Category Archives: Education

Syllabi Tips & Tools, part 3: More Open Resources & Examples

Syllabi Tips & Tools: Images of syllabus examples and tools by Buffalo Syllabus, Radical Hope Syllabus, Matthew S. Henry, & Crypto Syllabus

In preparing part one (tools) and part two (strategies) of this series, I found many other resources that just didn’t quite fit in a nice tidy bundle. So here, in part three, I’m going to share some of those additional resources and tools, as well as some examples which range from achievable to awe-inspiring.

MORE ON STUDENT-CENTERED SYLLABI

“The learner-centered syllabus helps students navigate both the content and processes of a course by focusing on experiences the students will have, rather than what the instructor will do. Such a syllabus helps students understand the context and need for the course, how you personally approach it as a teacher, what the major expectations of the course will be, and how the course will unfold.”

Adapted by Northeastern U. from Grunert O’Brien, Millis, & Cohen (2008)

The concept of a student-centered or learner-centered syllabus is not a new idea. It’s sufficiently standard that many educational organizations and schools have created resources to support teachers in developing content in this conceptual approach. What I’ve been focusing on in this blog series is applying newer cognitive strategies and technologies to the challenge, specifically in the context of creating a syllabus.

If you haven’t already seen Open Pedagogy, a collaborative approach to rethinking how higher education is approached and its dependence on commercial resources, you might want to take a look. They originated with the Open Faculty Patchbook project, and have a resource introducing this concept: “Collaborative Syllabus Design: Students at the Center.” Quite a number of universities have developed resources encouraging their faculty to engage with these concepts, and I’m delighted that my alma mater is one with a particularly rich set of resources. Iowa State University offers “Creating an Inclusive & Learner-Centered Syllabus” and the shortform “Seven Steps to a Learner-Centered Syllabus” as part of their broader resources on “Creating an Inclusive Classroom.” CSUN in California has both a how-to guide, “Design a Learning-Centered Syllabus,” as well as the useful “Learning-Centered Syllabus Checklist & Samples.” UC San Diego, UNL, and Cornell offer focused introductions, with Cornell’s including a number of templates to help get started. I was particularly delighted with the article, “Constructing a Learner-Centered Syllabus: One Professor’s Journey” by Aaron S. Richmond, which walks through the process from beginning to end in a very thoughtful and practical approach.

OPEN SYLLABI COLLECTIONS

Screenshot of the Open Syllabus Galaxy viewer. This is a visualization of over a million separate items included in various academic syllabi sorted by frequency and topic. It looks like clouds of colored dust. The example shown is the title "Why is Central Paris Rich and Downtown Detroit Poor?" assigned on 38 syllabi.

Any discussion of open access syllabi must include the Open Syllabus Project, even though it doesn’t (yet) supply full syllabi as independent pieces. Instead, it allows you to browse the full entries of content referenced in over (as of today) 7,292,573 syllabi, along with the value-added information of how many syllabi cite any particular item. This allows you to explore both the best hits as well as the long tail. I love that they’ve also made their code available in GitHub, for others who might want to design subsets or spinoff projects.

Open Syllabus Project

What the Open Syllabus Project doesn’t do, as far as I know, is separate out which of the items cited are open access and which require subscriptions or purchase. For that, I’ve included a list of open educational resource discovery tools.

For collections of actual syllabi to explore, try these sources. I myself am particularly fond of FORRT, but maybe you aren’t as interested in science as other topics. Each of these collections, except Campus Compact, tend to focus on a specific discipline or domain, which I’ve tried to make clear in the list.

OPEN SYLLABI EXAMPLES

Screenshot of the Crypto Syllabus
The Crypto Syllabus

In the other parts of this blog series, I mentioned a few stand-out examples of the type of syllabus under discussion, but I found a lot more, and just wanted you to have a chance to skim through these as well.

Syllabi Tips & Tools, part 2: Strategies

Syllabi Tips & Tools. Images of syllabus examples and tools from Charleston Syllabus, Lynda Barry, Nick Sousanis, & Kayla Wheeler

The first post in this series focused on tools for creating classic syllabi from templates, and highlighted open source tools for this, especially in GitHub. New trends in syllabi creation are taking practices from open science and social media. Collaboration is the name of the game (collaborative pedagogy), along with multimedia, dynamic content, and transparency and openness (more on this last bit in part 3 of this series). These approaches are particularly relevant in light of the ever increasing financial costs associated with traditional textbooks and the new proposals from major textbook publishers to utilize NFTs as part of increasing profits from textbook resales as part of their strategy to phase out print textbooks.

New-ish strategies for approaching syllabi (because these have actually been around for a while) focus on fostering engagement through visual and graphic approaches as well as collaborations either with the students in the course, other faculty, or even the public. This can help lead course content toward similar strategies, such as open educational resources (OER), open textbooks, open science, Creative Commons licensed materials, YouTube and public-facing multimedia, student created content, student-centered learning, public domain content, and utilizing public libraries and open libraries in addition to your local academic library. While using these strategies for a syllabus isn’t the same as using them throughout the entire course, these can be ways to begin building skills and comfort toward applying these skills in a broader educational setting. These and other concepts are mentioned in ProfHacker’s post on Creative Approaches to the Syllabus; Beckie Supiano’s The Student-Centered Syllabus; and Hua Hsu’s A Celebration of the Syllabus.

Visual Syllabi

If I could give an award for visual syllabi, it would have to be a tie between Lynda Barry and Nick Sousanis.

Most of us won’t be able to create visual or graphic syllabi with the sheer visual impressiveness of either of these two professional comics artists, so lucky for us there are other approaches to making visual syllabi, such infographics and templates. There are descriptions of how to take your existing syllabus and redesign it as an infographic, as well as instructions for working with specific tools, such as Piktochart, Canva, LucidChart, Mural, Visme, and there are probably more like these. Several universities and schools have offered tips, templates, and guidelines for making these: U. Rhode Island is particularly rich, but you may want to also look at these examples from Leeward in Hawaii, Oregon State, and Memorial University. I want to include a few examples outside of strictly higher ed framing since there is so much creative work happening in other spaces as well. Just a small sampling Español III; Geography 3350a: Environmental Change; Philosophy Syllabus As Infographic; and SGPS 9500: The Theory & Practice of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. You might also be interested in this article by A. Kaur, “Dope Syllabus” examining the impact of a visual syllabus on students, for which the figures are available from ResearchGate. And here’s a free Creative Commons licensed course syllabus infographic template in Google Draw from Lit and Tech.

There are many reasons given for redesigning syllabi in a more visual format — increased interest in the content, visually engaging, using different parts of the brain and memory for increasing retention, encouraging students to actually read the syllabus, and more. Part of the goal is to save the teacher time by having fewer students asking questions for content that actually IS in the syllabus. Including a visual approach can help make a syllabus more accessible to students with some kinds of learning disabilities, but can also be less accessible to students with visual perception disabilities. Of course, if using color, one must also consider visual color-blindness as part of accessibility. There is no one size fits all, so consider trying different approaches, and keeping a text-only backup copy for those students who don’t benefit from graphics.

