The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many colleges and universities to accelerate their use of virtual-meeting technology such as Adobe Connect, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. This is the case for schools teaching introductory courses in printing and graphic arts both here and in the United States. At the University of Houston, for example, its use of virtual classrooms was enhanced recently by IntuIdeas, whose textbook Introduction to Graphic Communication (www.igcbook.com), provided an additional link to the school’s virtual lectures and lab sessions, via Ricoh’s Clickable Paper technology. “The advantage of Clickable Paper over QR Codes is enormous,” said IntuIdeas’ principal and book co-author John Parsons. “The book was printed over a year ago, but we can add online functionality at any time – even things we didn’t consider when the book was being written.”
The book is required reading for students in the University of Houston’s summer course, DIGM 3351 Individualized Communications. In addition to the links to related videos and other online resources, the book now provides immediate smartphone or tablet access to Microsoft Teams. To use the feature, students simply scanned the cover of the book to reveal a link to the virtual classroom, where they can join the lecture or lab in progress. Convenient links are also available for students who don’t yet have the Microsoft Teams app installed on their mobile devices.
“Have you ever considered teaching a printing course completely online and without the use of any labs whatsoever?” noted Professor Jerry Waite. “That’s what I have to do this summer in my intro print course. Instead of ‘hands on,’ I must rely on ‘eyes on’ during this COVID-19-affected semester. Thank goodness for the augmented reality functions in Harvey Levenson’s and John Parsons’ book, Introduction to Graphic Communication. Using Ricoh’s Clicker app, my students can see experts talk and watch technology being used. Is it as good as hands-on? Not quite. But it sure is a lifesaver when you can’t use equipment!”
Parsons added that the new functionality was included as a convenience to students using the book. “In the aftermath of COVID-19, virtual classrooms are becoming the new normal,” he pointed out. “Students already have access to these platforms, of course, but they can easily forget or misplace the URL. The Clickable Paper link is an additional benefit for those who need to join the session with their smartphone or tablet.” IntuIdeas is planning to add similar functionality for all schools currently using the textbook and will also do so for schools planning to adopt it in the Fall 2020 term. For information on ordering or customizing the book, please contact IntuIdeas at email@example.com.