Incorporating UX Design and prototypes into your classroom

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On 2/24/19 at 9:30am, I attended the North Carolina Community College Fine Arts Conference Session Incorporating UX Design and prototypes into your classroom at the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, NC presented by Jennifer Cobb of Catawba Valley Community College

Enhancing Graphic Design Education

Introducing students to larger, more complex design problems including larger interconnected systerms thinking. Incorporating a human-centric approach to design, including research, prototyping, testing and refinement

At CPCC, these larger design parameters have allowed students to have a greater sophisticated approach to problem solving. Students and hiring companies are very pleased.

How to make toast ( )

This really helps students to understand the design process. Illustrate a simple process like how to make toast. It may seem simple because we’ve all got different ways of visualizing experiences. Different drawings showcase what are important experiences. What if you don’t use a toaster? Are the toast really about the taste? Is it really about the machine? Is it about the actions or interactions? The experiences we design for others are part of the experiences we build for others. In the class, all ideas from groups of 3+ have to be combined without talking.

As more people get involved, the ideas and solutions soon become more complex.

Human Centered Approach to Design

Its a framework. The framework users a set of practices to understand the wants and needs of the end user. It considers perspectives at every step. It an active process that engages in communication. The ultimate goal is to understand the end user.

IDEO Fieldguide when you understand the people you’re trying to reach…

two models of the process: In the outdated method, a design decision is made, and the revisions take place based on the client. The end user gets the final product without feedback. In a human-centered approach its more fluid. First you empathise, define, and ideate (several ways of doing this from groups, discussions with end users, etc.). Then you prototype and then test.

UX and Design Thinking are the focus of most Humand Centered Design (HCD). Design thinking is a multi-step iterative process that helps designers solve complex creative problems thorougho a hce approach. UX design is an HCD appraoch focused on creating products that provide” meaningful and relevant experieces to users”. Its not just tech and seeks to enhance user satisfaction by improving areas like usability, accessibility and interactions. It seeks to create meaningful expereiences for people.

“Does it better will always beat did it first” Aaron Levie

They use a 12-step process. This is taken in steps to move them through the process. It might be nice to cover this approach, and reach out to this presenter 🙂

 5 Step Process


Personas are used to include multiple end users. These are printed and added to computer screens if possible. Storyboards are used to walk through a process. Some find steps are missed


Define the problem. Use this step to prepare what the use is (end user) needs a way to (action) because (user insite)


Research, empathise with the user, the problems you’re solving, interview. Paper prototype, createe physical artifacts for testing.


Keeping the end user at the forefront of the entire process. User testing at this stage will look back to this


Use QUAL and QUANT methods to garner data. We test throughout the process, using interviews to understand user behaviors, use paper models for observation testing, and using digital protoyping to understand the UX which happens. User testing can be done to get feedback with surveys and observation. Usually this is through Adobe XD or ENVISION. Based on the data from testing, they need to go back and rework the piece.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. Steve Jobs

Design XD Prototyping App. The tools are familiar and intuitive. You can use this for mobile and web. It is helpful and beneficial.

How can you incorporate UX Design and Prototypes in the classroom? There is value added to the student after graduation to allow them to become part of the 27% of web and digital


Q&A Session

Why switch to XD from ENVISION?

Its free, works with programs, its easier to use than envision, interactions are easier to work with, and its a quick learn. Sketch and XD are the new industry standard.


Who Uses SKETCH?

Sketch is simplified and specifically made for prototyping. PSD to envision is complex.


Does XD allow storyboarding and prototyping?

We have not utilized that process. No others had considered it. This would be worth looking into. There seems to be a potential for that, and that would be very helpful. Many students do not want to do the storyboarding step, but many see the benefit after it.


What classes do you do this in?

GRD180, but that class is being phased out. It will move into another class moving forward. Likely, there wil lbe some new classes added at the state level which could assist with this.

Great for portfolio because you can use research, personas, and showcase a larger development cycle.

From Ideas to Action: Tools for Implementing Learning Innovation

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On 4/18/18 at 8:30am, I attended the Online Learning Conference Session From Ideas to Action: Tools for Implementing Learning Innovation. This was co-presented by Stacy Southerland of the University of Central Oklahoma and Bucky Dodd of the University of Central Oklahoma Institute for Learning Environment Design.

From Ideas to Action: Tools for Implementing Learning Innovation

Brief Abstract

Innovation is a hot topic in education, but how do we make it happen on a practical level? This hands-on, interactive workshop introduces approaches to identifying personal and organizational drivers of innovation and visual mapping techniques for planning and developing successful and sustainable results.

