Call for Curriculum of Art/Science/Humanities

Kathryn Evans, Roger Malina and Eun Ah Lee of the ArtSciLab at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) are announcing the launch of CDASH 2.0, a new website for curriculum in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities.

The CDASH project is interested in the collection of a broad range of curriculum that combines the performing and visual arts (music, dance, theatre, film, visual arts and new media) and the sciences. Of most particular interest are curriculum submissions of in-person, on-line and hybrid blended courses taught during formal graduate, undergraduate, primary/secondary and informal education.

This new website allows teachers and professors to easily enter the details of their course(s). Users must register and create a login before submitting a course and those who submit syllabi will gain entry to the Cloud Curriculum, where they have access to view/download other syllabi, find resources, and participate in on-line discussions and projects.

Please submit your course today!
For more information, contact us at cdash@utdallas.edu.

 

 

Our international collaborators are Robert Root-Bernstein (Univ. of Michigan, USA), Paul Thomas (Univ. of New South Wales, Australia), Annick Bureaud (OLATS, France), Lucinda Presley (Innovation Collaborative, USA), Meredith Tromble (San Francisco Art Institute, USA), Julia Buntaine (Rutgers Univ and Exec. Ed., ScuArt Magazine, USA), Jane Prophet ( Univ. of London, UK), Laurie Baefsky (Exec. Editor, A2RU, Univ. of Michigan, USA), Joao Silveira (Univ. Fed. do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Alex Garcia-Topete (UTD, USA and Mexico), Yvan Tina (UTD, USA and France), and Sharath Chandra Ram (UTD, USA and Bangalore).

 

This project is co-sponsored by The ArtSciLab at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), the UTD School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, and The UTD Center for Teaching and Learning.

 

Newest Lab Member’s Summer Experience

Editor’s Note: Freshman JoAnn Nguyen recently joined the ArtSciLab in an ongoing project role- but her first experience working with us was last summer through the Clark Scholars Program. Read on below to hear JoAnn’s first-hand account of her summer experience. Sound interesting? Contact us about opportunities for Summer 2018.

My first day of summer had nothing to do with my regular summer routine of binge watching Netflix on my living room couch while eating an obscene amount of unhealthy food. Instead, spent it at UT Dallas two and a half months before officially began college. I and 27 other Clark Research Scholars had signed away nine weeks of our summer break to begin research on campus.

My summer home away from home

This summer, I started interning for the ArtSciLab located in the ATEC (Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communications) building at UT Dallas and it was nothing like any other jobs I had before. I am an upcoming business student that has a knack for learning about computers and experience with sculptural art so being assigned to work for the ArtSciLab was a good fit for my background.

The first week I started interning I explored the posh looking lab and got caught up with what projects the lab was working on such as ARTECA and Creative Disturbance. After meeting Professor Cassini Nazir and Emma Newkirk, the lab manager, I was assigned to work on CDASH, Curriculum Development in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities. The website is run by Dr. Kathryn Evans and is intended to display interdisciplinary courses globally that cross between the disciplines of art and science. As more and more professors became interested in the site, Katheryn realized there was a need to update the current webpage. I was assigned to redevelop the site which required utilizing WordPress, a website development tool, and implicating the elements of user experience to increase the site’s usability.

At first I was utterly lost. Although I had a bit of knowledge in java and design, web design was something completely new and I was scrambling around to find anything I could understand. It was daunting thinking about where to even start but luckily my professor stepped in to guide me through the process. I had so many questions throughout the CDASH project –  from making a prototype to using WordPress and HTML and every time he answered all of them patiently and with genuinely. I was lucky to be working in the lab during the summer when my professor had more free time to answer any of my concerns. Before weekly CDASH meetings Professor Cassini made sure I was prepared and that I wasn’t left astray and it was nice knowing that I had someone to reach out to when I was utterly lost.

