Digital Literacies 2016: Example reflection on an early image

NOTEThe following post is an example of the kinds of reflection you can do in your own posts, but should not be used as a guide to the creation of images – this image relies TOO HEAVILY on found/remixed imagery to be an exemplar for your assignment 3. It is here as a prompt only for the reflections. DO NOT MAKE FINAL A3 IMAGES LIKE THIS.

certificate

The context of this first image is it is a piece of visual communication in a particular non-serious, playful or even ‘meme-like’ mode, belonging to the “Visual Turn” (Gibbs, et al., 2014) in social media that (quite literally, in this case) expresses sentiment, feeling or camaraderie visually. This image involved chatting to both DL tutors Liz Humphrys and Stephen Owen on Facebook on the weekend, with Stephen showing off having “completed” the hour of code and received the certificate (Code.org, 2016). Liz asked if she could have a certificate for completing “21 hours of marking on the long weekend” having worked heroically to complete marking for DL assignments. Wanting to communicate both my sincere appreciation for her effort, and in a playful way, I decided to “shop” Liz’s name (since it originally said Stephen’s) and swap “the hour of code” for “21 hours of marking on long weekend” since there was an obvious sympathy and resonance between the two phrases.

To create the image, I saved the “original” certificate that Stephen posted, copy+pasted a section of the certificate’s background pattern that roughly matched the sections to be replaced (very rough job) and placed them in new layers to obscure the original words. Then I created new text layers, using Pixlr’s default ‘Verdana’ font, and leaving it the default ‘black’ colour – I could definitely have experimented with more fonts and I would expect students to do so. I typed the text quickly (leaving in the typos deliberately – including misspelling Liz’s last name, since I know that often happens to her and I wanted to reference that knowledge, a detail that “works” in our professional relationship/friendship).

The crudeness or ‘carelessness’ of the text places it in an informal communication mode, and the typos evoke a kind of “instant messaging” feel of rough-and-ready communication. A more “professional” version is possible, but by the same token might defeat the purpose of the image somewhat, and would involve a better match of the background pattern, and would try to match the complicated font of the originals.  On the question of copyright, I am not sure who holds the rights to the original image – as it is an automatically generated one created by the Hour of Code but one that is ‘given’ in a way to the recipient seemingly to ‘keep’ (though perhaps not to ‘edit’ – an important distinction) – perhaps I could have asked Stephen for his permission to use the image? Implicitly, I think it was fairly unlikely for Stephen or the Hour of Code organisation to assert their rights by taking me to court, but it remains a risk. Finding a free alternative was possible, with more time, and technically it was a very basic image – doing what I “needed it to do” and not much more. If this were part of my assessment I would need to have been more ambitious if I wanted to achieve more than just a passable grade.

References

Code.org. “Certificate of Completion of the Hour of Code”. https://code.org/printcertificate?s=hourofcode

Gibbs, M., Meese, J., Arnold, M., Nansen, B., & Carter, M. (2014). #Funeral and Instagram: Death, social media and platform vernacular. Information Communication and Society. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2014.987152

NOTE: Make sure comments are enabled on your post (unlike here) so you can get feedback from your A3 group members.