Attendees interested in this session are invited to complete the Learning Environment Innovation Inventory prior to the conference. Of course, you don’t have to complete it to participate in the workshop, and don’t have to attend the workshop if you do complete it; we know plans change! The Inventory can be accessed here until April 11, 2018.


Lead Presenter: Stacy Southerland, University of Central Oklahoma

Stacy Southerland, PhD, is a Professor of Spanish and Faculty Liaison for the Center for eLearning and Connected Environments at the University of Central Oklahoma where she also designs and coordinates UCO’s online Spanish courses. Her research focuses on learning innovation and learner success. She has received international recognition for iniatives in these areas and for her online teaching practices. Dr. Southerland completed her PhD and MA in Spanish literature from Indiana University-Bloomington and her BA in Music and Spanish at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Leveraging The Learning Environment

Innovation is a hot topic in education, but many who aspire to reimagine, renew, even revolutionize  learning, projects, and processes at the personal, team, or organizational level find it challenging to make innovation happen on a practical level. This is due not only to the many components in the innovation landscape that need to be understood, but also to the need for an effective, strategic approach for communicating one’s vision and for decision-making for mapping, planning, and implementing new ideas.

This interactive workshop used many visuals and hands-on demonstrations to guide us through the process of profiling Learning Environment Innovation (LEI) landscapes in order to identify drivers of innovation, promote abundant ideation, and manage promising concepts and move them through the innovation cycle from ideas to action.

We will begin this session by completing a Learning Environment Innovation Inventory (LEii), so I think that’ll be kind of fun..

Our presenter guided us through an exploration of how LEi2 findings inform and influence the innovation cycle of generating and identifying promising ideas and moving them through experimental and development phases that culminate in successful and sustainable operations.

LEI2 Assessment

Here’s a quick screenshot of one assessment screen. I was a little busy, and managing the normal screens, the online presentaition screens viewing, the snipping tools, etc. became very tedious.


The Learning Environment Innovation Inventory (LEI2) is used to help teams and organizations better understand their capacity for innovation specifically related to creating and adopting new ways of learning.

The inventory includes an online assessment used to measure capacity for learning and innovation within a team or organization.

The LEI2 helps to manage the innovation process by measuring the mindset, values, and activities for learning and innovation. It also provides insights into how new approaches to learning move through an innovation lifecycle. The inventory can be administered to teams or across entire organizations.

Here is an example of the data, and how it can be reviewed from a large pool of data (say 10-20 individuals).

The Landscape Report

Breaking down this landscape, we see that there are 3 major items being noted here, the Mindset, and the Values of the organization, and the cycle which can then be used implement the change and innovation which will be most conducive and effective for the group.

The results of the Learning Environment Innovation Inventory are reported in the Learning Environment Innovation Landscape report (example above). This visual report displays the aggregate results of the inventory in three major categories: Mindset, Values, and Cycle.

This report is used exclusively during a live, facilitated design sessions to make decisions about the future of learning environments. It is important to note that while this is available AFTER the initial meeting, the results are discussed directly with clients. Without the human interactions and understanding on the part of  the UCO team, there is a great possibility for distraction, misinterpretation, and incorrect assumptions. Personalized meetings are a MUST.

The results are displayed using color indicators to draw attention to areas that may require planning or discussion.


Interpreting Results

In addition to displaying results of the inventory, the Landscape provides a visual way of interpreting and managing learning innovation.

The example report above shows how insight and potential actions can be developed through interpreting and using the document.

Hovering over these items individually, we see interpretations are revealed transparently. Specifically, in the data organization above, from a mindset perspective, we see that the Efficiency section is very highly noted, and so, Efficiency is a major driver of change and innovation. In this way, organizational change which is communicated as making the organization more efficient will likely be the most acceptable way to see change occur. Similarly, from an organizational and individual values perspective, Information tends to be valued over other learning functions, so clearly presenting the information in a way which is accessible to all will be most effective for this group. In this case, perhaps a central repository of knowledge would be helpful in generating buy-in for change and innovation. Classroom and Online-Asynchronus values were highly associated with this group. Blended learning environments with discussions, year-long journals, and reflective metacognition or performance would likely be an area in which employees would find themselves open to direction.

Looking at Organizational Mindset

Mindset in the Learning Environment Innovation Inventory addresses philosophies of learning, drivers of innovation, and general attitudes towards risk.

