Notices have appeared in the various media labs around campus: Reed is discontinuing all VHS support, beginning this Fall.
The news has come without fanfare, and those who did see the signs were, in all likelihood, even more surprised to learn that, until now, Reed’s A/V department actually still did support VHS. After all, nearly thirty years have passed since the format’s peak popularity. By the time most current Reedies’ autobiographical memories began, VHS was already on its way out; even DVD, its successor, is on its last legs. So, in some ways, we all said goodbye to VHS a long time ago, and the announcement comes as a formality.
Cyclocross is a one of those weird sports I’d never heard of until I moved to Portland. Essentially cyclocross is a form of bike racing that entails riding on pavement, trails and grass while occasionally dismounting to carrying your bike over obstacles. Surprisingly cyclocross complements another Portland oddity, the huge number of unimproved roadways in the city. These unpaved roads are great for cyclocross training!
Voyant Tools is one of my favorite text analysis tools because it is fast and easy to use, even for people who have no background in text analysis. Although Voyant offers a lot of options—which can be overwhelming—the interface presents basic results that any user can easily customize. The results of Voyant’s analysis can be downloaded as visualizations or in tab-separated or JSON data formats, and Voyant also generates embed codes for its tools (which I’m using for this blog post), as well as citations for specific analyses. This post will cover basic Voyant functions, including inputting texts for analysis, working with and understanding basic Voyant tools, and downloading data. Continue reading
Annotation Studio is an open-source browser-based annotation platform that allows members of groups or classes to take notes on a shared document. You might think of it as similar to the comment feature in Google Docs, without the ability to edit the text itself. Social annotation allows students to interact with a text and each other asynchronously. Faculty in literature classes might use Annotation Studio to highlight specific areas of a text and and ask questions on them before class or to ask students to select sections of a text they want to discuss in class and compose leading questions. In foreign language classrooms, students might comment on grammar or vocabulary they found difficult and ask for help from classmates, or an instructor could use Annotation Studio to provide glosses of difficult vocabulary or cultural context for a text.
Recently I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with our visiting composition professor Yuan Chen-Li and her MUS 314 composition class. Over the last six weeks I have conducted workshops with them at the PARC covering topics ranging from live audio capture (using the PARC’s mobile recording hardware and software) to electronic music composition using software synths (soft synths).
The class is using our set of special project iPads for their works this term, which I configured with the requested apps. As per professor Chen-Li’s assignment, the students are capturing live sounds. The students have leaned towards what she calls undifferentiated sounds — such as running water, microwaves, and chalk on a board — which the students then process and manipulate with the iPad using iOS GarageBand or on a computer using Audacity or Logic Pro.
Earlier this term, I heard from students in Noelwah Netusil’s natural resources economics class. They were hoping I could help them identify how many homes are within the Johnson Creek floodplain.
This is certainly a spatial problem, so using some spatial system — in this case, a GIS* — is a good first step. Another important challenge as researcher is to translate your question into something your analytical tool can understand. Continue reading
Preview, macOS’s built-in image and PDF viewer, has quietly added many useful features over the years. Earlier this year, we blogged about Preview’s PDF annotation tools.
Preview’s Instant Alpha tool allows you to quickly make parts of an image transparent. You could also do this with other more robust (and expensive) software, but having this capability included in a built-in piece of software on the Mac is very useful. One potential use is removing the background from images in order to insert them in documents or posters. Another potential use would be for artwork or photos you want to manipulate digitally. Continue reading
The Language Lab at Reed has a new website! You can access it at www.reed.edu/language_resources/.
The main page includes links to the drop-in tutoring schedule for foreign languages and a list of media available at the IMC by language.
Use the menu on the left to find resources for modern languages offered at Reed. A menu for each language provides options for categories of resources, such as typing help and online dictionaries. Continue reading
The development of the
bookdown package from RStudio in the summer of 2016 has facilitated greatly the ability of educators to create open-source materials for their students to use. It expands to more than just academic settings though and it encourages the sharing of resources and knowledge in a free and reproducible way.
As more and more students and faculty begin to use R in their courses and their research, I wanted to create a resource for the complete beginner to programming and statistics to more easily learn how to work with R. Specifically, the book includes GIF screen recordings that show the reader what specific panes do in RStudio and also the formatting of an R Markdown document and the resulting HTML file.
In October of 2015, I released an R Markdown senior thesis template R package and discussed it in the blogpost here. It was well-received by students and faculty that worked with it and this past summer I worked on updating it to make it even nicer for students. The big addition is the ability for students to export their senior thesis to a webpage (example here) and also label and cross-reference figures and tables more easily. These additions and future revisions will be in the new
thesisdown package in the spirit of the
bookdown package developed and released by RStudio in summer 2016.