A Happy New Year to You and Yours!
Welcome to the Spring Semester, 2022!
Allow me to introduce my first post of the new year: “Creative Fun for the NEW Commons Website!”
That’s right, the commons has launched its long awaited update! Its awesome!
Have you checked it out yet? This post is a good place to start if you haven’t. Its very informative and helpful. Not to mention down right inspiring, (you will recognize some of the GIFs and Illustrations, wink wink wink..) I’m always excited to talk about the commons! Im lucky to be a sub-committee member, thats right, I signed up, got hooked, and now they cant get rid of me, and my GIFS!
Lets have some fun talking about the new site and the commons itself, shall we?
But wait, can this blog post be used as pedagogy? Can it be a class assignment example in disguise? Does a blog post have the ability to tell a story? A compelling one… hmmm, lets see..
I’m here to serve, share, learn, revise, connect, contribute, participate and evolve in this wonderful open-source space. I have been teaching a series of my CUNY classes between BMCC and York College via the commons for many years now, I have also created the open-source course from which you are reading this blog post. The fact is, the commons is a brilliant space that is awaiting your energy. It’s a free invitation to break free of anything default (like those prehistoric departmental templates!) Its time to tap into your “highest-creative-pedagogical-self”, (that’s right, that’s a thing now) and let that light been seen here.
There are so many ways to approach this!
Building a course website, portfolio or creating a group on the commons offers many options, and there is so much context to explore.. What do you want to create or experiment with? What would you like share, archive, organize, facilitate or help with? That’s just a starting a point of course. When I first started generating content here I created this site “The NET-Art Site” for fun as an example of the “ideal course” that I would “one day” love to teach… I’m very serious. It is not an actual 3 credit course at BMCC or York college, but it has become something so much more as both of those courses benefit from and contribute to the content. It’s an OPEN resource full of use-value in context to all of my teaching. Its worth way more than 3 credits, I mean, its like 100,000 teaching-karma-credits that gets legacy attached to it! (as sinister music drones into the background…. Im kidding, but then again..) What I’m trying to share is, I simply jumped in. I started making and sharing, creating opportunities and reaching out to others. Things took off and quickly began to shape just by starting and not worrying about how it would be received. The commons community supported it 1000%! Since then, we have collaborated with the NYPL and several other campuses on various projects, including workshops at the GC on graphic design & “play in the classroom” )and a cross-college collab with Gallaudet University.
As the new site was being built, especially in the final stages, I asked if I could help and contribute by making some visual promotional items. I kind of solidified my presence with the subcommittee as an artist and a rouge “GIF maker”.. well, ok, maybe I’m not that rouge but I love to make GIFS! Either way, it all started on a website here on the commons. I was riding the coat tails of my buddy and mentor MBS, who is the one who introduced me to the commons in the first place! I was hooked right away! This was back in 1977! (which was really 2010-ish but in 2022 year consciousness it feels that long ago!) Anyway, sheesh, I offered to help bring some of the new branding imagery and items to life. A perfect opportunity to contribute and also use the content for pedagogy. Thats right, this blog post becomes yet another example of the potential of how the commons can be used. As well as the potential to share how things can always expand as we place our energy into it. I teach Digital Storytelling at York College. (I love the course so much!) A large portion of the course work is creating a digital identity, learning how to blog and challenge the creative potentials of what a blog post can be. Can it be a vehicle for change, self-expression, self-transformation, activism, empathy, teaching, learning, compassion and creativity all at once? CT-101 students will surely find out as soon as they read this!
Well? Are you not enjoying this? Make a list of words that come to mind, take action and leave them in the comments section below, I’d be happy to help you get started if you need or want that kind of a push.
Lets give the whole commons team a big big round of applause! I have to say, they really nailed it! The new website is beautiful. Do you remember the old site? I mean, I do miss it a lil, its nostalgia, and all of the late 1990’s feels of those underground style blogs (kidding, kidding, kinda!) I really love the rebranding here. The new site has solved a lot of UX/UI and accessibility issues very effectively. The lighter color palette and integration of clean icons, page formatting, sections, and those light gestural lines makes one’s arrival to the site welcoming and inviting. It helps the visitor navigate effortlessly to where they want go, which may be intentional right away, but it also provokes exploration. I’m excited for my new students to get started this semester! What do you like most about the new site?
I hope that you are enjoying the GIFs and Illustrations as you read through this post. The post is getting a bit wordy and Im known to go off on tangents… stop me! My ambition was to induce some retro-feelings and imagery as metaphors to show the lineage of our Internet experiences. I started teaching college in 2002! I’m at my twenty year mark and this is my 40th semester teaching. (What!?) I actually had that flip phone used above in the illustration, as well as showing course content with slide projectors and VHS tapes! I had to represent VHS! As much as I love all things modern tech, I miss those analog days, and the clunky hardware that came along with it. I know that our friends at Reclaim Hosting agree! The beauty of technology is its ability to unite and connect us through access and inclusiveness. The new site works great on mobile devices now too! The commons has helped me find and meet so many other like minded people doing such cool things. The pandemic slowed the “IRL” experiences but the digital connections strengthened, our overall reach extended and our friendships prevailed. So, in essence the art works are about connection, togetherness and our collective awareness..
Thanks for reading along and checking it out!
Feel free to get in touch and say hello! Im easy to find here on the commons as well as on the web!
Twitter is good too!
If you are looking for some creative inspiration, dig into this site and see what you “stumble upon”.