To honor free comic day…

As many of the more geeky EduGeek readers know, last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. I took advantage of this by catching up on Marvel’s fun and compelling Sinister Six (which was not free, by the way). This event has me thinking of a tool that I have used in the past which allows anyone to design, draft, and publish comic book strips. This is another entry on tools that instructors might use to appeal to visual learners: the tool I highlight this week is Bitstrips.

Bitstrips are an easy way to embed information visually to your students

Bitstrips are quick to make and they can convey information to your students visually without much effort. It is also a simple way to create a static avatar for your course.

Bitstrips can add a bit of visual  flair to:  your syllabus,  your learning  management system,  your orientation  handouts,  even exam instructions.

Bitstrips are not just for instructors, either. You could assign comic strip writing as creative exercises. A great thing about Bitstrip comics is that they can be edited by more than one person, if the designer desires. Therefore, students can work on creating a strip together. For example, a group could design a strip reflecting their interpretation of something that motivated a character to do what she or he did in a novel. Or perhaps they could draw up a case study graphically reflecting a prescribed course of actions.

Example of a bitstrip giving advice on how to ask effective questions.

Bitstrips are easily transferable, both on-line and off. They can be embedded into websites, downloaded as a image file, e-mailed and/or printed. Clearly this flexibility makes Bitstrips quite open as an assessment opportunity.

So, with that being said, I would be really interested to know what uses for this you might have. Send me a note @clongstr on Twitter and I will gather them to post later.

Shaun Longstreet
I first started teaching in a university classroom in 1994 and I have nine years of faculty and graduate student development experience. I first worked at the University of Notre Dame’s Kaneb Center as a graduate student program developer. I was then at Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in the Philosophy Department and an Instructional Consultant for the Center for Teaching Excellence. I was the Associate Director for the Teaching Learning and Technology Center at the University of California, Irvine before returning to the Lone Star State. My specific interests in faculty and graduate student development are: developing inclusive classrooms and effective leveraging of technology in the classroom.

While I have a strong passion for faculty and TA development, I still have my own research agenda in the field of ancient Mediterranean cultures; I currently research diaspora religious communities in pre-Roman North Africa and west Asia. This has me working on my hobby of collecting ancient languages. I am now learning my ninth and tenth languages, Phoenician and Carian.

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