Collaborative Syllabi

What seems to be the most impactful form of syllabus collaboration for the faculty would be a toss up between partnering in public on discovering resources and developing course structures, and then collaborating with the students in the course. The #AnnotatedSyllabus trend really took off during the pandemic, with the biggest payoff coming from the actual student engagement. Put your syllabus in a Google Doc, and give the students permission to comment. Then step back out of the way while they answer each other’s questions. Doesn’t that sound appealing? Likewise, how frustrating is it for both teacher and student when the syllabus is updated, and people don’t notice the change? When the syllabus is a living document, and students are instructed from the beginning to check before beginning any assignment, that can also be powerful. Here’s a fabulous Twitter thread from the person who really kicked this idea into high gear.

Tracking the hashtag is another great way to pick up tips from all the faculty who’ve adopted this idea and watch them literally gushing over how much it’s improved their lives. Here’s another great tweet with myriad responses on how to use Google Doc syllabi to engage students, with more tips from Open Academics.

Twitter Hashtags for Syllabus Generation and Resource Discovery

Expanding on the collaborative approaches to syllabi creation, a trend the past few years is to create a hashtag for critical topics or emerging events, and collaboratively post resources on that topic as Twitter streams. What usually happens then is that a few people emerge as leaders, and will take on an official curatorial role in selecting, organizing, and compiling the content. The primo example of this was the Charleston Syllabus, which was actually published as a book from the University of Georgia Press. There have been a number of papers commenting on this concept (here’s one), and collections. I haven’t found any of these hashtag syllabi on science or medicine or related topics, but I would love to see, for example, a #LongCovidSyllabus or something like that. That said, here are a few I have found.

Syllabi Tips & Tools, part 1: Generators

Syllabi Tips & Tools: Images of syllabus examples & tools by Caleb McDaniel, GitHub, Bernhard Bieri, UM Engineering NEXUS

A few weeks ago Bryan Alexander, an educational futurist and UofM alum, posted on Twitter about a syllabus tool he’s found recently, as he often does. He preferentially posts about educational technologies and the future of higher education, so he’ll sometimes post links to syllabus tools, strategies, and syllabi he’s found online. (He posts a lot about games in education, too, but that’s for another post.)  Since I know folk on campus working on creating a prototype accessibility statement for faculty to use in their syllabi, I immediately asked Bryan if this tool (by Caleb McDaniel at Rice University) includes an accessibility statement, which led to a discussion, some exploration, and then I was off and scampering through a rabbit hole, leading to this blogpost.

McDaniel Syllabus Makers

Screenshot of the Generic Syllabus Maker by Caleb Daniels

The generic form of the Syllabus Maker asks you to put in temporal specifications for the course you are teaching (year, first day, last day, days of the week the course is meeting, preferred date format). It then generates a list of dates on which the course would meet. The professor would then need to add all the other syllabus content, and remove dates that appear on holidays. 

Screenshot of the Rice Syllabus Maker

The branded version of the Syllabus Maker has been customized for the specific school, in this case, Rice University. 

They provide links to the syllabus standards for their school: Required elements, sample statements, Title IX statement language, sexual misconduct statement, religious accommodation statement, Honor Code, Disability Services Statement / Accessibility Statement. They also offer the option for the faculty to fill in the same elements from the generic version, and then the professor has the option to download a template they can populate with content. 

“Fill out the form to receive a list of all the dates when your course will meet during the specified semester. Alternatively, you can download a syllabus template (in Word, LaTeX, or HTML formats) prepopulated with a class schedule and other required information (such as Honor Code and Disability Services statements). This application uses the academic calendars posted by the Registrar to determine when classes will be cancelled for holidays or University recesses.”

Now, the fun part. Caleb has made their source code available on GitHub, so other places can modify, adapt, fork, customize, etc. 

More Syllabus Generators

Curiosity may not kill the cat, but it certainly can lead to … a reallocation of one’s time? I discovered there are in GitHub, unsurprisingly, many other open source / open code syllabus creation tools, be they called a syllabus generator or maker or builder or template or creator. These have various levels of detail, may focus on specific topics or skills, or other contextual elements that modify their utility. 

There may be even more in the topic collections, if you browse deep enough. 

There are other open source toolkits beyond Github, such as this “Writing Your Syllabus” toolkit for the hardcore geeks on writing a syllabus in R, the programming language. There are also other schools which have created syllabus generators but may or may not share the code, and which often require a login from their own faculty to access the tools. 

I’m frankly surprised there aren’t more commercial syllabus generators, but I found a couple — ClioVis and Simple Syllabus (with Canvas).

UofM Hosted Syllabus Resources

After finding all these wonderful resources from other places, I wanted to know if there are similar tools or resources closer to home. This is what I found. Let me know if you find anything else!

IFTTT 101

IFTTT Screenshots: homepageIFTTT Screenshots: servicesIFTTT Screenshots: Grant Alerts

I’ve been asked about how I use IFTTT (IF This Then That). which is an app for connecting digital devices and streams in creative and interesting ways. Basically, it allows you to automate ways different tech things can talk to each other, or, as they describe it, ” helps your apps and devices work together in new ways.” Actually I think the real question was about how I use social media, broadly, but this was part of the question, and it’s way easier to answer, so I’m going to start here, with an overview of some interesting recipes, followed by how to find them, and how to make them.

ComputerWorld (2019): What is IFTTT? How to use If This, Then That services
With 11 million users running more than a billion applets a month, IFTTT hopes to become a service that connects pretty much everything — though some users say it still has room for improvement.

RECIPES AND APPLETS

These are some IFTTT recipes and applets that I either actually use, or wish maybe I could. (Hey, I can’t afford all those fancy-schmancy smart home devices!) These include things that streamline some of my work, help me keep up to date, manage my work-life balance, support accommodations for health issues and safety concerns, keep me in tune with hobbies and interests, and more!

Notice that there are often multiple recipes to accomplish what looks like the same task. These are usually made by different people. Sometimes they refine an earlier idea to make it better (like shifting from “remind me to drink water” to “remind me to drink water when I’m not asleep”!), sometimes not so much. If you forget you already have one recipe going for a task, you can end up with duplicate emails or Flickr posts or things like that. And be accused of spamming your Flickr followers. Sometimes you want to try both out to see which one works better. Some of the Instagram to Flickr recipes only work for one image at a time, or one a day, while others are more flexible and robust and will capture everything you do. There are dozens of recipes to help you remember to take your medicines or vitamins at a particular time of day. At least one of them will actually trigger your device to speak aloud to remind you! There are several to send alerts if there is a new clinical trial on diabetes, or asthma, or skin cancer, or …

You get the idea. The basic message is “BUYER” BEWARE. Test it out, try it out, and be prepared to turn it off if it doesn’t do what you expected. Also, watch for unexpected side effects. There have been the occasional report of an IFTTT recipe that, maybe, sends email AS you instead of TO you, just as an example. Another example was someone who used a device to automatically lock their door when they weren’t at home, set up a recipe to verify the door was locked if the door saw an unfamiliar face, then forgot about the recipe, and had trouble trying to UNLOCK the door when it didn’t recognize him. So you want to be careful. Also, just because I link to a recipe below doesn’t mean these have all been vetted or tested. These are examples of the kinds of things you can do with IFTTT, and I have tested SOME of those listed here.