The following four elements make up the innovation “DNA” for a learning environment, specifically the strength that cognitive, behavioral, affective, and social aspects of learning bring to the table with your organization, we can learn your organization’s:

  • Assumptions about Learning
  • Innovation Drivers
  • Risk Tolerance
  • Readiness


Looking at Organizational Values

The Values section measures what people naturally value about a learning environment.

This insight can be useful when determining the likelihood a new idea about learning will be accepted or rejected within a particular setting.

There are 2 areas in the Values section: One for looking at values in action and communication, another in learning styles.

Action and Communication

  • Information
  • Dialogue
  • Practice
  • Feedback
  • Evidence

Learning Styles

  • Classroom Learning
  • Online-Asynchronous Learning
  • Online-Synchronus Learning
  • Experimental Learning

The Learning and Implementation Cycle

The Cycle section of the Learning Environment Innovation Inventory measures capacity for growing and advancing learning innovations.

Every learning innovation follows a predictable, four-phased lifecycle. A successful innovation flows through the cycle as it evolves through the idea, experiment, development, and operation stages.

Successful innovations not only complete the cycle, but constantly move around it as they develop and grow.

In the example shown above, we find that experimentation is highly valued, with the control being in the hands of educators. Similarly, moving from a developed solution to operation will be an open and exciting proposition for your team. Unfortunately, moving from a working organizational model to new ideation may be a difficult move for your organization. You should anticipate challenges when implementing a continuous improvement model. It would seem that values are high for items which work and are comfortable. It would likely be highly recommended that this organization implement a greater use and understanding of professional development in an effort to quickly generate new innovative ideas which have worked and can identify pifalls to mitigate risk and find useful experimentation in the business or classroom settings.


What Can We Learn?

By showing us how to leverage their innovation landscape profile to maximize capacity for innovation, and bridge potential barriers identified in the LE2,  I think we gathered some good information on how to plan effective implementation strategies for new ideas.

The Learning Environment Innovation Inventory provides a unique window into understanding and managing innovation within learning environments. This tool offers the most benefit when applied strategically during innovative learning projects.

Generally, it can be used early in a project to help teams and organizations identify their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to advancing new ways of helping people learn. This might occur before implementing a new learning technology or before making major investments in developing a new program.

LEM is a revolutionary visual technique for reimagining and innovating learning environment design. It offers a unique approach that provides education & business organizations with a tool to innovate and energize learning in any environment—online, traditional, or blended, academic or corporate. LEM is engaging, enjoyable, and easy to learn from, but its a proprietary system, so it cannot be learned.

This system uses visualization methods to communicate key components in learning environment models, in the way architectural blueprints communicate building plans. It presents us with a solution to the everyday challenge of communicating effectively about learning design. But, is it an effective technique for envisioning, creating, innovating, or even implementing successful learning experiences?

LEM offers a solution like no other to these challenges. It disrupts the flow of inefficient miscommunication and opens the door to effective idea sharing by way of a simplified language—LEML, a visual, interactive, and engaging process for design.

This design approach serves as a catalyst for effective communication, decision making, and collaboration and fosters innovation. LEM is immensely effective for capturing the essence of instructional designs, bridging communication gaps, and eliminating innovation barriers. It allows designers to present thoughts on an idea canvas and welcome others to engage in the design experience by rearranging and adding to the model to capture ideas as they evolve, all the while inspiring creativity and innovation.

This inclusivity and diversity in collaboration invites valuable insights that might otherwise be missed and enriches the design innovation experience and outcomes. It also enables efficient recording of learning environments and logical, clear presentation of an environment’s context and story. Once a learning environment is modeled, its LEM can be stored and shared, adapted, customized, and enhanced over time. Intentional, strategic, coordinated implementation of LEM can assist educators in advancing the overarching design goal of creating engaging learning experiences and improving learner success. This can only advance growth and innovation in learning environment design.

During this workshop participants I learned how to view and somewhat interpret LEML, a visual toolkit used in LEM. It consisted of four primary features that can be assembled in different configurations to represent learning environments:

  1. Building Blocks: describe the what and how of elements in a learning environment–information, dialogue, feedback, practice, and evidence
  2. Contexts: identify the time, space, and formality of learning spaces—physical, online asynchronous or synchronous, and experiential
  3. Actions: depict three types of connective relationships and flow between building blocks and indicate learner, instructor, or system initiation of actions
  4. Notations: specify supplemental information as needed, such as learning objectives and prerequisites


LEM is iscalable. Its concepts can be easily understood and its use is again, proprietary. New users have a firm grasp of LEM within a few minutes and understand the impact and importance of the innovation just as quickly, because it is presented on a personal level with interpretation. The system’s flexibility allows for adding, removing, or rearranging building blocks with ease, bringing an interactive element to the system that engages and energizes all participants in the design collaboration.


