Basics

Know Thy User: The Role of Research in Great Interactive Design

Basics of Web Design

Basics of Web Design