Laser Cutting a Chinese Print Block (part two)

Part one’s project created a replica of a Chinese woodblock, in this case a woodblock from the 1970s that was in fairly good shape (at 40 years old!); the woodblock itself  was intact, and the wood carving still had pretty crisp lines for printing. We were able to successfully create a new block from the previous artwork in a fairly straightforward manner.

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Discontinuation of VHS Support at Reed / YouTube to VHS 🎊

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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.

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Laser Cutting a Chinese Print Block (part one)

For this project, the goal was to make a print from a Chinese wood block. The block depicts paper money that, after made into a paper print, is then burned up as an offering to ancestors during the annual Qingming Festival.

We didn’t want to use the original block itself for making prints for fear of causing damage to the original artwork, so we hoped to make a reproduction of the artwork. This was a great time to use the physics building’s laser printer, which could burn artwork into a linoleum block. From that, we’d create a replica of the printing block, then make new prints.

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The original woodblock

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Mapping Unimproved Roads

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!

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Text analysis using Voyant Tools

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

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Social annotation with Annotation Studio

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.

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Reedies’ Experimental Music Project: a new music collective on campus?

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.

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Translating research from question to query

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

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Tool Talk: Creating transparency in images with Preview

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

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New Language Lab website

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.

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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

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