This was a nice show-and-tell, and had some open areas for learning, but it seems an expensive process for some institutions. It was a bit infomercial, a bit informative, but I felt it was a nice product. I don’t think it would work at our institution, but if everyone could participate and then find the results broken down by school-wide, divisional, departmental, staff area, and administration, it could be good. We’re looking at 800 faculty and many more staff, and 74,000 students, so it would probably be too expensive to work with.

Active workshop components gave us an opportunity to:

  • Complete a Learning Environment Innovation Inventory
  • Learn a fun, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use international award-winning visual design technique for clarifying and communicating a vision for and planning innovative learning environments
  • See examples of proven models for innovation
  • Apply LEM and LEML to develop an idea for innovation
  • Obtain feedback on their ideas and LEMs from workshop participants and facilitators
  • Exchange ideas with fellow workshop participants and facilitators

In addition, we obtained access to Learning Environment Modeling Language materials and instructional videos via the presenter websites.


Did it fall short? One of the goals here was to:

This workshop will empower participants to:

  • Determine personal, team, and organization capacities for learning innovation
  • Identify drivers of and barriers to innovation in learning environments
  • Use Learning Environment Modeling to map, plan, and develop innovation initiatives
  • Assess learning innovation operations and outcomes

This was not actually done. I think the problem here comes from the words “Empowered To”. If you are “Empowered To” do something, it does not mean that you can do so, just that you have the power to do it. For instance, I am “Empowered To” fly to Hawaii, I just cannot afford to do so. We were “Empowered To” purchase this system and use it, and I think that this is fair.

All in all, I felt this was a nice presentation and a good use of time.

Opening Keynote: Bring In The Cavalry: Design in Open Source

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At 9:45am on 10/28/2017, I attended the 1-day Opening Keynote session: Bring In The Cavalry: Design in Open Source, presented by Una Kravets of the Bustle Digital Group, at the All Things Open Coference at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC

Opening Keynote: Bring In The Cavalry: Design in Open Source

How  important is design in open source

How  important is design in open source? Its a good question since many people seem focused on the creation and updating of the service. The users in many cases are not involved with simple concerns such as “Does it work”, they often wonder if it works as well as it can, whether it is intuitive, or whether it can be done simply and effectivley.

So how do general populations feel?

  • 69% design is key
  • 27% a little could be nice
  • 4% meh. Just has to work.

How many people at this opening keynote of 2,000 people were paid to design the look and feel of end-user materials? Only 2 people in the room were paid to design the look and feel. There were no full time independent designers.

This is a 2-part problem.

  1. Many people have an outdated problem with what design and development is.
  2. People are unaware of how to meld and create a time when open source develpers can be designers.

Design is mathematical and measureable. Design systems drive growth, it is not a silver bullet solution.

Gain Inspiration (specifically the ideas of empathising with users, understand their uses and methods, observe their current uses as well as what they are looking for, consider things from their Point Of View), define the problem(s), ideate on workable solutions, prototype and create working versions (paper form, drawings, wireframes,models), and then test these, knowing it may require adjustments and changes in an Agile methodology.

Every employee in an example she showed had a 3 month training in the product lifecycle system— specifically how to inject design into every step of the process to improve the product or item.


What Does This Mean For Us?

In the opensource community, we work mainly on the last 2 steps—prototyping and testing. But, when you do not take or promote time for the first three steps, you limit the creative scope of what can be done and improved up.

Design systems are a clear and consistent way to make an item more performance-based, more streamlined, cheaper, easier to understand and connect with. reduce problems, errors, and miscommunications.


Design Defends the user

Designers see how we can be inclusive and give them the best uses possible. FIrst, ensuring accessibility. Begin with accessibility, documentation, ease of use. how easy is it to get started? How easy to build upon once started? How easy is the documentation to get started anyway?


Design Is What Drives Adoption

design drives adoption and increases use. The iPhone is a more popular interface for users. While it is more expensive, less effective, etc. However, the experience is almost always a more smooth and easier approach. Because more people feel that the iPhone is a more user-friendly experience, it is an industry standard even though the Android items are cheaper, have more usability available, and are available for user adjustments.

