My AGP Learning Journal SUSAN PARSONS

This is a my Adobe Gen Pro learning journal. Instead of posting my reflections on separate assignment posts within the course forums I intend to keep a fluid journal reflecting on the assignment, the content creation process, the creative process and most importantly on what I have learned.

Assignment One: For Class 1, Identify a problem that you would like to solve as part of this UX course. THE PROBLEM:


I have been teaching for several years and continue to grow as an educator. When I began my career the method of instruction was lecture, note taking, answer sheets, etc. The focus in the room was on the teacher. As time has progressed, the mode as teacher has changed to working as a facilitator, logistics coordinator and a reference of information. At the end of the day what is completed in the class is in the hands of the student. My goal is to entice students to want to begin the journey of self-exploration in a given area by peaking their interest through what the software can do for them if they learn the basics of its use. My problem is how to do this and how to continue to keep student's interests peaked.

Defining an authentic problem led me to my classroom. How information and assignments are presented tend to affect the students overall success. Creating a persona to represent the type of audience I am working with helped to clarify my purpose in this assignment.

Class 2 Reflection:

Having taught web design for several years now at the high school level, I found the process to be logical. Sitemaps, flowcharts, etc. seem to be the digital transformation of what we learned years ago as “outlining”. Now we use the computer to assist us and provide much better looking results with the ability to quickly import them to other applications. Regardless of what one would call this process, once involved with defining the flow of events, one realizes the required sequence that would make the information’s presentation logical and better understood by the viewer. I did not find it easy, but required that I focus more on the points to be covered in the website. The ability to learn a new software application through this process was wonderful. Always want to keep exploring. In that I teach web design and digital animation and game design, I can see where this process would be very useful in defining the scope and sequence of a course or outcome of a project. The linking of notes to a page in XD is wonderful. I will be sharing this application with both of my courses when creating sitemaps or game designs. I am interested to see what new ideas and software skill will be shared in the next few weeks of this course. Thank you.

Class 3 Reflection:

After having my students explore the logical access sequence of topics to be included in my website I found defining and creating the wireframe to be somewhat easy. I teach web design and we use a process very similar to this in brainstorming and defining our sites. The reason I take part in the Adobe Gen Pro courses is to continue to learn and be current with software and approaches. With this in mind, setting myself up to use Adobe Comp on my iPad took a bit of time, but once set up I was amazed at the ease of access and use in creating wireframes in this new app. Awesome. Very intuitive. Love the squiggly erase motion. I would love to see Comp become available on the PC, though my experience with it on my iPad was very smooth.

My classes are currently moving into HTML5 and CSS. Students are beginning to give thought to the topic/theme they will use for their site. As part of their website planning process we will now include the creation of personas, paper simulations/testing and then wireframes prior to touching any web design software.

My question now has to do with which Adobe products will be phased out due to the migration to new, smarter applications. I would like to focus on those applications that provide the most promise to my student’s professional preparation.

Class 4 Assignment:

After watching the video tutorials provided by Mark and giving further thought to the original purpose of my digital animation instruction site, I began to collect images that reflected various aspects/objectives of the site. Upon arranging these into a style tile my thought process became easier when designing my mock up.

As an educator I find that videos can add depth to curriculum if used as a supplement to the existing curriculum. Each time I introduce a new unit or section of study, I try to find pertinent, to the point videos to supplement other course presentations. Videos provide a vehicle for differentiated instruction (for the visual learner) and allows for a fresh look at the topic being studied. As long as videos do not make up a majority of your presentation, they can be an enhancement to a lesson. Stopping and discussing what has been covered in the videos and then continuing the video is important to keep students on task.

Class 5 Reflection:

What has been difficult to understand about the user experience design process? I believe that the difficult aspect of the user experience design process is first getting acquainted with the new developing software. It is not necessarily difficult, but time consuming and necessary in order to keep current and to complete the assignment. I found XD to be a great new tool, where as Adobe Comp seems to have a few bugs and is not something I would share with my students at the current time. Potentially in the future after some of their bugs have been smoothed out. The human factor testing I found to be extremely informative. Without the input of user's other than the designer, final designs can miss the mark when it comes to user friendliness and intuitive.

What new understandings or questions do you have after Live Class 5? How can your peers help? Having an opportunity to observe the live sessions and see the interactive discussion by user's from around the world has been very helpful and informative. In addition, this course allows for students to learn from their peers and explore each other's designs. Comments from classmates gives the course a more personal feel and the feedback is helpful. I find the structure of the Adobe Gen Pro courses to promote collaboration and an opportunity to meet other people who have the same interests as I. My questions would have to do with what direction the digital design world will take in the future. So many choices of design software and I think this is only the beginning. I am excited to see where it will take us. Software is becoming much smarter and enables the designer to do things so fast. Pretty cool!

Final Class Reflective Response:

This course is a bit different than those I have taken in the past. Usually the courses are “how to” instructions in using a new app. This course included the “how to” component, but required that you gave attention to the end user; design what you would like to see and then explore how intuitive your design is for the end user. Through this process I was amazed at the detail that some of my professional graphic artist classmates applied to their work. Through this I was able to compare my level of expertise as an educator against that of one whose objective is not to teach, but to produce on a daily basis. Great stuff. I was in awe. As a teacher to observe a professional’s approach to this project was valuable.

How will I use this with my students? Often times it is a race to keep up with the amount of curriculum required in a given time period. However, the thought process and stages used in this course allows for visual communication of ideas prior to final outcome. As we approach designing our own websites in my Computer Technologies course, focus will not only be on HTML5 and CSS, but on color theory, mood, style, and user experience/intuitiveness of a given design. As with this course, the creation of a concept, given device to be used, (web, iPhone, etc.) wireframes, mood and style boards, human testing of concept with feedback, and a final prototype of the design will each provide an assessment tool. Of course, collaboration with peers will always be an additional avenue for grading. I use it as a class participation grade. Without collaboration skills, our designs have potential of failing even if the ideas are good.

In that I work in the Technology Education department of a high school, each of my colleagues take part in authentic task projects where the concepts of science, technology, engineering, math and art are applied. We use the “design process” sequence in each of our classes with the applied tools differing from one course to another. I would definitely share any new Adobe applications and how they fit into the design process with my colleagues.

I have invited my colleagues to join Adobe Gen Pro to take part in the many available courses. Although I could re teach what I have learned during an in-house professional development course, I believe the time would be much better spent taking an additional / new offered course from Adobe Gen Pro and providing feedback to them as to whether they would fine the course rewarding. Each of us should take the online classes for the best educational experience. So far I would say that all Gen Pro courses provide valuable input.


Susan Parsons

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