About Warren Blyth

Education games/media designer for Oregon State University's Extended Campus Program Development & Training team

The multimedia developers at Ecampus have the tools and experience to quickly generate cartoons for your course, illustrating hard to describe (or photograph) concepts with a dash of charm. Here are three recent examples of the quick cartoons we can make – each completed in about a week – with some insights into the development process.
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For every concept you want to convey, there is a scale of understanding (from those who’ve never heard of it, to those who have PhDs in it). In many cases, those who really understand something well have trouble putting themselves into the shoes of others who are just setting out to learn it. This is why it is often hard to give a stranger directions when they don’t know the local streets or landmarks. The key to good explanation is: empathizing with your audience.

In May, I had the pleasure of seeing Lee LeFever speak at WebVisions 2013 in Portland, Oregon. His session, “The Art of Explanation,” was about crafting explanations in video form and it delivered my favorite takeaways from the show. I’d like share a few of these juicy insights with you, because they inform my multimedia work for CDT.
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the title screen

Often an instructor will bring us media (like a collection of photographs) and ask if we could help create some sort of interactive exercise¬† (like a microscope simulation, to explore their photographs). We’re happy to do what you ask, but when time and interest permit – we like to push a little further. Sometimes we will ask if it’s all right to make a game.

This past term in Botany 350, we created an anime-themed adventure game, Plant Detective, which let students collect clues and present their findings to a humorous¬† caricature of their instructor. You can play it here, and I’ll discuss how we made it after the break.
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Here is a series of illustrations done for Neil Bell’s class on Plant Problem Diagnosis. These simple images will be shown along side real photos of diseased or otherwise inflicted plants to help students determine possible causes for the displayed symptoms. Illustrations are important for learning in this situation because the photos alone are so busy that they can be confusing.

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Here is a simple tool we created from scratch, which points out the mean, median, and mode values from a randomly generated set of data:

Screenshot of Soc315 simple statistics refresher tool

Background:
The instructor noted that students are required to have taken a basic statistics course before starting his Sociology class, but they have often forgotten how to apply the concepts of mean, median and mode to a data set. He asked if we could create a tool that would show these values applied to a data set that the students might actually encounter during their sociology studies. Continue reading

Project Name: Whale Migration
Media: Flash Vector Drawings
Class: FW302
Design Team: Warren Blyth, Thomas Emery

This interactive flash application lets you follow the migration of gray whales off the west coast of North America for 2 years. It follows a pregnant mother, calf, and a male. Numbers came from OSU researchers.

This project was directed by Warren Blyth, programming by Thomas Emery, I was in charge of animation, art, and layout.

Click the image to launch the application. Hit the play button in the bottom left corner to start it.