Multimedia for Social Change

Prototyping Digital Media and Learning Through Information Visualization
February 8, 2010, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Is digital media a sufficient mode of application in preparing for a university-level exam? Can students learn and retain information through context? Are ‘traditional’ methods of studying of greater or lesser value than ‘new’ ones? Is this measurable? Have the implications of web 2.0 and its associative abilities made it easier for students to learn by way of new media versus ‘old’ linear techniques? As a visual anthropologist and multimedia student in the digital age, is it the constant representation of information that motivates one to desire to attempt to make the invisible ‘visible’ through visualization?

Such questions are examined through this reflexive representative prototype.  An evolutionary model that contains traditional written midterm exam guides from February 2009; a beginning student’s first gender studies test, based on course lectures and readings.  In scrolling through the timeline, one will discover another type of gender studies midterm exam preparation; one year later, March 2010, by an intermediate-level student studying ‘Men and Masculinities’.  This time, a digital render of themes discussed in the course; the notion of ‘masculinity’ in American culture, ‘masculinities’ in media and pop culture, the ‘crises’ of masculinity, hyper-masculinity, hegemony, feminization, and consumption as depicted in the controversial 2010 Olympic Winter Games Men’s Figure Skating event.  This digital ‘information visualization’ utilizes Wordle to generate and illustrate these dominant themes that called both athletes’ and the sport’s ‘masculinity’ into question, highlighted by professional and citizen journalists alike.

This representation is juxtaposed with its February 2009 ‘Childhood, Birth and Reproduction’ counterpart on a timeline with the purpose of examining the measurability of digital media and learning.  Note that the user can also view a documentary on February 15, 2010; filmmaker Byron Hurt’s Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, which provides a concrete glimpse of actual exam material for the March 2010 midterm exam.  Finally, there is a ‘participation’ link below the Wordle piece that connects the user to the author’s twitter stream, used to share the Dipity prototype with others and encourage interaction between users.


Reflecting Upon MM4SC
December 20, 2009, 11:37 am
Filed under: Reflections

Multimedia for Social Change was an enriching and engaging experience.  This multi-faceted course incorporated a collaborative learning process, hands-on learning with the community partners, learning in virtual space vis-à-vis the wiki, and reflecting on all of this knowledge via the blog.

I enjoyed learning about all of the thematic topics introduced over the course of the semester; issues of access, multimedia literacies, subcultures, public art, stylistics, entertainment education and games were particularly stimulating.  The fact that each member of the class was asked to participate in devising the class syllabus (enabling all of us to be active in our education) was inspiring and unique to other courses at USC.  In addition, structuring the course syllabus as a wiki that allowed for flexibility and change depending on our interests supported this three-dimensional learning style.  At the IML, we are constantly immersed in everything simultaneously; learning new software, academic material, virtual communication, physical communication, research, media, the list goes on! This is the beauty of the IML in its entirety – it teaches students to function in a non-linear manner just as new technologies require us to do – entirely relevant and necessary given the current and future day and age! At the IML both the readings and media clips are viewed equally as literacy tools and this course was no exception.  For example, studying remix videos was a good way to illustrate tactical media.  The workshops were helpful in increasing skills and understanding of various technologies, the introduction and inclusion of Prezi and Vuvox was especially useful as they communicate the information at hand in exciting ways.

In regards to MM4SC, we learned to ‘design social change’ both conceptually (by creating projects that would empower communities and provide opportunities for social change) and literally (by physically carrying out the projects and designing them to extend across multiple platforms).

The challenge of this course was juggling all of the different components, balancing time between doing the work for the nonprofit and the work for class.  I would tell other students to come up with a concrete plan so that they can manage their time appropriately and stay on top of everything.  There are many people and many people’s schedules to consider throughout the process.  Developing the work plan was crucial in the success of the project.  I would also tell them to utilize the workshops offered and keep building on those skills to enhance their projects, seeking assistance when necessary.

