Monthly Archives: March 2014

Two Project Proposals, by Ian

Project 1: The Linguist’s Kitchen


Introductory linguistics courses are typically taught by using cooked data sets that present specific linguistic phenomena to investigate or illustrate a specific theory or hypothesis. In addition to selecting language data sets based on their illustrative value, instructors should consider utilizing data collected from populations that students interact with, including their own social groups. By analyzing these kinds of data, found close to home, students will not only be learning linguistic principles and how to apply theory to data but also scrutinizing their language-based perceptions of the language and its speakers. By performing linguistics analyses on samples of languages about which they may have certain feelings or opinions, students will be encouraged to view the language as an object and, through learning by analysis, will discover for themselves the systematic nature of the language and may perhaps come to understand that all natural human languages are products of complex cognitive processes and should not be used to stereotype individuals. Teaching linguistics in this way may engage students by studying material relevant to their lives outside of the classroom, phenomena that they experience first-hand. By having students analyze language collected from their home environments, rather than cooked data sets from a language they’ve never heard, we may grant a degree of power to students as authorities on the subject and creators of knowledge. This method may also benefit linguistic thought by developing analyses of potentially unique linguistic phenomena such as novel combinations of code switching, second-language (L2) phonology, heritage languages, and unique sociolinguistic practices that students may produce or discover, record, and analyze.

Some existing technologies could be used in combination to assist students in analyzing language they use or encounter in their homes and communities. If existing speech analysis and transcription tools are brought together in a very user-friendly way, it may assist students in objectifying and analyzing languages they interact with, which may make studying linguistics a more meaningful experience.


Don Powers – Don is taking an intro to linguistics course to fulfill one last liberal arts requirement. In four months he’ll be completing his degree in accounting. He is not incredibly interested in language and just wants to know what he needs to get an A. Don knows his way around an app and is quick at understanding how one works by experimenting with it.

Sarah Babel – Sarah is a sophomore who has recently declared a major in linguistics and is taking this course as a core requirement in her discipline. She is quite interested in the topics presented in the course and actively engages in class discussions with enthusiasm. For years, Sarah has been using her computer for email and checking out friends’ vacation pics on Facebook, but that’s about all she uses it for.

Ben Frazzled – Ben is a first-time adjunct lecturer fulfilling the two-section-per-semester teaching requirement attached to his funding package. Ben also needs to submit his first qualifying exam by the end of the semester in order to stay on pace for completing his doctorate in five years. Ben loves linguistics and has a passion for teaching but at this point in his life, completing his qualifying exam is his first priority. Ben makes use of various apps to network and do research and is adept at learning how to use new applications.

Gladys Solvent – Gladys is a tenured professor in the linguistics department. She has been researching and teaching for 30 years and has it down pat. Her syllabi, lessons, examples, and assignments have been carefully crafted over three decades into the perfect teaching packages. At this point in her career, Gladys needs to make few adjustments to her teaching practices each semester and teaches from the book, literally. Gladys does not make use of digital technology in her teaching but a recent growth in student disinterest is prompting her to find a new way to engage her students on the subject matter.

Use case scenario

Users of this app will most likely have discovered it through word of mouth, so will probably have some idea of what it’s used for and what it does. The value of this app is that it may assist the user in objectifying her/his language (or any language), which is necessary in conducting linguistic analyses. Instructors will likely use this app in an instructional context, perhaps utilizing its functions to demonstrate how language can be objectified and dissected, then having their students use it to analyze language samples from their home and community. A student will hopefully use this app for exploratory purposes, uploading language from her/his home or community and making use of the functionality to gain an objective perspective of the language.

Full-fledged version

The fully functioning version of this idea is quite complex and will have analysis tools, guides, and reference links for phonetic/phonological, syntactic, and morphological analyses as well as data storage and sharing capabilities. There are several existing analysis programs that can hopefully be incorporated into the Kitchen: Praat ( is a suite of freely downloadable phonetic analysis tools and Audacity ( is a freely downloadable audio recording and editing program. Analysis guides can be made by hand and references can be linked to. I don’t know if there is anything existing for syntactic and morphological analysis, but I have an idea of how a useful interface should look and function. All of this functioning will be (hopefully) housed on a WordPress site, at least to begin with.

As far as tools, I think I will have to “beg” the creators of existing analysis programs (e.g. Praat, Audacity, etc.) to incorporate them somehow into the Kitchen. I will need to use various WordPress plugins, HTML, and CSS to incorporate the tools I’d like the suite to have (whether they’re created from scratch, borrowed, or begged). At this point, I am not very confident that all of the moving parts proposed above will work together.

Time and skills required

To complete the full-fledged version, I will need to develop a reasonably good understanding of WordPress, HTML, and CSS. I will also need a fair amount of time to tinker with the app design and functionality. Realistically, this will probably take a year.

Stripped down version & time and skills

The stripped down version will include just the tools to conduct a syntactic and morphological analyses. As these will be built by hand, I can cut out the begging, borrowing, and compatibility issues in the full-fledged version, but this will still require a good amount of tinkering time. Including my learning of WordPress, HTML, and CSS, I could probably produce the syntactic and morphological analysis tools with guides and reference links (but probably not storage or sharing capabilities, sadly) with a summer and a semester.


