Presentations/Panels

2015

Visiting Artist and Presenter Console Living Room Exhibition, University of Mary Washington, April 12-15, 2015

For the Console Living Room exhibit at the University of Mary Washington, April 2015, a 16 hour TV broadcast accurate to the 1980s was produced. Using a Raspberry Pi and a 5 milliwatt TV transmitter, a Friday daytime and evening 1984 television line-up for CBS with period specific advertising was broadcast over 615.25 MHz (UHF channel 38). Blog Post.

Presentation I Grok GIF: An Immersion in the Art and Language of the Animated GIF

They are a dancing banana, a moment in a Stanley Kubrick film, a reaction that says how you feel, and a near miss death defying experience – all repeated endlessly. Sometimes they pause to let you reflect on a moment and sometimes they they move so fast and brightly, they come with seizure warnings. They are bits of internet ephemera shared a million times over in dozens of social media networks and they are an emergent art form selling for real money. They are 256 colors per frame. They are animated GIFs.

Web artist and GIF evangelist, Michael Branson Smith gives an overview of the art, history and spirit  of the 28 year old and yet forever young (and looping) Graphics Interchange Format. Bring your cameras, laptops and smart phones so that you too can ‘merge, blend, intermarry, and lose your identity in the GIF experience.

2014

The Education Arcade CUNY Games Festival, CUNY Graduate Center, January 17, 2014

Pre-service teacher education students were introduced to game design through the analysis of electro-mechanical games used in television game shows such as The Price is Right, a simple game construction exercise from the Institute of Play’s GameKit web site, as well as a visit to Chuck-E-Cheese which hosts a large variety of  mechanical arcade games which students played and analyzed. The process was an opportunity for students to discover how ‘play’ might influence their pedagogy, as well as gain a sense of agency with technology through the building of a tool to support learning. The course culminated with an ‘opening’ of the arcade to which students invited family and friends to come and test their games, win tickets, and earn prizes. The presentation showcased examples of the students’ work on analyzing games and what they discovered about game design’s influence on their teaching through the mechanical arcade game built. Students documented their reflections and process for building their educational arcade game on a public blog arcade.dewlines.org.

Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor and Director of Communications Technology, York College

2013

Makerspaces, Maker Pedagogy and the Promise of a Maker Commons CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, December 6, 2013 Makerspaces provide access to materials, tools, and technologies that allow for hands-on exploration and participatory learning. They enable faculty and students across disciplines to bring ideas to life, to learn by doing, and to see themselves as creators. We analyze colleges’ growing interest in makerspaces and the collaboration across institutions building makercommons.org – a web-based social network for students and faculty to share maker projects and pedagogies.

Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor and Director of Communications Technology, York College
Daniel Frederick Phelps, Adjunct Assistant Professor & Multimedia Facilities Coordinator, York College
Mikhail Gershovich, Lead, VOCAT Development and Marketing, Baruch College
Erica Kaufman, Associate Director, Institute for Writing & Thinking, Bard College Tim Owens, Instructional Technology Specialist, University of Mary Washington

The Personal Domain: Students as Authors and Administrators Architects of their Education Northeast Regional Computing Program,WordPress for Teaching and Learning 2013, October 9, 2013

This presentation will analyze the implementation of a program, now in its third year at York College, that has Communications Technology majors register domain names and use a commercial web hosting service with a control panel allowing for easy administration of their web sites, including the installation of WordPress. The explicit goal of using the domain is to develop an online identity in the context of their academic work, narrating their process, and networking with a community of peers to support their growth. This practice begins with students participating in the open online course DS106 – Digital Storytelling created by Jim Groom out of the University of Mary Washington. The experience continues through their academic careers as students revisit and refashion their websites reflecting their appreciation of the importance of managing their digital presence in a networked society. Slides

Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communication Technology, Director of Academic Computing and Educational Technology, York College/CUNY

Who Owns the ePortfolio? Tensions between Institutional Assessment and Student Autonomy and Control AAEEBL Annual ePortfolio Conference, Boston, MA, July 30, 2013 ePortfolio initiatives developed for assessment purposes risk privileging the institution’s assessment needs at the expense of students’ autonomy in a medium consisting of student-developed content. Through presentations from faculty and students at two universities, this session explores challenges of designing for assessment when an eportfolio initiative embraces the principle that students own their eportfolios. What happens when eportfolios are built at the students’ own domains or when the platform is fully open and in students’ control?

Michael J. Cripps, Catherine Frank, Lauren Levesque, James Muller;University of New England;
Michael B. Smith, Shakira Dale; York College CUNY.

2012

Open Ecosystems: Community-focused Development and the CUNY Academic Commons CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, November 30, 2012

The CUNY Academic Commons team will discuss its efforts to create a development workflow that is potentially more agile, rapid, responsive and community-focused than traditional client-services models. The open nature of Commons development, its active participation in free software communities and its communication strategies aim to create transparent workflows that involve robust user engagement. This presentation uses several recent case studies to argue the advantages of such a model of open platform development within the university.