Sass is another easy way to process. It is the most popular because it conforms to people’s needs. You can write an existing css file with SASS mixed in so that you didn’t have to rewrite. Design is not visual, its how your product works. Its experience.

Design is delightlful

It helps us, Learn more about it at:

We Need Design

It is use, workflow, from every angle it is about the user. Its psychological, mathematical, silly and fun. We need more designers. If you’re one, we need you.

We need to bring in the cavalry.

while you may think its you, its not just you’ ideate, bring in the process. be open, welcoming, and understand their experience is different than yours. Designing opensource is a chicken egg problem. It the design not here because the developers run the show, or do the developers run the show because not enough design was brought to bear.

We can bring in more, teach each other and make a more diverse community available.

All The World’s A Stage: Applying Live Action Roleplaying Design Principals to Augmented Reality Games

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At 10:15am on 4/19/2017, I attended All The World’s A Stage: Applying Live Action Roleplaying Design Principals to Augmented Reality Games, presented by Heather Albano, at the 2017 East Coast Gaming conference in Raleigh, NC

Augmented Reality Business Card

All The World’s A Stage: Applying Live Action Roleplaying (Larp) Design Principals to Augmented Reality Games

She does most work as a freelance writer for choice of games in text-based choose your own adventrure game, only better. She had a great history with LARP in college and from then on its been a game design paradise.

Live Action Roleplaying

LARP is an enactment experience where players enact characters in an alternate setting. Rotating GMs help to keep the story rolling, and while each event is a story in itself, all games follow along in the same vein. Heather has run 5 interlinked LARP games, and then branched out to several other gaming sessions.

Within the 20 years she came to one conclusion: LARPS are the most frustrating medium ever. Rather than being constrained by the system and rules, LARPs are often stopped by conflicts, personality conflicts, venue closings, sickness, lack of bathrooms, etc.

So why would anyone tell stories this way? Larping gives people a more deeply experienced event than something which is merely imaginative or shown to the viewer.
They experience BLEED- the border between player and character become more transparent, and they seem to identify with both at the same time.

Game immersion types:

  • Tactical: feeling in the zone, sensory-motor
  • Strategic: Mental challenge
  • Narrative
    • Emotional- investment in the story
    • Spatial- being in the story

In gaming, you need to make the player overcome the illusion and actually believe it. Actually living the adventure makes it real. LARPs have been the quickest way to achieve this in the past, but with AR, things are different now.

Augmented reality

AR is anything technological or otherwise which adds a layer of anything over the reality of the world. GPS or GEOCACHING can all be parts of Augmented reality. While virtual reality creates a totally artificial environment, Augmented reality is the overlay of anything within reality. Many VR and AR groups used to be a single group, but they’ve split off into their own groups.

Mixed Reality seems to be a subset of Augmented Reality. It is discussed as an augmented experience in which items can be treated like real ones. So how can we combine these items together?

Combining in 5 steps

  1. Work with the environment
  2. Work with the tech
  3. Use kinesthetic gameplay
  4. Give NPC roles that play to their strengths
  5. Learn to let go

Work with the environment

Don’t use a forest to be an office. Find an actual office. if you have a spooky house, use an actual house.

When you have to work with the imagination, people suspend their disbelief all the time. Consider the AR Application: Coderunner. You take to the street with real GPS, go to actual locations. Uses Foursquare and other materials to adjust your materials to be like your location.

Work with the tech

Don’t work against the technology. In a LARP it is easy to simulate some things, and difficult to simulate others- like flight. Rules to simulate this are unnatural and hugely unfair. Similarly, AR has problems.

GPS might work in some spaces, but not others. YOu can guarantee a bank, but not a door. A specific thing (qr code or illustration) can be done. General objects (scan a vase, place a chest at a “tree”) will not work well. SOme items will not work well in bright light. While you’re waiting for tech to catch up, work with it. Consider ghost stories.

Use kinesthetic gameplay

Also called full-body gameplay. It is easier to understand in devices. To run from monster, run. To swing sword, swing the device. To simulate doing the thing, do the thing. Extract the gameplay. Rather than tokens for a missing clock, consider a jigsaw or plastic gear to as pieces to create the item. How do you know how to get to the place? Surprise: Go to the place. Kinesthetic really covers the brain as well as the body.