Project 2: WordPress Research Management Theme


Managing a research project, especially one with a massive scope, multiple PIs, and several looming deadlines is not an easy task. RAs and PIs involved in a project are also balancing their individual obligations, which makes communicating ideas, coordinating efforts, and moving a project forward challenging. Communication is vital to moving the project and organization is the key to getting anything accomplished (and maintaining sanity). The complexity of conducting research (especially with human subjects) adds an additional layer of difficulty to the process: grant applications, IRB applications, the creation and testing of data elicitation instruments, recruiting participants, technical training, collecting, storing, analyzing data and record keeping must all be organized. Keeping everyone informed and coordinating efforts to complete tasks is not all that efficient even with email, cloud storage, and planning apps like Doodle. The problem is that vital pieces of information end up in a dozen different places and the manager ends up being the one source of knowledge for all project-related information. When new RAs join the project, there is a serious learning curve to figuring out where everything is. What would alleviate some of this pressure on the project manager and give all collaborators access to the information they need to function efficiently is a virtual space in which all aspects of the project can be organized and recorded. This goal of this project is to develop a WordPress theme for research management, which contains all of the tools needed for researchers to work efficiently as a team, and hopefully be useful enough to add to the WordPress theme repository.


Will Depleted – Will is a third-year grad student that got involved in a developing research project last year and has, by default, become the project manager. The grant application is due in three months, and the pilot testing phase has been delayed by a glitch in the stimulus presentation program. This project itself is a three-phase experimental procedure involving data collection via ERP. In addition to coordinating the development of grant application materials and IRB application with the four project PIs, Will is working in conjunction with the other three RAs to fix the stimulus presentation software, organize training for ERP procedures, recruit participants and plan for data analysis. Will knows his way around an app or two.

Harvey Warzmahtyprater – Harvey has enjoyed a long and prosperous career in linguistics research. He has managed a dozen large-scale research projects and knows how to get a job done. Harvey is open to using technology–he is an avid email user and likes the Internet–but prefers to have a hard copy and meetings in person. Harvey has developed a file organization and naming system as well as a document annotation method that suite his needs quite well, and he is reluctant to stray from his tried-and-true ways.

Alyssa Newbeigh – Alyssa is a first-year grad student that has recently joined the lab and is interested in getting involved with a research project. She has never participated in research and isn’t quite sure what it entails. Before joining a project, she’d like to know more about the research goals, methods, and the phenomena under investigation. Alyssa has a Gmail account and makes extensive use of Google Calendar, Drive, Dropbox, and has an active presence on various social media platforms.

Use case scenario

This theme will provide the basic structure and functionality needed to effectively manage research though users will need to customize it somewhat for their specific projects. The idea is that once created, a research project website using this theme will serve as the center of information and communication for all activities related to the project. A project manager user may act as the project website manager, customizing the site, updating and repairing as needed. RAs and PIs may use the site to find and interact with all project documents and each other. Experiment participants may use the site to communicate with researchers and, after the experiment, find out more information about the project.

Full-fledged version

The tools that will be used to develop this theme are WordPress, HTML, CSS, and various WordPress plugins (e.g., an interactive calendar, chat function, timeline, discussion board, password protection). The aim of this project is not to create anything new but, rather, just compile existing functionalities in a very user-friendly layout. The focus of this project is on creating a highly-effective design rather than complex functionality. I don’t see too many moving parts at this point, so I am fairly confident that the pieces will work together without too much special adaptation. I would like it to have document syncing capabilities, storage of previous document versions, and automatic backup to a hard drive somewhere, which may complicate development.

Time and skills required

I am not creating anything new. I am mostly just joining together a bunch of already-existing programs to create an easily-navigable interface. The vision I have for what it will look like is still not that clear, so this project will take a significant amount of tinkering and experimentation. For this reason, I see the full-fledged version taking at least the summer and probably part of the next semester.

Stripped down version

The stripped down version will include just one or a few pages that organize different aspects of the project and contain links to documents. There will be few or no moving parts in this version, though I will need to figure out where to find storage (free storage would be great, but buying may be required here).

Time and skills required

As the focus of this project is the interface and its usability, the minimally viable product will still require tinkering to get the arrangement right. This can be completed over a semester.

Jared’s Project Proposal 1: Experiencing Greenwich Village

Project 1: Experiencing Greenwich Village


In the traditional classroom cultural studies are limited to text based approaches, which can be supplemented with occasional audio and visual recordings. A New York based education has the benefit of allowing students access to many of the places where the cultural products they read about were produced. “Experiencing Greenwich Village” is an augmented reality app that expands the cultural classroom into the City itself. The app provides the user with a real-time, spatially embodied experience of Greenwich Village; while simultaneously, providing a unique glimpse into the cultural past.


Faculty Felicia– Felicia is an English literature professor at a CUNY community college. She is looking to enhance her teaching of early 20th century American literature. She has tried to incorporate audio and video into her powerpoint lectures but still finds that students do not connect the literature to the larger cultural zeitgeist.

Dyslexic Dolly- Dolly is very interested in the subject Felicia is teaching and wants to learn; however, she struggles with reading and has a hard time getting through some of the material.

