Tag: open education

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Metrics of Time, Circa 2015 – 2021

Metrics of Time, Circa 2015 – 2021

A Reflection from 3D to JPEG..

Ryan Seslow / 2021

(This post was originally published on my personal website on 11/29/21 but I believes that it serves as an example that can benefit our Digital Storytelling community here across CUNY. Im a big fan of using art and art objects as “tools” for creative and reflective writing. Forgive me for the typos, Im still editing as I add to it!)

 

I have always been attracted to working with 3-dimensional objects and materials. Since Im a small child, “making objects” was a great way to express myself and exercise the imagination. As I reflect back (and keep that word “reflect” in mind), I always loved the idea of making hybrid objects. Mostly stacking and assembling things that seemed like they did not belong together. I was simply exploring form and the potentials of form. I loved it so much that I never stopped. I especially enjoyed exploring the subjective, the nature of materials and how they related to my understanding of “life”. We are pre-disposed and domesticated by the many many “objects and things” that we grow up with around us. All of which already have a specific name, title and function. We learn to call this “the objective reality”, where almost all things are representational. Until we intervene, if we do, it may be tricky to expand beyond it. For example, when you purchase and drink a bottle of water or a coffee from the local coffee shop, you quickly dispose of the empty “object” that you drank out of. You rarely stop to contemplate that the bottle or cup was simply a “form” first, and that the form has potential beyond its intended usage. Well, do you?

There is context here with the art-works below..

In the two pieces below I am using and applying the word “reflection” as a medium and a utility. This blog post itself, right now, here in November 2021 is a part of the art-work. “Reflection” in and of itself is a duration based task and action. It takes and requires “time” to reflect. The act of reflection is vast and rich in psychology. We can reflect upon something or someone via our thoughts for 1-2 seconds or we can reflect upon those same things for our entire lifetime.. The individual context is so specific to each person of course. We can also reflect by writing, which usually means “typing” now a days.. But alas, do we ever schedule an appointment with ourselves ahead of time to “reflect” on something, someone, a situation or a circumstance? Have you ever thought to do this yourself? When we reflect, is it possible to even retain and accurately relive the events, people or circumstances? Well, well now.. you may say no because we can only reflect on something that has “passed” and is no longer in the actual “now”. Or do we wish to believe our reflections as a story, experience, person or memory? Of course this too has context, especially for the dichotomies ranging from our great achievements to serious personal traumas, memorable birthday presents and or seemingly banal objects.. like a wall clock.. yes, a wall clock..

The two sculptures below are titled: “Metrics of Time” Version #1 & #2. Both artworks were created and completed in 2015. The medium is plaster (or known in some areas as “pottery plaster”) – which is a powder-like synthetic dust that turns from dust to a solid form when mixed with water as its catalyst and left to cure. I fell in love with making casts and molds somewhere around 1990 when I was a kid in High School. Mold making became even more interesting when I entered college (due to the super fun projects that we did) and it always stuck with me. The idea of being able to reproduce an existing object true to its original form (with out labels, logos and packaging) and with a variety of different casting materials was so attractive. Clean, smooth surfaced solid forms are beautiful! I frequently used plaster, cement, acrylic resin and water (that I would freeze into ice molds). Even more so, the ability to make a rare single edition mold positive or an army of multiple replicas was also so much artistic power (and I certainly made my share of multiples over the years!) At the time though, in those early years of mold making, I didn’t connect the super important role of photography to the works that were being generated. Especially works created with inexpensive and ephemeral materials like plaster. I was connecting the value of the art with the value of the materials. A big mistake! Plaster is cheap. Both in price and in its quality as a material as it will deteriorate, discolor, flake, diminish, chip and age poorly over time. But then again, this is also very very much like us humans. We are equally ephemeral. Time is also equally ephemeral. Especially in context to the awareness level of the living person that contemplates it. These pieces below share both the conscious passing of time and the ephemerality of all things physical in this biological life. All of this information above was nestled into an “object” that communicates “time”..