Alert: Reminder to drink water every hour unless you’re asleep (I actually use this as a reminder to take a 3 minute exercise/movement break each hour)

Clinical Trials: Get an email when ClinicalTrials.gov publishes a new trigger or action

Grants: Get an email when there’s a new education-related grant
Grants: Get an email when there’s a new grant that mentions your state or city
Grants: Get an email when there’s a new health-related grant

IFTTT: Get an email when a new service is published on IFTTT

Instagram: Post your Instagram photos to Flickr

NASA: Get a notification when the International Space Station passes over your house
NASA: Receive NASA’s Image of the Day in your inbox
NASA: Did an astronaut exit space? Get a notification
NASA: Did an astronaut enter space? Get a notification

News: Get an email from the New York Times whenever there is breaking technology news
News: Get a weekly email digest of new Pew Research technology articles
News: Automatically tweet updates from Pew Research

Safety: Get yourself out of an awkward situation (International)
Safety: Google Home Find My Phone (“When you ask Google home to find your phone it turns the ringer to 100% and places a VOIP call through IFTT.”
Safety: Ok Google, call my device
Safety: Hey Alexa, call my device

Self-tracking: Log how much time you spend at specific locations like the office or home in a spreadsheet
Self-tracking: Track your work hours in Google Calendar
Self-tracking: When I buy a coffee, log calories to iOS Health

Smart Home: Call me if Roost detects a water leak
Smart Home: Turn on/off your lights with one tap on your phone
Smart Home: Turn on Smart Life device at sunset
Smart Home: Get your Hue Lights to colour loop when it’s Christmas

Twitter: If Twitter #HASHTAG, Then IF Notification

WHO: Get alerts if there’s a disease outbreak news from the World Health Organization

WUnderground: Rain tomorrow? Get a mobile notification
WUnderground: Get a notification and an email if there’s going to be snow tomorrow

YouTube: Add songs from videos you like to a Spotify playlist

Highlighted collections from IFTTT

DISCOVERY: Finding IFTTT Recipes to Meet Your Needs

How do you find these? I usually browse the “Discover” section of the IFTTT app, but I also search for keywords and browse other people’s recommendations. The metadata is dependent on the person who created the recipe, so the words in the title can be really weird sometimes. It helps to get really creative with related words.

IFTTT: Discover: https://ifttt.com/discover

The Ambient, Smart Home (2019): IFTTT essential guide: The best IFTTT Applets for your automated smart home

PC Magazine (2019): The 25 Best IFTTT Applets: If This Then That (IFTTT) integrates activities across your digital services and devices. Here are some of our favorite combinations, or applets.

ComputerWorld (2017): 41 cool and useful IFTTT applets: Want to automatically save articles you’ve liked on Twitter to Pocket? There’s an IFTTT applet for that – and for a lot of other things, too.

Trusted Reviews (2016): 35 amazingly useful IFTTT recipes to simplify your life

Lifehack (2013): 35 Super Useful IFTTT Recipes You Might Not Know About

DIY: Making Your Own IFTTT Recipe

The next question for me, and something I haven’t done yet, is, hmmm, what about all those journal alerts? And search strategies? Or Google News alerts? I wouldn’t want a phone alert for everything, but there might be some where I’d like to know. I can imagine that some of the faculty medical librarians support might like to have something set up for grants in their field, new publication alerts on the topic of their most recent systematic review, or even if someone cited their articles. I don’t know how hard it would be to do this, but I can certainly imagine that we might want to! So, here is an article about how to get started.

How to create an IFTTT recipe https://support.meshprj.com/hc/en-us/articles/213717818-How-to-create-an-IFTTT-recipe

We need YOU! Why Artists Should Make SOME of their Art Free (especially for #GraphicMedicine) #GM2019

Updated July 16, 2019, with livestream info, in-page section links, added a couple content links, corrected a couple typos.


Your Wikimania Needs You
File:Your Wikimania needs you!.jpg by John Cummings https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Your_Wikimania_needs_you!.jpg

Trust me, your Wikimania really DOES need you! And that’s what this post is about. I’m here to persuade you that it is worth it to YOU (and to the whole Graphic Medicine community) for artists and creators working in this space to share just one or two representative images of their work. Given that this is not happening right now, I’m sure the immediate reaction is something along the lines of, “Gee, I’d really like to, but, I just can’t.”, “I don’t get how this works, and I’m afraid if I start, people will take advantage of all of my work!” or, “OMG, NO WAY! If I do that, how will I EVER make any money?!? You don’t expect me to work for free, do you?!” Of course, not! This is actually about marketing and helping to draw increased attention to the entire field, which is something that will pay off for everyone. Here’s what I’m thinking. I’m drafting this out as a kind of an FAQ, based on questions that have come up in conversations I’ve been having about this.

QUESTIONS

ANSWERS

Why do I actually need Wikipedia to mention my work?

You’ve noticed when you do a search on just about anything, how in the top five results there is almost always a Wikipedia link? Yeah, that’s why. Also, this.

“Wikipedia averages more than 18 billion page views per month, making it one of the most visited websites in the world, according to Alexa.com, a Web tracking company owned by Amazon.” (Pew Internet, 2015)

If you want people to see your work, to find your work, to buy your work, it really helps if you show up in search results. The top fifteen most visited and most popular websites in 2019, according to SimilarWeb, are Google, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, [three porn sites], Twitter, Instagram, eBay, Reddit, Wikipedia, Bing, and Craigslist. You are probably already putting some of your content in some of these places, but that doesn’t mean it’s easily found. For comics (and by extension, graphic medicine content), YouTube isn’t the easiest way to show off what you’ve done. YouTube is the #2 search engine on the planet, and a great tool for reaching an audience, but making a video of a comic can be tricky. It’s not easy to search and find content in social media, and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seems sometimes to make it difficult on purpose. I could go on at length, but the short version is that Wikipedia is heavily used, and it feeds directly into Google, which is the #1 search engine on the planet. It’s a great way to be found.


So can’t I just make my own Wikipedia page, and put what I want on it?

No. No, you can’t. If you try, they will take it down. Why? Because YOU ARE BIASED about yourself. Go figure. Wikipedia has this policy about neutral content, and they take this extremely seriously.

That’s for you, but it matters also to Graphic Medicine as a field. If you are a big name in the Graphic Medicine field, you probably shouldn’t be editing content about graphic medicine for that same reason. You know all the answers, but you may insert bias into what is supposed to be neutral content.

Here are some tips from marketers (with DOs and DON’Ts) on how to not mess up using Wikipedia for promoting your content.

5 Things to Know Before Using Wikipedia as a Marketing Tool

How to Use Your Wikipedia Page as a Marketing Tool


Surely there’s plenty of graphic medicine stuff in Wikipedia already, right?

If you look in Wikipedia for content around graphic medicine, there’s some. Not a lot. What there is tends to be a little light on content. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually. I mean, how many international conferences have we had? If you look at Wikipedia, you really are going to have trouble telling that Graphic Medicine is a “thing,” that it’s important. We know it is, but how do we show the world that it is?

There’s a few of us who’ve been working hard to try to improve the Wikipedia content around the field of graphic medicine. This involves collaborations, finding partners, learning new skills, and spending time actually doing Wikipedia work. It means helping other people with their projects, and asking them to help with ours. It means proving that you understand Wikipedia’s editing rules and will follow them. It’s work. It’s not easy work. It’s not fast. We can’t do it without your help.

If you look at what graphic medicine content is in Wikipedia, you’ll find very VERY few pictures. Now, explain to me how we show people what our comics are about WITHOUT USING PICTURES? Aren’t pictures kind of the point in graphic medicine?


Why can’t Wikipedia just use my book covers from Amazon?