Disinterested Darren- Darren doesn’t see the point in studying literature or culture. He sees these academic pursuits as dusty books that have no relevance to his lived experience.

Tina Tourista-   Tina is a middle aged woman from the Midwest. She is a tourist who travels the world looking for unique experiences that allow her to feel as if she has walked into a different time period (Very much like Owen Wilson in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris).


Felicia heard about the app though discussion on the CUNY Academic Commons and thought it would be a perfect solution for her class on Early 20th century American literature. She assigned her students to use the app to explore Greenwich Village and its cultural history and write a paper about their experience. Dolly found the experience of approaching the text from this direction to be liberating because it allowed her to experience the texts through her body and bypass her reading difficulties. By walking through Greenwich Village and seeing connections ad differences between current Village culture and historical culture, Darren is able to see culture and literature as a lived experience rather than just words in a dusty book.

Tina Tourista found the app in the app store of her phone and downloaded it for her recent trip to NYC. While not in a structured course, Tina is excited to learn about the history of the city while walking and seeing the current sites.

Full Version and Time Expectations

The full version of “Experiencing Greenwich Village” would include multiple periods of Greenwich Village cultural history which would be experienced through a geo-located soundscape (including musical compositions, significant documents, letters, diaries, poems, etc.) combined with an augmented reality app that would provide historical images and textual information about the locations and aural selections.  Ideally, these periods would be experienced diachronically where moving through space would also be moving through time (as in Allen’s Midnight in Paris). The app would also provide a filter option in which a single period could be experienced.

I expect this project would take approximately three years for completion. It would take a little bit of time for me to learn the specific programming for the mobile app. However, I tend to pick up programming languages fairly quickly. I suspect the bulk of the time would be spent creating the aural collection and making the requisite recordings that would be necessary. Another major time consideration would be negotiating with museums and archives for access to collections and funding partnerships.

Reduced Version and Time Expectations

A reduced version of the app would simplify to only a single period of Village culture such as the 1930s or Beatnik period. The reduced app would also only focus on the sonic mapping aspect.

I expect this version would reduce the amount of time to a year to 18 months. I would still need to learn the programming for the sonic mapping and would negotiate access to collections; however, time is saved by removing the image and text aspects of the augmented reality and reducing the amount of material that must be collected.

Alek’s Project Ideas

PROPOSAL #1: Common Core Activities iBook for K-5 Teachers


When working with in-service and pre-service elementary teachers, I have noticed that most of them are struggling with both learning and teaching Mathematics. I start each semester by giving teacher candidates a Math Content Knowledge test and asking them to write a Math autobiography paper describing their story (experience, struggle, success, etc.) with Math during their school years, college years and working experiences. While grading tests and reading the autobiographies I have learned that most of my elementary teachers are struggling with math, they are not excited about learning or teaching it, they are scared of introducing new math concepts to their students. When the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) replaced the old standards (and old way of teaching them) two years ago, most elementary teachers felt unprepared and scared to present this subject in a new way. New approaches to arithmetic make math concepts even more confusing for new teachers. The idea behind CCSS is to teach understanding of the concept not only for being able to perform the procedural skills.

I would like to create an interactive iBook that would provide new and old teachers with ideas and activities that they could use to introduce and to teach the CCSS topics to their students. This iBook would also help integrate technology in elementary classroom practice.


Amie: Amie is currently studying to become an elementary teacher. She does not have the best experience with mathematics. She feels that not knowing the subject well is what’s keeping her from becoming a teacher. She believes that she has enough knowledge to teach elementary level Math, but is anxious about the new Common Core State Standards, and the new way of teaching. Amie doesn’t know where to look for additional teaching resources and would like some help finding lessons and activities explained in a simple way, and also ready to use in her future classrooms.

Ben: Ben is an elementary teacher. He has been working in the public school system for over five years. He feels confident about teaching Math (especially at the elementary level) and is not too worried about changes in the state curriculum. He is however, very overwhelmed with the amount of preparation he has to do to create fun, interactive lessons to introduce new Math ideas to his students and would gladly welcome ready-to-use activities that are already aligned with the standards.

Celina: Celina is a Math coach for a few elementary schools. She has been teaching Math for over twenty years, and feels really confident about subject matter. Unfortunately, she has not been keeping up with new technologies, and does not really know how to implement technology based activities into the new curriculum. She has some training on basic usage of technology in elementary Math, but does not know how to develop activities that are aligned to the new standards. Since she is training new teachers and helping the older ones with developing creative lesson plans, she would love to have access to existing strategies, and activities that she could try with her coworkers.

Use Case Scenario

Teachers are searching through an overwhelming mountain of information labeled “Common Core” to find materials and activities that will be helpful in implementing the standards with their students. Google “teaching resources” and you will get over 26,000,000 hits. Just browsing through resources can be endless. New teachers are having even more difficult time finding activities that are appropriate for their students’ level of development. The iBook would consists of simple, short and focused interactive demonstrations and explorations that are designed to help students master the important concepts of a single standard. This iBook would provide additional resources to teach students. Teachers could use these activities to implement them in their lessons or for their understanding of the topic. Both teachers and students will enjoy the interactive format of the activities.