Above, “Metrics of Time” Version #1, 2015 – (JPEG File) – 1/1 Digital Photograph of a Now Destroyed Cast Plaster Assemblage

I destroyed both of these “physical” sculptures shortly after I created them in 2015. My intention was to complete the sculptures, photo document them and show them publicly as printed images nicely framed and mounted. Much like one would expect to see with traditional photography in an art gallery. But that never happened. Each time that I mocked up the idea, it just did not sit right with me aesthetically or emotionally. My bodies energy instantly changed when I placed the “images” of the sculptures up and onto the wall. (I had printed them myself with my printer in my studio at the time.) Busy with otherness, I decided to put the project on the back burner.. Fast forward to November 2021, where inventions like the blockchain, crypto-currencies and the minting, selling, trading and collecting of digital goods have become a huge fast growing market for artists and rare art works. Single edition digital art works have become extremely desirable in a format that we all know so well as both artists and regular Internet users, the JPEG. The JPEG, yet another communicator of time.

Back to the context. The sculptures were intentionally mounted and hung on the wall. They are inspired by and mimic a standard wall clock. It is an object that has always captured my attention. Im talking about the old fashioned one’s from the 1970’s that lingered around all public buildings and space for many years longer than they should have. As a child I thought they had magic powers that only adults could access and understand. I waited with great patience to also access that sorcery! Most of us are introduced to a wall “clock” via our homes and elementary school experiences. We always looked up at the clock to see when our classes would begin and end, day in and day out. As a kid, I could not wait for the school day to end, and now as a professor for 19 years, Im holding tightly to every minute of class hoping the time flows slowly. I look up at the clock and frown! At home we always looked up at the clock to see when it was time for dinner, time for a bath, time for bed and time for … fill in the blank.. Regardless of all of this, the numbers on those old clocks stayed static as they hugged the circular contour line of the shapes form. The circle, a perfect metaphor for the cyclical aspect of this life. Round and round we go. The clock’s two arms, one short and one long, move in unison with their tireless friend, the non-static seconds arm. Even when things finally began to be produced, embraced and displayed digitally in the “time” telling gadget industry, I stayed fixed on the old clock as a metaphoric object of transcendence, evolution and self-transformation.

Above, “Metrics of Time” Version #2, 2015 – (JPEG File) – 1/1 Digital Photograph of a Now Destroyed Cast Plaster Assemblage

Wait a second, what am I looking at here above? Both of the original cast pieces above were made and assembled from cast plaster fragments. To achieve the form of the old wall clocks that I describe, I used a plastic bucket that resembled the same diameter of the clocks. I filled it up about 1.5 inches and watched the plaster expand another 1/2 inch as it normally does. I let it cure and released the mold. Plaster rejects plastic once it is dry, making the release easy and seamless. Have you recognized what the grid like forms are that rest securely on top of the circular base form? They are keys from an old keyboard that I used between the years 2004 – 2010. Yes. I made a full 1-part mold of the old keyboard using a silicone  / polyurethane rubber mold making kit. I made the mold’s layers very thick so that it would be durable enough to hold any kind of volume that was poured into it as it cured. Much like my old experimenting days in undergraduate college, I made several casts of that old keyboard in plaster, cement, acrylic resin and frozen ice molds that melted away as they should.. In this case, when I poured the plaster into the mold I left each of the key areas shallow enough so that each key would easily be released individually. Once they were dry I arranged them into the two compositions that you see above. They were mounted down with epoxy to hold them in place. We can see two slightly different patterns in the alignment of the keys suggesting to the viewer an intentional meaning or functionality of the object as a whole. Perhaps suggesting that this object is an old relic from the future or the past of a parallel world.. either way, the keys are now functionless..

The context of the keyboard as a metric of time is also a metaphor. The act and action of “typing” has several functions and purposes. It falls into yet another dichotomy that ranges from one’s super personal intentional uses to the mundane and banal tasks we do day in and day out, but it still equates to a “thought to touch form of communication.” Our entire lifetime here on this planet is co-dependent on how we use, give and receive communication. All forms of communication take time.. many of us take it for granted. Two static objects were created to express and communicate an understanding of “time.” The objects were destroyed by its creator only to discover that they transform their energy into another form of “how” it can continue to communicate and transcend itself. The creation began from formless thought energy and into the generating of a 3-dimensional tangible form, only to be destroyed and re-introduced as a 2-dimensional form in the format of an image, the image has been placed online and agreed to be converted into hypertext and placed onto a web server..