I wish. That would sure make life easier in some ways. I could just say that Wikipedia has rules saying we can’t do this (which is true), but it isn’t that simple. You see, they have the rules for very good reasons. Wikipedia is truly global resource, and intellectual property laws vary around the world. Even if the law here in the United States (where I am) said it would be fair use to use a picture of the book cover, that doesn’t mean the same is true in other countries.

Wikipedia has very good reasons why they make it a policy to try as hard as possible to only use images with public domain or Creative Commons licensing. Those images are legally safe to use in any country, anywhere around the world. So, your book covers on the publisher’s website? Those might be fair use, maybe, but in general, the idea is let’s not test that if we can avoid it. What they want most for images used in Wikipedia articles are those public domain and Creative Commons images.

“Because we want free content, ideally all images uploaded would be free for everyone, and therefore would be acceptable on our sister project, Wikimedia Commons. Images submitted to Commons are used the same way as images uploaded locally to Wikipedia and are automatically available on Wikipedia—as well as on hundreds of other Wikis run by the Wikimedia Foundation. If you have an image that meets our copyright requirements, please upload it to Commons.” Ten things you may not know about images on Wikipedia


Wikimedia Commons? What’s that? Are their rules different from Wikipedia’s?

What is this Wikimedia Commons? Just the most awesome databank of public domain and Creative Commons images in my experience, with full provenance for each image, sources, detailed information on how to cite that specific image, what kind of credit and attribution you need to provide, what limits are placed on what you can do with that image, and all that good stuff. They also provide images in multiple resolutions, sizes, and sometimes formats. Not just images either, but other kinds of media as well. But images you can find and use in your own art work isn’t why we’re here. Back on topic.

Yes, Wikimedia Commons has their own rules about what images are allowed, just like Wikipedia does. Here are Wikipedia’s rules and their style guide.

For the Commons, the short short version is that it’s okay to add either images you created or photographed yourself or images that are over 75-100 years old, with the extra guidelines that if the image is a photograph of a person, they expect you to get the permission of that person. More on that in a minute. Those are the rules for the images that are straightforward and likely to be legal for anywhere in the world, preferred images. There are grey areas in the rules for things that are sometimes okay (eg. low resolution versions of book covers), and there are types of images they really don’t want (eg. fair use). For the full details on what’s allowed and what isn’t, check the link to their rules. The most important bit to remember is you can upload your own images and decide the permissions for use.


Aren’t there other pictures you can use? You don’t really need mine, do you?

Nope, we really, really, REALLY need your help! Only YOU can share your images, and without examples of your images, how can Wikipedia editors say wonderful things about your work? I have personally searched through THOUSANDS of images in Wikimedia Commons looking for examples that we could use in some of the Graphic Medicine articles on Wikipedia. I found nine. Nine that might qualify. All of them are public domain, and all of them except four were created roughly 70 or more years before the phrase “graphic medicine” became a gleam in Ian‘s eye. Three of those are military, and one is only very superficially related.

Here, I’ll show you. All nine. Whoohoo!

First, here’s the first one that we could use. Wikimedia Commons includes the cover of “The Docs (2010),” publicized as Graphic Novel Helps Corpsmen Cope with Combat-related Stress.

The Docs, a graphic novel by the Naval Health Research Center.

Here’s the second relatively contemporary graphic medicine type of image, also from the US military (this time the Army), highlighting the adventures of “Captain Condom and Lady Latex” in a 1991 era educational comic to help prevent the spread of AIDS.

Shows two streetwise African-American superheroes protecting young men and women from militaristic villains.

Less contemporary (1966), we have a full page from the comic, “A Medal For Bowser,” illustrating the value of animals for research.

Full page from A MEDAL FOR BOWZER.

I’m going to go fast with the others, and just give you small versions of them, but I think you’ll get the idea. These pieces are more of a stretch, as far as being useful for communicating what’s going on in the world of graphic medicine now.

Woman in lab coat recommends self-amputation to a paitent. Cectic (2008)

Comic pokes fun at patent medicinesJudge Rummy (1926)

Jack Benny portrays a doctor selling patent medicines to the unwary.
Medicine Man (1930)

Alien jots notes about the experience of a bedridden human man. Mr Skygack (1907)

Two ladies feel better after soaking their feet in a purchased remedy for corns.Orator Woodward (1900)

A four frame illustration showing the delights and inappropriate humors of laughing gas. Laughing Gas (1800s)

There you go! That’s the visual world of graphic medicine according to Wikimedia Commons! (Unless we help change it.)


We’re only talking about pictures of my art, right? Not pictures of me?

That depends. Are you someone who might someday appear in a Wikipedia article? Yes? Then you might want to consider how you’d like to appear there. Here are the images used for two very influential graphic medicine artists and storytellers, Ellen Forney and Lucy Knisley.

Ellen ForneyLucy Knisley


You keep taking about “Public Domain” images and “Creative Commons” images. What’s the difference?

I’m over simplifying again, but public domain means anyone anywhere can do anything they want with an image. They can cut it, crop it, redraw it, recolor it, convert it into 3d, blend it with other images, make a collage, make a statue, snip out a tiny part and zoom into the details, ANYTHING. Creative Commons does NOT give people full rights to do anything. Creative Commons image licenses have several different types of license, and you get to make these choices. Here are some links to help describe better than I can what some of the issues are, and how making some images Creative Commons can be a brilliant idea, how it can help you as an artist, and how it makes it possible for you to help others.

What you didn’t know about Creative Commons: Creative Commons provides artists with access and raw materials. Big companies benefit too.

“No tool is better than the people”: CC artists in conversation on Collaboration, Community, and the Commons

Jomo Thompson: Is Creative Commons Good for Artists?

Why should I use a Creative Commons License?

How can artists who license their work under Creative Commons make money from their work?


If I make some images available for Wikipedia, what does that mean? Do I have any control over them?

This depends on what license you choose. Creative Commons, the organization, has helpful tools to support you choosing the right license for you, making a decision you are comfortable with. I’m guessing most published graphic medicine artists would want a license that tells people you have to use their name and give them credit for using their images. If you are making an image free, you might want to say that other people can’t use it for anything they sell, or that they can’t modify it at all. There are good reasons to say they can change, and good reasons to say they can’t. That’s a whole other blogpost (or a dozen).


What if someone decides to use the images for something else? Who else can use them, and how?

The short version is that once you make an image Creative Commons, ANYONE can use it. What you control is HOW they use it.

There are some licenses people choose that do say other people can not only use the image, but can change it. Of course, you want people to be able to talk about you and your work in Wikipedia. Having images there also means academics, teachers, scholars, researchers can write and teach about your work and publish about your work without having to get image rights for those images. Teachers can use the images in class, as examples for students, or integrate them in assignments. Other artists might include them in a collage or montage, or might do Andy Warhol-style mashups and manipulations. You can set limits on how far this goes. The most restrictive licenses say the image has to be used exactly as it was provided with no changes, and giving you all the credit each time it is used. They aren’t giving you money, but that’s the only thing they aren’t giving you. The most liberal licenses give people permission to mix and match and mash and generally use your image as a stepping stone to inspire new creativity. And there’s a lot of subtle steps in-between these two extremes.


Are there strategies for sharing images that can protect my copyrighted works and still get something in Wikipedia?

You betcha, but it might mean getting permission from your publisher (or employer, if it was a work for hire). This will depend on any contracts you might have with them, and what rights you’ve given to them. FYI, giving a publisher the rights to a work often means you no longer have those rights. It seems obvious when you say it like that, but it isn’t always obvious to creators that the pictures they drew no longer belong to them.