The iBook can be available for download with iBooks on any Mac or iPad, and with iTunes on any computer. Since this iBook comes with interactive features, it will work best on an iPad. It will also be available on the Euclid’s Muse website for educators (

I would present it to pre-service and in-service teachers that are taking Math Methods courses (grad and undergrad) in the College of Staten Island as a supplemental textbook for these courses. If the iBook is met with enthusiasm I would try to present it in any of the conferences that focus on Math, Education, and Technology.

The Application in Practice

Full Version:

In the full version the iBook would consist of at least 20 interactive activities that focus on different CCSS ready to download or used by the teachers (in- and pre-service) in their elementary classrooms. The iBook would ideally include lesson plans with objectives, assessments (practice quiz, questions that students would be able to answer after exploring the activity), links to relevant videos, and other material that is relevant to the new curriculum. Teachers would be able to add personalized notes to the text or iBook.

Software used to create iBook would include:

  • Saltire Software – Geometry Expressions Software that can create three different types of apps from any math model, without any programming (JavaScript/HTML5 app, OS X Dashboard Widgets, and Lua apps). Geometry Expression Software costs $99, I have a free access to the software at my work computer. I would use this software to create interactive math activities – with explorations and movable parts. Apps can be used both for demonstration and for evaluation. Browser apps are single html pages with no external dependencies. They can be emailed or posted on a website.
  • iBook Author – free Mac app that allows users to compose and publish iBooks optimized for iPad. I would use this software to make my iBook more appealing to the teachers.
  • would allow me to create interactive custom widgets, quizzes, flash cards, interactive plots and charts.
  • Bookry ( – would allow me to include tools like a YouTube video player, quizzes with multiple questions, etc.

Full Version Time Line and Inputs

Studying Common Core State Standards and developing interactive activities that are aligned with the standards would take some time. It is also time consuming to come up with the mathematical formulas and constraints when building interactive activities using Geometry Expression software. After all the activities are created (ideally I would like to have up to 20 different activities), I would need to add visuals, descriptions, questions (for both teachers and students) and make each page appealing. I believe it is doable in one semester: searching and developing activities 2 months, building interactive activities 1 month, finishing touches 1 month.

I have a basic training in how to use Geometry Expression software, but still need practice to apply different mathematical formulas to build interactive activities. The software comes with the website and a team of developers and mathematicians who are available to provide help in building specific interactive activities.

Using the widgets and features provided by Bookry, and iBook Author is self-explanatory and does not require any experience in programming.

Short Version:

In the reduced version I would start with a few activities (5) without worrying about making each page appealing. I would survey elementary teachers and use their input to develop the full version. Are they finding these activities useful or simple enough to use in their elementary classes? What else would they like to see in the full version of the iBook?

In the short version I would only use Geometry Expression software to create interactive activities.

Short Version Time Line and Inputs

I could work on that version during the summer, and send out activities at the end of August to receive feedback from my colleagues.

PROPOSAL #2: Integrated Algebra Regents Test Practice Mobile App


I have worked with underprivileged high-school students in a high-need school for over five years. During that time it has always been a struggle to keep these students excited about math. They consistently seem to have a hard time relating to the material or having any interest in the material as it is provided through their textbook. In order to prepare them for their annual standardized test I have consistently had to get creative in my approach to teach the students the required material. On top of everything, even when students are learning in class, they spend almost no time at home (or anywhere else) practicing new learned topics. Reading a math book seems to my students like a “crazy idea”, and doing a drill-worksheet is just “boring”.

I propose creating an app (mobile or iPad) to help students prepare for the New York State Integrated Algebra Regents exam. Everything students need to get ready for the Algebra Regents exam would be on that app.


Albert: Albert is a senior student in one of the higher needs New York City public high schools. In order to graduate, he needs to pass the Integrated Algebra Regents. Albert has been struggling with Mathematics his whole life. He has already taken the Algebra class several times, and does not believe that he can pass the test. He feels discouraged, annoyed and does not know the connection between this class/test and his real life with all of its problems and challenges. He knows that he is not going to go to college and just does not see any sense in even trying to pass this Regents Exam.

Dana: Dana is a student that is currently enrolled in her Integrated Algebra Class. She is taking the Regents test next semester. She is not too worried about passing the test, but she knows that in order to avoid taking the Math Placement Test at CUNY she needs to score over an 85 on it. She does not like to study and finds practicing drill-math questions boring and a waste of time. She enjoys playing games on her Smartphone. She likes texting and socializing with her friends using different social networks. The idea of playing Math games, and working on Regents prep on her phone with her friends seems interesting to her. She is looking forward to being able to have an app that will allow her to get more practice in a fun, and engaging way.

Use Case Scenario

It has been my observation over the years that many of my high-school students spend a large amount of time on their daily commuting to and from school. This is time that has been lost to study in favor of smart-phone activities like Facebook or Youtube. Creating an app that would be easy enough to use while on a bus or subway, would give students an easy alternative to these time consuming activities.

The App would be available for any Smartphone or tablet and would serve as an effective means by which to get students interested in course content and to become motivated learners.