The 2-dimensional images are now asking to be minted on the blockchain and re-introduced in the meta-verse as yet another form.

Stay tuned.

mmm.page Creative Awesomeness

mmm.page Creative Awesomeness

Ah, the speed and the beauty of the Internet! The Internet will always find out, and the Internet will compel you to share! Less than a week ago I was “woke” to mmm.page by my fellow colleague, collaborator, mentor and friend; MBS, aka Michael Branson Smith! MBS has an amazing acute radar for discovering all kinds of new creative digital tools! He always finds them first and so graciously alerts me right away! This past Wednesday he did this with mmm.page! He shilled me an example of what he created using his mobile device, I was impressed and activated! I jumped right in. I signed in. No password needed, just input your e-mail address and wait for the link to verify – that is all that is needed. Within 2 minutes I was in and creating…

I became reflective, immediately. A lot of digital artists and educators like myself may recall Net-Art creation sites like “newhive” and “to.be” back in the late 2010 – 2015-ish years. Those platforms were super cool for the time, purely web browser dependent, Net-Art making machines that pushed the context of the tool so far ahead. Both platforms created huge communities and produced a lot of new artists, art stars, web browser enthusiasts and educators. The creative potential of the web browser continues to excite me. The truth is, if you build it, they will come, mmm.page has brought this ability and energy back! I have been literally looking for something like this since both newhive and to.be vanished.. I know a lot of other artists, designers, educators and creatives also feel this way too. Bottom line, the site invites your energy, awesomeness and creative immediacy. Let me says that again, creative immediacy. Creative immediacy is the action that is taken once we become inspired and mmm.page is a bolt of lighting in terms of creative immediacy.

The site is for everyone! Of course I am speaking and sharing from my own personal interests, examples and awareness of how I want to use the tool, but, thats just one perspective. The tool can easily be used for digital art making, but more importantly to make beautiful websites of all kinds, and to expand the context of what a website is and can be. Plus, just how much creative control we have with in the web browser space itself. This is also a creative license to develop a digital identity! (And, we may create many!) This excites the hell out of me. The creator of mmm.page is called “xh”. xh -is a super cool person who is community oriented and has allowed for me to begin infiltrating the platform 🙂 I immediately reached out and made a connection. I love supporting new projects, participating and making new friends. Its always fun to connect with like-minded awesome peeps who want to make and share utilitarian tools that can help others. Cheers to xh!

 

This post is just part 1 of the many that I feel I can write about mmm.page! Im excited to bring the site’s capabilities back into the realm of teaching and creating a series of both individual projects and collaborations between students, faculty and campuses. And of course I hope that MBS will participate! (I know he will!) Im also excited to develop a new body of digital art works using the site and meeting new people in the community. 

The first thing I did with mmm.page.. I applied MBS’s tip, I made a piece and shared it immediately as a part of guest talk and workshop I gave with CUNY Graduate Center students. The students were asked to use the site and jumped right in! – You can see that post here! (the results from the workshop are still flowing in as we speak)

 

I then got busy creating, playing and generating the examples below:

 

Here is the first series of my experiments made with mmm.page 

(click each URL and take a tour – most pieces are made via the desktop version but the last two links were made via mobile)

 

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.main

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.multi_drama

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.forward_motion

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.art_history_remix

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.parttwo

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.revolutions

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.MobileFlow

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.Mobilized

 

Do you like what you see above? Great, I thought so! Now, below you will see how things can be expanded upon further. The images below are full page screen shots taken with “GoFullPage” which is a free google chrome web browser extension that allows one to, well, get a full page screen shot. You can save the screen shot as a .PNG or a .PDF file. I began doing this with my mmm.page creations and then opening them in Adobe Illustrator to live trace them into vector files (I know, fancy fancy). As you know, vectors are scalable, you can make them and use them as small or as big as you wish, and they print really well too. So, mmm.page became both a creation and teaching tool as well as a catalyst to push things further. And of course adobe illustrator allows for infinite recoloring potentials.. Perhaps these pieces below will become 1/1 edition NFTs? Hmmm, lets see.. In the meantime, scroll below. PS – I may re-use these as background image settings for my next mmm.page creation. (fist bump)

More to come!