As the summer progressed I was making progress. I created a prototype and a content map for the site and presented it at a meeting with the CDASH team and both helped with planning out the development of the site. Things were moving at a fast pace and I was trying to hold on. By the end of the summer I had created a basic website that could be expanded and core functionality. The site is still being in development and I have hopes that it will be up and running by the spring semester.

Although my summer was mostly about developing a website for the lab there were other things I got to participate in. NAEA, National Art Education Association, held its annual meeting in the ATEC building this summer and I got to volunteer with Emma. I witness the principles of design being implemented and talked to art educators across the nation. I even ran into Debra Moore who is part of the Edith O’Donnell Foundation that had hosted an exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art that I was a part of. I also got the opportunity to sit in at a lunch meeting with local business leaders that were part of a group called XD Leadership Alliance and I would have never gotten these opportunities to be exposed to the professional world had I not been interning in the lab this summer.

Overall my experience in the ArtSciLab was a great experience. The biggest lesson I learned is that there are so many ways to solve a problem and for the first time in my life there isn’t a set right answer. Creating the CDASH website was challenging at times but it was worth knowing that I was learning and contributing to something.

 

About the author

JoAnn is an undergraduate student studying Finance and Marketing at the University of Texas at Dallas.  She interned at the ArtSciLab during the Summer of 2017 as a web developer for CDASH.

 

 

 

New Website for Curriculum Development in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities

We are excited to announce the launch of CDASH 2.0! 

Project leads Kathryn Evans, Roger Malina, and Eun Ah Lee are pleased to announce the re-launch of our 2012 project studying Curriculum Development in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities at cdash.atec.io.

Leonardo Executive Editor Roger Malina and  UT Dallas faculty member Kathryn Evans are inventorying examples of courses and curricula that are in the art-science–humanities field such as courses on art and biology, music and mathematics, art and chemistry, dance and environmental sciences, etc. The re-launched CDASH inventory includes over 120 courses. We are seeking courses at the graduate, undergraduate and primary/secondary level.

Individuals who have taught an art-science-humanities course at the university or secondary-school level, in formal or informal settings, are invited to submit their course on our new CDASH website.

After you log in or register, you may submit you course through an easy-to-complete form.  Those who submit syllabi will have access to the Cloud Curriculum portion of the site, where they can access other syllabi and resource material.

We are interested in the broad range of curriculum that combines the performing and visual arts (music, dance, theatre, film, visual arts and new media) and the sciences. We are looking for submissions of in-person, on-line and hybrid blended courses.

Our new website allows you to easily enter your course and all the relevant details.  Please log in or register before you submit your course. You may also access the other areas of the site. Those who submit syllabi will be admitted to the Cloud Curriculum, where you can download other syllabi and resources.

This project is co-sponsored by The ArtSciLab at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD),  the UTD School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication , and The UTD Center for Teaching and Learning.

For more information, contact us at cdash@utdallas.edu.

Usability Engineering: Improving ARTECA Experience

I work as a UX designer and developer on the ARTECA project from the ArtSciLab.  Every day, I get to think about how to improve the ARTECA interface for our users.  One of the primary ways our team collects feedback from our users is through usability tests, which are run by fellow UX designer Shruthy Sreepathy and myself.  Every month, we bring in someone who has never seen ARTECA before and ask them to navigate through the site, following a set of assigned tasks.  Every time we run this process we discover new potential for improvements.

Recently, I decided to add something new to our usual procedure of testing.  To achieve a better understanding of how our navigation bar elements should be placed, I designed an activity with the purpose of understanding which layout for the navigation bar makes the most sense.

I created a printout on an 11 x 17 inch piece of paper with the basic skeleton of the page (top navigation bar, main navigation bar, main content), but with none of the navigation elements.  For these elements, Shruthy wrote out the names of the links and other navigation items on small, button shaped sticky notes.

After the main portion of the usability test, we closed the browser window and presented our subject with the 11 x 17 printout and the stickies in no order.  With no instructions or other reference, we asked the subject to place the stickies to assemble navigation on the web page that made the most sense to him.  During this process, the subject narrated his thoughts and explained his placement of the different navigation elements.

