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By (February 1, 2009) ()

I earned my undergraduate degree in Graphic Design. And let me tell you, it’s not all about making things pretty. In fact, it has a lot to do with those ‘subtle messages’ that we all read about this week. Living in New York City, we are bombarded with experiences that try to persuade us into buying things we probably don’t really need. Advertising is ugly – that’s why I became a programmer instead. Stick it to the man!

However, this post is not about the experience of corporate persuasion being burned into our retinas or hammered into our eardrums.  After all, we witness this everyday. We experience it on the subway, in movies, music, window displays, etc. How about Times Square? Here, neon lights compete like corporate beggars.

Instead, I’d like to talk about a project that I began working on this week.  The idea spawned after struggling to decode the syllabi of five distinct courses.  It takes me a long time to figure out what each class is asking me to do for the week. In fact, I hear this a lot. At the same time, I have been working to finish my own syllabi (I teach two new media courses at The College of New Jersey).  I came to the conclusion that everyone creates a syllabus differently and in most cases they are not well designed. The principals described in Lockton’s article could attest to this.

So behold! I’m creating a streamlined ‘syllabus creator’. It’s a web-based tool that generates a course calendar with embedded materials. It will also support comments, wiki functionality, dynamic page creation and two display modes. While not attractive (at all, really), persuasion came in the form of need.  My hope is that when it is finished, it will be useful to other instructors as well. And if I decide to market it, I promise that it won’t be referenced in the next blockbuster film.


February 1, 2009


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