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Embracing Change: Alternatives to Traditional Research Writing Assignments

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While student artists can usually articulate their personal motivations in artistic production, they often do not place their work within the context of research that can add complexity, nuance, and generalized perspective until later in their careers. To help students develop this practice, a librarian and a studio art instructor created and co-taught one assignment in 2D Foundations: Color and Visual Literacy, a required two-dimensional (2D) art studio class for all art majors at the University of Nebraska Omaha. In this chapter, the authors share the infographic assignment, which takes inspiration from information-based art generated by artists such as Laurie Frick, Giorgia Lupi, David McCandless, and Mark Dion who base their creations on scientific data and historical or social context in order to present visually pleasing and nuanced information for the general public. In this case study chapter, the authors explain the assignment, share student work and anonymized research reflections, and reflect on assumptions, challenges, and successes experienced while designing and teaching this nontraditional research assignment.

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