After running this activity two times, we noticed several patterns that emerged.  Both users expected to see the “Login” and “Register” buttons on the right side of the navigation, which is different than the current navigation which places these buttons on the left side.  Also, both users did not understand the difference between the “Join” functionality and “Register”.  These insights will inform our future designs for the navigation bar.

This activity is one example of a co-creation activity, where the designers work with users to craft designs.  Co-creation activities are a great way to explore how a user thinks, and they are also a lot of fun for us and the user.  Our results are just one data point but we hope to expand this activity and other co-creation activities to gain a richer body of insights for improving our site.  Sound interesting? Sign up here to be part of a future usability test.

Interdisciplinary Literature Come Together in ATEC Lab’s New Online Reading Platform

For scholarly work that exists outside the realm of traditional peer-reviewed journals, outlets for getting research recognized and read can be few and far between.

To overcome this challenge, the ArtSciLab, UT Dallas’ transdisciplinary research lab, recently launched ARTECA. The new online reading platform will serve as a curated space for academic literature at the intersection of the arts, humanities, science and technology.

A collaborative effort between the ArtSciLab, the MIT Press and the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST), ARTECA includes an expanding collection of more than 200 books and access to three MIT Press journals.

“The ArtSciLab seeks to be a pioneer in the field of experimental publishing. We hope to probe, test and experiment with new ways for professionals to document their work and show it to others,” said Dr. Roger Malina, Arts and Technology Distinguished Chair and director of the lab. “ARTECA provides a way for us to ‘beta test’ the future for the art-science-technology community.”

Malina said the aim is for ARTECA to enable new collaborative practices within transdisciplinary social communities, an idea he embodies as a physicist and astronomer working in the arts.

Chaz Lilly BA’11, MA’15, a research assistant for the project and a doctoral candidate in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC), said the aggregator was modeled after MIT CogNet, a similar MIT Press platform that consolidates literature in the brain and cognitive sciences.

“There are a lot of issues in how we disseminate research in academia,” Lilly said. “We live in a digital world where online research and publishing is an immediate resource, but a lot of it doesn’t reach its audience without an access point.”

With CogNet, the MIT Press developed a platform that facilitates access to more than 700 books, six journals and 13 reference works, and subscriptions from more than 100 academic institutions. The hope is to re-create its success with ARTECA.

“We’re thrilled to be working with ISAST and The University of Texas at Dallas to expand the dimensions of scholarly publishing in the art, science and technology space,” said Nick Lindsay, journals director for the MIT Press. “The Press has a long-established history of bold experimentation in publishing, and ARTECA fits that tradition perfectly.”

While the site only houses books and journal issues, subsequent phases will introduce increasingly experimental resources such as podcasts, multimedia-based materials, a job board and online textbooks for massive open online courses.

The subscription-based platform has been made available at no cost to UT Dallas students and faculty linked to the campus network. Remote access is needed to use the resource off campus.

“With ARTECA, we are experimenting with a hybrid open access and paywall system,” Malina said. “Professionals who contribute to the content and quality of ARTECA will have open access.”

Malina said that authors who prefer to pay author fees and have their articles accessible via open access may do so. Other faculty and students will have access by subscribing to institutions’ libraries.

“We will also be developing functions and tools to promote and enable transdisciplinary collaboration,” Malina said.

 

UX Design Marks Its Spot as Growing Career Path for ATEC Students

From Dell Technologies to Capital One, companies that rely on the use of intuitive customer experiences are finding a wealth of talented designers among students and alumni from the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication at UT Dallas.

Cassini Nazir, clinical associate professor in the arts and technology program and director of design and research for the ArtSciLab, trains students in user experience design. “If businesses exist in a digital space — be it a website, app, digital kiosk — they need to invest in good design,” he said.