 

Rebirth of the Course Syllabus, The Visual Aesthetic – Part 1

Rebirth of the Course Syllabus – The Visual Aesthetic – Part 1

August 2020

(**YES, my intention is to make this a workshop or a course that integrates into existing courses**)

 

Let us start with this: “What are the creative potentials of a course syllabus? What role do visual aesthetics play? Why, are they important and for what purpose?” “What role do your values and beliefs play as the creator and facilitator of the process?”

I ask you to contemplate this as well: “Everything is default until we intervene, investigate, interact and define who we are in relationship to that thing.”

 

The Audit:

The “default departmental syllabus template” rears its head yet again, you know the format well, and it needs your attention! You have been selected to exercise this operation! You have also been selected to express your creativity and desire to apply it, and apply it you must into your new course syllabi! YES, ALL of them, but lets start with one.

Before we jump into the visuals and creation process, let us flex a bit of necessary awareness:

Its time to apply this mantra into the audit (of your old syllabi) and into the new creation process (if you don’t already) the following terms will now govern your new syllabus – Accessibility, Inclusion, Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Understanding, Revision & Community

A few points to also remind and inspire:

1. There is no ego in teaching. Be an example of Accessibility, Inclusion, Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Understanding, Revision & Community. Make this your mantra. Your energy and enthusiasm is contagious! Meaning, your vibration carries information to each and every person in the “classroom”. The word “classroom” has a lot of new context today, and certainly expands far beyond the face to face instruction model. The emotional state of your vibration creates rapport between people. You can set the vibration for the semester in your first-class meeting through expression. Start by expressing your gratitude, excitement, appreciation and enthusiasm for teaching and meeting your new students. Again, this is contagious energy! Invite the students to do the same. It is in the communal moments of expression that a foundation will be solidified.

2. Take acute awareness that your course(s) holds all of the potential to be an incredibly unique learning experience in and of themselves. Regardless if it is the same course, redundancy is a choice, creativity is the answer and solution. I mean this far beyond any of the specific course content that will be covered throughout the semester. Acknowledge, we are all powerful human beings coming into the course from various places and stages in our journey of constantly becoming together on this planet. There is always a part of each and every one of us within each other. Whether it is an example of who you once were, relate to now, or a reflection of the future you to come. There you are, and there we are. Include and reference the human experience into your course.

3. Think about the fact that yourself, and the group of incoming students will be having a new experience in the same physical and virtual “spaces” for the next 13-15 weeks. It does not matter if it is synchronous, asynchronous or a mixture of another hybrid form as this experience, with the exact same people, in the exact same space(s) and time frame will never happen again. Discuss and discover your similarities and collective strengths as a class and how those individual characteristics form the modular fragments that make up the whole. Every class is a community. It will function as one with great energy if it is declared collectively. You can facilitate, lead and guide by being the example.

4. Create a community! Every course holds the potential to be a powerful platform for collaboration and community building. This means, setting up a series of dialogs early on for learning about each other. What are the needs, passions, concerns and ambitions of each student? How are they taking steps to realize those things? Remind yourself before, during and after each class; what roll do you play as a leader and facilitator of inspiration for your students? Acknowledge and let your students know how they inspire you, your work, your teaching practice and life! Reflect and share what it is was like to be a student yourself. What you have taken with you and applied, what has been helpful and always stayed within your heart.

5. Realize, our students are teaching us far more than we are teaching them (read that again if you need to!) If you have a classroom of 20 students, then a minimum of 20 new potentialities, solutions, variations and iterations will be generated, worked on, crafted, discussed, written, spoken, presented uniquely and shared back to you (and the class itself) for each and every assignment, project, paper or discussion. (I know, thats a long sentence!) That is a tremendous amount of information and energy. Remember, there is no EGO in teaching, so whether these outcomes please your expectations or not, you have been exposed to a new opportunity to help, learn, grow and see things from another’s perspective. Perhaps you have been DISMISSING a lot with a focus purely on the right answers, or if a student followed “your” directions properly.. The sum total of awareness from openly experiencing things from another’s point of view is the diminishment of competition-based thinking, and the humble transition into seeing infinite creativity. There is always another way. There is always another solution.

