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Interdisciplinary Skills for the 21 st Century Learner EDUCAUSE – May 6, 2008 John Gibson, Oris Friesen, & Florence Martin Maricopa Community Colleges, Arizona . Agenda. 2. Project Origins Introduction to DVL DVL Modules Instructional Design & Assessment Excel Module Example

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Interdisciplinary Skills for the 21st Century LearnerEDUCAUSE – May 6, 2008John Gibson,Oris Friesen, & Florence Martin Maricopa Community Colleges, Arizona



  • Project Origins
  • Introduction to DVL
  • DVL Modules
  • Instructional Design & Assessment
  • Excel Module Example
  • YOUR Ideas: DVL’s Potential Uses?
project origins
Project Origins


  • 3-year, $600,000 National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Grant
  • Original Partnership between Brown University & Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Final Year – Focus on Dissemination
  • GOAL: Introduce Digital Visual Literacy modules into introductory community college courses:
    • Educate teachers
    • Use DVL modules in existing courses
    • Perform assessment
    • Disseminate results
what is dvl
What is DVL?


  • DVL is a set of vital interdisciplinary skills that enable students and teachers to function in an increasingly digital and visual workplace
  • DVL builds on previous Visual Literacy efforts, but integrates new research material, as well
  • Examples:
      • Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century (Robert E. Horn, 1999)
      • Visual Thinking (Rudolf Arnheim, 2004)
      • Visual Literacy: Learn to See, See to Learn (Lynell Burmark, 2002)
what interdisciplinary skills
What InterdisciplinarySkills?


  • The ability to…
      • Critically evaluate digital visual materials (2D and 3D, static and moving)
      • Make decisions using digital visual representations of data and ideas
      • Use computers to create effective visual communications
  • Across the curriculum!
why images are everywhere
Why? Images Are Everywhere!

Graphical interfaces make easy computing possible

Photorealistic CGI (computer generated images) for movies and simulations

Large data sets can be visualized (weather, etc.)

Visualization lets doctors look inside your body

Industrial design depends on CAD (computer-aided design)

Simulations affect most areas of science, from nanotechnology to biology and beyond


a historic trend
A Historic Trend


  • Images used to be displayed in only a few places, such as churches, but are now ubiquitous
  • Television was introduced only 60 years ago
  • By HS graduation US children will have spent more time in front of the TV than in the classroom (AACAP)
computer technology has accelerated this change
Computer Technology Has Accelerated this Change

1900: Kodak’s “brownie” camera

1900s (early): first movie theaters

1980s bulky, low quality VCR a “wow” item

1984: ATT breakup

1990: color printers ~$10K


2006: Kodak sells no film cameras

2006: desktop movie making

2006 tiny iPOD has HD video

2006: cell phones have megapixel+ camera, video, even scanners

2006: given as bank “gifts”

19th century studio camera, with bellows for focusing

Bell Howell Keychain Digital Camera

skill sets are changing
Skill Sets Are Changing


  • You can’t believe everything you see
  • Role of design in business is widely recognized
  • Accelerating demand for graduates with visual, holistic thinking

Daniel Pink’s agriculture to industrial age to knowledge work to age of conceptual thinking

From “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future” by Daniel Pink, 2006



Profound Implications…

“If students aren’t taught the language of … images, shouldn’t they be considered as illiterate as if they left college without being able to read or write?” (George Lucas)Think about the “literacy” we teach…Convergence, 21st Century Skills, & “Complex Tacit Interactions”Is the 4th R a V?

an integration of disciplines
An Integration of Disciplines!


  • Academics
    • Sciences
    • Humanities
    • Business
  • Application areas (medicine, military, etc.)
  • Little conversation between practitioners in these fields


contributing disciplines
Contributing Disciplines


  • Visual Culture: Critical discussion of visual materials and history, including topics in art history, media culture, visual history, and philosophy.
  • Art and Design: Basic concepts in 2D, 3D, and time-based visual art and design
  • Vision Science: Basic concepts in neuroscience, perception, and cognitive science
  • Computer Graphics and Visualization (CS): Basic concepts in the science of computer graphics
  • Image Economy: The economic implications of creating, distributing, purchasing, exchanging visual (largely digital) materials
best delivered as modules
Best Delivered As “Modules”


  • FREE!!!
  • Strengthens Textbooks
    • with supplementary materials
  • Complete Instructional Design
  • Small, flexible, & tested
  • Downloadable from website
  • You can adapt original files!
  • Can be used in any course
  • 12 modules a beginning…
practical visual copyright
Practical Visual Copyright


  • Laws balancing financial gain and freedom of use
  • Protecting and licensing your images
  • How to find images and assess their copyright status
  • Resolving workplace Issues
blog module
BLOG Module

How do we “read” images? Similarities with text.

