Education interviews

Project #2: Introductory Interviews with Image and Text

In our First-Year Learning Community, you have already introduced yourself in class and on our site, and reflected on your first weeks of college. For our this project, imagine you are being interviewed for an online publication about first-year students in your major—you can imagine this will be a publication from your department to be featured on an OpenLab site, or dream bigger and imagine that it’s a feature on a professional site in your field, such as the AIGA Eye on Design site, with the article by Emily Gosling, “Today’s Design Grads Are More Woke Than Ever—and It’s Looking Great,” about a recent design graduate or the interview, or Ksenya Samarskaya’s interview, “Nontsikelelo Mutiti on Interrogating the Euro-centric Design Canon.”

Choose or create an avatar to represent you on the OpenLab. You might need to reconsider your avatar choice if you’ve already selected and uploaded one. Write one or two paragraphs in which you describe the image well enough that your readers need not look at it to know what it looks like, call attention to specific details in the image, and explain how the image represents you, specifically the you you’re representing in the interview.

In your interview, you will identify and answer 5 questions, four of your choosing from among our brainstormed list, plus the question about your avatar: What is your avatar and how does it represent you? Be sure to write more than the 5 and choose from among your best answers to shape a profile of you as a first-year design student. There might be some repetition from one question to the next, but that should be minimal, and instead each question should provide different information about you, your experience, your vision for your future, your goals, your artistic sense*, your place in your chosen profession’s world, that professional world’s place in your life, etc. Refer to the list we brainstormed for the range of questions, and feel free to modify as needed to best answer the questions.

The project overall should be approximately 750-1200 words, with each answer being roughly 100-200 words with an introduction framing the interview approximately 150-200 words.

Throughout your project, you can include images to express yourself better—not only your avatar but also other images that express you as a student in an aesthetic field, as a future  professional, etc. Use the publications from Eye on Design as a model, your visual library and other sources (be sure you’re allowed to use their work!) for images to include, and feel free to be creative!

Ultimately, the materials you develop here can become part of your OpenLab profile or your ePortfolio’s About Me page.

Requirements for this project:

  • Add your work on our course site as comments or posts, according to instructions.
  • When adding a post, use the category ENG Project #2, and add any tags that you find appropriate, indicating both substance and which part of the project your post corresponds to (draft, final, etc). For the final draft, use the tag Deliver.
  • complete the related homework posts described on our Ways of Seeing site
  • include your avatar image
  • re-read your work carefully several times, making changes as needed based on your ideas and feedback from me or from your peers
  • post your finished work, approximately 750-1200 words, to our site by Th 10/10 11:30am
  • Be prepared to write a cover letter in class on Th 10/10.

*I ask about artistic sense in this assignment for learning communities with Communication Design and Architectural Technology

3 thoughts on “Education interviews

  1. Carrie Hall

    Jody, this is a very cool assignment, but… I’m not 100% sure how it’s a literacy narrative. That is, how does it get students to reflect on themselves as readers/ writers/ learners? I don’t think the baby (or the avatar) needs to be thrown out with the bathwater here– there’s so much about this that is working– I love that there’s a lot of focus on audience and purpose, the assignment itself is situated, but it is missing that key reflection that we like to have students start their college writing careers with– thinking about their own literacy experiences up to this point and how they have shaped them.

    Let me know if this helps/ is confusing/ etc.

  2. Patrick Redmond

    Hey Jody,

    I found the assignment very interesting. In particular I like how you are making them think about the avatar they choose. Not only will having the students think about that sort of self-reflection early in the semester will prove useful throughout the rest of the semester, but it also makes them more conscious of how the present themselves online. I also like the real-world application aspects that you have embedded into the assignment.

    That being said I am confused about when the Literacy Narrative part of the assignment comes in, as Carrie mentions above. I think an avenue where it could be developed is in your statement about artistic sense. I don’t know how you teach the meaning of artistic sense, but I have taught it through Nabokov’s “Good Readers and Good Writers” essay, which he claims that a good reader and writer should possess artistic sense which he roughly equates to “a tingling in the spine.” I have used that before when teaching a literacy narrative, and have had students write about a piece of art or music that has given them that tingling in the spine sensation, and then have them reflect on why they think the sensation occurred. Usually that opens up to some interesting conversations about past experiences that may have been educational and poignant to them.


  3. Jody R. Rosen Post author

    Thanks, @doloreshazelmotes and @predmond, for your useful suggestions.

    Last semester was the first time I tried this assignment. Students brainstormed questions, and I didn’t do much to shape them, but I certainly could do more. They ask themselves things about what they hope to learn in their majors, what role collaboration plays in their education, how they connect what they’re learning to their future goals in their majors and in their professions. I could influence this to ask more directly about their experiences as learners, readers, writers, but I find it more useful to look forward to their college career rather than looking back at their educational history. Part of that has to do with wanting students to be able to use this writing to represent themselves in their ePortfolio, in cover letters, applications, etc. Part of that is not wanting to push students to share experiences they might not be comfortable sharing.

    I appreciate the suggestion of the reading. I want to think more about readings to add to this unit, especially in light of the requirements for us to include 8ish readings from PD in our courses. The reading @predmond suggests sounds really helpful. One of the semester goals when I first developed this assignment was to identify what students felt inspired them–they were all communication design majors–and how they could both use that inspiration to distinguish themselves as designers and use it to motivate themselves even if they couldn’t fit their style into the commissioned work. Next semester I’ll be working with students who are architecture/architectural technology majors, and I want to similarly get them to think about not only their writing and reading practices but also their aesthetic sense, how they develop that, and how it influences their approach to college, to their major, to their profession, and to themselves as lifelong learners.

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