Writing. Design. Social Change.

Posts tagged ‘aesthetic’

Tools for critiquing and creating aesthetic texts

I developed the Aesthetic Toolbox after conducting empirical research on student learning in Arts & Humanities courses at Michigan State as a CASTL scholar. This online heuristic aids in the critique and production of aesthetic texts. Featuring six tools: feeling, design, movement, familiarity, vocabulary and idea, the toolbox creates a common vocabulary for people to communicate meaningfully about aesthetic subjects. Each tool provides a series of guided questions that students answer intuitively, while regarding the work at hand.

Findings indicate that continued practice with the toolbox offer students a basic foundation, which leads to a deeper understanding of artistic subjects and the development of an aesthetic vocabulary. These outcomes ultimately enrich student’s understanding of art subjects and aid in the development of their critical and interpretative skills.

The toolbox was used in multiple sections of the course The U.S. & The World at Michigan State University in 2006-2008.

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 Knight, A., Rife, M. C., Loncharich, L., & DeVoss, D. N.  (2009). About face: Mapping our institutional presence. Computers and Composition, 26(3), 190–202.

 “About Face: Mapping Our Institutional Presence” is about strategies for designing more effective university writing program websites This piece situates writing program websites as important institutional spaces that serve as interfaces to shared values, beliefs, and practices.

In this article I worked with my co-authors to develop a three-part framework to understand how websites of United States-based writing programs craft identity and anchor their programs. The aesthetic, cultural, and institutional lenses we describe can be used by designers to both critique and create engaging digital environments that reflect the look and feel of university programs. We also analyzed the ways in which digital interfaces do and don’t mesh with what university programs say they value professionally and pedagogically.

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