6. Finally, do you really think that you are going to inspire your new students this semester by spending the entire first-class meeting time reading the entire default, all text version of the syllabus? If you still do this, I forgive you and love you still, but I urge you to stop and please change this! Place an emphasis on our collective human-ness first and foremost. Your class(s) are communities awaiting the declaration of its potentiality. Introductions should be the first thing that happens. Learn each other’s names, share stories, connect and learn about each other. Re-read the first part of this post again too.

 

"communication" fingerspelled in American sign language
The word “communication” finger-spelled in American Sign Language

 

Removing More of the Default:

Your syllabi can be serious deal breaker simply based on the verbiage that you use in it. Which could still be taken from the default template. I mean it, you really need to audit the entirety of it. Even if you DO all of the things that I mentioned above. Its time to ask: “Who is my syllabus written for, is it written to be accessible and inclusive for all?”

As I mentioned, it’s time for an audit. Start by removing words, terms and phrases that should have been squashed many years ago.

Here is a list of growing words, phrases and terms that need to be removed from all course syllabi:

Mandatory

Excuses

No excuses

Lateness is not acceptable

Will not be accepted

Excluded

No access

Impaired / impairment

Disabled person(s)

Suffers from

Handicapped

Physically challenged

Must / You must

Confined / confined to

Victim / victim of

Defective / Defect

Lame / Lame excuses

 

I know, you read this list above and are looking for more context as to “why”, thats good, but ask yourself again, “Who is my syllabus written for, is it written to be accessible and inclusive for all?”

The most common phrase that I continue to receive from colleagues (and many other people)when we first meet or a few weeks into a new connection: “Wow, you don’t look Deaf!”..

Of course, I die inside at first but then quickly forgive the unconscious non-malicious intent of my assassin for their pre-programmed response to never meeting a Deaf person before. Self-Awareness takes practice, resolve, forgiveness and the ability to “see the bigger picture” even while a wrong doing is happening in real time.

I am Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Being “Deaf & HofH” has an enormous range in terms of its spectrum of “how” one experiences their live as a person that is Deaf. I can only speak for myself as I best try to explain what I can and can not do. We must consider this as an example when we think of others. We do not know what another person is experiencing until it is communicated. We can not make assumptions, especially about disabilities and what we may “think” it means. Multiple forms of representation and communication have always played a huge role in how I communicate and “figure things out” as a result of not hearing. I am in a perpetual state of trying to get access to communication and also becoming a better communicator myself. I’m hyper aware of how the person(s) on the other end is receiving my communication. We are all so unique (wonderfully) I feel that it is important to make individual connections with our students (and as a whole class of course too). We need to learn how each student learns so that we can help them both individually and how they apply what they learn into the larger whole of the course. Back to the words, phrases and terms above, words are triggers to emotional blue prints and internal maps. Seeing words and terms like “Mandatory” or “No Excuses” sends a pretty sharp message. Consider HOW it is being received beyond your PERSONAL expectations. If you would like further clarity on this, and or more examples, feel free to write me.

 

an image of loose keyboard keys embedded in ice..
Thinking in metaphors, I cant help it. (an image of loose keyboard keys embedded in ice.._

 

Going Beyond the Surveillance Based CMS Systems:

I am a huge advocate for Open Education. I believe in transparency and I am here to help others. I believe that tools like BlackBoard and Canvas are useful and helpful. They help us to get started seeing the possibilities of a content management system. This is a good thing, it is the contrast that we need because we must also leave the BlackBoard and Canvas nest. I know, some of my college’s make it…. ugh, that terrible word, “Mandatory”. If they do, well,I simply place the minimum there, which is a weekly reminder to come to our class website that is located here on this URL (insert hyper-link). I have always used the web and built websites for my classes as a tool to facilitate my course content. Using platforms like WordPress as we do here on the brilliant CUNY Commons or OpenLab allows for us to easily create and publish content, share and update the content, engage with the content and also archive the content. A WordPress platform supports written text, images, image galleries, video and video walls, and so many other features to discuss and comment and participate. WordPress also supports a myriad of accessibility plug-ins and tools to help. My goal is always to provide as many forms of accessibility and inclusion for my students. I use hybrid “how-to” techniques that are both analog and digital – the written and spoken word, digital images, graphics, GIFs, drawings, Memes, videos clips and video tutorials that I create as well as draw and curate from the Internet. I also create most of my own content because it is super FUN to do. This summer, I am in the process of making more hands-on video tutorials where I can record my screen and also share more analog techniques using an overhead tripod. We all need to grow as the creators and facilitators of our course content.

