Faculty use new formats – including comics – to convey research
By Lori Sonken
Cornell faculty members and academic staff participating in the Knowledge Matters Fellowship presented their projects, including comics, videos and websites, at a showcase wrapping up the yearlong transmedia training program May 10 at A.D. White House.
“My students said they better understood the papers they read” after creating a comic strip illustrating research and findings from a peer-reviewed journal article, said Jennifer Agans, assistant director of the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.
Agans asked undergraduates enrolled in Human Development 4850 to make a 12-frame, persuasive comic making the research relevant for nonacademic audiences. Before tackling the assignment, students received instruction in developing comics from Jon McKenzie, the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fellow for Media and Design and visiting professor of English, who runs the Knowledge Matters Fellowship.
Another Knowledge Matters fellow, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, associate professor and the Robert Dyson Sesquicentennial Chair in Environmental, Energy and Resource Economics in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, produced a four-minute video that highlights research in a paper she wrote with a former Ph.D. student in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management about the effects of driving restrictions on air quality.
Making the video “made me think about how to make the research my students and I are doing interesting and accessible to a general audience,” she said.
To solicit support for a clemency case, Sandra Babcock, faculty director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, is developing a PechaKucha – a presentation format that uses narration and 20 slides displaying for 20 seconds each to convey information concisely.
Maureen Hanson, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, worked with a volunteer WordPress expert to build a website for the Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease, which conducts research on myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The Knowledge Matters Fellowship, sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD), Cornell University Library, Office of Engagement Initiatives and the Center for Teaching Innovation,will be offered in 2018-19, said Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity. Email OFDD more information.
Lori Sonken is communication and program manager for the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.