Our Final Class Plans….

images-2So we are on the final home stretch, finishing off our semester long discussion of New Media Studies.  It has been a pleasure to have had this extended conversation with you.  I, for one, know I have learned a great deal with you over the course of our time together.

This post outlines the official plan for next Wednesday 5/11, and includes everything you need to accomplish to wrap up the semester in good standing:

1.  Each of you will submit your Final Self Assessment and Portfolio for New Media Studies.  This will be a 1-2 page self assessment narrative about what you learned in the course, along with the links to all your work over the course of the semester.  Please follow the instructions in this link, and please send me the link to your Final Self Assessment and Portfolio via email before class (5/11).

2.  For all students contributing to the Final Class Project:

Wow.  Your posts are truly amazing and I have learned so much by reading each of your accounts!  There is just one part left to complete:  The “About Us” section.  Everyone should complete a brief (few sentence) bio, and then they should be included in alphabetical order on the “About Us” page.  Since you all have admin access to the site, you should be able to insert your bio easily enough.  I will try to draft a descriptive paragraph of the project there as well, but please edit as you see fit.  When we are together in class, we can check on this together and tweak it.

3.  So our last class on Wednesday is a Potluck Dinner Party.  Unknown-1Everyone should bring something so we can all feast together.  Here is the sign up sheet – please post what you will take (and you can also see what others have in mind there in order to round out the menu).  While we are eating and chatting, I hope each of you will take turns sharing out your new New Media Adventure stories (informal style).

See you for our grand finale party.  We can celebrate your fantastic work this semester, and the approach of summertime!! 🙂

xo -Dr. Zamora


Learning, Literacy & Commercial Culture

images-1Thanks Dave for your excellent presentation on learning, literacy, & commercialism in the context of participatory culture.  I think that your readings (Chapters 4 & 5 of Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Jenkins, Ito, & boyd) were particularly suited for you (considering your current professional context).  Your “weigh in” on current trends in journalism was an interesting lens for all of us to consider.  We spoke about how learning has been transformed by the affordances of new media tools, and we reflected on the role of the teacher in a connected learning environment.   We thought a bit about the attention economy, and what kinds of norms support participatory culture?  We also considered what “high quality listening” might look like in a networked environment.  With the expansion of who is able to produce and share culture comes a new urgency for both responsibility and accountability.  It is exciting to think about the new reality of user generated innovation and networked intelligence, but the question will always remain – to whose benefit?  The authors grappled with models of alternative governance and new revenue models that might more accurately reflect the participants in participatory culture.

imagesGeneral updates:

-Quanesha & Devon will be presenting on chapters 6 & 7 of Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Jenkins, Ito, & boyd.   Please read and blog for class.

-You will peer review your final project post of your new-new media adventure.  Please have the rough draft ready to share with a partner in class. Last week you developed a set of peer review questions that will be applied to your final project rough draft.  With your partner you will exchange feedback on your drafts (using the questions as a benchmark for the goals for this writing).

-In the final presentation week (May 4th), we will work to set up the Final Project website together and make sure all materials are dropped down in that site.

-Please note:  As we discussed earlier, your final blog for class will be the Air-B-N-Me blog – due between now and May 4th.  The blog should be both an account and an analysis of your experience playing along with Air-B-N-Me.

See you all soon!!

Dr. Zamora

Online Youth Culture & Participation

images-1Thanks Marissa for a smart Prezi presentation of Chapters 2 & 3 of Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Jenkins, Ito, & boyd; as well as Garcia’s Vlogging, Teens, & Literacy.  I enjoyed our discussion of online youth culture and practices, as well as “genres of participation”.   We all have plenty to say about these issues, and our conversations always keep me reflecting further.  From society’s (problematic) ambivalence – being fearful for and fearful of youth – there is certainly much ado about teens & technology.  A few highlights:  -I found the authors’ s consideration of “visibility” interesting, as well as the notion of being private in public (i.e. the ability of youth to develop sophisticated ways to code/veil intent in public spaces; “hiding in plain sight”; “firewalls of visibility”).   -The promise of intergenerational online/digital mentorship seemed to me an exciting and hopeful point of reflection (i.e in an online context, my kids might have plenty to teach me, but I still have plenty to teach them…).   -The telling metaphors of “digital native” verses “digital immigrant” – these words we use reveal quite a bit about our cultural assumptions and expectations around online cUnknown-2ulture, no?   -I also found the difference between interest-driven vs. friendship-driven participation culture a critical distinction (i.e. the difference between just Hanging Out vs Geeking Out).  Thanks again Marissa for engendering another lively new media studies chat.