 

The Visuals, A First Taste:

By now Im hoping that you are thinking of the course syllabus as an ongoing process. A creative process that metaphorically is just like us. A vessel of non-static creative electric becoming! I’m starting to create some fully animated course syllabi. Im experimenting and we all can do this. Im pushing the boundaries of what I have been exposed to, taught to do, and of course “told I had to do”.. Im making my syllabi more modern and consumable in a way that is already familiar via current technologies on the web, mobile devices and beyond. Yes, there will always be a standard text / pdf version, it is 100% necessary for accessibility and inclusion. Plus, who says that we cant have several variations for different contexts? I love this idea and it fosters the creative process.

 

"The ct101 digital storytelling logo placed inside of an old tv set"
“The ct101 digital storytelling logo placed inside of an old tv set”

 

Its now time to get busy with your syllabi’s creation process! Im going to show you how. Its a myth that you have to have professional design tools to do this. It is also a lie if you have believed that you are not creative! Stop using this false belief  to hold you back. We all have creative abilities and potentials. Im your catalyst! Of course it would help if you have had some design training but it is NOT by any means a necessity. You can learn, we can learn, and learn we shall together. The graphic above, this is a “logo / promotional graphic” that I created for my CT101 – Digital Storytelling class. (Im building out this course on the Commons week by week this semester) The logo idea for the course all started with the type-face, then adding those fun icons (that have context to the course) above the typeface and then placing it together into this old TV to extend its placement, and to be fun.. The isolated logo is below.

 

ct101 digital storytelling logo
“The ct101 digital storytelling logo”

 

I have customized my course title by creating a compelling visual graphic to accommodate it. This is simply one example of what I could have done. I think that this is a great first exercise in taking the creative reigns of breaking free of the default course title. Now imagine a world where every course had its own visual identity to express and embody the course. It can even change up every semester so that it becomes all inclusive. This can easily be a project that DO with your students over the course of the semester.

 

the ct101 digital storytelling course animation! An old tv shares clips of the course elements.
A promotional ct101 digital storytelling course GIF animation

 

Oh yes I did. I took the static logo and I animated it into this welcome message! You will find plenty of that kind of stuff here on the Net-Art course website, but the process is contagious and so much fun.

Part 2 of this syllabus re-make series will indeed go further, with video tutorials, and many how-to’s, but for now, I would like set you off down the rabbit hole of this next piece of information. In the spring of 2019 I was so kindly invited to create a presentation and a workshop for graduate students in the DHI program at the Graduate Center. The presentation itself functions as a blog post (just like this one does, wink wink), and the blog post is an example of a creative potentiality for “what” is possible for the Rebirth of your Syllabus!

Please click on the graphic below and forward we go! (PS – I created that graphic for the presentation and it was made from OER materials)

a logo for the graphic design workshop
A logo I made for the graphic design workshop at the GC in 2019

 

Did you make all the way down here? Thank You! This blog post is “an example”. It is simply an iteration of inspiration to jump start the process and get you thinking. I know, there is a lot to review and re-read and re-cap so I am going to stop here for now. Part 2 of this series will dig into the visuals, image-making, crafting and curating creativity from a myriad of tutorials and how to’s on the way.

Forgive the typos – this is a 1st draft!

 

Accessibility, Inclusion, Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Understanding, Revision & Community

Feel free to reach out in the comments below or e-mail me here – rseslow@york.cuny.edu or rseslow@bmcc.cuny.edu

Be well!

 

Why Should I Make a Portfolio?

Why Should I Make a Portfolio?

Wait, what exactly is a portfolio? There seems to be a context…or is there?

Let’s define it, and perhaps there is metaphoric value and context in each one of these “traditional definition” examples below..

