Week one - Digital Media Checklist

OER checklist.pdf
Popular Music OER.pdf

In this first week's Digital Media Checklist, I think the most important discovery I made was simply how many OERs are available for the content and topics I teach. Spending time in the search for these resources was incredibly informative and rich. I'm enthusiastic about engaging these resources, and have already begun planning my fall semester syllabi entirely around OERs for the first time in my teaching career. 

Creating the checklist was not entirely difficult, but there were some challenges. I based my checklist on a number of designs I found online, and then made content-specific updates for myself as I began to evaluate sources and thinking about what wasn't on my checklist that needed to be.

Week two - Digital Document

A Post-Beatles Timeline.pdf
A Post-Beatles Timeline.m4v
A Post-Beatles Timeline evaluation.pdf

This week's assignment was not entirely new to me. I design digital documents very often for my courses, often in conjunction with the LMS I'm using at that moment (typically Canvas in the past, though my current institution uses BrightSpace). However, the most useful aspect of this week's assignment was thinking about principles of UDL as they'd apply to my document. I'm quite used to narrating many of my slideshows, but thinking about how to narrate a document for those who may be visually-impaired or would have an easier time with audio processing made my narration take on a slightly different shape. Rather than providing broad commentary, I stuck to a script that simply described the document. Thinking differently about my instructional approach to adhere to UDL was a very, very useful exercise.

Week three - Digital image

OER checklist - HPM logo

This week's task sat well outside of my wheelhouse, but I did have some experience with visual design as an assistant in learning technologies during graduate school. Fortunately, I took advantage of developing generative AI technologies in common editors and publishing software to create a higher quality image than I might have in the past. 

This image will act as the banner/logo for the course. It is already on the course splash page (see included screenshot) and will head any flyers, handouts, or other printed materials for the course. 

In meeting digital design standards, I aimed primarily for a balanced image, with a good degree of symmetry, that used a muted, but engaging color pallette with an easy font. I aimed to create something that was visually engaging, interest-piquing, and reflected some concept of popular music that may be both familiar, but not necessarily the first thing that comes to someone's mind. As such, I used generative AI in Microsoft Design and Adobe Express to create the illustration, specifying that color pallette, mode, performance, and purpose. I then made some changes to the color and presentation to mute what was initially a quite loud illustration. I added text, experimenting with a variety of options to find one that suited the pallette of the illustration. And I then cleaned up the image by using the "generative erase" function on Microsoft Design to eliminate parts of the illustration I didn't like, while allowing generative AI to fill those sections back in more appropriately.

Week four - Educational video

OER checklist - Rhythm and simple meters

I have to admit to getting a headstart on this week's project. I used Final Cut and YouTube's editor to recut and make edits to a video that I shot in 2020 for an asynchronous version of History of Popular Music. At the time, the footage was shot by my wife, Stacy Buchanan--who is a film and television producer--to help me with designed asynchronous courses during lockdown. I've used this footage a number of times (there is over two hours of it, as I explained a number of music theory concepts) and I decided to take that footage and edit it for this assignment. In that way, I'd create something more user-friendly while also eliminating parts that I've found extraneous in past versions.

This video will occur in the first module of the course as an explainer for the listed concepts as part of my "Introduction to Musical Concepts" module. In order to develop its accessibility, I used YouTube's caption tool to add CC. Meeting accessibility standards was not difficult with this particular video given that UDL was on my mind in the very earliest part of the shooting process, storyboard, and design.

I used Final Cut and YouTube's editor to edit this video this time. In its initial creation, I used both Final Cut and iMovie, and was guided by members of Boston College's Center for Teaching and Learning in their use. Final Cut, while powerful, has an enormous learning curve, and given my infrequent usage of it (once every few years), I feel as if I need to relearn it each time. YouTube's native editor was much more user-friendly and intuitive, though not nearly as powerful.

Week five - Screencast

OER checklist - How to Take a Listening Quiz

As a music instructor, being able to play audio for students is critical. One thing I struggled with in creating the screenast was playing audio from my computer, while also recording my voice. I explored a number of screencast tools, and none were able to accommodate that effectively. (Loom was my preferred tool, but it was unable to handle device-based audio recording). As such, I switched both my planned lesson (how to use Audacity to complete our remix assignment) and my planned tool. In the end, I created a screencast to handle a specific question I get every semester: how to find and take the listening quizzes that test the repertory goal of our course.

This screencast walks students through the basics of our university LMS to take the quizzes I've created there. Quizzes are open-note, and open-book, and I simply put students on their honor to avoid using a tool like Shazam to aid them in the exam. 

I used YouTube's CC tool to add captions. It's lightweight and syncs with audio readily. I can see myself continuing to use that for most assignments. As such, I believe this is quite an accessible video given my deliberation in movement and speaking in the video as well. 

Finally, I ended up using Zoom's "Clips" feature to record my screencast. It recorded audio from my computer (poorly), and allowed for basic editing. Unfortunately, on my university's license, I was limited to a two minute video. It was very easy to use and intuitive, but did not have many features that would have been desirable.

Week six - Storyboarding

How Popular Music Became Popular.pdf

The storyboarding process has never been a critical one to me, though I understand and appreciate its many advantages. In the past storyboarding in the instructional design process has left me bogged down, struggling to move on to the next phase in design. Thinking about how to structure an activity or assignment can end up taking the place of action toward that assignment in my case. So, I've generally created course maps or module maps, that in essence act in the place of storyboards, while also keeping me more focused on learning objectives.

All told, if I were to storyboard again, I would keep it much lighter than what I did this time. While this isn't content heavy, I was bogged down in choosing a template, choosing graphics, and other choices that didn't reflect what was important to me in this design process. I'd likely go with good old pen and paper, or stick with a course map next time.

I used Canva for my story board which was quite easy, and very intuitive. There were perhaps too many options (yet not enough when it came time to download/share), but I did like it more than many other similar tools.