I’m glad you’ve chosen to try this out.  I’ve spent a lot of time developing this, so I hope it serves you.

General:

  • The game works well in most major browsers, with the exception of IE8 and earlier. IE9 works, but not best.  I recommend Chrome or Firefox. Safari’s good too.
  • I designed this with my iPod Touch in mind.  (I like laying in bed, and I wanted to find a way to make that more productive).  All iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches) work well.  I recommend adding the page to your homescreen, which will eliminate the browser navigation bar that takes up a lot of screen space. By doing this, the game will feel more like an app, but you will still need a data connection in order to use it (3G or WIFI).
  • Android phones work well too, but I’ve heard that Blackberries don’t =/ (I have an Android phone, so I can do tests… I don’t have access to a Blackberry, though)
  • At the top of some of pages, you might notice my chalkboard. I like to post messages about the game, as things come up.  Sometimes I’ll post reminders about things that are going on in class.  Sometimes when I find out that I was a hundred years off on an artists work, I’ll want to make a special note, so that I don’t feel responsible for causing the class to fail.
  • Click the little house icon, at the top left of any page, to get back to the course homepage. From the course homepage, you can click the little house icon again to get back to the course selection page.

The Game:

  • Before playing the game you have some choices to make:
    • Choose the number of images you want to be quizzed on for the current session (they come up in a random order every time, so if you don’t choose “all #”, you’ll want to make sure to play a lot, so that you don’t miss some) — I built this in, because I thought that people might want to study in smaller time increments.  100 images-at-a-time takes a little while, ya know?
    • Choose the category(ies) you want to be quizzed on (Artist, Date, Location, Style–when more than one are chosen, different categories are displayed at random)
    • Click “Let’s do this!” to begin the game
  • Once in the game, you can click on the image to have the title of the image displayed (click again to hide it)
  • At the top of every image, it says “# of #” to let you know how many you’ve done, and how many you’ve got left
  • You get points for the number you get right, no penalty for wrong answers (I may eventually make a leaderboard for some friendly competition–there is currently no timer)
  • On your computer (doesn’t work on mobile devices yet), you can click-and-hold to keep the right answer up.  It’ll go to the next image when you let go of your mouse button.
  • At the end of the game, it shows the ones you missed, so that you can see which ones you may need to study (groups the works together by artist) — to see all of the images this way, see “Studying the Images” below
  • If at some point during the game, you want to reset the game, simply click on “Reset” in the lower left

Studying the Images:

  • To get into the study area, click on the word “Study” at the bottom of the game settings page, or the red button labeled, “Wait! I need to study first.”
  • The images are color-coded according to where they fall in the century (Early=green, Mid=yellow, Late=red). I find that it’s best for me to try to associate the images with a color in order to remember where in the century they fall.
  • At the top right of the page, there is a drop-down menu labeled “See only the works of:” that defaults to “All Artists”. From this menu, you can choose an artist to single his/her work out.  The images will get larger to see them better.  I find this helpful in comparing all of the works of one artist.  The color-coding remains, so that you can still see when he/she worked.  You can always go back to “All Artists” to see the thumbnail list again. (At the moment, the list is in a weird order.  I think it might be based on the order of appearance on the page. If I sort alphabetically, it will sort based on first name. I’m not really sure if that would help that much.)
  • I’ve heard that some people like to download the images from the site.  It can be a HUGE pain to right-click and “Save image as” for hundreds of images, so I developed some code that zips all of my images into one file whenever I update the database.  At the top of each study page, there is a link to that file. Each of the images contain metadata that carries the Artist, Date, Location, Style, and Title information.  If you open these files in a program like Adobe Bridge, you can view this information in the Metadata palette under IPTC Core.

Lecture Questions:

  • Michelle and Sarah and Brandon and Mike (and others that I suck at remembering) have all been integral to this section of the game for various courses. Make sure to thank them for taking such great notes!
  • The answers to these questions are not dynamic like the answers in the image quizes (different every time).  We try to come up with good answers, but it’ll probably be pretty easy to memorize them.  Make sure that you are focusing on what the questions are asking (memorize the questions with their answers). Dr. Martin will probably phrase his questions differently, and it won’t really help to have just the answers to our questions memorized.
  • These questions are based on the statements that Dr. Martin prefaces with “Make this note” or “Keep this in mind” or “This sounds like a test question”. We hope these are helpful, but please don’t depend entirely on them.