Give NPC roles that play to their strengths

Don’t give your friends roles they cannot do. while its easy to keep your friends close, it may not be prudent. Don’t cast leaders who don’t like to speak in public. Don’t cast wizard roles with someone who doesn’t know about the spells. Cast people who know what to do. Make it easy to keep people on track.

In AR, its easy at rules, not easy with improv. While getting better, its not close to human level. This seems like a variant of rule #2. Rather than trying to stop a player from conversing with a character, make them not WANT to discuss it. You’ll need to build in a way for this to stop or by giving penalties for missing. Just act normal.

learn to let go

VR is very philosophical. Augmented builds on things which are already there. Heather is a narrative designer. If you’re following the guidance, you’ll have a great time. If you don’t you’ll end up elsewhere and off-point. In VR, its all illusion. In AR, you are part of the story without being Captain Kirk. You’re not in control, so go ahead and embrace that.

Rather than railroad them and force them into your own plot, let them experience the fun they want. Ambiguity is part of the immersion. Let them connect the dots. The human brain is good at that.


Speaker was knowledgeable, but read off of her notes for most of the this. It was a bit difficult to hear, and most of the info was already on the screen. Would’ve liked to see more personality in there, but it was a good talk.

GRD & WEB Department Meeting

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At 12:30am on 4/13/2017, I attended the GRD/WEB, presented by Alison Consol, at the 2017 Spring Faculty Professional Development conference in Raleigh, NC.

GRD & WEB Department Meeting

Attended by Gregg Wallace, Michael Schore, George Tsai, Alison Consol, Carla Osborne, Julie Evans, Marsha Mills, and Tyler Dockery. ( will open in a new window )
THere may be some great material in here or older projects to zoom through. Some of these may be canvas packs, but there could also be BB materials.

MERLOT.ORG ( will open in a new window )
Slightly less about what we do, but it is a repository for multimedia.

Course >> Tools >> NCLOR object
These are some great resources, but they may be old.

Some of these sources can help us so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Google academy, hubspot, codeschool, are great places we can also grab materials from. If this introduces something we don’t have time to working with, or something which may inspire a different kind of learner. If you see anything out there which has some relevance, grab it and see what you can bring to the table.

If you find little snippets created that cannot be covered in the class, but the materials already exist, run those as small, one-shot deals

Brackets in the lab

Brackets will be put in the lab. Brackets runs for free. Sublime is roughly $50 per license. We cannot use a cost program when we could also have a free resource. Our hope is to have a cradle-to-grave system of consistent program usage in WEB technologies.

Class Upgrades

GRD142 seems to miss its pace and GRD241 finds many students falling flat.
GRD110 seems to have lots of issues with retention.
WEB140 seem to run into the perrenial problem with retention. Design students seem to split- both top and bottom tier students are graphic design students

Summer schedules

Summer faculty will need to have a single day of the week. Any issues needed by Alison can be fixed by Cindy if needed


Julie’s secret sauce may stop working. Datatel may be able to be updated in a few extra months. Datatel does not like edge

Adobe Certified Associate Visual Design Specialist CS6!

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Adobe Certified Associate Web Design Specialist CS6 Achieved!


Changing the world is possible, but it requires the right preparation and skills. Being ACA certified means that you are on your way to doing great things, and one great thing you can do right away is to take your ACA certifications to the next level with an ACA Specialist certificate.

An ACA Specialist certificate is ideal for validating your Adobe cross-platform expertise, and it speaks volumes to prospective employers, academic institutions and the world. It is a valuable addition to your design portfolio.


Dear Tyler Dockery,

Adobe and Certiport would like to congratulate you on becoming an Adobe Certified Associate Web Design Specialist CS6!

Staying current with all of your certifications, and sharing the news of your accomplishment with employers, colleagues and classmates identifies you as an individual with expertise in digital communications across in-demand product groups. In today’s competitive creative career market, cross-product knowledge is a highly valuable skill.

