myPlymouth: Thanksgiving Theme

Thursday before Thanksgiving, users of the myPlymouth portal at Plymouth State were greeted by an altered header graphic similar to that of the Halloween theme I had done for the previous month.

This one, however, changed daily for 9 days. Here’s the sequence:

Thursday:
Thanksgiving in myPlymouth

Friday:
Thanksgiving in myPlymouth

Saturday:
Thanksgiving in myPlymouth

Sunday:
Thanksgiving in myPlymouth

Monday:
Thanksgiving in myPlymouth

Tuesday:
Thanksgiving in myPlymouth

Wednesday:
Day 7

Thursday (The flames flickered ever so slightly):
Thanksgiving Day

Friday – Monday:
Day 9

Now, once I finished that final graphic Dan approached me and made a funny request. He wanted a special little violent ending for himself. The thought of a custom final header for a few sketchy people sounded fun…so I obliged with this header that showed for a mere 5 people on campus:

Day 9 Alternate

In addition to the internal alteration of the header, I did another alteration on the login page for the Tuesday and Wednesday before as well as the Thursday of Thanksgiving. My pal, the turkey, showed up in place of the random image. Here he is:

Thanksgiving in myPlymouth

Overall, the header was well received be the campus feuling my desire to come up with something nifty for the coming holidays! A special thanks to Ken, Zach, and Dan for giving good content suggestions and allowing me to bounce ideas off them!

Multimedia Lab – Advanced Powerpoint Navigation

chimpanzee.jpgChances are, most of you have used Microsoft Powerpoint. For the class slides, simple presentations and such we only use the most basic features of the MS product. We are going to explore some of these features. The goal isn’t necessarily to expand our knowledge of Powerpoint but to experiment with some of the forms of navigation discussed in class.

The Scenario:
You are a scientist that studies chimpanzees. Last month you witnessed one or more chimpanzees do something that has never been done before. You were tasked with creating an application that details various aspects of that discovery…for some reason you chose Powerpoint as your tool.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Your application must make use of various forms of media. (text, images, etc) – 20pts
  • Your application must include at least 12 slides PLUS an additional notes slide that lists/describes the types of navigation used. – 20pts
  • Your application must utilize (at minimum) conceptual/modal navigation and hypertext. Other forms of navigation can be used as appropriate. – 25pts
  • Your application must not navigate as normal powerpoint slides navigate (i.e. advance on click). To get a starting point, read the instructions below. – 25pts
  • Use proper spelling and grammar. – 10pts
  • Be creative and have fun with the assignment! – Priceless

Setting Up Your Powerpoint Application For This Assignment:

  • With your powerpoint application open, click on Slide Show > Set Up Show….
  • In the Show options section, check the box: Loop continuously until ‘Esc’
  • In the Show slides section, check the From radio button and choose the start/end slides as appropriate to your application. (If your first slide is your contents where you begin all your navigation, then you’ll want the start/end boxes to be set to 1 and 1). Experiment.
  • …this is just a starting point. Explore the application and make it bend to your will.

Here’s a good reference for advanced PowerPoint stuff.

Handing in your Lab:
The lab is due next Friday at midnight. To hand it in:

  • log in to myPlymouth
  • click on the myCourses tab
  • click on the Multimedia course
  • go into the Assignments section
  • click on Lab 1
  • Browse to your powerpoint file in the form
  • Submit it

An Introduction to Multimedia

What is Multimedia? Multimedia is a combination of text, animated graphics, video, and sound delivered to you via some electronic means. We are immersed in it. Its what appeals to me for entertainment; for research.

As technology has progressed we have seen a convergence of both the presentation and study of Multimedia. Multimedia Lecture #1 will discuss this convergence and further continue the introduction with the discussion Multimedia Navigation and Usability.

Get the Class Slides here.

Check out this great resources:

Read this paper in preparation for our next class: Reducing Cognitive Load in Multimedia Navigation.

Multimedia Syllabus

Class: Multimedia (CS 3440)

Instructor: Matthew Batchelder
Office: Hyde 3rd Floor, ITS Offices
Phone: 535-2086
Office Hours: I am in my office most of the time between 8AM and 5PM. However, I will make sure I’m there if you call or email me ahead of time.
Email: mtbatchelder (AT) plymouth (DOT) edu
Required Text Book: Fundamentals of Multimedia, Ze-Nian Li, Mark S. Drew (publisher: Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-061872-1)

Meeting Times and Places:
Tuesday: Rounds 207, 12:30-1:45.
Thursday: Memorial 213, 12:30-1:45 Lab.