How is visual meaning created?

Synergy between text and images in establishing an explanation or a line of argument.


visual dialog in e commerce
Visual Dialog in E-commerce


  • New business models and strategies inspired by digital visual communication…
    • Kodak Easy Share, flickr, etc.
  • Compare company product photos with user uploaded ones on Amazon

You can now add a picture of a product to Amazon…

graphics literacy module
Graphics Literacy Module


  • Overview of basic graphics terms, concepts, and tools
  • An introduction to basic skills using MS Paint
  • Designed to promote student awareness of the technology and talent involved in creating computer graphics
3d graphics module
3D Graphics Module


  • What is 3D graphics?
  • How are businesses taking advantage?
ms office modules
MS Office Modules


Kay Gaisford – Mesa Community College

word and powerpoint
Word and PowerPoint


  • Better visual design in Word and PowerPoint
  • Addresses basic design principles and vocabulary


Design Through





excel charts and graphs
Excel Charts and Graphs


  • Excel can make your numbers look pretty. But is the result meaningful?
  • How to analyze and create…
  • Two Excel Charts Made From One Set of Data, but They Convey Very Different Messages
  • Pyramid shape makes top portion look smaller than the data it represents
  • 3-D effect make it difficult to accurately read the numbers
instructor guide sample pages
Instructor Guide Sample Pages


Presentation with Instructor Notes

Instructor Guide Summary

Grading Rubric

addie process in dvl
ADDIE Process in DVL


  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation


Instructor Guide Summary Templates



Before & After

Rating Scale:5 = very knowledgeable 4 = Knowledgeable about3 = Uncertain 2 = Somewhat knowledgeable 1 = not knowledgeable about

charts are computer graphics apply graphic design principles contrast
Charts are Computer Graphics Apply Graphic Design Principles - Contrast


  • Contrast is the use of differences to create interest, excitement, show importance of different items.
  • Spot color contrasts with other colors.
  • Bold columns (color, width) contrast with white background.
lying with charts lying with poor chart choices
Lying With ChartsLying with Poor Chart Choices

Wedges at the front of a 3-D pie chart appear larger than in the back

  • Misleading charts may result in errors in decision-making
  • Charts are often designed in ways that hide what the datamight tell us, or that distract the readerfrom quickly discerning the meaning of the chart.

Adapted from Charts and Graphs for Microsoft Excel 2007, Bill Jelen, Que Books, 2007.


misleading charts using a chart type that obscures the truth
Misleading ChartsUsing a Chart Type that Obscures the Truth
  • the Area chart to the right above shows that marketing costs are rising sharply.
  • The Stacked Area chart to the right obscures this trend
  • The clustered column chart shows each data point separately so that trends can be examined for all 4 expense areas.

Adapted from Charts and Graphs for Microsoft Excel 2007, Bill Jelen, Que Books, 2007.


chart types column the best chart type is the one that gets your message across most effectively
Chart Types – Column The best chart type is the one that gets your message across most effectively
  • Column charts are good for up to 12 data points. Otherwise, use bar or line chart.
  • Clustered column chart shows each data point separately (easy to interpret)
  • 100% Stacked Column chart compares the percentage each value contributes to a total across categories
  • Cylindars, Cones, and Pyramids are similar to column charts with more dramatic shapes (sometimes distort perception).
  • 3-D effects use more ink, more space,and distort perception


dvl wiki
DVL Wiki


  • DVL Wiki:
dvl the 4 th r is a v
DVL – The 4th R is a V!


  • New skills are needed to succeed in a digital visual workplace
  • DVL modules can help:
    • Strategically introduce this emerging field in your classes
    • Strengthen your current offerings
  • JOIN US!!!


YOUR Ideas: DVL’s Potential Uses?

Decision Theatre

(Arizona State University)

  • How could you apply Digital Visual Literacy in your curriculum?
  • Do you have any thoughts about future DVL modules and new initiatives?
  • Interest so far: Universities, community colleges, high schools, middle schools, and new partnerships/grants
for more information
For More Information


Digital Visual Literacy Project

Maricopa Community Colleges

(480) 731-8124

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. 0501965. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).