Cassini Nazir, clinical associate professor in the arts and technology program and director of design and research for the ArtSciLab, trains students in user experience design. “If businesses exist in a digital space — be it a website, app, digital kiosk — they need to invest in good design,” he said.

The ArtSciLab — the school’s transdisciplinary research lab focused on the intersection of art and science — is immersing students into the field of user experience, or UX, design.

Cassini Nazir, professor in the arts and technology (ATEC) program and director of design and research for the lab, said UT Dallas is emerging as a leader in UX education in North Texas.

“There’s a growing trend in more courses focused on user experience (UX) design and interaction design at colleges across the nation,” he said. “Many of these concepts have come out of human computer interaction concepts, but design research and UX have really emerged as disciplines in their own right. Industry has helped by investing in design researchers and user experience designers in their spaces.”

Nazir said more companies, both established and startup, are employing a design-centric ethos, cognizant of the role UX plays in customer relations.

The Design Value Index — an evolving metric that tracks the value of companies that meet specific design-related criteria — showed in 2014 that 15 design-driven companies had outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index by 228 percent over 10 years.

Several enterprise-level companies such as Intuit and Sabre want to work with the ATEC program to recruit talent, he said.

“UTD has really benefited from it because there’s a boom of businesses setting up offices in Dallas,” said Nazir, who is part of the Dallas Design Council. “Many of those companies have been hiring teams of designers, and we’ve been successful in filling those needs.”

Clear Line to Job Opportunities

Emerging media and communication senior Lina Moon was selected to be a part of Capital One's inaugural Design Development Program, where she will spend two years learning about different fields such as interaction design and coding.

Emerging media and communication senior Lina Moon was selected to be a part of Capital One’s inaugural Design Development Program, where she will spend two years learning about different fields such as interaction design and coding.

 The lab has had students move into design positions at companies such as Sabre, Cisco Systems, AT&T, Siemens, General Motors, Fossil and J.C. Penney.

Debi Terry Ndindjock BA’13, a digital experience designer at Dell, first gained an interest in UX design while taking the interaction design course as a sophomore.

Ndindjock considered herself as purely a graphic designer, but she said she was intrigued by the psychological aspects of design, realizing UX design merges the two concepts.

“The turning point was when (design consultant) Stephen Anderson visited our class and spoke about his work,” she said. “I knew that was what I wanted to do. Since it is a relatively new field, we get a part in defining the industry as a whole.

“UX design requires such varied skills and education: visual design, writing, research and technology. You get to get in where you fit in.”

Cathryn Ploehn BA’14 said the same course — taught by Nazir — also propelled her into the field. Ploehn also served as designer for the ArtSciLab.

“Cassini’s enthusiasm was a gateway to taking further related courses, and finally a capstone in UX,” she said. “The application of the concept of empathy to design and development captivated me.”

Ploehn, who manages UX design problems and data visualization for Visionist Inc., said that developing a sense of empathy is fundamental to what makes user experiences successful.

“Really listen to what a person says to you both inside and outside of a user research setting,” she said. “Try to feel what it is like to be somebody else. Practice by exposing yourself to points of view beyond your comfort zone.”

For senior and UX Club president Lina Moon, there wasn’t an aha moment that led to an interest in UX design.

“I think being part of the UX Club as an officer and working in the ArtSciLab really gave me the confidence to pursue the field further, as it gave me a good support network and provided me access to more collective knowledge,” Moon said.

In July, Moon started a full-time position with Capital One’s inaugural Design Development Program.

The two-year program pairs students and recent graduates with a mentor who guides new associates through different fields such as interaction design and coding.

The growing demand for UX designers can be attributed, at least in part, to the growing demands of consumers of digital products. Nazir said designers often play the role of customer lobbyist, researching and voicing the needs of consumers to their business.

“Audience expectations of what constitutes a good experience are now much higher than they were in the past,” he said. “If businesses exist in a digital space — be it a website, app, digital kiosk — they need to invest in good design.”