Author Topic: I don't think it's great.  (Read 5620 times)

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Sirius

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2012, 03:11:38 PM »
A slightly different viewpoint:  The OP has said that s/he isn't too thrilled with the way things are going overall.  I think a little of that is leaking into his/her feelings about the banner.  I also agree with Art - pick your battles.

platypus109

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2012, 02:42:20 PM »

I have had some difficulties with this process in the past. I find that decisions are made regarding the course design that don't reflect the topic or content of the course and in some instances conflict with what I'm teaching.

(Edited to correct an editing error on my part.)

I wonder if faculty on every campus/university feel this way because I certainly share your pain.  Currently, my university is going through a mandatory review process.  We've had a hundred and one design/assessment changes thrown at us with little implementation time and no discussion as to why something needs to look this way even though a huge body of research says it should look this way.  :o

 If I was in your situation I'd probably send a brief e-mail letting the designer know I liked the banner and I've attached a picture that I think would work for the class.  I'm not even sure I would say the other picture didn't work or that I thought the other was more appropriate for the curriculum, I'd just treat everything like a work in progress situation.  If you don't already have an idea of a picture, perhaps there is  something you like that your department/program uses on a common syllabus and/or web site.  Using a shared image would also be a useful technique should the designer have issues (beyond legitimate technical issues) with changing the picture. 

Should you receive resistance that doesn't make sense with the curriculum, ask why the picture needs to be used and give them your justifications for your picture.  It helps me to remember that part of my job as the curriculum "manager" is design.

Ultimately, if it was my University they'd probably change it without saying anything or not change it without saying anything, really quite maddening.   Either way, if nothing happened with my first couple of inquiries  I would probably just decide how important it was to change, if I had other fires to put out and if I felt like letting it go would mean further, more important concessions down the road. 

 

Coley

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2012, 09:53:26 AM »
Platypus, thanks for your additional input. I hear you about changes being made in your courses without discussion. That is a frustrating situation, and we deal with it as well.

At my institution, there has been an effort over the past few years to ensure all the online courses have a similar look and feel. I can understand the value in that for the students. Banners are one of the requirements.

I worked on a different course redesign about 18 months ago, and the first banner that was created was not appropriate for the subject matter of the course. While it was superficially related to the topic, it contradicted the majority of the course content. I don't want to get into specifics, but it was an image that I felt uncomfortable promoting in rel@tionship to the course. At about the same time, the designer redid the course home page, and added colored backgrounds behind each item. By colored backgrounds, I mean multiple colors. There were green boxes, blue boxes, peach boxes, etc. all over the course home page. Many colored boxes. I'm in my 40s, and I found it distracting. The font color over the colored backgrounds (as ArtK mentioned above in his reply) did not provide enough contrast, and this problem also conflicted with some of the course content. In a nutshell, I wanted the course appearance to be a positive representation of the course material so it would serve as a model for students.

When I requested that the banner image be changed and that the colored backgrounds be deleted, I encountered resistance. Fixing a banner and removing the colored backgrounds takes more time. This was a frustration for the designer. If the designer was frustrated, then all I can say is that the frustration wouldn't occur if members of the team worked together on plans from the outset so that time would be spent productively.

I can understand a rule that all online courses must have a banner in order to make them homogeneous. That understanding falters a bit with the idea that all online courses can have just any banner so we can check the box and say that a banner was done. Really, there are some online history courses at my institution with glorious banners that do a beautiful job of visually communicating the topic of the course. I'm looking for the same kind of presentation for my course. If I'd had the opportunity to provide input, I would have told them that before they started the work.

My discomfort now is in telling the other two team members that the new banner does not communicate the course content in a meaningful way. I've received some good suggestions here, and I will follow them.

artk2002

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2012, 04:11:38 PM »
Ah. You've got a designer who thinks that their job is to produce a pretty picture, not to produce something relevant and usable. Sadly, that covers a great deal of web design these days. I'm hoping your designer at least avoids Comic Sans!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Coley

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2012, 08:20:07 PM »
Ah. You've got a designer who thinks that their job is to produce a pretty picture, not to produce something relevant and usable. Sadly, that covers a great deal of web design these days. I'm hoping your designer at least avoids Comic Sans!

Art, you are frighteningly close to the mark. Really. It might as well be Comic Sans!

athersgeo

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2012, 03:46:58 AM »
Ah. You've got a designer who thinks that their job is to produce a pretty picture, not to produce something relevant and usable. Sadly, that covers a great deal of web design these days. I'm hoping your designer at least avoids Comic Sans!

Art, you are frighteningly close to the mark. Really. It might as well be Comic Sans!

Ahh. That isn't a designer, that's a Design-ah. A designer is someone who is reasonable and amenable when you point out that the design they've come up with isn't user-friendly. A Design-ah frequently isn't. (I work as a web programmer, so I get to deal with designers and Design-ahs on a daily basis and consequently I have an entire three page monologue on the evils that the latter group can come up with...)

Coley, fingers crossed for you that you're able to get this sorted out.

Nuts&Makeup

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2012, 02:30:34 PM »
I was a GA in the office of our university which did the design and support of webpages for classes. For us, the course teacher always had the final say on what went on the page. It sounds like you don't have that control, but I don't think you should just roll over.

Others have said that you should pick your battles, but this hasn't even been a skirmish yet. Since you have found a picture you would rather use, go ahead and send it to the designer with the above mentioned message and see what happens. Could be that the designer will be happy to use it. Could be the designer will push back, then you can decide on how hard you want to push it.

bopper

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2012, 11:00:11 AM »
I agree...you can mention that you love the idea of a banner but was wondering if they could incorporate an image related to your class, for example (and then give examples).  Let them pick the actual image.

Now if they really fight you then you can decide whether or not to wage a battle, but you can at least ask.

RegionMom

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2012, 11:54:40 AM »
My kids go to a private high school, and each teacher's page has a picture or a problem to solve or a quote that relates to their courses.  you get a "feel" for each teacher from what they present on their page. 

Visual images are easy to remember.

I would want to be the teacher with a page that represents the course, the level of expectations, an image that implies, "This Is The Course.  Enter, and Learn!"

It is like a first impression. 

Telling the students, "well, I did not choose it myself" would be like telling them, "I have no authority."

yes, decide if this is a battle worth fighting.  I would test the waters, and weapons, and if it a go, GO for it!!
Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

Coley

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2012, 02:25:12 PM »
Thanks again, everyone. I've gotten some great input, and I appreciate it.  :)

mrkitty

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Re: I don't think it's great.
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2012, 02:35:18 PM »
This is exactly what you should say:

"It is a pretty photo with the title of the course splashed across it. But the photo has no connection to the content of my course. I have seen other courses with fabulous banners that have a direct connection to the course content. For example, a course on the Civil War might have a historic battle scene in the banner, or a biology course might have a photo of a microscope in the banner. I would prefer something that relates to my course. This is the first image students will see when they enter the course, so I hoped for something more pertinent to the topic."

This is your own description of the situation from the BG you posted in the beginning. This part here is what you should say. It's polite, professional and very, very reasonable to request this.
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