ANNA URSYN - Art, Technology, and Teaching

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Teaching Philosophy

1. A Quest for Quality

Students master the techniques of computer graphics not only to gain technical proficiency but also to create high-quality art. As an instructor, my aim is to guide students to create high quality graphics by emphasizing concepts in science. To achieve this aim, I encourage students to analyze a scientific concept and then demonstrate their grasp of it in their art.

With guidance, students can merge scientific inventiveness with the demands of artistic quality. They can do this successfully by harnessing the vast potential of computers to create art. Of course, along they way, they have to completely re-think how they can connect with an audience and how making art often depends on the art viewer's interaction, in real time, with a computer program.

2. A Visual Approach to Learning

My instruction starts from the learner's point of view by first emphasizing the learning process and then the production of meaningful computer art or graphics. Each assignment provokes students to think abstractly, then visually; exploring how they comprehend and learn even as they create art.

I have taught "Visual Thinking" and "Visual Learning with Technology" since 1994, using Edward Tufte's books. Assignments tap data as visually attractive and informationally sound, thereby exploiting possible connections between artistic and semiotic meaning. I've presented these results at conferences and symposia. This semiotic approach to visual learning is critical for interdisciplinary approaches in web-based learning. Developing such hybrids is my passion.

Students from different disciplines can analyze visual objects and devise computer visualizations that define visual metaphors and reveal abstract information. With practice, they can determine the semantic content of data - an important skill if they hope to share knowledge via the Internet or a structured network of any type.

3. Integrated Instruction

Cross-disciplinary inspiration, whether from music, geology or journalism, can only improve the quality of art that students generate with a computer. Artwork as process and product also reinforces students' ability to understand and retain scientific concepts. For example an architect gains by understanding ruling behind geology. From the beginning of my teaching career, I've tried to evolve an effective teaching strategy that combines computer-based art, graphics and science.

Integrated assignments highlight cross-disciplinary connections between such subjects as the visual arts and mathematics or visual arts, music and reading/writing. I work on promoting computing skills to be learned and taught at most levels of one's educational stage. Many of those approaches were straightened by collaboration and co-teaching with faculty members from Music, Computer Science and Physics, and by our collaborative efforts with Instructional Technology faculty and by serving on doctoral students' committees. Many employers seek job candidates who combine a passion for art with a practical grasp of computer skills. Such cross-disciplinary instruction, merging computer art and graphics with related subjects, opens graduates of traditional fine art instruction to the ever-growing digital market.

