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Incorporating the University Lecture Series into your Signature Course

FALL 2011

Prof. Hall’s Signature Course looks at how maps and visualizations are used to help make sense of complex issues, and at how maps (of all kinds) employ codes and rhetorical methods to communicate and persuade. Since a good way to understand how maps work is to make maps, he asked the students—who are not artists or designers—to create “concept maps” of the central ideas in one of the University Lecture Series lectures. Prof. Hall’s University Lecture Series assignment is listed below:

Map 1 – Concept map assignment
Due Date: Sept 15

Format: 11×17-inch sheet (minimum), hand-drawn, collage or digitally composed.
Include your name on bottom right.

  • Attend one or both of the University lecture series lectures on September 12 & 13 (details below)
  • Make a rough concept map of the central ideas in the lecture, noting the structure (logos).
  • Review the methods used by Cognitive Media and Robert Horn (URLs below)
  • Develop the rough concept map into a refined version, including illustrations for emphasis and clarity.
  • Present this concept map in class on Sept 15 (ART3.433).

Reference Links:

As you’ll see from the examples below, students gave full, thorough and energetic verbal accounts of the lectures, and explained how they tried to convey the key points in their concept maps. When quizzed about what they learned, several students agreed that it (a) helped them focus because they knew they’d have to relay what they’d heard and (b) that it encouraged them to focus on the rhetorical strategies and structure of the lectures. Prof. Hall discussed the maps in a critique setting (the design and architecture studio method for generating constructive feedback on design prototypes), which helped him introduce notions like visual clarity, hierarchy and the functional uses of color in diagrams.