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

Definition of “portfolio”:

1a hinged cover or flexible case for carrying loose papers, pictures, or pamphlets

2: from the use of such a case to carry documents of statethe office and functions of a minister of state or member of a cabinet

3the securities held by an investorthe commercial paper held by a financial house (such as a bank)

4a set of pictures (such as drawings or photographs) usually bound in book form or loose in a folder

5a selection of a student’s work (such as papers and tests) compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress

Hold up, whoa! I can already feel your inner physiological triggers sending a bright red waving flag to your ego saying: “but making a portfolio is sooooo much work!”.

Guess what?

LET, AND ALLOW FOR THIS HAPPEN!

It is perfectly normal and alright to let your “old-portfolio-definition-self” bleed out. Exercise that energy. Let’s release it. Ill wait….Take a breath, and let’s remind ourselves that things need to be replaced and upgraded. Nothing is static. We learn, we grow, we expand and we can’t allow past experiences to drive the bus on new opportunities and new ways of seeing, experiencing and re-defining things. 

The word “portfolio” is not a bad word. If anything, like anything else, it’s a default term that officially requires your interaction, research, resonance and re-defining within context to who you are and who you are becoming in the process! With that said, let’s think about what the next step is in creating your new portfolio.

Let us understand the “why” part. Why do I need a portfolio? What is the purpose?

Here is a short list (feel free to add more to your updated definition)

  1. To showcase a body of your work. This is obvious, but curating and organizing things with intention becomes very specific. It activates a higher level of awareness and attention to the process / project. You will learn how to get selective, and this takes practice.

2. To show off your strengths, creativity, skills, effectiveness, efficiency, enthusiasm and passion! Of course, this energy translates directly through the work included in the portfolio. This will be what you believe is your best work at the time, but there is context. Keep reading.. (PS – it’s OK to have more than one portfolio to help showcase various bodies of works and projects.) For example, I’m an applied artist, a digital artist, animation-maker, graphic-designer and a professor of art and design. Some of the works in my portfolio can overlap in theory but I keep a lot of the works separate to subject, but enjoy showcasing them together on my website. That’s right, my website is my portfolio. In fact, I have created a few, the links are below to help.

3. Display your process and evolution. Duration is your friend! Nothing shows off progress better than time. A metric of growth shows itself through time. When I look back at the design work I was doing 10 years ago in comparison to today I see an incredible difference in skill, technique, taste and where my thinking and focus was at the time. I also find a lot of ideas that can be pushed and expanded upon with more with my “awareness-of-growth eyes.” I write a lot about my work and share my process. I believe that this helps me reflect and explain myself better.

4. Stand out and show your style and authenticity – There is only one “you” that you can be. Yes, we certainly learn and are greatly inspired and influenced by others, but at the end of the day we must learn how to be our authentic selves. We must learn how to translate that through our mediums of choice. How will you do this? The short answer is through consistent experimentation and practice. Over time you will create your inner curator, and that part of yourself will begin putting pieces together in groups and compartments. The process will build and flow. This aspect is a journey and it too is anything from static. I take great interest in making changes, learning new things and applying them to the foundations that I continue to build.

 

OK, all easier said than done… or is it you ask?

I hope that this post will inspire you to begin! Be patient with yourself. The goal is not to create a portfolio in one hour, and there is no such thing as “perfection”. or the perfect portfolio. Let’s produce a result and discuss that result. Be generous with yourself in the process. 

I admit it. I love to experiment, test, tweak, deconstruct, remix and repeat processes. I treat the creation process of such a task, creating a new portfolio, the same way that I approach making art. Suspend your judgement! Allow yourself to “make something that may really suck” as a first iteration. This is crucial to developing a contrast of your own. Again, you need to produce a result in order to make an assessment about the result. Until you do this, your contrast is someone else’s stuff / thing that has inspired or affected you.

I would like for you to consider both of these portfolio building and displaying options below. Im a huge fan of both the Academic Commons and the OpenLab platforms. (If you are reading this and are not a part of CUNY somehow, then you can easily follow along individually as both the commons and the OpenLab are powered by WordPress.) Using your own self-hosted WordPress based website and account via ReclaimHosting.com – I have created a sample and template / example using both the Academic Commons, OpenLab and my own self-hosted projects that go into the process. I consider all of these links below to be portfolios. Perhaps you have a preference over one or the other? I hope that these links below will help you get started.

