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Multimedia Competition Site

Working in the graphics field, I get involved in many competitions that showcase student learning in sports-like contests. The Annual Citywide Graphic Arts Competition has categories for Digital Photography, Desktop Publishing & Design, Web Site Design, Powerpoint Presentation, Student Filmmaking and Digital Video Production. Other programs test Print Catalog Design and Production, eCommerce Web Site Development and Graphic Identity Programs. Judges are drawn from the relevant industries, expert practitioners and post-secondary faculties.

My project starts small and ramps up:

  1. Secure on-line submission in all the different formats
  2. Anonymized entrants and judges to preserve classroom confidentiality
  3. On-line summative judging with numeric ratings against rubrics
  4. Judges’ text comments for better feedback
  5. Peer comments, public comments and “people’s choice” winners
  6. Teacher-led reviews of competitive work
  7. On-line formative assessments before the final submission deadline
  8. Generalized facility usable throughout NYC DOE, the world

I’ve begun sketching this in Drupal which gives me multi-user security but is too damned hard for casual users. The judges’ dashboard might have to be hard-coded with framesets to make a better UX.  Some file loads — video, catalog PDFs, web sites — might choke some judges’ PCs.

Today a lot of the judging is done manually from emailed and FTPed files, printouts and suitcases full of submissions lugged around town. Doing it on-line broadens the pool of judges and gets more industry people — local and remote — involved in school work. Judges’ comments would help kids understand their results. Peer comments and (limited) public access would open the process to the larger learning community. Teachers could critique their own curricular results. Formative assessment during the competition could be a powerful teaching tool. If it works once, it could be used widely in design-oriented competitions.

Posted in Project Concepts.


One Response

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  1. Christopher Stein says

    Why
    I was a little uncertain of this one from your description. Is this needed because the current competition processes are broken, or because more are needed or what? So a little more on what the problem is with the status quo, and how it ties into teaching and learning.

    Also could this competition site idea be used in a non-traditional way? For example instead of a competition for prizes (zero sum winner takes all), could it be used as a way to share and showcase work across sections of a particular course or among students in a major. Something like this might also be easier to organize at first.

    What
    This part is pretty clear to me. It sounds ambitious but you’ve also got started on it. Perhaps it would be good to take the 8 items you listed and group or rank them in terms of what is essential vs nice-to-have

    Who
    So you have students, faculty and judges. And I’m also understanding that for now at least it will be limited to graphics students.

    Are you going to open this up to any student who wants to submit or are you going to ask certain professors to have their classes submit…?

    Where
    On line is where it’s at and it makes sense for this project.

    How
    You mentioned Drupal and it’s a pretty flexible tool and as you mentioned can be complex. It seems like it’s best to either start with what you know or if there is something that has much of the functionality you want, then extending that. The parts that seem to present the most difficulty from a programming perspective is to keep track of the judging with rubrics (and keep it anonymous), and to combine this with all of the other kinds of feedback (teacher, peer, public comments). Again perhaps limiting the scope at first by using the same basic idea but moving away from a standard judged competition with all of the different players may make the first iteration easier to get under your belt. This also goes back to the why. Is it the competition that’s helpful for students, the feedback, the chance to compare work to others…

    I figure uploading large files may be a problem for the app and I found this that might help: http://www.plupload.com/index.php (even has a wordpress plugin)

    Let us know more about this part and if you would like any more suggestions.



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