Brian Foote, Community Facilitator, CUNY Academic Commons
Dominic Giglio, Commons Developer, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Matthew K. Gold, Director, CUNY Academic Commons, New York City College of Technology and Graduate Center
Boone Gorges, Lead Developer and Director of Research Projects, CUNY Academic Commons
Sarah Morgano, Commons Community Facilitator, School of Professional Studies Michael Smith, Commons Director of Outreach, York College
Chris Stein, Commons Director of User Experience, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Scott Voth, Community Facilitator, CUNY Academic Commons

CUNY Academic Commons: Social Network As Hatchery Sloan-C 5th Annual International Symposium, Emerging Technologies for Online Learning, 2012 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award, July 27, 2012

The City University of New York (CUNY), the world’s largest urban public university, serves over half a million students (272,000 degree students and 280,000 continuing ed/certificate students) at twenty-three colleges spread throughout the five boroughs of New York. The CUNY Academic Commons was created to respond to challenges posed by rapid enrollment growth and faculty turnover, but also to promote cohesion and collaboration around academic uses of technology. Released only a little over two years ago but already with several thousand members, the Commons has created a collaborative environment for interaction and mutual support around online and blended learning, open access publication, digital scholarship, and technology-enhanced instruction. Built on open-source software and overseen by a dedicated team of developers and facilitators, it evolves in response to its users and their interests, while helping them discover the extent to which those interests are shared, productive, and worth developing further. Its developers are now, with the support of a Sloan grant, working on the Commons In A Box – a means of replicating the project elsewhere, with maximum ease and minimum expense.
George Otte, University Director of Academic Technology, CUNY
Matthew K. Gold, Assistant Professor of English, NYCCT/Graduate Center; Director, CUNY Academic Commons
Boone Gorges, Director of Research Projects and Lead Developer, CUNY Academic Commons
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology at York College
Christopher Stein, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Technology, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Building and Supporting WordPress for Higher Education WordCampNYC 2012, Bernard L Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College, June 9, 2012

The City University of New York has given rise to several WordPress Multisite installations including Blogs@Baruch, the CUNY Academic Commons, ePortfolios at Macaulay, the OpenLab at City Tech, and QWriting at Queens College. This session will feature a range of short presentations from people involved with these projects and will focus on launching and supporting WordPress at the university level. Topics covered will include server set up and installation maintenance, community outreach and support, and faculty development. The session will show that there exists a range of models for building and supporting WordPress at the institutional level.

Luke Waltzer, Assistant Director for Educational Technology, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College
Joseph Ugoretz, Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning and Technology, Macaulay Honors College
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology at York College
Mikhail Gershovich, Director, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College
Jody Rosen, Assistant Professor of English, New York City College of Technology
Christopher Stein, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Technology, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Matthew K. Gold, Assistant Professor of English, NYCCT/Graduate Center; Director, CUNY Academic Commons
Charlie Edwards, Living Lab Project Manager, New York City College of Technology
Jenna Spevack, Associate Professor, Advertising Design/Graphic Arts, New York City College of Technology

Developing and Extending WordPress for Higher Education WordCampNYC 2012, Bernard L Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College, June 9, 2012

An extension of the “Building and Supporting WordPress for Higher Education” session, this session will feature a range of presentations from CUNY folks working with WordPress around custom functionality they’ve developed in order to more effectively integrate WordPress into their environments, as well as some open brainstorming about functionality to come. Among other topics, we will discuss user management, active directory integration, custom theme development, and various BuddyPress. Luke Waltzer, Assistant Director for Educational Technology, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College

Joseph Ugoretz, Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning and Technology, Macaulay Honors College
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology at York College
Mikhail Gershovich, Director, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College
Jody Rosen, Assistant Professor of English, New York City College of Technology
Christopher Stein, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Technology, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Matthew K. Gold, Assistant Professor of English, NYCCT/Graduate Center; Director, CUNY Academic Commons
Charlie Edwards, Living Lab Project Manager, New York City College of Technology
Jenna Spevack, Associate Professor, Advertising Design/Graphic Arts, New York City College of Technology
George Otte, University Director of Academic Technology, CUNY
Matthew K. Gold, Assistant Professor of English, NYCCT/Graduate Center; Director, CUNY Academic Commons
Boone Gorges, Director of Research Projects and Lead Developer, CUNY Academic Commons
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology at York College
Christopher Stein, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Technology, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Dreaming of 100 Million Posts a Year: On Federating Open Ed at CUNY Faculty Academy, University of Mary Washington, May 16, 2012

The CUNY Academic Commons supports faculty, staff, and graduate student collaboration across CUNY’s 24 campuses. The Commons allows faculty to host graduate courses, but not undergraduate courses. Presently there’s no easy way to host inter-campus coursework and student interaction. If the goal is to create a federated system of linked WordPress installations, does it make sense to build outside of the institution first and then hope it will later become sponsored? Is that possible given the number of students and the resources it might need to support it? Recently, the CUNY Academic Commons received a grant from the Sloan Foundation to build a ‘Commons-In-A-Box’ – an easily installable version of WP/BP with a tested set of tools and plugins included. The project plan includes a methodology to build relationships between BP/WP platforms allowing for ‘federations’ to form. If campuses adopt WP/BP platforms for their students, how could connections be made between courses? How might disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests accrue? How might it all work? Would each campus to have a WP/BP install? Could a hosting co-op that supported CUNY WP/BP installs based on the Commons-In-A-Box model be a viable solution?

