My "Digital Me" Learning Journal jackie Morlock-Miller

Class 1 Assignment

Ideally, you will need to take a headshot photograph of someone else. Once you are happy with your image, use Adobe Photoshop to enhance the image, retouch, resize and crop. Your image should be suitable for social media.

The stud you see in the photos above is my husband, Brian. He's a carpenter, artist and caregiver to our one-year-old daughter. I chose to use my hubby as the model for this assignment because he has sweet, blue eyes and a great smile. With this photoshoot, I wanted to capture the many facets of Brian's personality. That way, he can use the headshot that best suits the position for which he is applying. It also gives him options when choosing a profile picture on the many different social media sites.

For example, I believe this is a more serious, professional image Brian could use as his profile picture on LinkedIn as well as other online resume sites.

I believe this shot also works on resume sites like LinkedIn. However, this would also work on Facebook or Twitter.

Taking into account Brian's artistic side, I thought it would be beneficial for him to have a headshot to portray that side of him. Brian works very well with pastel chalk. He creates everything from abstract art to sceneries. This image would be a nice accompaniment when applying for a position in that field.

I just love this shot. This right here -- is my handsome, happy hubby. That is the face Brian makes when he lets out an honest laugh. It's a genuine smile. And, it's an image that would work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media site.

I made minimal edits to Brian's face - removing a couple lines in forehead as well as a couple lines under his eyes. I touched up his freckles a tad but not much. Other than that, Brian asked that I whiten his teeth just a bit.

Key Takeaways

This lesson forced me to reflect on my own process. It helped me to relax and feel more comfortable as a photographer and editor. Before, I snapped pictures on my camera phone with the rule of thirds in mind but, kind of, just winging it. Now, I change the settings on my camera phone so that the rule of thirds grid is visible to me at all times while taking photos. Since do that, I have seen a huge difference in my work.

This lesson also taught me a few new tricks in Photoshop. I never felt comfortable using the magic wand tool before. I just never had the patience to really sit there and get it right. But, after using it to whiten my husband's teeth in some of these photos, I feel much more confident. Becoming a stronger editor in Photoshop is one of the main reasons why I took this course.

Class 2 Assignment

This week is about planning and creating a CV / Résumé that will stand out from the crowd and show potential employers the skills and experience you have to offer. You’ll incorporate your headshot and upload the finished CV / Résumé to your Behance portfolio.

As I sat staring at a blank document in Adobe InDesign I thought, what did I get myself into? I used InDesign once to make some changes to a project already created. So, this assignment was the first time I was building my own project from scratch. And, it was scary. Graphic design is a very small part of what I do.

Therefore, I started researching and viewing other CVs online, writing down ideas for how to visually tell my story.

First, I decided I would recreate the audio bars (as seen in Adobe Premiere Pro) to use as the graph for my "Skills" experience. Editing in Premiere Pro is a huge part of what I do. Also, I added an image of video cameras to my header because videography is a huge part of what I do. I then googled images of timelines in hopes of coming up with an idea to illustrate my "Education and Employment" experience. The result: using triangles as year markers and dots as the line. My thought was -- using different shapes throughout my CV and adding a touch of other colors (like in my "Hobbies and Interests" section) would make it look more appealing. Whether this worked, well, you tell me...

Overall, I am very happy with the final product. Would I have done things differently? Possibly. Again, this was the first time I created something like this using InDesign. And, I really put a lot of time and effort into this assignment. For example, the audio graph was tedious to build. I created rectangles for each of the different colors in the bars. Of course, I also created each of the text boxes for the titles. And, you see all the small, white lines that represent the audio levels? I created them all individually and carefully placed them in their spot. Granted, there may have been a much easier way to do all of this. But, if there is -- I have no clue how to do it. Still, it was a great experience to work in InDesign and figure out how to use the program. I feel much more confident using it for future projects. And, the more I use it the easier it will become.

Class 3 Assignment

Create your own personal brand logo and mock up headers for Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. Use Adobe Illustrator.

Once again, I headed into this assignment with no knowledge of how to use the necessary tool. In this case, it was Illustrator; last assignment it was InDesign. But, I love taking on a challenge.

Rather than staring at a blank canvas in Illustrator, I took the advice of Designer Aaron Draplin sketching out some of my ideas in a notebook. It allowed me to open Illustrator with some sort of plan.

The above logos are what I came up with. This was my first attempt at designing a logo. I'm pretty happy with the result. However, when I look at what I created -- there's not one logo that really stands out as the best. I definitely think I need to experiment in Illustrator more transforming my images and text until I reach that "ah ha" moment. One thing you should know about me -- I'm a perfectionist. Therefore, it takes a lot of time, effort and variations before I truly feel good about something. But, I think I'm on the right path with my logo.