So, Wikipedia will only take small thumbnails of your book covers. If your publisher wants to have anything higher resolution show up there, you need their help. Another idea is to put in Wikimedia not the final version of an important image but an earlier sketch. You can redraw a scene more simply, or take a small excerpt from a large sketch. The idea is to make the picture different in some significant way from what was copyrighted, and to make this distinction. Of course, you can always use images that didn’t end up being included in the final work, or drawing something new.

If you are considering using an image that’s well known, be sure to check with a lawyer or your publisher/employer to make sure they are okay with your plans and the images you chose. Using a new image means you don’t need anyone else’s permission.

More Questions?

Do you have questions or concerns that I missed? That’s awesome! Add them in the comments or come next Saturday, July 20th, 2019, to an online AMA (Ask Me Anything) at noon Eastern Time. I’ll add the link here once I get the stream set up. Here’s the connection info!

To join the meeting on a computer or mobile phone: https://bluejeans.com/553249603

Connecting directly from a room system?

1.) Dial:
– 1-734-763-1841
– 199.48.152.152 or bjn.vc
2.) Enter the Meeting ID: 553249603

Just want to dial in?

1.) Dial:
+1 734 763 1841 (Last 5 digits from campus)
(US or Canada only)
+1.888.240.2560
International Callers (http://bluejeans.com/numbers)
2.) Enter the Meeting ID: 553249603

Want to test your video connection?
https://bluejeans.com/111

45 Graphic Memoirs and Graphic Novels on Social Justice Themes

Comics on Global & Social Justice

One of the debates in the Graphic Medicine community is whether or not social justice titles actually count. Some folk include them because they embody issues around what is currently referred to as “social determinants of health” or because they are of interest to the specific community they serve, while others suggest that with limited budgets and space, we should really focus on comics that explicitly touch directly on health, healthcare, and medicine. There’s a range, and for me, I tend to throw out a broad and inclusive net. Graphic novels and graphic memoirs which touch on social justice themes often can be of great value in empathy building or can serve as touchstones for challenging conversations around issues of access, inclusion, equity, and related topics as they touch on healthcare.

Today, the #medlibs Twitter chat focused on social justice. More on that.

Yesterday was the ALA webinar, “Libraries, Comics, & Superheroes of Color.” More on that.

Do you get the impression these ideas have been on my radar recently?

A couple weeks ago, Jeff Edelstein and I were asked for suggestions of graphic novels and graphic medicine titles along themes of social justice and global scholarship. I promised to collect our suggestions in a blogpost, so we can find them more easily in the future. Here we go!

The list of titles is alphabetical. The links for the titles are not to places you can buy them, but to reviews of the books. I tried to select the reviews from a variety of quirky and interesting places where you might want to browse to find more information on graphic novels or comics or social justice. Some of the books are about recent history or current events, others are more distant history. Some of them may not strike you immediately as ‘social justice’ but they all carry social justice elements and themes. I tried to select some which are well known and others which are not as well known. The purpose of the entire list is to try to direct you from this selected list to a vastly broader world of similar books out there waiting to be discovered. Trust me, there’s a lot more where these came from, and more stories waiting to emerge and waiting to be told. There are more links to extra resources at the end of the post.

TITLES

  1. American-Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang.
  2. The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir, by Riad Sattouf.
  3. Aya: Life in Yop City, by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie.
  4. The Best We Could Do, an Illustrated Memoir, by Thi Bui.
  5. Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu.
  6. Death Threat, by Vivek Shraya.
  7. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, by Don Brown.
  8. Far Tune: Autumn, by Eisele Bowman.
  9. HIROSHIMA, The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen, by Keiji Nakazawa.
  10. Hostage, by Guy Delisle.
  11. Illegal, by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, Giovanni Rigano.
  12. La Perdida, by Jessica Abel.
  13. Love is Love, by Marc Andreyko, Sarah Gaydos, Jamie S. Rich.
  14. March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell.
  15. Maus, by Art Spiegelman.
  16. The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic by Emma.
  17. My Brother’s Husband and Volume 2 by Gengoroh Tagame.
  18. Pashima by Nidhi Chanani.
  19. Persepolis (And Persepolis 2; or the complete edition), by Marjane Satrapi.
  20. The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan With Doctors Without Borders, by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre and Frédéric Lemercier.
  21. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, by Steve Sheinkin
  22. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas, by Jim Ottaviani.
  23. PTSD, by Guillaume Singelin.
  24. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle.
  25. Queer: A Graphic History, by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele.
  26. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson.
  27. A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities, by Mady G. and J.R. Zuckerberg.
  28. Radioactive, by Lauren Redniss.
  29. Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, by Sarah Glidden.
  30. Run For It: Stories Of Slaves Who Fought For Their Freedom, by Marcelo D’Salete.
  31. Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995, by Joe Sacco.
  32. Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, by Mary M. Talbot and Kate Charlesworth
  33. Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, by Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli.
  34. Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, by Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, Keith Chow, Jerry Ma, Jef Castro.
  35. Spiral Cage, by Al Davison
  36. They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei.
  37. Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking, by Anne Elizabeth Moore.
  38. Unterzakhn, by Leela Corman.
  39. The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees, by Don Brown.
  40. Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey, by GB Tran.
  41. Waltz With Bashir A Lebanon War Story, by Ari Folman and David Polonsky.
  42. Where We Live: A Benefit for the Survivors in Las Vegas, by J. H. Williams III and 150+ contributors.
  43. With Only Five Plums, by Terry Eisele.
  44. Your Black Friend and Other Strangers, by Ben Passmore.
  45. Zahra’s Paradise, by Amir and Khalil.

WANT MORE?

Resources from the University of Michigan

Transnational Comic Studies Workshop (TNCSW on Facebook)

UMich: Library Guide: Comics and Graphic Novels about the Civil Rights Movement

From Other Libraries

Indiana University, Southeast: Library Guides: Diversity in Graphic Novels and Comics

Seattle Library: Social Justice Graphic Novels

General Resources

**We Need Diverse Comics

Canadian Children’s Book Centre: Social Justice & Diversity Book Bank

The March Education Project.

National Council of Teachers of English. Diversity in Graphic Novels: Booklists.

Social Justice Books: Teaching for Change: Graphic Novels

Social Justice Book List, edited by Katherine Bassett, Brett Bigham, and Laurie Calvert. NNSTOY, 2017.

Teaching Tolerance: The Social Justice League (Toolkit).

Scholarly & Professional Publications on Social Justice in Comics

Bennett, Colette. A Comic Book Helped to Inspire the Civil Rights Movement. The Educator’s Room, August 7th, 2017.

Greenfield, David. Beyond Super Heroes and Talking Animals: Social Justice in Graphic Novels in Education. (Dissertation) Pepperdine University, December, 2017.

Hunter R. Comics As “Bibles” for Civil Rights Struggles. ACLU, 2014.

Irwin M, Moeller R. Seeing Different: Portrayals of Disability in Young Adult Graphic Novels. ALA School Library Research 13, 2010.

Moeller R, Becnel K. Drawing Diversity: Representations of Race in Graphic Novels for Young Adults. School Library Research Journal 21, February 2018.