In terms of ways the course could be improved, just ensuring that it is one cohesive course with the discussion and lab time put together for four units.  I wish I could have attended the discussion portion on the readings in its entirety (as I found all of the material interesting) but I appreciated that my class conflict situation was understood and accommodated, and I still got to experience the readings and media clips through the wiki and blog.  In addition, maybe choosing a few things to spend more time on would work well, whether they are skills learned in the workshops or the themes discussed.  I liked that we had exposure to lots of different things all-around, just wish we had had more time to spend on them! On the other hand, this format lent itself well to our class because we were a small group, thus everyone was able to contribute and participate evenly.

I thoroughly enjoyed Multimedia for Social Change and would encourage any student to take it.  The course stimulates different and alternate modes of thinking while teaching ‘real’ skills that can be applied to academic and professional environments.  I look forward to future courses at the IML!

Coup d’etat (A Copy of My 1st Blog – Moved to MM4SC)
December 18, 2009, 4:14 am
Filed under: Reflections

Below is my first blog post.  I had posted it to the wiki at the time (from my blog) but am moving it here with the rest of my blog entries!

Coup d’etat

By kathleencamarda

I have been giving a lot of thought to issues surrounding “the digital divide” as of late.  As Brett Meyer (Brett Meyer) discussed how technology has the power to finally mend socioeconomic gaps, he referenced Bharat Mehra:

“The internet has tremendous potential to achieve greater social equity and empowerment and improve everyday life for those on the margins of society.”

However, we seem to be re-writing history, as oppression finds its niche in the twenty-first century, quickly seeping into virtual space… As Meyer went on to say “With revolution, however, comes the unknown — and unintended consequences.”  Danah Boyd’s article (Danah Boyd) illustrated this new reality by studying Facebook versus MySpace, concluding that though MySpace seems to have fewer users than they used to, in fact they still have the same amount – as many or more than Facebook – it’s just a different user than it used to be…

It makes sense that if we live in a culture that has created class differences that the virtual world would be no different than the physical world.  However, if communities that lack access to these new means (i.e. computers, social networking, and information of all kinds) are able to amass…

Would we suddenly be living in a world where every citizen was “equal”? What would happen in the domestic sphere versus the international sphere? Would it be utopian or anarchistic? How would information travel and how would it manifest?

I was surprised to read that even in rapidly developing twenty-first century nations such as China that have seen a recent increase in their number of internet users “…just over 19% of Chinese people have access to the Internet and the digital divide is growing due to factors such as insufficient infrastructure and high online charges” (Wikipedia).  It is already difficult for me to conceive of a world without the web, though I certainly grew up in that world, as computers barely existed when I was a child and my family didn’t have a computer or internet in the house until I was well into high school.

I am signing off with a YouTube clip on the “Social Media Revolution” whose description poses the question:

“Is social media a fad? Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?” (Social Media Revolution).

LACAN Final Blog – Updates
December 17, 2009, 12:03 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Thank you all for your comments – Meghan and I appreciate all of the feedback very much! We both enjoyed ourselves and learned a lot throughout this entire process! Immediately following our final presentation we emailed LACAN requesting that they review the final versions of the blog, map, and video.  As a result, we have a few updates since we last met and since our original final post last week…

Currently, we are in the process of adding the LACAN website link to the final frame of the video, and plan to re-upload it asap.  The week prior to the final (Prezi) presentation we sat down with LACAN and reviewed the video frame-by-frame to get their feedback.  The video that we showed for the final presentation (the same one that is posted on here) is the by-product of the requested changes.  On a related note, we were considering switching the host from Vimeo to BlipTV (as mentioned in our final presentation), but after carefully reviewing Blip’s Policies and Penalties section, we were afraid the video’s audio would quickly suffer the same fate as it did on YouTube (yikes!) so we chose to stick with Vimeo.

The map has undergone a few changes too since both last week and the final presentation.  We went back through and added the screenshots to the Ordinance Passage, changed the LACAN video screenshot to look uniform to the Ordinance, and changed the screenshot images for San Julian Park and the Alexandria Hotel KTLA video.  Aside from adjusting the screenshots, we took another look at all of the text and content to make sure everything is clean and consistent, checked for typos, grammatical errors, etc.

