College of Fine Arts and Communication

Research and Creative Activities

COFAC Colloquium 9 — Friday, October 9, 2009 — Van Bokkelen 204

Arts & Ideas: Baltimore's First Democratic School

Danny Mydlack, Professor, Department of Electronic Media and Film

Danny MydlackOver the past four years I have built a new arts elementary school in Baltimore, Arts and Ideas Sudbury School. This school is the permanent site for the filming of my next feature documentary film “Playing School.” It is also the laboratory for my research in arts activism, media education and community engagement. My presentation would introduce briefly the ideas behind the project, an overview of its rapid construction and a two-minute photo tour of the operation.

In 2005 I released my feature documentary “Voices From the New American Schoolhouse.” Since then, the film has won a number of international film festivals, has been screened and sold on every continent except Antarctica, and has been the centerpiece for a number of international educational conferences. The success of the film brought me personally to screenings in the U.S and in Europe where I have addressed and fielded questions from parents, children, community leaders and concerned educational professionals. That experience has illustrated vividly to me the particular usefulness of filmmaking when it engages and involves itself intimately with complex and difficult subjects (21st century education) and underrepresented communities (independent and unsupported education reformers and innovators.)

My goal since then has been to do one better: to shoot a film of the building of a school. My goals have been to (1) investigate first-hand the process of changing education, and to (2) establish a stage where 21st century media education practices can be improvised, performed, documented and disseminated.


Fostering Community, Connections and Change Through Green Mapping

Jessica Ring, Associate Professor, Department of Art + Design, Art History

Originally presented at the UCDA (University and College Designer’s Association) Design Summit in May 2009.

How can our students utilize their design skills to become empowered to positively impact their own community? Can they form deeper connections with the people and environment surrounding them? Provided with a mixture of collaboration, design study, professional development and service-learning in a course, students can harness the power of design and realize the importance of making connections through the vehicle of green mapping.

“A Green Map is a locally-made map that uses the universal Green Map® Icons to highlight the social, cultural and sustainability resources of a particular geographic area.” – 2007 Green Mapmakers Guide, Green Map® System

Working with the Baltimore Green Map organization, students learn to become more informed about contemporary social and environmental issues as related to green mapping and sustainable graphic design. They work as productive members of a team, as expected in a professional environment, and advance their skills in graphic design and information design. They come to value a variety of perspectives and disciplines through the connections made with students, faculty and administration throughout the campus, as well as individuals and organizations in the surrounding community, all while being a part of the Baltimore Green Map organization and the larger international green map movement.

This presentation covers the activities conducted throughout the course and a summary of the finished product and possible future of the project. Ultimately, by the creation of useful and meaningful community tools, students realize their potential to become powerful and positive forces within society.

Using Social Networking Sites as a Teaching Tool

Sandra Nichols, Professor, Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies

This presentation will explore the pedagogical benefits and drawbacks to integrating a social networking site into a traditional classroom-structured course. A newly developed site will serve as a case study to examine the potential of social networking technologies to enhance experiential learning and facilitate student engagement through online discussions and activities.


College of Fine Arts and Communication
Center for the Arts, Room 3001 (map)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Phone: 410-704-3288
Fax: 410-704-6026



• COFAC faculty and professional staff members submit your proposal for the next COFAC Colloquium. The deadline is Jan. 22 2010.





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