The Application in Practice

Full Version:

The full version operates as an application for a smart phone, and would include a pool of questions, quizzes, and explanation of the content.

The full version of this app would provide a rigorous regiment of exercises that would prepare students for the Algebra Regents exam. The app would give students access to a vast number of multiple choice questions that would allow students to get acquainted with the format of the Regents by practicing questions exactly as they appear on the exam. Students would have an option to read and review the material of the questions they struggle with. The ability of playing vocabulary and formula matching games would allow students to be familiar with necessary material in a fun and engaging way. A feature of the app would include a push alert system reminding the user/student of what activity they need to complete for the day, the time remaining until their exam and a gauge of their progress with the material as a whole.

To create this app so far I found:

  • Adobe Captivate 7 software – for creating the math content. Unfortunately the standalone version for educators is $300. There’s cloud access $20 a month for students (would not work for my students, unless the school is going to pay for that)
  • Adobe DPS (Digital Publishing Suite for education) – however single edition is $395 for ONE app. I do not know how Captivate and DPS work together though.
  • Geometry Expression software (mentioned in the proposal #1) – doesn’t have the option of putting the multiple choice questions.

Full Version Time Line and Inputs

I still need some training on how to create a mobile app, how to include videos in the mobile app (if this is even possible. I have found two other Regents prep mobile apps created by high-school teachers, and was thinking of contacting them for some ideas. Their apps only provide practice questions and I would like to expand mine with the explanation of the content.

I would start by creating an Ipad App – using iBook Author free software with widgets -Bookry, and would dedicate this summer to learn how to create an actual mobile app.

Once I know how to create a mobile app, I believe that creating this app is doable in one semester. Creating sample test questions – 1 month, creating instructional videos to each topic (1 – 2 months), description, vocabulary, finding and providing links to instruments that students can use (ex. Graphing calculator, etc.), making it appealing to students – 1 month.

Short Version:

The Short version would only consist of the sample test questions and would not provide explanations. I would create an iPad app using free iBook Author software with Bookry widgets.

Short Version Time Line and Inputs

I could use old Integrated Algebra Regents Tests (available for free on the website) and modify them to create sample test questions. This would probably take me 1 – 2 months to create few sets of questions for each topic and submit them on the App.

Pamela’s Proposals (For the Midterm)

Proposal #1: Mapping for Humanists

Introductory Paragraph
One of the most attractive types of project for humanists interested in experimenting with digital tools is mapping. The software is readily available (the Graduate Center and other CUNY schools provide institutional access to ArcGIS and there are open source versions as well, in addition to accessible online tools) and the end product is has clear use as a research or teaching tool. There is a workshop in the CUNY system on ArcGIS but it assumes that the mapper will be working from existing data files, like census information. However, most humanists are working from information that does not already exist in appropriate file formats, if it available electronically at all. I propose to present a mapping workshop for graduate students in the humanities who have little or no experience with GIS software or online mapping tools. The workshop would cover how to identify the kind of information that is map-able, how to get that information into a format that can be used, and turning that information into a basic map.

1. Jill is a level one Art History student at the Graduate Center. She has no mapping experience and no special computer skills. She has no particular project in mind, but she has heard of digital mapping and is trying to get the lay of the land and see what kinds of research she might be interested in.
2. Alex is a level two student in English at the Graduate Center. He has no mapping experience and but is confident about his computer skills generally. While he doesn’t have a particular mapping project in mind, he has some ideas about research in his area of study that might be interesting to map out. He’s trying to get a sense of how much time and effort mapping would really take.
3. Beth is a level two student in Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center. She has been reading about digital mapping on her own, but has not yet made a serious attempt at mapping anything. She has a definite mapping project in mind and she wants to make sure that she is on the right track before getting started.
4. Kevin is a level three theatre student at the Graduate Center. He is in the process of writing his dissertation. He has no mapping experience but he has some programming experience and considers himself skilled with computers. He is less interested in starting a particular mapping project than in developing skills to that might help in his upcoming job search.

Use Case Scenario
Students attending this workshop would hear about it through the Graduate Center (by email and on flyers in student lounges) and would use it to develop a basic understanding of mapping tools.

Scope (Full-fledged)
In an ideal world, I would present a 2-part workshop in a computer lab at the Graduate Center. Each part would run 2 hours and they would occur on different days. The first part would focus on data preparation for ArcGIS and comparable open source GIS software. In addition to talking about the kind of information that might lend itself to mapping, we would cover creating tables that can be converted into vector files, and finding available maps with georeferencing. The second part of the workshop would take place 1-2 weeks after the first. In it, we would use ArcGIS to create a map from sample data provided by me. This would be a map relating to my own research in theatre, and thus model the mapping of a humanistic research project. Participants would also have the option of working from their own data.

Time Frame (full-fledged)
I anticipate that I could accomplish this project in 8-9 months. At this point I have only made two maps using ArcGIS, both practice projects using data already in the appropriate format. I would need some time to learn how to convert tables into vector files, and some practice building maps from my own data. I would also need to familiarize myself with at least one open source GIS option, probably Quantum GIS. Because of my current obligations I don’t think that I could realistically give skill acquisition enough attention to become an effective teacher until the spring semester is over.