Mikhail Gershovich, Director, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology at York College
Luke Waltzer, Assistant Director for Educational Technology, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College

2011

Teaching on the Open Web CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, December 2, 2011

Widely available digital tools, such as WordPress, Wikipedia, and Twitter, allow students to engage not only their instructor and peers in the course, but a wider online community of interested participants. We will discuss students’ development of a digital identity for the MOOC DS106 using WordPress in commercial web hosting accounts. We will also explore students’ blogging and development of writing skills using Wikipedia in two psychology classes.

Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology
William Ashton, Associate Professor of Psychology

DIY Web Radio as a Platform for Teaching, Learning, and Building Community CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, December 2, 2011

Web streaming technologies enable anyone to set up a web radio station and broadcast live or pre-programmed content with free software and standard computer equipment or mobile device. We will discuss the technical requirements and pedagogical possibilities of web radio and will use the webstream created for the DS106 MOOC as an example of how open web radio can inspire experimentation, foster creativity, and provide a platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration.

Mikhail Gershovich, Director, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology, York College

Connection, Collaboration, Community: Using the CUNY Academic Commons CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, December 2, 2011

Now entering its second year, the CUNY Academic Commons is dedicated to fostering community, collaboration, and communication across the 23 campuses in the CUNY system. In this session, the team behind the Commons will demonstrate the site, explain its available features, showcase a range of exemplary use cases, and discuss future development plans. The session is pitched towards newcomers who may have heard about the platform but are not aware of its full range of features.

Brian Foote, Community Facilitator, CUNY Academic Commons
Matthew K. Gold, Assistant Professor of English, NYCCT/Graduate Center; Director, CUNY Academic Commons
Boone Gorges, Director of Research Projects and Lead Developer, CUNY Academic Commons
Sarah Morgano, Community Facilitator, CUNY Academic Commons
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology, York College; Outreach Coordinator, CUNY Academic Commons
Christopher Stein, Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Technology, BMCC; User Experience Designer, CUNY Academic Commons
Scott Voth, Community Facilitator, CUNY Academic Commons

Preparing for the Future: Creating a CUNY-wide approach towards Digital Media Programs CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, December 2, 2011

The emerging nature of Digital Media has challenged universities to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape. Due to the evolution of these new disciplines, and the speed in which cross-disciplinary technical innovations are implemented in programs with a digital media focus, very few universal standards are in place for instruction and assessment. This panel group will discuss specific strategies and standards that CUNY could implement to prepare our digital media programs for the future.

James Richardson, Assistant Professor of Humanities and New Media Technology Program Coordinator, LaGuardia Community College
Christopher Stein, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Technology, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor and Communications Technology Program Director, York College
Richard Dragan, Assistant Professor of English and Digital Journalism, LaGuardia Community College
Stephen Brier, Senior Academic Technology Officer and ITP Certificate Program Coordinator, CUNY Graduate Center

Developing and Distributing Open Textbooks through Multiple Platforms via the Cloud CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, December 1, 2011

The increasing cost of textbooks and advances of technologies expedite the growth of open textbooks. We discuss benefits and challenges that face instructors in developing open textbooks. The process of iterative refinement of SCORM-conformant digital textbooks is explained, which allows instructors to develop open interactive learning environments and deliver them through the cloud. This approach could help promote knowledge sharing and interdisciplinary collaboration, thus improving teaching and cutting costs in the long run.

Xin Bai, Assistant Professor, York College
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor, York College
Wenying Huang, Instructional Technologist, York College

DIY Web Radio for Teaching and Learning Bernard L Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College, October 19, 2011

Readily available web streaming technologies now make it possible for anyone, anywhere to launch a web radio station and broadcast live or pre-programmed content with little more than some free software and standard computer equipment or mobile device. The panelists will use the webstream created for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in digital storytelling (DS106) at the University of Mary Washington as a starting point for a discussion of the pedagogical potential of web radio and its power to inspire experimentation, foster creativity, establish community, and provide a platform for informal learning and collaboration.

Grant Potter, e-Learning Coordinator, University of North British Columbia
Jim Groom, Instructional Technologist, University of Mary Washington
Michael Branson Smith, Assistant Professor of Communications Technology, York College, CUNY
Mikhail Gershovich, Director, Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute, Baruch College, CUNY