For my visualization badge, I submitted a Prezi that I made for an Emerging Pedagogies grant from Pearson. That Prezi uses various means of data visualization to represent the program of the 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication. It is entitled Las Vegas from a Distance: Visualizing CCCC 2013.
In the Prezi, I argue that the means of visualization it deploys offer ways of engaging with the conference program—a document made up of hundreds of pages and thousands of listed presentations—in a more distant, aggregative manner. Much of this project builds on the work of Derek Mueller, particularly his dissertation and his 2012 College Composition and Communication article “Grasping Rhetoric and Composition By Its Long Tail.” His dissertation relies on and theorizes extensively about word clouds, which are a key part of my Prezi.
I used Prezi rather than digital video, PowerPoint, etc. in the hope that the platform’s zooming and click-and-drag features would afford users opportunities to go off the grid of my prescribed order of presentation, looking for jumps and connections I might have missed. I created the project’s visuals using a combination of Wordle.net, Photoshop CS5, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. The various graphs, for instance, were generated in PowerPoint based on data in an Excel spreadsheet. I then exported the PowerPoint graphs into Photoshop, which allowed me to match their color schemes to those of the word clouds and the rest of the Prezi. Prezi’s site provides a number of intuitive built-in tutorials that helped me learn the tool. I learned Photoshop through lab workshops, Justin Hodgson’s course Rhetorical Invention in an Age of Multimedia, and online video tutorials. Though I already knew PowerPoint and Excel, the specific Excel spreadsheet I used for this project built on organizational strategies I developed for my final project in Davida Charney’s course Rhetoric of Academic Disciplines.