Scope (small-scale)
A smaller scale version of this idea would involve a single workshop on mapping, running 2-2 ½ hours. We would cover the kind of research that best lends itself to mapping projects, and talk about how to gather data. Then we would put together a map from sample data provided by me using Google Maps and Google Fusion Tables. We would wrap up by discussing more complex mapping tools and where to get help learning them.

Time Frame (small-scale)
I believe that I could put a workshop like this together in 5-6 months. I have not yet used Google Fusion Tables to create a map but I have been through the tutorial on the University of Virginia Library’s page and my experience with other Google products suggests that it wouldn’t be a struggle to achieve sufficient skill to teach. The more time I had to work, of course, the more mastery I could gain. In this case I would like to have completed 4-5 maps as examples, one of which we could use as the workshop example.

Proposal #2: Improving the CUNY Graduate Center Theatre Project

Introductory Paragraph
The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, in association with the Theatre Department at the Graduate Center, maintains a database of around 10,000 image of theatre for educational use. The database is a great resource for theatre students but even within the department not everyone knows about it, and few actively use it. The site was recently changed over to Omeka, making it a lot more functional, which provides a good opportunity to revisit what it can do and be for GC theatre students. My proposal is to survey use of the database, and also investigate what the Segal Center and the professor overseeing the collection would optimally like to see from it. This would lead to one or more strategies to increase student use and/or improve usability that I could then implement.

Personas (users of the database)
1. Stephanie is level one theatre student at the Graduate Center. She is looking for images of actress Sarah Bernhardt as part of her research for a seminar paper. She plans to attach these images to her paper when she turns it in.
2. Joe is a level two theatre student at the Graduate Center. He is noodling around in the image collection looking for inspiration as he tries to come up with a topic to go with an interesting call for papers for a conference in his area of specialty.
3. Allison is an alumna of the theatre program at the Graduate Center. She is looking for images of Japanese Noh masks to add to a PowerPoint for the Introduction to Theatre class she is teaching.
4. Dr. C is a professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center. He is pulling images for PowerPoint presentations for a class that he teaches on scenic design. He is searching for specific images from a variety of places and periods and they need to be high enough resolution to maintain good detail when projected in class.

Use Case Scenario
Use of the image collection is restricted to current PhD students in theatre and alumni, as well as faculty. Students, alumni, and faculty use the database to find images for research and teaching purposes.

4. Scope (full-fledged)
A fully realized version of this project would have two parts. First would be the usability study. With the permission of the relevant people at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center and the professor overseeing the image collection, I would send a questionnaire to current theatre students, alumni (last 8 years), and theatre faculty asking if and how they use it, how they would like to use it, and what improvements they would make to the site. After gathering the data I would choose, in consultation with the Segal Center, one large or two smaller changes to the site to improve usability and execute them.

5. Time Frame (full-fledged)
The major task for this project would be to learn Omeka. I have no experience with it, but from what I’ve read it is fairly intuitive. I have solid HTML and am improving my CSS, so I would guess that in 3-4 months I could learn Omeka pretty thoroughly and in 5-6 months I could get a handle on basic customization. I would also want to research usability studies. I know what kind of information that I am looking for but I don’t have formal experience designing surveys so I would want to make sure that I am asking the right questions in the best possible format. This, plus actually doing the survey, could be done at the same time as learning Omeka. If I chose improvements that would take 2-3 months to execute I anticipate that I could complete this in 9-10 months.

6. Scope (small scale)
The smaller scale version of the project would be very similar, but with more modest ambitions. I would start with a survey of current students, alumni (last 5 years), and theatre faculty. To do this simply, I could use Survey Monkey and email a link to the questionnaire. From the results, I would choose one straightforward change/improvement that I could make to the image collection to improve usability.

7. Time Frame (small scale)
The time frame for the smaller scale project can’t be shortened too much, because I still need to learn Omeka. With a simpler survey, and choosing a simpler project to execute I could likely finish the project in 7-8 months.

Author Rights Workshop 3/28

Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know about an event at the Grad Center next Friday, March 28th. Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication at the GC, will be offering a workshop on author rights in publishing. From the workshop description:

When you publish a journal article, you sign a copyright agreement. Do you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign it?
How can you find out a journal’s policy? How can you negotiate your contract to make the most of your rights as a scholar, researcher, and author? Come learn how to preserve your rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work you create.

Find more details on the Open Access @ CUNY blog.

Christina’s Proposed Projects

Project Proposal #1: Implementation of a Summer Workshop Series for Students with Autism
Incoming freshmen college students with autism report significant stress and anxiety. However, most colleges don’t provide freshman programming specifically for this population of students. The proposed research will design, implement, and evaluate a summer training focused on classroom readiness, social skills, self-advocacy skills, and computer-mediated communication skills designed to support students with autism as they transition into college. This study will instruct future programming targeting students with autism as they meet the challenges of an increasingly complex online and offline college social environment.

Set of Personas
Unprepared Ulric: Ulric enrolled in college at CSI, but knows very little about the college experience. His high school and his strong-willed parents pushed him to take classes without providing him with the computer-skills that he’ll be required to use in his freshman year of college. Ulric was not diagnosed with autism, but displays many autistic-like characteristics.

