After attending a digital image workshop, six
Wesleyan staff members are seeing picture-perfect.
During the April 24 North East Regional Computing Program conference at the
College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., participants had the
opportunity to learn about digital image resource development, meeting the
image demands of scholars in a changing environment, using digital maps in
the classroom, creating and managing institutional digital image collections
and visual storytelling among other topics.
“The hope is that by assessing current practices in the classrooms, methods
for more effective use of these images can be identified and implemented,”
says conference organizer Dan Schnaidt, academic computing manager for Arts
and Humanities. “While it would have
been nice, we discovered that there are no obvious answers, methods or
Schnaidt was joined by Valerie Gillispie, assistant university archivist;
Mary Glynn, applications technology specialist; Susanne Javorski, art and
reference librarian; Rob Lancefield, manager of museum information services
and registrar of collections; and Susan Passman, slide librarian.
Topics of the day-long conference were “The Use of Digital Images in
Teaching Today,” “Digital Image Resource Development,” “Getting it Right:
How Well Can Image Suppliers Determine and Meet the Image Requirements of
College and University Users?” “Open Archive Initiative's Protocol for
Metadata Harvesting in collecting and distributing NSDL resources,” “Maps,
GIS and spatial data: Maps Entering the Classroom in New Ways,” “Creating
and Managing Institutional Digital Image Collections,” “Supporting Faculty
in Developing and Deploying a Personal Digital Image Collection,” “Gather Ye
Images: Negotiating Multiple Collections for Teaching,” “Critical Literacies,”
“Visual Story Telling, Grammar, Cognitive Aesthetics,” “Teaching Visual
Rhetoric” and “The Threat of Media Illiteracy.”
The attendees also received the results of a six-month digital image study,
which examined how digitized images of all sorts are used by faculty at 34
teaching and research institutions. Wesleyan and the National Institute for
Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) spearheaded the study.
Wesleyan spearheaded and sponsored the workshop,
which was first sparked with a $15,000 Fund for Innovation grant. NITLE
provided significant additional funding which allowed the program to expand
the number of participating schools from 10 to 33.
The conference’s principal speaker was David Green, a consultant hired to
conduct the research. His final report will be made available on the
Academic Commons site on June 2. The link is
The Wesleyan participants attended the conference for different reasons, but
all hope to implement some of their new-gained knowledge at Wesleyan.
Lancefield attended the conference to hear the study’s results, and learn
from the diverse perspectives on various image-related topics.
“Findings reported at the conference may well affect the approaches and
tools we at Wesleyan use to deliver digital images, made here or elsewhere,
to students and faculty for use in the classroom and in other learning
contexts,” Lancefield says. “This defining focus on pedagogical use, rather
than the more common topic of image production, was the really exciting
aspect of the event. The conference and the study could have appreciable
effects on our thinking at Wesleyan.”
Gillispie says she gained some new insights into how faculty members are
using visual resources in their teaching, and how other schools are managing
personal and institutional collections of digital images. These ideas will
be put to the test in Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives. There,
more than 40,000 photographs of Wesleyan University and Middletown, and rare
illustrations, are available and could be digitized for academic use.
“The conference has encouraged me to think about how we in Special
Collections and Archives can work with faculty to encourage use of our
unique visual materials,” she says. “It was interesting to see how other
liberal arts institutions are managing collections of visual images, and how
they are using them to teach undergraduates.”