These animations were conceived, designed and produced by members of VISA1800T Communicating Science Through Visual Media, a new joint Brown-RISD course that explores the pedagogy of teaching science concepts through video and animation. RISD students and Brown students worked together in small teams under the guidance of instructors, John Stein and Steven Subotnick, with additional assistance from outside mentor, David Targan.
This class, offered jointly by professors at RISD and Brown and in partnership with the Science
Center and the Creative Mind Initiative, will explore and develop the pedagogy of using visual
media to convey scientific concepts. There is a growing library of online content but often times it
is not well suited for seamless adoption into educational use. The goal of this course will be to
assess examples of existing material and design new material that not only fills an educational need
but makes science engaging and accessible. Class time will be comprised of lectures, labs,
screenings, discussions, critiques and guest speakers. After an introduction to science teaching
pedagogy and the basics of animation and visual design, small student teams with a balance of
science and art backgrounds will collaborate on a series of short exercises leading to the creation of
final videos or animations that explain scientific concepts. Concept selection will be based on
filling an identified educational need, where a satisfactory example does not yet exist and where the
topic benefits from a visual presentation. Student groups will be paired with faculty mentors from
the life or physical sciences to design visual media that is appropriate for a particular audience.
Projects will be evaluated on scientific accuracy, clarity of explanation, meeting the educational
need, and originality of approach. The developed skills of lesson plan design along with writing,
recording, animating and editing short educational videos will give students experience within the
growing field of visual supplements to traditional learning. RISD students have the option to take
this course either for studio or liberal arts credit.