As for my social media headers, I chose to use images. Beautiful images, to me, say so much more than just text. Beautiful images invoke happiness, positivity and inspiration. That's what I want potential clients to feel when they look at my social media profiles. In the future, I will look for opportunities to take and use my own photographs.

Social Media headers

Overall, I am satisfied with what I have created but hope to do more. I view the logos and headers above as a great start to what will lead to a great branding campaign someday. I need to experiment in Illustrator and become more familiar with its features first. In the meantime, I have learned a lot from this assignment. It really has me thinking more about how I want to brand myself and the media I create.

Class 4 Assignment

Create an ePortfolio using real or imagined content. Explore your options and include your decision making process in your review.

I will admit - I procrastinated with this assignment a little bit. I have an outdated online CV that I built years ago. I also have plenty of my news reports uploaded to one of my YouTube channels. However, I never really organized everything into my own ePortfolio site. I felt overwhelmed about the amount of work it would take to create something that would make me proud. But, I think I'm on the right track. Just know - the site you are about to enter below is still a major construction zone...

First, I went through each possible layout experimenting with my own work to figure out what works best for me. The layout I chose seemed simple and allowed me to publish my own header, which I really liked. I went back to Illustrator and created a header specifically for the site. In fact, I researched instructions on how to create a realistic camera lens in Illustrator. This was the result...

After creating a header, I then turned my attention to color. I tried to choose a page background color that flowed with the header, link and icon colors. Next, I focused on the cover images of each of my projects. I wanted thumbnails that really popped -- something that would grab a viewer's attention. The "About Me" page still needs a lot of work. I can't quite figure out how to bring my photo side-by-side with the text. The alignment really feels off.

The thing I'm trying to figure out now is the best way to present the videos I have created. It appears that many people in the class are graphic designers or Illustrators to some degree. However, I am a videographer and editor. I enjoy taking photographs but that's not an essential part of my job. I believe there is a better way to present my work rather than uploading my videos to YouTube and embedding them in a Behance project which is then shared on my ePortfolio. For that reason, I haven't even begun sharing any of my current work as a media creation specialist.

In the meantime, I plan on continuing to experiment with the site I built for this project and doing more research to see how other video editors have shared their work with the world.

Class 5 Assignment

The final stage of the course you will be creating an Adobe Spark Video offering formative assessment feedback on a student portfolio and a student portfolio assignment (real or imagined).

Assignment 5 has demonstrated not only the importance of formative assessment but that formative assessment doesn't have to be boring. We can create something fun and visual to help our students, colleagues, or whoever understand the points we are trying to make and truly show them how they can make their work even better.

As I have mentioned before, I am not an educator. I don't get in front of a class off students each day, on site or online. However, as an instructional technologist and media creation specialist in higher education I am asked for my opinion on the work of my colleagues quite often. This assignment has made me realize I can deliver that feedback in a more creative and meaningful way. And, in my case -- the feedback I deliver should be creative since being creative is what my job entails.

One thing I noticed -- I couldn't seem to figure out how to lengthen my slides in order for them to seamlessly match up with my narrative. Instead, I wrote out a script and recorded my audio for each slide in 10 seconds, which was really difficult. Is there a way to make an individual slide hold longer so that it is the same length as a piece of audio? This is something I will be looking at more closely.

Final Assignment

Create a simple personal reflection summarising your learning experience during the course in your "Learning Journal" on what you've learned during the course. Explain how it felt to be a student, what worked for you, and what was difficult. Consider how you might use your new skills in your classroom or workplace. Think hard and be economical with your words. Keep it sharp and to the point.

Over the course of the last five weeks, I have learned the importance of having a solid online presence. This is something I have always known but it hasn't been something I have really focused on building. Yes, I am mindful of the pictures I post on social media. But, in terms of presenting my creative work, I upload projects here and there -- sometimes to YouTube, sometimes to Facebook, maybe even linkedIn once and awhile. My point is -- I never really created my own site where I showcase my work.

It has been a great process thinking about and creating a visual CV, logos and ePortfolio. While I know my logos and ePortfolio still need work, at least I now have something created that I can build from. And, at least now -- these things are at the forefront of my mind. They are at the top of my to-do list these days. I will continue working on bettering myself and my online presence.

As I mentioned before, I am not an educator. However, I am an instructional technologist - I come up with content ideas, implement technologies and create media for online courses in higher education. After creating a feedback video using Spark ion Assignment 5, I realize the importance of formative assessment. But, not only that -- I realize the importance of delivering that feedback in a creative way, in a way that interests the student and helps them visualize and better understand that feedback. This is certainly something that would have benefited me as a student considering the fact that I am a visual learner. Moving forward, I have developed ways in which we can use Spark video or other video platforms for feedback from mentors to students and even students to students.


Cover image licensed under Creative Commons Zero. All other images shot and edited by me, Jackie Morlock-Miller.

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