Course Description:
Use and development of multimedia – combining text, graphics, sound, still and video images and animation into a unified, seamless document. Examines the nature of the various media, the capture or creation, digitalization and modification of each media type, the architecture and technology of multimedia systems, the principles behind effective multimedia presentations, analysis and design of GUI systems and multimedia development through the use of common software packages. Treats both the fundamental concepts and current and emerging technologies.

Course Goals and Objectives:

  1. Learn about the nature of text, image, audio, video, graphic and animation files.
  2. Learn about capturing the various media.
  3. Learn about creating, editing and storing the various media.
  4. Learn about digitization and compression and the role they play in multimedia.
  5. Learn about authoring tools for packaging multimedia systems.
  6. Learn about web-based multimedia and the special problems involved in delivering media over the WWW.
  7. Learn about effective graphical user interfaces.
  8. Learn to use a variety of common software packages to complete the above objectives.

Evaluation:
40% – Labs
30% – Quizzes
30% – Final Project

Grade Scale:
Grades will be assigned according to the following scale:
93-100 – A
90-92 – A-
88-89 – B+
83-87 – B
80-82 – B-
78-79 – C+
73-77 – C
70-72 – C-
68-69 – D+
63-67 – D
60-62 – D-
below 60 – F

Evaluation Items

  • Final Project: Every student will be expected to complete a semester project. The project will be presented to the rest of the class during the last week of classes and during the final exam period (which is Tuesday, May 16, 11am – 1:30pm). The project will comprise 30% of the semester grade.
  • Quizzes: There will be 4 hour-long quizzes. Of the four quizzes, only 3 will count toward the semester grade, with the lowest score of the four being dropped. These three quizzes and a final exam will comprise 30% of the semester grade (6% each). NO makeup quizzes will be given for any reason. If for some reason a student misses an quiz, that quiz will be his or her dropped quiz. The first section (11-11:50) of the final exam period will be used for project presentations. The quiz schedule is as follows:
    1. Quiz 1: Tuesday, February 21
    2. Quiz 2: Tuesday, March 28
    3. Quiz 3: Tuesday, April 18
    4. Quiz 4: Thursday, April 27
    5. Final Exam: Tuesday, May 16, 11am-1:30am (11-11:50 will be used for project presentations)
  • Labs: There will be a number of lab sesions throughout the semester. During the lab, we will meet in Memorial 213. During some of these lab periods, students will be expected to complete an exercise. These lab assignments will comprise 40% of the semester grade, with the lowest lab assignment grade being dropped. NO late labs will be accepted. If for some reason a student misses a lab, that lab will be his or her dropped lab.

Attendance Policy:
Attendance will not be taken in class or lab. However, every student is responsible for everything covered, even if it is not in the text.

Academic Honesty:
Issues of copyright and attributing original sources are particularly important in this course. These topics will be covered in this course, but it is important to realize from the first day of this course that you must accurately represent work that you have created originally versus work that consists of elements from other authors/creators. A safe guideline is to very clearly attribute the work of others, and use content from other people sparingly in your own work. I reserve the right to individually question students about their homework assignments and labs to have the student explain his or her answers to me. If you are unable to explain your answers when I ask, you will not be given credit for the assignment or lab. Such a situation constitutes plagiarism and you are referred to the Student Handbook for a description of the possible consequences of such academic dishonesty.

Tentative Schedule:

Week Date Topic Assignment
week 1
January 30
Ummm…hello to you.  (omghi2u)
Read Chapter 1
February 2
Introduction to Multimedia Read Handout (Navigating the Digital Vista)
week 2
February 7
Introduction to Multimedia (cont.) Read Lab Handout
February 9
Lab – Versatile Powerpoint Navigation
Read Handout (Chapter 7-10 excerpts)
week 3
February 14
File Compression
Read Lab Handout
February 16
Lab – Compression

week 4
February 21
Quiz
Read Handouts (Chapter 3-4 excerpt & Web Usability)
February 23
Images, Color, & Web Usability
Meet in Memorial. Read Handout (Web 2.0)
week 5
February 28
Web 2.0
Read Lab Handout
March 2
Lab – Webpage Usability
Meet in Memorial 213; Read Handout (Chapter 6 excerpt)
week 6
March 7
Basics of Digital Audio
Read Lab Handout
March 9