Robbins M. Using Graphic Memoirs to Discuss Social Justice Issues in the Secondary Classroom ALAN v42n3

Wickner A. Teaching Social Justice With Comics. Education Week, September 5, 2013.

Popular Media & Blogs on Social Justice in Comics

Brave in the Attempt: SOCIAL JUSTICE LEARNING WITH THE X-MEN AND OTHER GRAPHIC NOVELS

Bustle: 10 Graphic Novels Written By Activists That You Need To Read Now More Than Ever

The Conscious Kid: 15 Diverse Graphic Novels for Middle Grade or Teen Readers

Huffington Post: 10 Compelling Graphic Memoirs that Will Make You a Devoted Fan of the Genre

Ouch Blog: With great power comes great disability

Paste: Beyond March: 10 Other Graphic Novels That Confront Prejudice

Planet Jinxatron: 7 Fantastic Graphic Novels About Politics, Race, and Activism

Tales from the Nerdy: Disabled or Mislabeled: Comics and Graphic Novels About Disabilities Bibliography

WE: The need for diversity in comic books

Roundup: On Accessible & Inclusive Conferences & Meetings

Accessible? Twist handle, then pull

I just returned from the annual meeting for the Medical Library Association, where multiple discussions arose around what would it look like to expand what is done to make the conference both accessible and inclusive. [Yes, the image at the head of this post is an actual photo from the actual meeting.] Just a couple weeks before that I was privileged to attend “Cripping” the Comic Con 2019 which was, by FAR, a truly exemplary model for how to create an inclusive event. (I’m hoping to write a second post about what blew my mind so much about CripCon!) Pretty much the same topic also arose in one of my Facebook groups, Teaching Disability Studies, where several of the resources mentioned here where shared.

Since my organization (UofM) has done some work in creating resources around this, and since I was on the original committee that created our resource, I volunteered to share that resource with MLA and put together a collection of selected resources related to this topic. The resources collected here are organized alphabetically within section (resources, readings) by either the author or providing organization. Organizations represented in the post include:
– ABA (American Bar Association)
– ACM SIGACCESS
– ADA National Network
– ASAN (Autism Self Advocacy Network)
– New York State
– Ohio State University
– Syracuse University
– University of Arizona
– University of British Columbia
– University of Michigan
– Vera Institute of Justice

RESOURCES

ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. Planning Accessible Meetings and Events, a Toolkit https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/mental_physical_disability/Accessible_Meetings_Toolkit.authcheckdam.pdf

You want to know what the lawyers think about what you should do? Well, start here. This 22 page PDF provides a number of thoughtful strategies to promote accessibility and inclusion in events, from working with attendees and presenters in an interactive way to plan the best possible event to post-event surveys designed to elicit information on accessibility improvements needed for future events. I’ve been working in disability spaces and communities most of my life, and they had suggestions that were new to me. I have some more work to do. This one is a must read.

ACM SIGACCESS. Accessible Conference Guide. https://www.sigaccess.org/welcome-to-sigaccess/resources/accessible-conference-guide/

It’s a bit amazing to me how each of these guides has something wonderful and necessary that I missed seeing or which wasn’t included in the other guides. This one includes discussions around making events safe for people with migraines, having drinking straws available, and where can a service dog relieve themselves with causing problems for the event. They point out that simply asking for a sign language translator doesn’t tell you which version of sign language the viewer needs, since there are regional and country variations which can be quite significant. They include example draft language for eliciting accommodation requests from attendees, registration, formatting your promotion material PDFs accessibly, and having a triage plan in case problems arise. This document is updated regularly, and this newest version was just updated a few weeks ago (April 2019). Note that they also have an Accessible Writing Guide and an Accessible Presentation Guide. Must read.

ADA National Network. A Planning Guide for Making Temporary Events Accessible to People With Disabilities. https://adata.org/publication/temporary-events-guide

Okay, this thing has chapters. I mean, CHAPTERS. That tells you something. In some ways, it’s almost too detailed. However, it also focuses almost exclusively on physical factors (venue, parking, toilets) and has very little on the interaction or experience. While this is highly detailed, the intended audience seems to be focused on government or community event planners, and not for professional events or conferences. This is more of a basic introduction to what is involved, and is intended for broad audiences. Also available as a 61 page PDF and a 119 page large print PDF.

ASAN: Planning Accessible and Inclusive Organizing Trainings: Strategies for Decreasing Barriers to Participation for People with I/DD https://autisticadvocacy.org/resources/accessibility/ PDF: https://autisticadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/White-Paper-Planning-Accessible-and-Inclusive-Organizing-Trainings.pdf

While several of the other resources listed here focus primarily on physical barriers to inclusion, this document is absolutely essential for those with sensory integration concerns or learning disabilities. It explains and describes the impacts of such factors as loud or unpredictable noise, motion, and other stimuli; unpredictable events; abstract or overly-complex language; speaking spontaneously (or putting people in situations where they are expected to improvise their reactions); body language; touch; and much more. It includes information on scheduling that describes the need for breaks, use of plain language content, color communication badges, and the risks to the audience of some popular presentation engagement strategies. This is the only of the resources listed here to richly describe the role of support persons in events. I doubt it would be possible to plan an inclusive event sensitive to any of these issues without, at a minimum, reading a document like this one, or being close to someone who shares these issues and concerns. A must read.

New York State, Department of Health: People First: How To Plan Events Everyone Can Attend https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/0956/

This is a lovely document which includes both high level thinking around accessible events as well as fairly detailed specifics. This is one of few of these types of resources that spends time on the importance of developing a formal policy with specifications for events, and has suggestions for approaching the development of a policy if your organization lacks one. It includes nitty-gritty suggestions, such as “Plan for 30% more meeting space when 10% or more of the participants will use mobility aids,” having ramps to the stages, and how to look for tripping hazards. Absolutely a must read. Also available as a 13-page PDF.

Ohio State University: Composing Access, An invitation to creating accessible events https://u.osu.edu/composingaccess/

Includes information on making accessible presentations, including live-streaming and handouts (when, why, and how), as well as the expected accessibility thoughts and practices for conference organizers. Includes resources; ways to encourage attendees to act as advocates for accessibility and inclusion; descriptions and videos for creative practices like interaction badges, quiet rooms, “crip time,” and more.

Syracuse University: A Guide to Planning Inclusive Events, Seminars, and Activities at Syracuse University http://sudcc.syr.edu/resources/event-guide.html

Available only as a 27 page accessible PDF. This exceptionally detailed resource is far too rich a resource to do justice to in a brief description. Syracuse is the home of Cripping the Comic Con, and it is clear that they have really put considerable time and thought into not only conceptualizing accessible events, but putting this into practice, seeking feedback, and learning from experience. It has four appendices, of which the most essential, to my mind, is Diane Wiener’s example introduction in Appendix B. In addition to the usual content (planning, venue, promotion, and presentation) this guide includes prudent practices for inclusive use of language, use of images and media, the role of environment (fragrance, sound/noise, lights, color), and much more. This is my own preferred go-to guide for starting with this. I guess that means I should mark it a must read, too.

University of Arizona: A Guide to Planning Accessible and Inclusive Events https://drc.arizona.edu/planning-events/guide-planning-accessible-and-inclusive-events

A short example of how to write a resource like this for a campus community. Includes a brief but helpful section on how to train event support staff.