Adobe Certified Associate Web Design Specialist

The following ACA certifications are required:

  • Interactive Media using Adobe Flash Professional CS6
  • Web Authoring using Adobe Dreamweaver CS6
  • Visual Communication using Adobe Photoshop CS6


Follow these five steps to take advantage of your ACA certification today:

  1. Use Your Digital Transcript and ACA Logo: Log in at to access your digital transcript and your ACA logo. Share your transcript with potential employers and colleges. Add the ACA logo to your printed resume and portfolio. For information on how to use your test candidate account, click here.
  2. Join the Official ACA Community: Sponsored by Adobe, the ACA Community is an exclusive group, just for Adobe Certified Associates. To join the official ACACommunity visit Membership in this group provides many benefits, including:
    • Access to up-to-the-minute news on Adobe products, tools and services
    • Connection to thousands of other Adobe Certified Associates worldwide with whom you may network, share your work and get your questions answered
    • Tips, tricks and strategies for leveraging your certification to jump-start your creative career
    • Special offers and opportunities, just for Adobe Certified Associates
  3. Participate in the ACA World Championship: The ACA World Championship is a global competition that identifies and recognizes the next generation of design professionals using Adobe software. The winners receive cash, prizes, and global recognition. Find out how you can participate by
  4. Continue Your ACA Journey: Achieving additional ACA certifications will expand your skills, and add to your resume. ACA certifications include:
    • Visual Design using Adobe Photoshop®
    • Graphic Design and Illustration using Adobe Illustrator®
    • Print and Digital Publication using Adobe InDesign®
    • Web Authoring using Adobe Dreamweaver®
    • Interactive Media using Adobe Flash® Professional
    • Digital Video using Adobe Premiere® Pro
  5. Share Your Success at My ACA Story: We want to celebrate your success as an Adobe Certified Associate and share your story to inspire others. For sharing your story, you will be eligible to win a prize. Visit to share your story and be inspired by other Adobe Certified Associates.

For additional information about the ACA program, please visit

Again, congratulations on your achievement! We wish you success in all your professional and academic endeavors.

Best regards,
The Adobe Certified Associate team

Design is Not Art

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At 3:40pm On 11/16/16 I attended Design is Not Art presented by Austin Knight | Lead UX Designer, Hubspot at the 2016 Internet Summit located at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC.

Design Is Not Art

austin-knightThis talk was not about design or art; it was about designers. It was about the things that we create and the ways in which we create them. It included extended discussion about the processes that we use and how those processes define us. It’s these qualities that set artists and designers apart (and why they matter). What are the differences between design and art? What is the most important quality that a designer can possess? And how are the two so closely related?

In this talk, we examined the ways in which design and art are fundamentally different, and how through those differences, we can extract the qualities that comprise great designers and leaders. In a roundtable atmosphere, we discussed the contrasting purposes, data sources, and creative processes that design and art hold. He hoped that his insights might add a new perspective on what it means to be a designer, and how designers that possess one particular quality are prone to better feedback, accountability, innovation, collaboration, and outcomes. Unfortunately, this seemed to deal more with software development designers and game artists, and had little to bear on art and design in specific. Finally, we heard personal accounts from designers at companies like Google and Apple, sharing their approaches to design and the qualities that they value.

In Austin’s words: “You may or may not leave this talk convinced that design is not art, but no matter what, you will leave with a better understanding for what it means to be a designer.” Instead, I left with a bit more disappointment than normal. The Internet summit was originally about the internet, innovations, and new technology. As time has gone on, it has become more and more about marketing to an online community, selling to people, and ways in which the general sellers market can grab for just a bit more attention. I think this will likely be my last internet summit.

NDLW Closing Keynote: Planning Course Modules: Integrating Backwards Design

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At 12:00pm On 11/11/16 I attended the NDLW Closing Keynote: Planning Course Modules: Integrating Backwards Design presented by Dr. Ryan Rucker at the 2016 USCA NDLW Virtual Conference.

NDLW Closing Keynote: Planning Course Modules: Integrating Backwards Design




In the closing keynote to this successful online conference, Dr. Ryan Rucker returned with another fine presentation. In his discussion he outlined a path to planning your course modules using a reversed series of approaches in order to ensure that all materials and methods would meet the needs of your school as well as those of your team. The slides here were a little hard to follow, but the presentation itself was very good.


Devising a plan to build a quality driven course can be a daunting task. Should you as a teacher begin with learning objectives, lectures, readings, assignments, assessments, etc.? Its a difficult question, and everyone has their own preferred methods. Dr. Rucker went on to explain that one of the best resources to help aid in this process is the use of an instructional designer. Some issues arise when the instructional designer tries to re-integrate the curriculum without being an expert. This causes friction, and it is not normally expressed until the pressure cooker is ready to explode or already has.


Many instructional designers choose to implement a model called backwards design. This model was explained and iterated upon in the Keynote. For some teachers, I could see how this could help them to properly plan each course module/week in your online course. As our courses are already built and updated regularly, this material is somewhat old hat.