Meet in Memorial 213;
week 7
March 14
Audio & Project Planning Read Handout (Project Planning, Delivery, & Presentation)
March 16
Quiz Read Handout (Chapter 2 excerpt)
week 8
March 21
No Class
Spring Break – Develop Project Idea
March 23
No Class/Lab Spring Break – Develop Project Idea
week 9
March 28
Animation & Authoring Software
Read Lab Handout
March 30
Lab – Flash
Meet in Memorial 213;
week 10
April 4
No Class

April 6
No Class/Lab (Work on your Flash Lab)
Work in Memorial 213 (if needed)
week 11
April 11
Quiz
Read Handout (Chapter 5 Excerpt)
April 13
Video

week 12
April 18
Flash Help & Video Slides
Read Lab Handout
April 20
Lab/Project Assistance
 
week 13
April 25
Legal & Ethical Issues/Presenting Your Project

April 27
Quiz

week 14
May 2
Work on Project
May 4
Work on Project

week 15
May 9
Presentations

May 11
Presentations

week 16
May 16
Presentations & Final Exam (11am-1:30pm)

Script.aculo.us Is My New Best Friend

Ajax is great. DOM manipulation is sexy. I’m fairly new to the Ajax world having only developed with with it since July. MasterWish was my guinea pig and continues to be my playground for all things Web 2.0. Luckily, my manager Ken is pumped up about this whole Web 2.0/Ajax thing which has allowed me to experiment with my projects at work as well and PSU should expect to see some sweet apps roll out over the next year!

Since July, I’ve been developing my Ajax applications and examples using SAJAX (Simple Ajax), a PHP/Javascript framework for Ajax development. It was great at first glance…a lot easier than building Asynchronous Javascript transactions from scratch. But despite its ease, it was a bit clunky. Last week I was stumbling around the web looking for anything new to suck up and found a beauty of a tool. Script.aculo.us.

Script.aculo.us is a Javascript Effects and Control framework developed by Thomas Fuchs, a software architect living in Vienna, Austria who, like me, was disappointed by current web application frameworks that made no sense to him. His framework is 3 things: Easy to Use, Simple, and Easy to Use. His libraries – built off of the Ajax framework, Prototype – blow SAJAX out of the water! Let me give you an example to, say, update a news title on an article (I won’t include the HTML markup as that is trivial):

Here’s what needs to be done to build a SAJAX call:

Step 1: Create a SAJAX Call Function

function x_updateTitle()
{
	sajax_do_call('/process_ajax.php',"x_updateTitle", x_updateTitle.arguments);
}

Step 2: Create a server side function to handle the update

< ?php
function x_updateTitle($news_id,$news_title)
{
	//do some database calls to update the title;
}
?>

Step 3: Edit the server side SAJAX file (process_ajax.php) and add x_updateTitle to the list of valid call functions

< ?php
include('sajax.php');
addFunctions('x_updateTitle');
handleClientRequest();
?>

Step 4: Call the SAJAX Javascript function from somewhere (in an onClick, onSubmit or something)

<a onClick="x_updateTitle(1, document.getElementById('news_title').value, 'callbackFunction');">asdfdf</a>

Here’s the equivalent in Script.aculo.us
Step 1: Create a server side function to handle the update

< ?php
function x_updateTitle($news_id,$news_title)
{
	//do some database calls to update the title;
}
?>

Step 2: Call the Script.aculo.us Javascript function from somewhere (in an onClick, onSubmit or something)

<a onClick="new Ajax.Request('/process_ajax.php', { asynchronous:true, parameters:'news_id=1&news_title=$(\'news_title\')', onSuccess:callbackFunction });">asdf</a>

Thats it! Its a big difference. Thats just the tip of the iceberg. Script.aculo.us has many features for implementing Drag and Drop with one line of Javascript code; fancy display/hide functions; dynamic DOM Element creation/deletion; field autocompletion; and various other visual effects. It slick. And to top it off, the Script.aculo.us website is pretty sweet! Luckily the documentation is excellent and is in wiki format. As Plymouth State moves into the Web 2.0 world, I’ll be pushing for Script.aculo.us/Prototype to be our Ajax standard. I have seen the light and it is good.

Web Expressions – Student Blogs

Here’s a list of the blogs for Web Expressions!

Web Expressions – Lab 1 – Blogs

Alrighty! Today we’re going to be setting up our blogs. Here are some Blogging Instructions to help you get started.

Today we meet in Memorial 213 and we’ll be:

  • Going over the above documentation
  • Setting up our Blogs
  • Posting a Blog Entry
  • Commenting on someone else’s Blog
  • Giving the instructor $2,000 just for fun.

