Published: Sun Feb 5, 2006As an instructor of housing and design in Tennessee Tech University’s School of Human Ecology, professor Jeff Plant knows the evolution of architectural elements creates more functional buildings.
He also knows technological innovation creates better teaching tools, and under his direction, the university recently teamed up with California-based Slide Presentations, Publishers to present a definitive teaching tool for students of architecture, interiors and furniture in a landmark DVD-ROM format.
“This particular format is very adaptable to the possible ways professors might want to use it, so I knew there was a market for this product,” Plant said. “I also knew TTU had the resources to create and complete this project.”
The first step in the process of creating the new media format involved scanning approximately 1,900 color slides depicting buildings, rooms and furniture originating from 2800 B.C. to 1975, plus nearly 600 pages of supporting text material providing details about the images.
The pictures were scanned in an extremely high resolution that enabled programmers in TTU’s BusinessMedia Center to design an exclusive feature giving DVD-ROM users a close-up detail option.
“We had to implement some innovative programming techniques in order to create this feature, but the result is an enhanced visual teaching tool,” Plant said.
Other distinctive features of the new DVD-ROM include streamlined index searching, an overview of historical elements throughout the ages and informative descriptions accompanying every image.
“The Architecture, Interiors and Furniture slide presentation has become the standard of excellence for leading universities, libraries, teachers of interior design, theatre design and many other courses throughout the United States and abroad, and the DVD serves as the foundation for an entire course, is ideal for research and is a visually unique and scholarly work,” said Beverly Grossman, director of sales for Slide Presentations, Publishers.
Following the successful completion of this project, Plant said he felt that future revisions and other media work almost certainly exist with the company, and Slide Presentations, Publishers representatives Beverly and Stephen Sbarge agreed.
“Jeff did a wonderful job, and we enjoyed working with him very much,” they wrote in a concluding project letter. “We look forward to also working with him on a DVD of our History of Costume set, and hope (TTU) will be interested in joining us again in making a second excellent DVD.”
Others who supported or contributed to the project include Sue Bailey, TTU’s director of human ecology; Kevin Liska and Paul Harrison of TTU’s BusinessMedia Center; TTU’s Academic Affairs Office; Michael Vigeant of Quest Interactive; Roman Stone of W.D. Stone and Associates; and proofreaders Candy Norris and Melissa Burke.
“Other people have described this project as a monumental work, serving as an example of how academics, technology, research, marketing and teaching styles can be successfully integrated into one project, and I consider this effort to be a significant career achievement,” Plant said.