My research and scholarly creative work is concerned with the role of visual communication design at the intersections of creative disciplines. Creatively, I am interested in integrating methods of design and artmaking to create work and products in new, meaningful, and emotionally impactful ways. The desired goal of this research is to eventually establish methods and tools for understanding, modeling the process of designing for education, and how the design of educational tools and systems can affect understanding, literacy, and awareness.
This direction has taken me down two paths thus far. The first involves educational games, digging into the specifics of game constructs and rule systems that make them a unique vehicle for delivering information. This branch topic focuses on the ability of designed interactive media to communicate, and how this can be applied to fulfill educational objectives. I have published and presented the results of this research at conferences throughout the USA and Asia. The results of my graduate thesis work are a featured case study in the design research textbook, Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design, by Dr. Liz Sanders and Dr. Pieter Jan Stappers.
The second involves the language of comics and visual narrative, and the related implications of this language in fulfilling educational objectives. This research focuses on the specific ability of the graphic storytelling form to educate, and how this can be applied in the classroom and to the field of information design.
My research has involved both quantitative and qualitative methods, including heuristics, usability studies, co-creation models, and generative tools. It also touches on topics such as dual-coding theory, user experience, narrative theory, and semiotics. It is borne from professional practices incorporating visual narrative, information design, and branding, as well as a lifetime spent sitting just outside the field of education, observing. Quality indicators of my research include acceptances to peer-reviewed journals and major conference presentations.
Related creative work (applied research) includes educational graphic novel Gods of Asgard, teacher workbook Super-powered Word Study, and educational card game Marrying Mr. Darcy. These materials have been used in educational contexts at the Field Museum of Natural History, the Wexner Center for the Arts, James Madison University, Marshall University, and Gustavus Adolphus College.
SCHOLARSHIP ON THE INTERSECTION
OF DESIGN AND COMICS
Paper + Presentation : May, 2019
54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.
Session: More Than Marvel: Representations of Norse Mythology in Contemporary Popular Culture
“Adapting the Norse Myths: Risks, challenges, and creative choices.” peer-reviewed
Paper + Presentation : September 2014
AIGA Design Educators Conference: New Ventures: Intersections
in Design Education, Portland, OR
“Using Comics to teach Visual Communication, Design Thinking,
and User Centered Principles.” peer-reviewed
“Comics as a Design Ecosystem: A Case for Comics in
Design Education” (journal article) : September, 2014
ImageText Interdisciplinary Comics Studies journal:
Dept of English, University of Florida.
Presentation : April, 2011
New England Comic Arts in the Classroom (NECAC) : April, 2011
Rhode Island College, Providence, RI
“Comics, Word Study, and Vocabulary Acquisition.” peer reviewed
Co-author: Dr. James Bucky Carter
SCHOLARSHIP ON GAME DESIGN
AND DESIGN RESEARCH
Paper + Presentation : June, 2019
Polytechnic Summit 2019: Shaping the Future of Polytechnic Education, University of Wisconsin–Stout, Menomonie, WI.
”Design Research in a Polytechnic Setting: Leveraging polytechnic research initiatives as thematic content in a graduate design research class.” peer-reviewed
A Toolkit for Board Game Design (case study) : January, 2013
Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design
by Liz Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers
BIS Publishers, the Netherlands
Digital Poster : May, 2010
AIGA Design Educators Conference: Response/Ability, Toledo, OH
“Making Educational Games Make Sense (Without Losing
Entertainment Value).” peer-reviewed
Paper + Presentation : October 2009
IASDR 2009: Rigor and Relevance in Design, COEX, Seoul, Korea
“Crafting a Design Concept Prototype for an Educational Game
Design: A Case Study.” peer-reviewed
Co-authors: Dr. Peter Kwok Chan, Paul J. Nini,
and Dr. Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders
MFA Thesis : July, 2009
The Ohio State University / Department of Design
“Making it Fun: Uncovering a Design Research Model
for Educational Board Game Design.”
Advisor: Dr. Peter Kwok Chan
Graduate Committee: Paul J. Nini, Dr. Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders
Poster + Presentation : October 2008
Design + Emotion 2008: Dare to Desire, Hong Kong
Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Poster: “Game Design for Personal Health Management:
An Emotional and Educational Perspective.” peer-reviewed
Co-authors: Dr. Peter Kwok Chan and Dr. Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders
Panel Presentation : October 2008
AIGA Design Educators Conference: Social Studies: Educating Designers in a Connected World, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Topic: graduate programs in design
CONvergence Convention : July, 2018
Panelist: Licensed Comic Books
CONvergence Convention : July, 2017
Panelist: Norse Mythology in Contemporary Society
“Comics, Design Drawing, & Being a ‘Desillustrator’,”
New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester, NH
“Designing the world of the Norse Gods in Gods of Asgard,”
Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN
Sponsored by the department of Scandinavian Studies
MMEA Midwinter Clinic : February, 2013
World Premiere Performance of Star-Crossed
Presentation: “Music Meets Art: A Look at the Creative Process”
Collaborator + co-presenter: Dr. Andrew Boysen, Jr.
STIR Symposium : October, 2011
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Visualizer for “Moving” workshop session
CBDNA W/NW Conference : March, 2010
University of Nevada, Reno, NV
World Premiere Performance of Twilight of the Gods
Presentation: “Creating Twilight of the Gods”
Collaborator + co-presenter: Dr. Andrew Boysen, Jr.
IN THE CLASSROOM
HIST 218: Scandinavia to 1800, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN. Dr. Glenn Kranking, instructor. “Gods of Asgard” used as text.
ENG 200: Texting the World, Marshall University, Huntington, WV. Dr. Tim Burbery, instructor. “Gods of Asgard” used as text.
ENG 401: Advanced Studies in Medieval Literature: Reinventing the Middle Ages, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. Dr. Dabney Bankert, instructor. “Gods of Asgard” used as text.
REL 200F, TP: Norse Religion, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI. Dr. Karl E. H. Siegfried, instructor. “Twilight of the Gods” used as instructional tool.