KSC Instructional Technology


Reading Persepolis

The Summer Reading Program Committee selected the autobiographical novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi for the 2006-7 academic year. Persepolis is a memoir in a graphic novel format that chronicles Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.
Every year, a different book is recommended to the campus community with the goal of engaging the freshman class in a cross disciplinary theme. Here are a few technology tools, in addition to regular meetings and workshops, being used by the faculty to explore the strategies for reading and teaching with graphic novels.

  • Blackboard <http://keene.blackboard.com/> has an inter-active course website for instructors called the “Summer Reading Program”. Brinda Charry organized the forum and gathered a variety of articles and links for faculty to use.
    Please email Brinda Charry, bcharry@keene.edu, to be added to this forum.
  • Discussion blog, <http://persepolischat.blogspot.com/> that is maintained by Kathy Halverson, Assistant Director, Mason Library. She is hoping to generate both faculty and student discussion on the page. The discussion blog is open to any who wish to comment.
  • “Persepolis” event: Talk on cartoons/Graphic Novels – (Thank you Brinda Charry for the heads-up)
    “Steve Bisette, Professor at the Center for Cartoon Studies, White River, VT will be giving a presentation on strategies for reading cartoons and graphic novels on Thursday, October 12th between 12:00-1:00 pm in the Madison Street Lounge. The 30-minute presentation will be followed by a brief discussion session where Professor Bisette, along with Robin Dizard (English Dept) and Marsha Hewitt (Art/ Graphic Design) will respond to your questions.
    Please attend this presentation and encourage your students to attend. ”

If you know of other tools or events then the ones listed, please let us know!


09/06 Technology Tool Pick of the Month

People often assume that any information found on the Internet is accurate and reliable. This is a dangerous assumption when you consider that anyone can publish or post information on any topic. While many will review content with a critical eye there are those who aren’t sure how to dissect information and question its validity. This is where the online resource “The Internet Detective” comes in handy. This interactive tutorial teaches the critical evaluative skills required to assess the quality of an Internet resource.

The Internet Detective (http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/index.html)
“Welcome to Internet Detective - a free online tutorial that will help you develop Internet research skills for your university and college work. The tutorial looks at the critical thinking required when using the Internet for research and offers practical advice on evaluating the quality of web sites.”

The What, Why, and How of Podcasting

Coming up: The What, Why, and How of Podcasting; with Larry Welkowitz

Date: Thursday, October 5

Time: 12:30 – 1:30

Place: ESEC Lab, Rhodes 163

Free software, also known as freeware, isn’t limited to screen savers or kitschy cursors. There is a large market for software applications that allow the user to do something productive, such as create and edit audio files (Audacity).

Audacity is an exciting piece of software, even if you’re not an audiophile. It provides educators with a new way to reach students through something most of them use every day; their computers.

“I think it’s a natural extension of what they’re already doing,” said Psychology Professor Larry Welkowitz.

He began creating audiocasts* – streaming audio files that are accessible online and can then be listened to via a computer – for his students so they could access his lectures and other teaching points outside of the classroom. Hardware necessary to create an audiocast is minimal; either an MP3 player with a record function, or a laptop and a headset with a microphone. Audacity, the software, can record, import, edit, and export audio files.

Examples of the type of audiocasts Welkowitz makes available for his students can be found at his blog: Asperger’s Conversations.

Having students listen to the audiocasts outside of class helps to free up classroom time for discussion, he said. More than that, the use of the audiocasts and blogs brings students fully into the 21st century and helps to make them global citizens. What students write in response to the lesson becomes more than a paper for the professor; the writing becomes a contribution to a larger community.

“I want my students at Keene State to become global players,” Welkowitz said.

Some students are initially reluctant to use the technology. But by the end of the course, most of them are at least comfortable with accessing the audiocasts and posting to the Blackboard discussion board. Mastering the technology helps to involve students in the type of field participation necessary to become a global citizen, he said.

And the technology is readily available to anyone who wants to use it.

Many students already own iPods, computers, or MP3 players that can easily be used to both create and listen to an audiocast. Another readily available technology is online blogs. Students who use the online services MySpace or Facebook can easily transfer the online skills they use in the social realm into something more academic. Free blog sites such as Blogger.com allow anyone to create a blog dedicated to a specific subject.

Faculty have to be creative in their use of resources when working at small schools, Welkowitz said. Free software helps to meet some of those resource needs; it just takes a little effort to find out what’s available and how to use it.

*Two terms used when talking about online audio files are audiocast and podcast. While the basic idea of each term is the same – an online sound-file that is broadcast through an Internet/intranet connection – there are subtle differences in how each type of cast is accessed.

Audiocasts are accessible as streaming media, which means that the file is stored on the host site and a person listens to it by clicking the available link and the file is played through their computer’s sound card and speakers.

Podcasts are accessible through subscribing to an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, and a person needs to download the audio file to a player, either on their computer or a separate music/audio file player (iPod, iRiver), in order to listen to it.