1.  We all agreed that the period of time to tinker and play in the #NetProv experiment (Air-B-N-Me) should be extended for the next couple of weeks, and that each of you should write one blog post on this work.   Your Air-B-N-Me blog is due between now and May 4th, and the blog should be both an account and an analysis of your experience playing along with Air-B-N-Me.

2.  Next class David will present on Chapter 4 & 5 of Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Jenkins, Ito, & boyd.  Please read and blog about this material.

3.  We will do some peer review  work on your final project account of your new-new media adventure.  Please have a rough draft ready to share with a few classmates/partners.

4.  In “part 2” of class (after Dave’s presentation) – we will discuss Air-B-N-Me some more, and we will also set up our peer-review protocol for the final project editing.

See you soon!!

Dr. Zamora



Filtering selves through media

Thank you to Maria & Jessica for teaming up to walk us through Chapters 2 & 3 of Jill Walker Rettberg’s Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves.  Maria & Jessimages-2ica spurned another animated discussion of how our perceptions of our selves and others are filtered via techne & media.  Those filters refer to both the apps and digital tools that aid us in editing our images, but also (perhaps more importantly) the cultural filters that have shaped our view onto the world.  What aspects of reality do we filter out?  What conventions do we take for granted without question?  What ideologies have we been steeped in, that shape our perception of “reality”?  This term is indeed a useful metaphor when thinking about the stakes of self representation (in the digital age). There are the filters we empUnknownloy to exact forms of control over our self-representation, and there are also the cultural filters that limit our own self understanding as we attempt to project a version of (our evolving) self.  We spoke of distinctions in public verses private lives, of intimacy, of what “knowing someone” may or may not mean.  In this day and age, we are leaving the digital bread crumbs of our own personal narrative arc in each and every act of social writing.  Can we exert a control over that story in the age of remix and refraction redux?  I enjoyed thinking about the stakes of “shaping” a life online with all of you.  It is not the kind of reflection that will end soon.

Next week (Wed. 4/6) I will be in Houston for the Conference on College Composition & Communication (better known as the “4Cs”).
In lieu of our usual class gathering, I have assigned “support working groups” for each of you to work in while developing your profile and ads for your own “Air-B-N-Me character“.  In short, you and group mates should plan to meet at Starbucks during our usual class period on 4/6 for a creative brainstorming session, where you aid each other in timages-4aking the first key steps in participating the Air-B-N-Me #netprov game.   I suggest you email your group to confirm your working plan for next Wednesday afternoon.  In the week thereafter (for 4/13), you will be “lurfing” (surfing into someone else life for a few minutes), and then posting reviews on the Air-B-N-Me website.  (Here is the link to the Air-B-N-Me website where you need to register and upload your character info.  You will also need to email Mark Marino or Rob Wittig with a confirmation of your character’s name (see this instruction doc).  As I said in class, do your best to proceed with the creative character development (with peer support as inspiration), and when we convene in two weeks for class, we will revisit this work together for the active “game” part of the experience (lurfing & reviews).

For Wednesday 4/13, Marissa will lead us through Chapter 2 & 3 of Participatory Culture in a Networked Era by Jenkins, Ito, & boyd.  She will also address: Vlogging, Teens, & Literacy (School Library Journal).  Please blog about these readings.  And also, remember to keep going with the development/write-up of your new-new media adventure-experiment!  Your rough draft will be peer edited soon.

Enjoy the creative work!!


Dr. Zamora


Here is the document you need to refer to plan your Air-B-N-Me work this week.  Have fun!


Racial politics in the age of new media

Thank you Colin, and thanks to the entire class, for a lively discussion of Robert P. Jones’ Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson The Atlantic, Aug 2014; and danah boyd’s White Flight in Networked Publics? How Race and Class Shaped American Teen Engagement with MySpace and Facebook (2011) – a chapter in Race After the Internet (eds. Lisa Nakamura and Peter A. Chow-White).