University of British Columbia: Checklist for Accessible Event Planning https://equity.ok.ubc.ca/resources/checklist-for-accessible-event-planning/

Exactly what it says — a collection of terse reminders of what should be remembered. Includes roughly 60 entries in 7 categories (planning, marketing, transportation, space, programming, catering, final). Available as a 9 page PDF download.

University of Michigan: Ten Tips for Inclusive Meetings https://hr.umich.edu/working-u-m/workplace-improvement/office-institutional-equity/americans-disabilities-act-information/ten-tips-inclusive-meetings

This information in this resource is presented in a layered fashion for ease of access, action, and remembering, similar to the UBC checklist. The ten tips are very short, focusing on major areas to consider, but include links to richer information for those willing to explore more deeply. The design stresses retention and adoption of the concepts by making them easy to access and simple to remember. Main areas included are scheduling, accessible presentations, promotion, restrooms, food and drink, personal assistance, offsite participation, representation, transportation and navigation, and options for help for event planning and management.

Vera Institute for Justice: Designing Accessible Events for People with Disabilities and Deaf Individuals https://www.vera.org/publications/designing-accessible-events-for-people-with-disabilities-and-deaf-individuals

This isn’t a guide or a checklist. This is a toolkit, and boy, does it have a lot of different tools. They have several different tip sheets focusing on special aspects of meetings and events, from registration to budgeting, and including venues and how the meeting itself is handled. They even have a tip sheet for working with Sign Language Interpreters, and how to develop successful contracts with hotel management (which sounds worth its weight in gold). These aren’t one page tip sheets, though. The tip sheet for designing accessible registration is 7 page long. That’s a lot of tips. These are so well done that countless other disability organizations host copies on their own websites and recommend them for their own audiences and clients. These are another must read.

Additional resources & examples

ACS-ALA, Accessibility and Libraries, October 4, 2017. Rough edited CART copy (Webinar transcript). https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JIVc5-QcvBb74AitQXrnFfHReYk6nnKez3gR33llHvU/edit

ALA Annual: Accessibility https://2019.alaannual.org/general-information/accessibility

Inclusion BC: How-to Make Your Event More Inclusive https://inclusionbc.org/our-resources/how-to-make-your-event-more-inclusive-2/ PDF: https://inclusionbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Makeyoureventinclusive.pdf

NCCSD Clearinghouse and Resource Library: Inclusive Event Planning https://www.nccsdclearinghouse.org/inclusive-event-planning.html

WorldCon 76: https://www.worldcon76.org/member-services/accessibility

TO READ

This is a twitter thread from a few weeks back that “won Twitter,” as in it went viral, with 144 replies, 294 Retweets, and 1,562 Likes. It began with Alex Haagaard’s mention of their own accommodation requests at conferences, and resulted in a highly educational thread of accommodations people need or wish they could request at conferences. I recommend reading this thread for any conference planners or organizers.

MORE

“If part of what we train our students to do is enter into scholarly conversations, how we go about that conversation in our own professional settings matters.”
Accessibility at ASECS and Beyond: A Guest Post by Dr. Jason Farr and Dr. Travis Chi Wing Lau https://asecsgradcaucus.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/accessibility-at-asecs-and-beyond-a-guest-post-by-dr-jason-farr-and-dr-travis-chi-wing-lau/
Includes: “Toward a More Accessible Conference Presentation” https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xzGyfVlMRUwZMjuZ6mef87OXCIfN3uiW/view

“Use the microphone: this gets repeated dozens of times on Twitter every conference for at least the last five years. I guess I’ll just say: yes, abled people, using a microphone indicates that you are considerate of D/deaf and hard-of-hearing folks, and suggesting that others do is beneficial to the audience.”
S. Bryce Kozla. Accessibility and Conference Presentations https://brycekozlablog.blogspot.com/2018/01/accessibility-and-conference.html

“But I believe that losing my hearing was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. You see, I get to experience the world in a unique way. And I believe that these unique experiences that people with disabilities have is what’s going to help us make and design a better world for everyone — both for people with and without disabilities. … I stumbled upon a solution that I believe may be an even more powerful tool to solve some of the world’s greatest problems, disability or not. And that tool is called design thinking.”
When we design for disability, we all benefit | Elise Roy https://www.ted.com/talks/elise_roy_when_we_design_for_disability_we_all_benefit?language=en

Coding and tech comics & coloring books

First posted at https://michigan.it.umich.edu/news/2017/12/19/comics-coloring-books/


We are coming up quickly on the winter break, with families gathered and children out of school. With that in mind, it might be fun to have some some (slightly eccentric?) options for family activities and young folk distractions. Even better if these are options that promote learning, or just understanding more about what the old folks do with their days, eh? Here are a few highlights from my collections of (mostly free) comics, coloring books, and games around the world of geekery, coding, and tech. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something that tickles your own funny bone!

A FORTRAN Coloring Book

Coloring Books

The first coding coloring book I could find dates from 1978 — Roger Kaufman’s FORTRAN Coloring Book, actually published by MIT Press and used as a textbook, back in the day. I was tickled pink when I found it, in part because I remember by Dad coding in FORTRAN when I was a young thing. (Yes, I have a copy on paper in my office. Honest!) It is robustly humorous for actual coders, and probably not as much fun for kids today. It is, however, available in the fabulous Internet Archive (but you might have to wait your turn to get access, since it is still under copyright).

Another rather amusing tongue-in-cheek (optionally NSFW) geek coloring book comes from the infamous Oatmeal. Check out 404 Not Found (and 404 Not Found NSFW). Not free.

With coloring books about coding going back so many decades, I thought there must be more, and oh my, there are.

ABC++ [PDF] (free)

The Coder’s Coloring Book [PDF] (free)

Kevin’s Python Coding Coloring Book (usually around $7)

Lady Ada’s E is For Electronics Coloring Book [PDF] (free as PDF, or you can buy a copy for $9.95)
(You might want to see also Lady Ada’s R is for Robots, which is not free.)

Programmer’s coloring book (About) [PDF] (free)

The SELinux Coloring Book (Github) [PDF] (free)

Soldering is Easy (free, but no PDF, only individual page downloads)

The Imitation Game, by Jim Ottaviani

Comics, Graphic Novels, Zines, Etc.

– About Coding & Tech-

These include comix for kids and comix for pros, but even those for kids are so well done I get a giggle out of them.

BubbleSort Zines. (Includes zines like “Hip Hip Array!” as well as t-shirts and jewelry such as “BYTE ME!”) (not free)

Code Cartoons (such as A Cartoon Guide to Flux and more) (free)

Google Chrome comic by Scott McCloud (free)

Grokking Algorithms: An illustrated guide for programmers and other curious people (~$17 onAmazon)

Hello, Ruby (for ages 5 and up) (not free, but free stuff available for downloading at the site)

How DNS Works (start here) (free)

Linux comics, a small zine. Others from the same author include “Let’s Learn tcpdump,” “Spying on your programs with trace,” and “Networking! ACK!” (free)

What Makes a Clock Tick (free)

Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby (free)

– About Geekery Other Than Coding –

We are very lucky here to have Jim Ottaviani on campus as a hard core science geek who loves and loves to make comics. I could hardly talk about comics and coding without mentioning his collaboration with Leland Purvis, The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded! But there are more comics and graphic novels about coders, geeks, and the work and culture they love. This is just a few selected titles, not at all comprehensive (try searching cyberpunk graphic novels to see what I mean). [NOTE: These are mostly NOT free, but for sale at bookstores both analog and virtual.]