4. Students' Successes and Awards

SPACE - Student Poster, Animation Competition and Exhibition, Education Committee at the ACM/SIGGRAPH International Conferences on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques:
Student awards
Animation by Akio Yamanaka has been accepted for SPACETIME 2010, at the International Conference of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.
Work by Jessica Reynolds and Sean Prahinski were accepted for SPACE, poster competition at the ACM SIGGRAPH 2009, New Orleans, LA. Work by Sam Dailey was accepted for SPACE, poster competition at the ACM SIGGRAPH 2007, San Diego, CA. Terri Eades, Sam Dailey, Watsatree Diteeyont and Nathan White were accepted into Student Volunteer Program at the 2007 ACM SIGGRAPH Conference, San Diego, CA. Works by Sam Dailey and Zach Klauck Honorable Mensions for SPACE '06, Peter White and Michael Vargo for SPACE '05, Brian Phelphs and Pat Mapes for SPACE '04. Three works were accepted to the ‘03 SPACE in San Diego, CA, 3 students won Honorable Mentions at the 2002 SPACE in San Antonio, TX, my student won an Honorable Mention at the SPACE ‘01, and another student won an Honorable Mention at the ACM/SIGGRAPH 2000 SPACE, where six arworks of my students were accepted. Travis Klopf placed second, and two other works were accepted in ‘99. Four works were accepted for the SPACE ‘98, three for ‘97 show. Work by Sam Dailey and Peter White were accepted into SPACE 2006, ACM SIGGRAPH, Boston, MA.
Steven Smart was selected as a Team Leader. Peter White and Sam Pawey were selected as Student Volunteers at the ACM SIGGRAPH 2005, LA,CA. Anna Melkumian and Veronica Lucas were selected for the Student Volunteer position for SIGGRAPH 2004, Los Angeles, CA. Three students won a competitive Student Volunteer Award at the ACM/SIGGRAPH ‘03 International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in San Diego, CA, 3 students won this Award at the ACM/SIGGRAPH ‘02 in San Antonio, TX. Other students won in 2001, 1999, and 1996.
D-Art, IV
Works of my students were accepted for the juried D-ART Symposium and Gallery at annual International Conferences on Information Visualization at Brunei Gallery in London, England and student artwork was also selected for the Gallery Exhibition and Slide Presentation. Several students worked on the video editing project for the Public Library in Greeley, CO, while others desigend (pre, production and post production) a promotional video for the Grealey Area of Habitat for Humanities. Students form Computer Graphics Area of Concentration developed the Art Gallery for the Special Year of Art and Mathematics, at the CU Boulder. Every year students design and create an online gallery D-ART for the International Conference on Information Visualization, London England, and the Internnational Conference CGIV Computer Graphics, Imaging and Vision. Steven Smart worked with a Fort Collins based Meteororogical company Sky-Fire on developing an instructional video to be presented in IMAX Theaters.
Wes Thorpe won paid internship at Martin Square Production Wellington, New Zealand. He was one of the 20 students selected from the international pool to work on 3-D rendering and animation
Biofeedback Computer Game “Journey to the Wild Divine” was produced by MA student majoring in in Computer Graphics Corwin Bell, http://www.wilddivine.com. Corwin Bell won “Graduate School Dean’s Citation for an Outstanding Thesis. I served as a chair if his graduate committee.”
Student publications, presentations
Student work was included to “The Best of 3D Graphics” CD ROM, Vic Cherubini, Ed., Rockport Press (2002) and my students’ works were published in “Digital Designer” by Stephen Pite, Thompson Learning Publ. (2002). Several times, works of my students have been printed on the covers of Proceedings of International Conferences on Information Visualization, IEEE (Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Computing Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA. My student’s artwork was published in “Computer Graphics” Vol. 34, No 3, August 2000: “Student Gallery: Art Departments Shine”, juried. My students participated in the ACM/SIGGRAPH Slide Presentations of Student Art and many student works were published in the SIGGRAPH Educational Committee Publications. My student co-presented at a panel organized and chaired by me: “Combining Art Skills with Programming in Teaching Comp. Art Graphics” at the ACM/SIGGRAPH ‘97 ACM/SIGGRAPH Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques Educators’ Program along with Dr. Terry Scott, Computer Science, and Charlotte Mills of HP Fort Collins/ China. Students' work was published in the book edited by Steven Garner "On Drawing", and in the International Journal of Creative interfaces and Computer Graphics, Vol 1. No 1. January June 2010.
Other
Students won several awards: The Colorado School Press University Certificate of Merit for a Sports Cartoon published in a newspaper “The Mirror”, Columbia University in NYC Gold Circle Award for 2002 (2x), 2nd Place, Wyoming Press Association Collegiate Contest, 3rd Place, Rocky Mountain Collegiate Media Association (RMCMA) in the category of Best Use of Artwork, in the category of Newspaper News Illustration, Newspaper Humorous Cartoon, and Newspaper Editorial Cartoon (2002). Student works were presented at the 1998 exhibition “Computer Art Graphic Exhibition from the UNC”, United Arab Emirate University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates. Students have been awarded at UNC competitions, such as for the design of a poster and program for the UNC Scholarship Symposium, and the UNC Research Symposium. Their work is displayed at the UNC Student Electronic Art Gallery Archive on disks and/or prints.

 

 

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