 

Lets check out a few examples:

  1. A portfolio website “How-to” example using the CUNY Academic Commons: https://profryanseslow.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

2. A portfolio website “How-to” example using the OpenLab: https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu/portfolio-ryan-seslow/

3. My personal website- this is my own domain and my own self-hosted website (WordPress) – https://ryanseslow.com

4. This is also my own domain and a self-hosted website to showcase a body of work (WordPress) – https://Situationalfiction.com

5. Of course, the NET-ART website here on the commons also functions as a portfolio and online platform for various galleries, blog posts, online exhibitions and selected works. Take a tour.

6. Looking for more examples? Contact me, lets chat!

 

Feel free to leave your questions and feedback in the comments section below! Lets add to this post together!

Or contact me at – rseslow@bmcc.cuny.edu

 

Teaching Website Examples Via WordPress & the Commons

This blog post is a contribution that I made for the CUNY BMCC Open Pedagogy website here on the Academic Commons. I am lucky to be a part of the BMCC teaching and learning team this summer!

This blog post will serve as a series of examples to help inspire, format and display the myriads of potentials that wordpress based websites offer for teaching, learning, presenting, publishing, archiving & sharing. I am drawing from my own courses and examples here, please feel free to leave comments below or in the forum. My examples range from my courses on the academic commons, the Openlab, and a self-hosted private website. All of which use the wordpress interface.

The question I continue to ask myself through these experiences is; “what are the ongoing potentials of this website/ blog  /blog post(s) as an experience?”  How can I offer more value?  I start with a draft and build/generate content over time as I go. For me, this is a really fun process, I enjoy creating and curating my courses and course content! By all means, be experimental, ask questions, and most of all have fun with the process. 

Lets jump in! Perhaps you will click on each example and take a brief tour of each site listed below as you read through here. you can always open each link in a new tab and compare and contrast them as well.

1. https://ct101.usCT101 – Digital Storytelling. (This is the example that I share at the workshop)  This website is a good example of how the course functions as both a repository of content, course calendar and assignment bank with students contributing as authors to the website. The course calendar page is populated with many creative projects that you can follow along with on your own. CT101 is a hybrid course, it is meant to be accessible for distant learners.

 

2. https://bmccmma100.commons.gc.cuny.eduThis is a foundation graphic design course that places an emphasis on learning the elements and principles of design in relationship to industry standard software applications (Adobe CC). The website serves as the course guide and calendar. Weekly blog posts are published to share assignments, assignment descriptions, research, resources, examples, videos and student contributions via the comment section.

 

3. https://netart.commons.gc.cuny.edu Net Art is a CUNY-Wide open source course, collaborative exhibition space, research project and experimental “such-ness” created specifically for the Commons. The course is a template and repository for animated GIFs, digital art and video art projects. Contributions come from other CUNY professors, students,  courses and beyond! You are welcome to participate and or use any of the projects for yourself and your courses! Submit!

 

4. Creating presentation content in the blog post format – https://bit.ly/2IZN76O This example will most likely be published as its own blog post here later but I also wanted to include it as a part of this post for contrast. Sometimes an individual blog post can inspire the building of an entire website. This is what this post has inspired for myself. In March of 2019 I was in invited to conduct a workshop at the Graduate Center for the Digital Humanities Initiatives program. The workshop was an introduction to graphic design in relationship to applying it to content created for websites, especially those teaching on the commons and with wordpress. (There are tons of resources here! Enjoy!)

5. Piloting on the OpenLab – https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu/mma100-seslow-spring-2019/For the spring of 2019 I was invited to pilot my BMCC MMA100 Graphic Design class on the OpenLab – there are many similarities between the Commons and the OpenLab. I am placing this link and example here for visual contrast. Many of you may find yourselves also working with both platforms as you move forward developing courses at BMCC and in CUNY.

Thoughts and feedback? Feel free to leave a comment and or visit us in the learning lounge during our summer hours!

PS- if you would like to see another creative example of a wordpress blog / portfolio website that mixes together a series of different things, check out my blog here –  https://ryanseslow.com 🙂

PSS – Do you see typos? Help me out 🙂