Archive for March, 2010

Explorations in Digication

The College is experimenting with e-portfolio programs to see how we can integrate such technologies into our assessment and teaching. Several faculty volunteered their time and attention to working with Digication and TaskStream in their courses this semester. Each faculty member took a different approach:

  • for students to create “personal spaces” to document upload work in progress
  • as a tool for faculty to post and update an online CV
  • for course assignments and assessment (as part of curriculum)

I used Digication to create a website as a marketing tool for the College of Fine + Applied Arts. I posted curriculum and student work—thinking that the primary audience would be parents of prospective students.

The site isn’t complete, but it gives a good sampling of the work being produced in the Graphic Design Major, with a brief project description for each assignment. Link to come when most of the site is built out.

Pros with Digication:

  • easy and intuitive to use
  • clean interface, modules make sense
  • non-threatening for “technophobes” or novice users
  • populating modules with content is quick and easy

The site in it’s current state took about a full week to create—but that includes finding images, sizing, writing, etc. I spent about an hour one evening playing with the CMS before actually making anything… the learning curve is small (if not non-existent).

Cons with Digication:

  • experienced users don’t have access to the html code
  • no themes to choose from
  • navigation is not customizable / no additional visual options for navigation
  • portfolio thumbnails simply stack on top of one-another in multiple rows (rather than have the ability to scroll across a single row)
  • top navigation can get “messy”—if the user has a lot of categories in the main navigation, it makes another line of text, stacking on itself
  • all modules have a “save” function… however, an additional step of clicking “publish all” is necessary. I lost a lot of written content because I kept forgetting this extra step.

My biggest complaint with Digication is the customization is so simplified it allows no middle ground for an experienced user. I wanted to alter the spacing and fonts for the main and sidebar navigation, and it’s simply not possible. Furthermore, navigation is styled as links, not buttons. (There should be a choice, and the option to upload one’s own designs).

Additionally, the portfolio module does not have scrolling thumbnails. For instance—if you have 20 thumbnails, guess what folks—you see all 20 thumbnails on screen at once. Not an efficient use of screen space, and it clutters the screen.

For what it is, Digication has the potential to be a great tool for documentation of achievement for both faculty and students. It allows novice users to post content easily and frequently. I foresee students using it to maintain a digital process book for my courses each semester (whereas now they keep a multitude of sketchbooks and binders).


March 28, 2010 at 4:46 am Leave a comment

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