Sheltered Sally: Sally is an incoming freshman with a lot of ambition to go to college. She’ll be the first in her family to attend a 4-year institution. Having gone through the NYC public school system as a student diagnosed with autism, Sally was given a personal aid and a strong support network from the school. Sally will be starting school in the fall of 2014 and although she’ll be connected with the Center for Student Accessibility at CSI, she is unsure how different college life will be from her experiences in high school.

Introverted Inna: Inna is an incoming 2014 freshman college student at CSI with a milder form of autism. She has numerous social difficulties in peer groups stemming from her lack of understanding about social norms and her inability to pick up on nonverbal from others. Consequently, Inna doesn’t have many friends and has always wanted to build a stronger support network. Inna is hoping that college provides her with opportunities to make new friends that share her interests. She has always wanted to use online social networks, but has been too intimidated to try them out.

Use Case Scenario
Unprepared Ulric: Ulric reluctantly enrolled in the summer transition program at his parents’ request. Although he was hesitant to engage during the first week of the workshop, in the second week Ulric is starting to feel more confident about college having learned about some of the computer-mediated skills he’ll be asked to use. Ulric is starting to understand the Blackboard learning management system, and hopes that he’ll be able to help his peers if they have questions about the system.

Sheltered Sally: Sally’s older siblings warned her about the difficulties of college life, so Sally was eager to engage in the summer workshops. Sally is learning more about the student-professor relationship, and how this relationship differs from the student-teacher relationship in high school. The workshops have also provided Sally with the skills to use an online planner to keep track of her classes and assignments in the fall.

Introverted Inna: Inna was slow to open up to the group, but has realized that she has a “knack” for some of the computer skills in the workshops. Inna is quickly gaining confidence in her interactions with her peers, and is starting to make friends through the workshops that are both on and off of the spectrum. Inna is looking forward to connecting with her new friends through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Full-Fledged Version
Throughout the spring 2014 semester, the research team will be working on identifying focus areas and then developing a sequence of training modules for the summer programming. As a collaborative effort, the team will work with current students in Project REACH to build modules focusing on computer-mediated communication skills. The pre-existing training modules (classroom readiness, social skills, and self-advocacy skills) will all be modified based on the evaluation feedback received from the previous three semesters of the Project REACH model.

Phase I: Recruitment: First year college students with autism will be recruited for this project from the CSI’s Center for Student Accessibility (CSA) and through informal workshops held at local high schools on Staten Island in the spring of 2014. During the recruitment phase, the research team will design and modify content areas identified from a current study the researcher is conducting at CSI.

Phase II: Workshop Design and Pre-Testing: The first round of focus groups will be held in early-July. Based on recordings from the focus groups the research team will design/modify content for each of the workshops. Workshop content areas previously identified by Project REACH and by the computer-skills study at CSI (email, Blackboard, social networking) will be used as the foundational skills that the research team will build from.

Phase III: Skills Workshops: Workshops will occur two times each week for 2-hour increments of time from mid-July through mid-August. During each of the workshops, students will be given time to demonstrate and practice their skills with their peers, their undergraduate mentors, and the workshop facilitator (the graduate student instructor).

Phase IV: Post-Testing: At the conclusion of the workshops in August, students will be asked to complete the same videotaped role-plays and standardized measures conducted before the workshops began.

Phase V: Program Evaluation: Students will engage in a final round of focus groups in late-August to discuss any barriers during the intervention, and to obtain students’ recommendations for future interventions. These focus groups will also serve as opportunities for the researchers to modify and/or develop training modules for recommendations of future programming efforts at the CSI and other colleges.

Current Skills
The researcher has a working skillset surrounding workshop instruction and has used the Project REACH training modules in a group environment. Depending on the specific areas of computer-mediated communication skills identified by the incoming cohort, the researcher may need to become more knowledgeable about the Blackboard website, specific social networking sites (Twitter, etc.), and/or other areas of potential interest for this cohort.

Stripped-Down Version
The stripped-down version of this project will include one workshop held in the summer of 2014, in which the workshop will focus on only one computer-mediated communication module – Blackboard or social networking. Up to 20 students will participate in this 2-hour workshop to learn more about the skills they’ll need to succeed in their first year of college.

Project Proposal #2: Creation of a “Teaching Hub” for Graduate Student Instructors in Psychology
Doctoral students enrolled in the CUNY campuses often teach one or more undergraduate classes in the CUNY system. However, preparing to teach a new class for the first time can be a daunting task and there are few “teaching of psychology” websites with open-access availability for teachers. The proposed project will use the GSTA website to host teaching activities for graduate student teachers.

Set of Personas
Rushed Rita: Rita is a second year graduate student that takes classes within and outside of the CUNY system, in addition to working a part-time job at a non-profit children’s organization. As part of her funding package, Rita is required to teach this upcoming fall semester. Since she’ll be teaching at Hunter (as is contracted by the Psych Department), she is unsure which class she’ll have until August. Rita knows she won’t have much time to prepare for the class and is worried about fitting it into her already busy schedule.

