What I’m reading 5 Mar 2016 through 7 Mar 2016

  • Should Academics Talk to Katie Couric? – The Chronicle – Once more into the breech of consumption. Don't make me think! "Academic writing has the benefit of scholarly rigor, full documentation, and original thinking. But the transmission of our ideas is routinely hampered — understandably, given academe’s publication, evaluation, and tenure conditions — by a great deal of peer-oriented jargon." – (rhetoric academicwriting scholarship2.0 )
  • Coming Down From the Clouds: On Academic Writing – The Chronicle – A defense rather than an apologia for scholarly writing. We're not writing for The General Public. We're writing on the edge of knowledge – and that requires some effort. "Yes, some academic writing is more abstruse than it needs to be. No doubt, scholarship should not be hidden behind expensive paywalls. And, yes, academics, like all people, are shaped by the conditions of their employment. … But the story is more complicated." "there is a risk when we mistakenly assume that public and scholarly writing are the same thing — that one is good and clear and the other is needlessly complex." – (scholarship2.0 composition academia2.0 academicwriting )
  • Fear of Screens – The New Inquiry – Jurgenson, review of Reclaiming Conversation, Turkle. "Why would anyone want to believe that people who are communicating with phones have forgotten what friendship is?" My notes on http://mcmorgan.wikity.cc/digital-dualism/ – (mediation identity semiotics )

What I’m reading 28 Feb 2016 through 4 Mar 2016

What I’m reading 13 Feb 2016 through 20 Feb 2016

What I’m reading 27 Jan 2016 through 30 Jan 2016

What I’m reading 18 Jan 2016 through 25 Jan 2016

What I’m reading 15 Jan 2016 through 17 Jan 2016

What I’m reading 9 Jan 2016

  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick – The Pleasure of the Blog: e Early Novel, the Serial, and the Narrative Archive – – (DH #en3177 en3177 )
  • Jan Schmidt – Blogging Practices: An Analytical Framework – "This article proposes a general model to analyze and compare different uses of the blog format. Based on ideas from sociological structuration theory, as well as on existing blog research, it argues that individual usage episodes are framed by three structural dimensions of rules, relations, and code, which in turn are constantly (re)produced in social action. As a result, ‘‘communities of blogging practices’’ emerge-that is, groups of people who share certain routines and expectations about the use of blogs as a tool for information, identity, and relationship management. This analytical framework can be the basis for systematic comparative and longi- tudinal studies that will further understanding of similarities and differences in blog- ging practices. – (#en3177 blogging analysis literacy )
  • I am a blogging researcher: Motivations for blogging in a scholarly context | Kjellberg | First Monday – The number of scholarly blogs on the Web is increasing. In this article, a group of researchers are asked to describe the functions that their blogs serve for them as researchers. The results show that their blogging is motivated by the possibility to share knowledge, that the blog aids creativity, and that it provides a feeling of being connected in their work as researchers. In particular, the blog serves as a creative catalyst in the work of the researchers, where writing forms a large part, which is not as prominent as a motivation in other professional blogs. In addition, the analysis brings out the blog’s combination of functions and the possibility it offers to reach multiple audiences as a motivating factor that makes the blog different from other kinds of communication in scholarly contexts. – (DH #en3177 blogging research2.0 ethnography )

What I’m reading 7 Jan 2016

What I’m reading 6 Jan 2016

the double-edged hobson’s choice janus-faced statement of learning objectives

We’re closing in on getting classes started for spring, so I’ve been updating syllabi and course statements.  I’m really trying to cut – heavily cut – what I provide in the current Weblogs and Wikis statement. Not condense, not rework, but just cut.  One problem is that in explaining objectives and criteria for evaluation has to take two forms: one needs to be student-readable, the other is for the administration.  For students to learn with, I state these as guides rather than promises/outcomes/objectives/goals:

This course gives you the opportunity to

– Become skilled in navigating, reading, and creating written content in social media.
– Develop an understanding of how social media systems work technically; develop a critical understanding of the rhetorical affordances in social media systems; develop a critical understanding of how people interact socially in these systems; and develop a sense of potentials and pitfalls in the systems and their use.
– Become familiar enough with the concepts of social media communication able to be able to review and articulate social issues and implications.
– Critically consider how social media has and continues to re-shape learning, social, and communicative practices.
– Publish your work with these issues and topics, and comment on your work as it unfolds. aka: Become a cartographer
– Participate in a semester-long conversation about these issues and topics with others in this class and outside the class,
– Synthesize ideas of social media to develop critically-aware, media-specific responses in a number of media.

For the students, they are guides, hopes, things to aspire to. For me, they are what I have to give opportunities for the students to try. But I also evaluate students using these objectives as the course progresses: They are holistic, heuristic, aimed at pedagogical ends of understaning and comprehension, familiarity with new ideas, increasing confidence and expertise. I leave  how the student demonstrates each of these unstated, in part because the how wouldn’t make much sense to students until the end of the course, and in part because I don’t wish to close off possibilities for their demonstration by over-defining them, and in great part because this is a class where people learn across time rather than just show at the end.  So, how do I know if, for instance, a student is “critically considering how social media has and continues to re-shape learning, social, and communicative practices?” By her way of her writing, among other means. But to specify the criteria by number of words, posts, or something we’ll call engagement is less than useful to the student. I suspect I will see it in her writing, in her use of tags, in her comments on the work of others … I know I have to provide plenty of opportunities for her to practice it, watch for it as she does, and let her know when and where I see it.

But in counterpoint, here are the goals/objectives/criteria/indices I have listed for the non-pediagogical administrative view of the course.

Students will

== demonstrate technical proficiency by ==
– setting up and maintaining a weblog for the course, and using it for course purposes
– ditto wiki pages
– ditto Twitter
– demonstrate a growing independence in technical matters over the semester
– demonstrate a broadening of media attempted over the semester

== demonstrate knowledge by==
– engaging with the work of others in the class by commenting and responding
– posting regular work with readings and topics on your blog
– engaging (meaning //annotating, sharing, remixing, repurposing//) materials both assigned and what you find
– searching for and engaging other materials
– engaging in a continuing refactoring of ideas during the course
– a developing depth and quality in your reflections over the semester

== demonstrate responsibility and academic integrity by ==
– attending face to face classes and maintaining a presence on line
– submitting materials on time
– informally documenting sources in the manners appropriate for the web. Linking, obviously, but look at some weblogs and you’ll see how it’s done.)
– not cheating

What are these really? Because they aren’t goals. They are more like statements of necessary conditions for learning to potentially occur. They are purportedly visible and measurable outcomes – not for my use, not for the use by students, but for administration. But there are problems: Since the administration won’t tell faculty what wants to use these statements for, I can’t be more specific and I can’t be sure that I’m specifying anything meaningful to them.  If they measurable (or worth measuring), they aren’t calibrated, nor can they be in a useful way. I can say with a degree of certainty that they are pedagogically meaningless in a classroom of any significance, and they don’t provide a measure for evaluating learning. They look like they might, but they don’t.

So, in the statement for students, I add a couple of paragraphs to help make the Borges List perhaps useful to students as learner-readable criteria:

That’s the evidence I’ll look at during the progress of the course. Here are the criteria I’ll use for a final evaluation of your work:

– The complexity of what you take on and how you address it. That is, To what extent have you challenged yourself and the medium?
– The sophistication of ideas with which you address the tasks you set for yourself.

In short, the more challenging the tasks you set for yourself, and the more sophisticated the work you take on, the higher the final grade. These features and criteria emphasize //exploring//, //experimenting//, //developing self-reliance//, as well as traditional academic qualities of //complexity//, //insight//, //tenacity//, and //risk//.

So, horns of a dilemma avoided at the almost-certain risk of confusing students. Maybe next semester, I’ll try color coding things: things students need to know in blue, and administrative text in yellow.