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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

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Workflow: Challenges and Opportunities

To be honest, this prompt was quite a challenge. I had never used screencasting software before, nor had I used iMovie or any other movie editor, before tackling this project. In fact, I had to do several versions of this project, for a few reasons:
  1. I work quickly when I'm undertaking basic research and gathering materials. So quickly, in fact, that I could barely follow what I was doing when I first recorded myself.
  2. Because I am experimenting with new software for workflow issues, sometimes I didn't know what to do at all. While I think this reflects reality, as well as providing learning opportunities when one is actually using the program, watching me click through menus for 30 seconds at a time with no idea what I'm doing is hardly useful to anyone else. 
  3. Since I'm in an untrustworthy mood at the moment, I uploaded my final screencast files to my personal web space on the UVic servers. Instead of using YouTube or Vimeo, I figured out how to use FileZilla  again (it's been a few years) and plan on using that as my digital repository for materials which we can't upload directly to Scalar. 
  4. Explaining your practice is difficult, as my final, "polished" screencast illustrates. Even though I'm moving more and more towards a system of streamlined processes, communicating those half-formed ideas isn't easy (which is one reason this is a valuable exercise, I would hazard).
Between a crash course in DEVONthink, Office Pro, and iMovie, it's been quite a couple of days. As a note, this page is also sort of an excuse to play around with Scalar and embed some things. As a second note, I've uploaded an early draft of my screencasting efforts for general laughter and perhaps a small bit of insight into the process. I do so love tinkering.

Author: Daniel Powell
Word Count: 310
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Discussion of "Workflow: Challenges and Opportunities"

Difficulties of Capture: Commenting on Workflows

This assignment was deeply useful in two ways: First, it was the class' first exposure to Scalar for the purposes of completing course assignments. Second, it forced each individual to focus on their (mostly unconscious) workflow. As much as the advent of digital technologies for research, and the accompanying deluge of more or less relevant information, force the adoption of new methods and tools, it was useful to take a moment and reflect on what exactly we were using to undertake research at the graduate level.

As I noted in my response to the prompt, the most startling fact I noticed about my own work habits was the speed at which I navigated digital research environments, especially databases and search engines. I also noticed that organization is essential to keeping up with, using, and preserving the large quantity of information modern scholars can access with the click of a trackpad.

It was also interesting to try my hand at screencasting. I can see why it would be useful in some cases, but the genre seems to necessitate an artificial slowing of real-life work pace. It seems like the same information on process could be imparted verbally or in writing with greater clarity and efficiency. Nevertheless, I appreciated the chance to try the technique out on a topic related to my studies.

Addendum: As part of our revision process for publication, much of our media had to be moved from personal web space to more stable and enduring locations. As a result, both of my screencasts are now housed on YouTube rather than on my personal University of Victoria server space. In a way, this is easier than using a file transfer program to upload files to a server; however, what I gained in ease I arguably lost in control of my materials.

Author: Daniel Powell
Word Count: 303

Posted on 9 July 2013, 11:06 am by Daniel Powell  |  Permalink

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