Clueless Connie: Connie is a graduate student transferred from a university in the Northwest. She is still becoming acquainted with the CUNY system and is trying to learn the locations of each campus. Her new advisor is pushing her to try teaching his semester, but she’s unsure how to teach, where to teach, and where to find resources for teaching.

Lazy Leonard: Leonard is an 8th year graduate student in the Psychology Department. He has put off teaching in graduate school, as he’s only interested in his research. However, due to his lack of employment and graduate student status, Leonard has been financially forced to pick up a teaching position at a community college outside of the CUNY system.

Use Case Scenario
Rushed Rita: Rita found out about the Teaching Hub from a classmate a few months before the fall semester began. She has begun to use the Hub to start putting together “course packs” for the 3 potential courses that she is likely (and qualified) to teach at Hunter. Rita feels more confident that she’ll be prepared for whatever class at Hunter gets thrown her way.

Clueless Connie: As the GSTA faculty advisor, Connie’s advisor told her about the Teaching Hub. Connie has been exploring through the teaching activities and based on the syllabi from the website, she is starting to narrow down the types of classes that she’d like to teach. Although she’s still learning about the many CUNY campuses, Connie has narrowed down a few campuses that are closer to her apartment in Queens.

Lazy Leonard: Leonard has waited until the week before the fall semester to begin preparing for the Introduction to Psychology class that he’ll be teaching at one of the community colleges. However, Leonard was given the link to the GSTA website by a friend, so he is now starting to put together materials for his course. Although Leonard has waited till the last minute, his students will have well-structured and empirically validated educational activities in their psychology class.

Full-Fledged Version
Beginning in the middle of the spring 2014 semester, the GSTA page will be updated by members of the organization. Consequently, the researcher will have access to the site during this time to begin making updates to the site. This project will be on-going project through the summer to prepare he site for a full launch in the fall of 2014. Once the site has been piloted with a subgroup of graduate student teachers, the full site will be revised to reflect feedback from the graduate students, and then the site will be launched again to the CUNY graduate student psychology community.


Phase I: During this phase, the researcher will solicit materials from the graduate student community in the Psychology Department. Some of these materials will be collected from an online pedagogy and psychology text currently being written by students and faculty. The researcher anticipates that activities for the site will continue to come in throughout the summer.

Phase II: Most of the work done during this phase will include website development and modifications. The current state of the GSTA website is not fully functional (and not user-friendly), and as such, the researcher will be using her editing skills acquired through the IT Core II course to make revisions to the site. The following revisions are suggested:

1. Create a modern user interface with drop down menus and tabs, making the GSTA website more functional. The researcher anticipates that the following tabs will need to be added: (a) Syllabi, (b) Teaching Activities, (c) Teaching Tips/Tools – Blog Link, and (d) a list of current graduate student teachers in the psychology department.

2. Make corrections to any uploaded syllabi to maintain the confidentiality of the graduate students submitting the documents. Upload teaching syllabi and other materials to the GSTA website.

Phase III: In this phase, the researcher will pilot the website in July-August of 2014 with fellow graduate student teachers, many of which will likely come from the GSTA. This period of the summer also tends to be the time when student teachers receive their teaching assignments and are most likely to be seeking teaching resources online. After the pilot run, the researcher will request feedback from each student via email. Final revisions will be made to the site by the end of August based on the instructor feedback.

Phase IV: Beginning in the fall of 2014, the GSTA Teaching Resource Hub will be launched to the psychology graduate student instructor community. An email will be sent out through the psychology listserv that describes the website. To maintain website sustainability, including upkeep and consistent revisions, the maintenance of the site will be turned-over to a newly-formed GSTA Teaching Hub Committee.

Current Skills
I’ve heard from other students in the GSTA that the website support software is not easy to use, and has a steep learning curve. My limited background in modifying webpages will require me to learn more about the Wild Apricot site design. I plan to rely on my fellow GSTA members currently using the site, online tutorials, and probably external reading materials related to website building. As I’m beginning to understand the nuances of WordPress, I’m hoping that some of these skills will carry over to Wild Apricot as well.

Stripped-Down Version
The basic version of this project would include an online resource for a few psychology course activities with tutorials on how to use the activities in classrooms. I would exclude the syllabi as well as any other supplemental teaching material. The piloting phase will also be removed from this project, as activities are solicited, uploaded to the site, and then the psychology graduate student instructors at the Graduate Center will be given access to the site and it’s materials.

Navigation Tweaks

To Kelly’s point in her last post, we’re witnessing taxonomy vs. folksonomy in action on our course site as we all strive to pick the most appropriate categories and tags for our posts. I think we should keep on as we have been, though I do have one change to propose. In order to keep the details (that is, instructions) for your assignments easily findable, I created a new category named Assignment Details that Michael and I will use for your assignment instructions only. How does that sound?

(And in order to keep the top navigation bar to one line in a desktop browser, I moved the Course Group link to the right sidebar, just in case you’re looking for it.)


why is it I keep losing track of the posts?

It took me a few minutes to find the exact description for this week’s assignment… and then I have an extra ten minutes looking for MIchael’s post on personas, including the search window on the top right and nothing…

I know that if you know how to look for things within the site they are all there, but at the same time, they aren’t, or I am still unsure of how to look for things.

have a lovely day