The use of Blogs in our class:
I have discussed this a couple of times but have not yet been clear on exactly how we will be using your blogs this semester. Starting 9/12/2005 you will be required to make a minimum of 2 non-assignment related posts a week. You can post as many posts as you want every week but here’s the deal:

  • If you post diary-like posts, it must convey an issue you have encountered and dealt with; and/or it must contain your opinions on topics you have encountered.
  • In addition to your own blog posts, you will also be required to post your answers to assignments throughout the semester. These do not apply towards your 2 posts per week.
  • I will be grading your posts. Here are the grading specifics for your semester of blogging (I will grade your blogging over the semester, not each one individually):
    Points Subject
    20 Regular postings (at least two/week)
    10 Postings address clear topic and fit in the theme of the blog or (for journal blogs) are particularly insightful.
    10 Postings are well-written and organized
    10 Postings contain adequate links to supporting/clarifying websites.
    10 Initiative and Originality
    10 Blog entries are of potential interest to outside reader.
    10 Response to comments: Author has responded to comments adequately.
    10 Effective use of images and text formatting to create a visually appealing blog.
    10 EXTRA CREDIT: Blog has off-campus commenter. (non-friend or family member )
    Forfeit all points if in violation. Netiquette: postings do not violate any rules of good Internet conduct. See notes addressing netiquette. (Violations must be immediately cleared up to prevent blog account from being switched off)
    100 TOTAL (110 with extra credit)

Blog Topics:
Blogging may not come easy to everyone. It took a while for me to get the swing of things, but once I started going I keep finding odd things to post :) If you run into a mindblock and can’t think of anything, maybe this will start your mind thinking in the right direction:

Maybe try a PSU centered blog

  • PSU events: music, films, plays, speakers, plays
  • PSU sports: how did the(fill-in specific sport) team do?
    How can team x improve? Etc.
  • PSU politics: what issues are ranging on campus.
  • PSU life: what is like to be a PSU student?

Aim for a special interest blog

  • Gaming
  • Poetry
  • Art work
  • Crafts
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Literature
  • Horticulture
  • Outdoor pursuits (hiking, skiing, biking, etc)
  • Bird watching
  • Editorial blogs: reacting to issues in the media.
  • Place blog: What is life like in … Plymouth, NH, your home town?
  • Informational blog: how to do something (configure a firewall, build a canoe, fix a car, etc, travel for $25/day, etc)

(grading scale provided by Dr. Evelyn Stiller, Plymouth State University)

Web Expressions – Assignment 1

Alright People. I’m stealing some ideas from one of my friends – Zach Tirrell – on how I’ll be using the blog for this course.

For each class I will provide an outline of the topics I plan to cover. Hopefully we’ll touch on each of these as well as any side topics that might arise.

  • What Course is this? :)
  • Discuss the Syllabus.
  • What are Blogs?
  • How will we integrate them into our course?
  • Your first assignment is to read this essay on the creative process. Yeah, its kind of a long read and the way it is written is a little odd (there are things repeated multiple times in the same paragraph…which is kind of annoying). Despite all of that it has some good points.

    After reading, answer these questions and bring them to class on Friday. We will discuss this article there and I will be asking a few people to tell me their answers. ;)

    Here are the questions:

    • When are you the most creative?
    • What are the necessary conditions for creativity?

CSDI 1200 – Web Expressions Course Syllabus

Class: Web Expressions (CSDI 1200)
Instructor: Matthew Batchelder
Office: Hyde 3rd Floor, ITS Offices
Phone: 535-2086
Office Hours: I am in my office most of the time between 8AM and 5PM. However, I will make sure I’m there if you call or email me ahead of time.
Email: mtbatchelder (AT) plymouth (DOT) edu
Required Text Book: The Web Wizard’s Guide to Multimedia, James Lengel (publisher: Addison-Wesley, ISBN: 0-201-74561-5)

Meeting Times and Places:
Monday and Friday: Rounds 206, 12:20-1:10.
Wednesday: Memorial 213, 12:20-1:10 Lab.

Exceptions:
We will not be having class on September 26.

