Joan Van Duzerjoan@humboldt.edu
Center for Excellence in Learning & TeachingHumboldt State University707.826.4460Questions?
Welcome! My name is Joan Van Duzer.
I work as an instructional technologist at Humboldt State University. Im assuming most of you are instructional technologists alsois that right? PAUSE
How many of you also teach? PAUSE
Hopefully today youll get some ideas for making courses you teach or help design more creative and effective. Most of the examples today can apply to most disciplines.
How many of you read comic books as a kid? PAUSE
How many of you still read the newspaper comics regularly? PAUSE
Are the comics funny because you see a tiny measure of truth in them? Sometimes prompting reflection or amusing you by getting you to look at something in a new way?We usually turn to comics for entertainmentbut could comics be used to enhance instruction and create more engagement?
Mary Poppins knew: A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way
She knew that offering sugar caused no real harm but made an otherwise unpleasant experience more enjoyable. Can we adopt the Mary Poppins philosophy in our teaching by adding comics as our spoonful of sugar?
Although the theory of millennial students or generation Y is disputed by some, the literature tells us that Millennials value hands-on, student-oriented, active approaches, including experiential activities, with teamwork, technology and
So maybe comics can serve an important purpose when reaching todays students after all For the purposes of this presentation, I will use the term comics to refer to
Comic books multi-page graphic novels
Cartoons single panel caricatures with a message
Comic strips multi-panel caricatures with a messageI was first inspired to explore comics for instructional purposes when Google released their comic book to introduce their new browser, Chrome.
It wasnt long into my investigation before colleagues began sharing with me other examples of comics used in the popular press.Here at Humboldt, Riley Quarles and Jen Burges shared with me examples of books that were published in a graphic novel, or comic book, format.
It turns out comics were around me all the timeI just hadnt noticed!My investigation into instructional uses of comics led me to four general categories:
Make Content More Inviting
Support Learning Activities
Student Generated Content
There may be more ways to incorporate comics that may occur to you during this presentation, and I encourage you to jot down your own ideas to share with us at the end of this presentation.I helped develop an online course here at Humboldt where we incorporated cartoons PURCHASED from Randy Glasbergen.
Each cartoon cost about $20.
Each week, a new cartoon introduced the key concept for the week. The cartoon was used to help anchor the concept with a glance (and a snicker) and help point students in the direction we would be going for the week.
Take a look at these cartoons and make your best guess on what the class was that used these cartoons. Enter your response in the chat window. PAUSE
These cartoons were used in a WEIGHT CONTROL class. The first one introduced the topic of eating disorders; the second one introduced the topic of the role genetics play in weight.This is an example of using comics to anchor a concept for your students.
You can generate the comic strip yourself on any topic.
Not all of us are talented artists, however. Fortunately, there is inexpensive, simple-to-use software available to help us make comic strips.
Not only does it not take long to do, but its great fun creating fun for your students.I used this same simple-to-use software to create a series of comic strips to launch a promotional campaign on campus to introduce the campus migration to Zimbra.
Each week during the four weeks leading up to the cut-over date a new comic strip displayed prominently for students of our old campus email system. (Only three of the four strips fit on this slide.)
The idea was to draw attention to the transition in a fun way and introduce the idea of change in a whimsical and entertaining way.
These strips were great fun to make and went from concept to completion in about an hour each.The Center for Disease Control took what could otherwise be dry and boring information targeted to a young age group by making the content more inviting in a comic book format.
Without proper packaging this age group might not be interested in engaging in the otherwise uninviting information.How many of you have questions about copyright?PAUSE
How many of you would want to pick up a 70-page manual on copyright?PAUSE
But who can resist this 70-page comic book written and illustrated in a collaborative effort by professors of law at Duke Law School.How many of you regularly look at the editorial cartoons on the Editorial pages of your newspaper?PAUSE
These editorial cartoons can directly support learning activities in the social sciences.
Rick Ostrom of CSU Chico, now retired, published his Active Learning Strategies for Using Cartoons and Internet Research Assignments in Social Studies Courses in 2004.
He purchased a video that guided them through editorial cartoon analysis using the framework of elements of the cartoon, then practiced with the whole class.This is an example of a practice cartoon he might have used to get students familiar with the process expected of them for their group assignment.
The examples, from the Cartoon News Magazine, begin with a brief context of the cartoon, followed by exploratory questions. Students can then check their answers when theyve drafted their analysis.The Dirksen Congressional Center offers sample lesson plans tied to cartoons in their collection.
There are other resources cited in Rick Ostroms article.The Duke Law School professors who co-developed the comic book I mentioned earlier on copyright law, report that they created it
in innumerable hilarious, and occasionally manic conference calls with each other.