In terms of the blog, we played with the layout of the sidebar one last time (in hopes of bumping up the Blogroll that contains LACAN’s main website and the VozMob link) but due to the fact that we can’t get multiple icons/links on the same plane, it shifted the Pages section down too far.  Unfortunately this section needs to be visible right when the user opens the page, thus we left it how it was on the day we presented – the same version that was posted here last week.

In regards to the distribution, we had discussed tweeting, blogging, and reaching out locally at our final meeting right before the final presentation.  We recently received an email from LACAN stating that they have sent the blog, map, and video out to supporters and people are responding really positively.  In addition, they would like to add the video to the website, but will have to go through their consultant in order to do so.  In the meantime, it is their current tweet, they made it a featured page on the blog (like the map!), and it was the top post when it first went up! They thanked us for our work and were happy with the blog, map, and video.  All great to hear!

This week we compiled a comprehensive list of all of the account information we created for them throughout the semester (including their existing accounts) and sent it to them for future reference so that they have a single complete list that is ongoing.  In addition, last week we returned the remaining CDs that were in our possession to their office.

LACAN Final Presentation
December 10, 2009, 12:50 am
Filed under: Reflections

Our final LACAN Prezi, Interactive Map, Promo Video, and Social Media elements can be viewed here:

I tried sharing this on slideshare, but was experiencing some technical difficulties so tweeted about it instead for the moment!

My final blog post regarding our LACAN presentation is coming but I wanted to post this in the meantime so you guys can begin reviewing our project! I look forward to your projects and posts! More to come soon!

Google Maps Instruction Sheet
November 29, 2009, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Reflections

Google Maps – My Maps

Creating Your Map

1)      Go to:

2)      If you are not signed into Google, click “Sign in” in the upper right corner of your browser.

3)      Use the Search Maps bar to locate an area for your map

4)      Click “My Maps”

5)      Click “Create a new map”

6)      Give your map a title and if you want a description

7)      Leave the default selection of “Public”

8)      Click “Save” – Note: if save button is grayed out, it has saved it automatically and you can move on to creating    your map

Adding a flag to your map

1)      Click on the blue flag @ the top of your map and drag it to your first location and drop it onto your map

2)      Add a title

3)      Add a description

4) Click on the blue flag in the pop up and choose your flag icon

Adding a description and creating a link

1)      Click on “Rich Text” over the Description box and this will give you a WYSIWYG editor that you can use to format text, and insert images

2)      Type in a description for this flag.

3)      Highlight a word or phrase in your description and click the link icon and paste:

Adding and image

You will need the URL of an image – either use Creative Commons images that are already online or upload your photos to Flickr and then use the Flickr URL

Click the image icon on your toolbar and paste the URL that points to your image.

Lines and Shapes

1)      Choose the Draw a line tool and then

  1. click @ the point you want to start
  2. move your cursor to a 2nd point and click again
  3. move your cursor to a 3rd point and click again
  4. move your cursor back to where you started and click on your original point.

This makes an outline around an area. You can add a Title and description of the area in the pop up box just like you did for a flag.

2)      Choose the Draw a shape tool and follow the same path you did for the line tool above. This time you will see that instead of just a boundary, the box is filled in with a color

  1. In the pop up box, click the blue square in the upper right corner

    This will allow you to change the color of the line as well as the fill color of your box if you want to as well the line thickness and opacity of the fill and line.


LACAN Update
November 25, 2009, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Reflections

The final overview with Becky and Pete took place earlier this week, first thing Monday morning.  They commented that they got goose bumps when watching the video, which was great to hear! They requested a few tweaks be made such as specific additional pictures be added that they had on-site (which they then gave us on CD), certain caption titles for members, and a short clip of another piece of footage they had be added for the ending.

We then went through the map and they decided we could delete one item, as it had been part of their initial brainstorming, and thought it wasn’t as relevant now.

We gave them copies of the instruction sheets for both linking the media and creating and adding content to the map, and they agreed we could go ahead and bump Twitter and Facebook up on the sidebar of the blog.  We also discussed tweeting about the video once it was up, or getting the word out in other ways, which we will touch base on later next week, as they are excited about making the piece visible for the public.

At this point, we are focusing on making the adjustments to the video, the map, and the blog, and are getting ready for our final presentation next week!