Comments and Mnemonics:

  • This is where you can share different things that you find helpful in remembering obscure information.  Mnemonic devices are intended to assist the memory, so they’re often kinda silly and weird.  Please don’t think that your ideas are stupid here. Some of the most ridiculous things help me so much on the exams.
  • There are some Word-like controls in the comment box, so you can bold text, underline text, italicize text, change text colors and create hyperlinks.  You can add images by linking to an image from another site, or by linking to one of my images (you may have to dig a little for the URLs, if you choose to try that).

Contact:

  • Please let me know if you find any glitches in the game. (Because this is a personal project, there are some glitchy things that I just haven’t tried to fix. Don’t go looking for them, but if you do come across things that are wonky, let me know)
  • Also let me know if you think my information is wrong.  I study from this too, so if it’s wrong, I want to know!
  • I make mistakes, so please PLEASE check your notes against mine, and let me know when there are inconsistencies. Don’t assume that the game is infallible…

Disclaimer:

Dr. Martin is aware of this game, but he doesn’t give any oversight to it.  This game has no authority, and should be trusted at your own risk.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why did you do this?
    • I wanted to develop a tool to help me study.  I started thinking about the project before the Fall semester of 2011.  At the time, I was playing an iPhone game called, “The Font Game”.  I found that it was actually helping me to memorize fonts (really nerdy, I know). I thought, “What if I made something like this to help me study Art History.” If you ever play “The Font Game”, you will abandon any ideas that my game is original.  I almost entirely ripped it off.
    • Also, I just really enjoy web-development.  It’s just fun to me.  I like puzzles and problem-solving.  This was a fun challenge.  It’s the first thing like it that I’ve ever done, and so I feel a pretty tremendous sense of accomplishment. (It has been quite self-rewarding)
  • Why don’t you charge for this?
    • I would like to, but it would make things more complicated.  Firstly, I would have to figure out a registration/login system that could prevent one of you from signing up and sharing your password with everyone in the class. It would be a lot of work to try to do, and I can’t imagine that I’d really make that much money from a class of 40(ish) poor college students that are perfectly capable of studying on their own.  Secondly, I don’t know if there would be legal ramifications for profiting from a site that uses images that I don’t have the rights to. Lastly, if I made you pay for it, I would feel obligated to keep it maintained. I already do, but if stuff comes up in my life, I don’t want to feel like I owe you guys something =)
    • I have set up a donate button through PayPal, for the generous among you. Even a small contribution would be an awesome affirmation to me.
  • How did you make this?
    • The whole game is built on the WordPress platform.  I developed a theme using HTML, CSS, PHP, and jQuery. I add metadata to the images that Dr. Martin shows in class. Each image has to be tagged with its corresponding artist, date, location, style, and title. I found a plugin for WordPress that handles image galleries, and I modified it to output XML data every time a gallery is called into a page.  I use jQuery to parse the XML data every time a new image needs to be displayed.  It grabs the right answer and three unique wrong answers from the database (it took awhile to figure out how to keep from having duplicate wrong answers).  It randomizes the placement of the answers on the page, so that the right answer isn’t always the first one in the list.  I store the right answer’s location in a variable to be checked against when an answer is clicked. It’s kinda complicated, but I did it a little at a time.  If you ever want a tour of the code, I’d love to show it off!  I kinda think that there’s no way anyone can truly appreciate all that goes into stuff like this–but it’s okay.
      EDIT: Since I first wrote this up, I changed the way I associate information with images. I developed a WordPress plugin that pulls all of the images from a gallery, and allows the user to fill in information in a table next to each image. This has allowed me to pass the game off to other students, so that they could maintain a course, or even add a new one. The way I was doing it before, was way too difficult, and required that you had a metadata editor–I was using Adobe Bridge, but not everyone has the Adobe Creative Suite. (Please [seriously] feel free to contact me if you would like to add or maintain a course. I think I’ve made it pretty simple, and I’d love for this to keep going, even though I’ve graduated).
  • Do you have a girlfriend?
    • I’m just kidding.  Nobody asks me that.

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