Visual Literacy Practices in Higher Education

In our media-driven age visuals are increasingly frequent and prominently present in society and their importance and influence across academic disciplines is growing. This makes it essential to enable learners to become visually literate and justifies the need for teaching visual literacy competencies. Yet, there has been little research on visual literacy practices undertaken across academic subjects and institutions in higher education. Moreover, the key challenges and factors of success for achieving visual literacy education haven’t been studied to date. Accordingly, this research aimed to elucidate the issues most relevant to visual literacy and to identify practices undertaken by universities/ faculties and academic libraries. Explorative and descriptive research was conducted using literature analysis and an online questionnaire distributed to an international group of visual literacy practitioners.

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Visual Literacy and Education: Seeing the World Meets Critical Thinking

The abundance and complexity of information now being delivered visually demands that we become visually literate, as well as verbally literate. We need to understand better a process we have taken for granted. In an age increasingly dominated by images – a media culture, it becomes imperative to develop an understanding of how our visual processing system works; how visual cognition is shaped by social, political, and cultural conditioning; and how visual messages are created to elicit specific responses. One of the chief goals of visual literacy education is to encourage critical analysis of visual communication by developing tools that help us understand and manage this complex activity. “Seeing” needs to become an actively conscious, not a passive activity for us. This thesis illustrates the importance of critical visual literacy, provides an historical overview of the visual literacy movement, and suggests a foundational approach to teaching the basics of visual literacy.

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Imagining a Constructionist Game-based Pedagogical Model: Using Tabletop Role-playing Game Creation to Enhance Literature Education in High School English Classes

In today’s K-12 educational environment with the newly adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS), improving student literacy as a foundational skill to obtain success in all other subject areas is one of the most important goals. Unfortunately, many literature curricula suffer from a lack of innovative pedagogy despite the introduction of various educational technologies meant to aid student learning. This study focused on developing a new game-based constructionist pedagogical model for literature education using tabletop role-playing game creation. Using Shulman’s (1987) Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) that eventually evolved into Mishra and Kohler’s (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) as the main theoretical framework, this design-based research showed how tabletop role-playing game creation as a constructionist pedagogical strategy successfully helped high school students to receive the benefits of high quality literature education.

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Illustrations of Iconic Women in Children’s Book Biographies

The purpose of this study is to examine the illustrations of iconic women in children’s book biographies published in the United States. Part I will discuss the history of juvenile children’s book biographies and identify the gradual growth of illustrated biographies and the emergence of children’s picture book biographies pertaining to women throughout the twentieth century. Part II will present research on the history of four iconic individuals and representations of them in art as a foundation. There will be a discussion of past and contemporary depictions of four iconic women: Joan of Arc, Pocahontas, Harriet Tubman, and Josephine Baker, by various children’s book illustrators in different time periods. This will allow for the comparison and contrast of different approaches of illustration for these women. Through in-depth research and interviews the visual representation of a historical female figure in children’s books will be explored.

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Exploring Relationships Between Thinking Style and Sex, Age, Academic Major, Occupation, and Levels of Arts Engagement Among Professionals Working in Museums

With evidence that arts engagement and nonlinear thinking style both utilize insight, intuition, and emotion in the decision making process, the literature has driven an investigation of the relationship between levels of arts engagement and thinking style preference. This nonexperimental correlational study (N = 101) explored (a) the prevalence of linear, nonlinear, or balanced linear/nonlinear thinking style of professionals working in museums. (b) Whether thinking style has a relationship with (i) age; (ii) sex; (iii) academic major; (iv) occupation; (v) levels of arts engagement. Two theoretical frameworks underpinned this study: (a) new literacies and (b) cognitive styles.

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Media Arts Centers as Alternative Archival Spaces: Investigating the Development of Archival Practices in Non-Profit Media Organizations

In the United States, archival institutions have prioritized the preservation of commercial and Hollywood cinema overlooking small-scale media production by non-professionals and independent media artists. Media arts centers, however, have played a pivotal role in the continued access, use, and preservation of materials produced by the communities that they serve. These non-profit media collectives were imagined as a distributed network of organizations supporting the production, exhibition and study of media; serving as information centers about media resources; and supporting regional preservation efforts. However, media arts centers have remained over-looked and unexplored by the archival field. This dissertation seeks to shift this balance, including these artist-run organizations as part of the network of archives and collecting institutions preserving independent media.

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An Investigation into the Impact of Visual Aids in Post-Compulsory Education

“This study seeks insight into the use of visual aids in contemporary post-compulsory teaching. This thesis comprises a two-part study and employs a mixed methods approach. The first part inquires into teachers’ and lecturers’ practice with regard to their visual aids, and the second compares the effectiveness of text, images and imagery displayed in support of a lecture.The findings of the thesis are combined to propose a principle of Visual Working Memory Utilisation (VWMU), upon which future research into visual aid design and use in post compulsory education might be based.”

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Measuring Visual Literacy Ability in Grade Level Pre-Service Teachers

“This descriptive study is preliminary study to investigate the measurement of VL ability across the United States in order to establish a baseline VL ability measure from which to make vital decisions in the purposeful training of visual literacy within teacher preparatory programs and professional development within school districts. This study describes the mean performance levels of 125 participants collected from a randomly stratified national population within five of the six regional accrediting agencies for public higher education. The measures of central tendency and variance for the individual skills within the Avgerinou (2001) VL Index indicate a need for growth, in particular, in the intellectual skills of concrete concepts, defined concepts, and higher order rules. The implications of these findings emphasize the need for more development in critical engagement with visuals especially as it applies to Common Core State Standards assessments, consumer-driven marketing and power roles, and new modes of digital authorship in a media-saturated society.”

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Academic Libraries and Writing Programs: Partnering for Success

“This study was designed to examine the information seeking strategies of community college students as they worked to compose their first-semester freshman composition research paper. Through comparing pre- and post-course surveys and content analysis looking for key terms and phrases found in the students’ Information Literacy Narrative writing assignment, the researcher sought to determine the effectiveness of course integrated information literacy modules strategically provided throughout various times of the semester.”

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The Use of Concept Mapping/Pattern Matching to Determine the Content Domain for Information Literacy in Baccalaureate Education

“This study assessed the relevance of a national association’s standards for developing information literacy competency in undergraduate students at a mid-sized, regional university in Maryland. The study revealed four conclusions. First, the national standards for information literacy are relevant at the local level. Second, there is a need for academic libraries to reevaluate their existing information literacy outcomes to reflect changes in information dissemination from a textual bias to include multi-media. Third, it is important for academic institutions to include representation of all stakeholders when developing student learning outcomes. Fourth, ambiguity still exists among stakeholders in regard to the effectiveness of teaching information literacy.”

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Picture This, Imagine That: The Literary and Pedagogic Force of Ekphrastic Principles

“My thesis is comprised of two articles, titled “Interpreting Britomart’s Encounters with Art: The Cyclic Nature of Ekphrasis in Spenser’s Faerie Queene III,” and “Picture This, Imagine That: Teaching Visual Literacy in the Disciplines.” To communicate the urgency of the need for students to enrich proficiency at visual literacy, I provide a literature review that narrates the growing need expressed by visual literacy scholars, composition theorists, visualization theorists and specialists, and the library community for an overarching visual literacy framework that provides scaffolding and common language for students.”

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Development of a Multiple Contact Haptic Display with Texture-Enhanced Graphics

“This dissertation presents work towards the development of a multiple finger, worn, dynamic display device, which utilizes a method of texture encoded information to haptically render graphical images for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.”

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