Marsha Mills and Tyler Dockery already covered this extensively when building out the new portfolio class. Beginning with the end goal in mind, we simply worked backwards. I thought this was a good resource for some teachers, but I think in terms of necessities, I guess we’re already ahead of the curve on this.

Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator CC (2015) ACA Certification Achieved!

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Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator CC (2015) ACA Certification Achieved!

Adobe and Certiport would again like to congratulate you on becoming an Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)! You are a part of an elite community of individuals with proven expertise in digital communications. Adobe certification is an industry standard of excellence, and it’s the absolute best way to communicate your proficiency in leading products from Adobe.

Adobe Illustrator software is the industry’s premier vector-drawing environment for creating scalable graphics. Digital media gurus bring their unique vision to life with shapes, color, effects, and typography by using a host of powerful functions to make fast work of their most complex designs.

Adobe conducted research to identify the foundational skills students need to effectively communicate using digital media tools. Based on feedback from educators, design professionals, businesses, and educational institutions around the world, the objectives cover entry-level skill expectations for graphic design and illustration.

Individuals who have earned an Adobe Certified Associate certification in Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator have demonstrated mastery of the following skills:

Domain 1.0 Setting Project Requirements

1.1 Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs for preparing graphics and illustrations.
1.2 Summarize how designers make decisions about the type of content to include in a project, including considerations such as copyright, project fit, permissions, and licensing.
1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of project management tasks and responsibilities.
1.4 Communicate with others (such as peers and clients) about design plans.

Domain 2.0 Understanding Digital Graphics and Illustrations

2.1 Understand key terminology related to digital graphics and illustrations.
2.2 Demonstrate knowledge of basic design principles and best practices employed in the digital graphics and illustration industry.
2.3 Demonstrate knowledge of typography and its use in digital graphics and illustrations.
2.4 Demonstrate knowledge of color and its use in digital graphics and illustration.
2.5 Demonstrate knowledge of image resolution, image size, and image file format for web, video, and print.

Domain 3.0 Understanding Adobe Illustrator

3.1 Identify elements of the Illustrator user interface and demonstrate knowledge of their functions.
3.2 Define the functions of commonly used tools, including selection tools, the Pen tool, and other drawing tools, shape tools, and transformation tools.
3.3 Navigate, organize, and customize the workspace.
3.4 Use non-printing design tools in the interface, such as rulers, guides, bleeds, and artboards.
3.5 Demonstrate knowledge of layers and masks.
3.6 Manage colors, swatches, and gradients.
3.7 Manage brushes, symbols, graphic styles, and patterns.
3.8 Demonstrate knowledge of how and why illustrators employ different views and modes throughout the course of a project, including vector/outline vs. display/appearance, isolation mode, and various Draw modes.
3.9 Demonstrate an understanding of vector drawing tools.

Domain 4.0 Creating Digital Graphics and Illustrations Using Adobe Illustrator

4.1 Create a new project.
4.2 Use vector drawing and shape tools.
4.3 Transform graphics and illustrations.
4.4 Create and manage layers.
4.5 Import assets into a project.
4.6 Add and manipulate type using Type tools.
4.7 Create digital graphics and illustrations using 3D and perspective tools in Illustrator.

Domain 5.0 Archive, Export, and Publish Graphics Using Adobe Illustrator

5.1 Prepare images for web, print, and video.
5.1 Export digital graphics and illustration to various file formats.

Past versions of the Adobe Certified Associate in Graphic Design & Illustration using Adobe Illustrator are now outdated. However, certifications on older versions of our software are still valid.

Completed UDEMY Certification Course for “How To Design Professional Infographics : Beginners Course”

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I have received numerous requests from UDEMY to come to their website and purchase some of their training. While this hadn’t always appealed to me (seemed like perhaps they might be trying a bit too hard), I decided I’d give it a try. While the training course I felt might be most worth my while was still selling for roughly $45, I was able to purchase this second piece of training a few weeks ago at the same time I purchased: Logo Design Fundamentals by Andrew Boehm of Growing Business Online.

Certified in How to Design Professional Infographics: Beginners Course from UDEMY
Certified in How to Design Professional Infographics: Beginners Course from UDEMY

This course was much more extensive than the first, with 89 lectures encompassing software, research, slides, and an additional 4.5 hours of video content. Materials came with downloadable materials which were required for the final assessment. The downloading of materials for the final assessment seemed to be met with displeasure, although moderators noted that might change to an elected component. I was pleased with the course and could see how beginners might really sink their teeth into this.

You can check out my fancy certificate here