Course Description:
Web Expressions teaches students how to have a voice on the Internet. Our philosophy is founded in the principle that the message is the medium. As a result of this course, students will have the skills necessary to effectively express themselves over the Internet. The class will cover five basic modes of expression, static text, interactive text, sounds, images, and animation. Students will select the content for each mode of expression by researching a selected topic. Students will explore the notion of effective communication by reacting to other similar expressions and peer review. After having explored each mode of expression, students will select subject matter for a larger integrated web project that draws from each mode of expression. Students will be expected to review the web expressions of their classmates and provide constructive feedback. In addition to learning about expressing themselves over the Internet, students will be informed of the potential danger of revealing personal information over the Internet, and informed how to make their expressions anonymous. Other issues such as intellectual property, violating the privacy of others, spyware, cookies, netiquette and other topics concerning creating appropriate web expressions will be discussed.

Course Goals and Objectives:
1. Learn about how the web works.
2. Learn how to create web expressions and receive peer feedback to improve the effect your web expression has on others.
3. Learn to effectively critique creative expressions.
4. Learn about the nature of text, image, audio, video, graphic and animation files.
5. Learn about and create a blog.
6. Learn to effectively create blog content through research and other information gathering techniques.
7. Learn to think critically about blog content.
8. Learn about creating and editing the various media.
9. Learn about various types of files used for web pages.
10. Learn about web-based multimedia and the special problems involved in delivering media over the WWW.
11. Learn about designing effective and accessible web pages.
12. Learn to use a variety of common software packages to complete the above objectives.
13. Learn about ethical/privacy considerations of creating web pages.

Evaluation:
30% – Final Project
20% – Assignments
20% – Weblog
20% – Quizzes
10% – Peer Evaluation/Participation

Grade Scale:
Grades will be assigned according to the following scale:
93-100 – A
90-92 – A-
88-89 – B+
83-87 – B
80-82 – B-
78-79 – C+
73-77 – C
70-72 – C-
68-69 – D+
63-67 – D
60-62 – D-
below 60 – F

Quizzes:
There will be quizzes on Mondays throughout the semester. These will be used by the instructor to provide frequent feedback to ensure that students are making adequate progress in understanding the material. No makeup quizzes will be given. The lowest quiz score will be dropped.

Creative Thought Direction
People need to be creative in order to thrive in our complex and changing world.

People need to understand the creative processes that lead to the generation of ideas and to engage in new interpretations of existing ideas. Creative thought courses encourage students to recognize beauty in its many manifestations and to become aware of formal elements of creative expression.

These courses also encourage students to view themselves as creative beings, to appreciate creativity in others, and to regard creativity as an essential component in all areas of human endeavor. In these courses, students develop and value perseverance and a tolerance for ambiguity. Students are challenged to appreciate aesthetic forms, to use their imaginations, and to develop the skills and attitudes that allow creativity to flourish: independence and non-conformity, the ability to organize and reorganize information, and the confidence to think in new ways.

Creative Thought courses emphasize the skills of critical thinking, reading, writing, listening and speaking, and working with information technology.

Peer Review and Creative Expression:
Students will be challenged to provide constructive feedback in response to creative expressions produced by students in class. The feed back will follow guidelines provided in class geared to creating a productive dialog around developing creative works. Students will read several essays by artists addressing their creative process to better understand the creative processes that lead to the generation of ideas and to engage in new interpretations of existing ideas.

Class Philosophy:
This course is driven by your interests and passions. The nature of this course is to teach you how to most effectively express your ideas, interests, and creations on the World Wide Web. . In addition there are a number of concepts that you will be held accountable for. These concepts are important to your effective use of the Internet, such as ethical and social aspects of using and creating expressions on the web. You are expected to participate in all modes of expression covered in class, but you should not have to memorize large quantities of information. In order to avoid the need to memorize you should keep a good set of notes. All quizzes will be open notes, so it is important that you take notes from your readings as well as keeping notes on how to do a number of technical tasks. You should find your notes useful in the future when you develop other web expressions.

Attendance Policy:
Attendance will not be taken in class or lab. However, every student is responsible for everything covered, even if it is not in the text.

Academic Honesty:
Issues of copyright and attributing original sources are particularly important in this course. These topics will be covered in this course, but it is important to realize from the first day of this course that you must accurately represent work that you have created originally versus work that consists of elements from other authors/creators. A safe guideline is to very clearly attribute the work of others, and use content from other people sparingly in your own work. I reserve the right to individually question students about their homework assignments and labs to have the student explain his or her answers to me. If you are unable to explain your answers when I ask, you will not be given credit for the assignment or lab. Such a situation constitutes plagiarism and you are referred to the Student Handbook for a description of the possible consequences of such academic dishonesty.

(Syllabus format is loosely based off of Evelyn Stiller‘s Web Expression syllabus)