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (Pantheon Graphic Novels)

Tom Clohosy Cole’s Space Race

(And if this isn’t enough to keep people busy, you can always make your own, one way or another.)

Keeping Busy, the June Edition

I’ve been a tad overwhelmed for months now — major events, presentations, travel, etc. Lots of stuff to share, but as a quick overview, here are just a few of the Storify collections from recent events I livetweeted or attended or collected online. (I will be doing more blogposts on specific LARGE events for which I did several Storify, like the MLA Annual Meeting, or the Comics & Medicine Conference, or … and then also others from earlier this year). WordPress doesn’t like people to embed Storify links directly into the blogpost, so for each entry, I’ve embedded a tweet that has an embedded link to the Storify. This means, the easiest way to get to the good stuff is to click through.

June 7, 2017

The “Strategies to Empower Women” Symposium aims to close the historic gap that leaves females consistently behind their male counterparts in salaries, grant awards and opportunities for advancement. It was a really powerful event, and I was sad to miss the beginning of it. Making a Storify helped me find and read some of the early comments, even if I didn’t actually get to see the presenters.

“Strategies to Empower Women to Achieve Academic Success”

June 21, 2017

You need to look backwards to look forwards. You need that context of what happened and what worked and what failed to help inspire you to do something truly innovative. I was really delighted to hear Barbara MacAdam describe some of the evolution of library innovation on our campus through the lens of her own personal experiences.

“Barbara MacAdam on Library & Intellectual History at #UofM #UMich200”

June 24, 2017

Great Twitter conversation sponsored by the Journal of the American College of Radiologists on the topic of what is burnout among physicians and other healthcare workers, what does it look like, what do you do?

“Physician Burnout – #JACR June 2017 Chat”

June 26, 2017, AM

The Emergent Research series rarely has presenters from within the library, and rarely presenters who are not actually presenting research or data. In this case, the time slot was used to present really mission critical skills for researchers, faculty, and staff who work with data or concepts that should maybe not be completely public all the time to the whole world. They cast the conceptual net broadly, because, well, frankly speaking, these skills apply to everyone at the University, sooner or later.

“Digital Self-Defense (#MLibRes)”

June 26, 2017, PM

“The Evolving Bargain Between Research Universities and Society”

On D-Day, Exploring the Context of “As We May Think”

As We May Think (Cover)

During National Poetry Month (April), I thought it would be interesting to quote one of the poems published in the same issue of The Atlantic Monthly as the incredible essay, “As We May Think,” by Vannevar Bush.

“As We May Think” was required reading when I was in grad school, and it still it. This is a work that was truly seminal in shaping the origins of the Internet, hypertext, the Web, more. Provocative, inspirational, decades before its time. It’s online, easy to find, and it’s even open and free to the world. When I went looking for poems from the issue, though, that was not easy to find, much less free. I ended up having to request the print copy. Print. Really? You must be kidding me, but no, it’s true. It took me a month to believe I wasn’t going to find it online, and another few weeks for me to place the request for the print and find time to actually look at it.

You know what happens with print? You go looking for one thing, and find something else. You turn a page, and a picture catches your eye. You start to skim one article, but a beautiful word or phrase on the facing page distracts you. Before you know it, you are turning pages whether or not they have anything to do with your original question.

Let me tell you something about the issue of The Atlantic for July 1945. It was published less than a year after D-Day. It was published only a few months after the official end to the war. It was published when people first began to see, to believe, that World War II really was going to end, and stay done. It was the beginning of moving through the shock and trauma of the war, beginning to tell stories that couldn’t be born, that no one wants to remember.

When I first read “As We May Think” it seemed all shiny and glossy, this vision of what might someday become computers, personal assistants, ready flexible access to information. The dream that was so much bigger than people realized at the time, bigger than I realized when I read it in grad school. I had no idea that this was one essay of a larger series that The Atlantic was publishing on science and the war, no real idea of the world in which it was written. Sure, we studied WWII in school, read about the concentration camps, the war bonds, the atom bomb, the refugees, the destruction of historical treasures across Europe, the bombing of London, the evacuations, the debates in America about whether or not to enter the war, the American resistors who joined the war efforts in Europe early and were shunned as unpatriotic for the rest of their lives.

It never really came alive for me, though, in the way that it did when my computers broke this week and I went through the journal issue that contained Vannevar Bush’s essay. Some of what I found there:
– “paper bombs” as tools to influence thought
– Ad: advertisements on new technologies created for the war that had drastic impacts on food and home lives of civilians (from ice cream to oranges to vitamins)
– serious examinations of media reporters, “their reliability, their prejudices, and their mistakes”
– the role of propaganda on both sides of the conflict as obvious and visible even at the time
– first person reports of Buchenwald, shocking ghastly stories neglected from modern reports of the camps
– bitter heart-wrenching poems of soldiers from the fronts
– sweet stories of life back home, still edged with fatigue and loss and an undertone of the global anxieties, and stories of life with what we now call PTSD or depression or anxiety or others
– “Should Jews Return to Germany?”
– Ad: the misunderstood science that led to putting iodine in gasoline
– “Prithee, Little Book, Who Made Thee?”
– Ad: “Coal? Yes, indeed, it’s a big item in the drugstore!”
– Ad: “For the first time in history, a world without poverty and without war is technically possible. Whether we achieve it depends on how well we understand the ‘Economies Of Peace’.”
– book reviews of and advertisements for works by Henry James, Upton Sinclair, Thomas Mann, John Crowe Ransom, W. H. Auden, and other familiar names.

Somehow, “As We May Think” takes on a different flavor in the context of essays, and poems like this snippet from Sasserath, which resonate so very differently now than when they were written, that echo with limits and struggles that repeat now in some places and yet have become fictions in others.

“We who must live on substitutes for life,
The powdered egg, the dehydrated spud, …
Or learn the art of love with plastic limbs …”
“On Anodynes, by Simpson Sasserath, RT2/c

Reading and seeing “As We May Think” in the context of the series of which it was a part, similarly lends a depth that makes it seem even more extraordinary. The series was called, “A Scientist Looks at Tomorrow,” beginning in 1945 ad stretching to at least 1947. It included titles such as these:

– The Social Animal / Caryl P. Haskins
– Stars, Proteins, and Nations / Philippe Le Corbeiller
– A Design for Fighting / Harlow Shapley
– Penicillin, Plasma Fractionation, and the Physician / Dr. John F. Fulton
– A Physicist Returns from the War / I. I. Rabi
– Psychiatry and the Way / Big. Gen. William G. Menninger
– DDT and the Balance of Nature / V. B. Wigglesworth

I’m now curious to find them all, as a fascinating window into what was considered the cutting edge of emerging technologies in the mid-1940s. But the few sentences that resonated with me most closely came from a few months after the Bush essay, towards the end of the year, in an essay called, “The Return to Love,” by Rollo Walter Brown.

We can take our choice. If we do not believe that the awakening, the generosity, the loyalty, the warmth, expressed in love can transform the world into something more livable than what we now have, then we can take the alternative and believe that husbands and wives who cannot endure each other, neighbors who cannot endure each other, races who cannot endure each other, people who scoff at anyone who would make an improvement, can somehow, added together, constitute one world living in amity. We can wait among our raucous hatreds until somebody somewhere decides to enforce his special hatred with some super-super atomic bomb. That is something definite and “realistic.” But might we not have a more interesting world if we tried love?