The two readings certainly spurned some interesting conversation about the politics of race in American society, and how the contentious nature of that “conversation” is amplified by our new media toolimages4DOF0f2s.  In the age of vigilante justice and public shaming, from #hashtag identity to micro aggressive tweets, we must ask ourselves if the inability to understand beyond difference has increased in the internet age.  What kinds of literacies are needed to push back on the “sound byte essentialisms” that proliferate so easily with the mere tap/swipe of a screen?  How do our networks represent (or misrepresent) our beliefs about society and the contributions we seek to make?  Thanks to all of you for some thoughtful (and invested) blogging this week.  I continue to learn from your writing.

I am glad we did a quick run through regarding each of your contributions to the final class project.  I think most of you are settled with your individual plans for the project.  It seems the majority of you are already working on your own “new media adventure” or your own “trial and tribulation” installment.

Next up:

For our final installment of the “selfie culture” section of the course, Jessica & Maria will lead us through Chapters 2 & 3 of Jill Walker Rettberg’s Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves, Palgrave Connect, October 2014.  

-Blog another thoughtful response and please remember to tweet your blog to our #NewMediaStudies hashtag.

-You should be continuing your work on your “new media trial run” for the final class project.  Remember, you will want to develop some account of your experience and offer some findings (learning outcomes) based on your efforts/experience.  Keep in mind that this is indeed a multi-modal writing project -links, images, videos should enhance your text.  Just think of this writing as a -well developed, -well written, -resource laden, thoroughly “linked out” blog post on your new new media experience.  Please shoot for a rough draft of this work by April 13th.  At that time, we will plan for some in class peer review work on this project.

-We will be planning our work for the upcoming “Air B N Me” #Netprov experiment in the second half of our next class period.

Happy Easter weekend,

Dr. Zamora



So what about selfies?

imagesThanks to Matt for directing an introspective conversation about the nature of selfies to kick off our extended group reflection on this new media phenomenon.  I enjoyed reading all of your blog posts and listening/sharing during our class conversation (which was lively and invested, as it should be).  We considered -the question of inherent narcissism, -the difference between looking for attention vs. looking for collaboration, -the stakes involved in using selfies & hashtags in the context of collective action, -the question of intimacy, or -privacy, or -authenticity.  I enjoyed ending our chat with some brief close readings of selfies – a reminder that all is not what it seems.  I think this class conversation has laid the groundwork from which to continue our exploration of the stakes in/of selfies.

images-1I am also excited that you have planned a great new media final project: a collective scrapbook of the “trials & tribulations” of trying out new media tools.  I think the key to your individual “case studies” is to push beyond your threshold of comfort.  Each of you will try out a new tool or application, documenting your experience, your learning process, your struggles & successes.  Each of your individual adventures into new media will be compiled to form a “storybook” of reflections/tutorials/reviews of new media.  In the next few weeks, please choose what new media tool or application you will explore.  (Please have a first choice and a second choice, and we will confer during our next meeting to make sure there is no overlap.)  Feel free to get started with this work considering you have a bit of time in the next few weeks.  As you know, I will not see you in person for sometime :(.  We all have our well deserved Spring Break this coming week, and the week thereafter I will be in Washington DC with the National Writing Project.

When we reconvene on 3/23, Colin will guide us through two readings:

1.  Robert P. Jones. Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson The Atlantic, Aug 2014;

2.  danah boyd’s White Flight in Networked Publics? How Race and Class Shaped American Teen Engagement with MySpace and Facebook (2011). In Race After the Internet (eds. Lisa Nakamura and Peter A. Chow-White). Routledge, pp. 203-222.

-Blog a thoughtful response to these readings and remember to tweet your blog and share/discover through our #NewMediaStudies hashtag and network.

-Please start your work on your “new media trial run” for the final class project.

-We will be planning our work for the upcoming “Air B N Me” #Netprov in the second half of our class period when class meets on 3/23.

Have a productive and prolific next few weeks!!


Dr. Zamora



Networks & Net Smarts

images-3Thanks Debbie for spurning a great discussion of the way online networks (and our social practices) have shaped the interconnected world.  From SNA (Social Network Analysis) to networked individualism, from PLNs to social & knowledge capital, Rheingold’s text has continually prompted us to see the difference between empowered participation verses passive reception.  At the heart of this sentiment is a hopeful understanding of what it takes to build a dynamic democracy and a more thoughtful society, one in which each individual can play a role.

Thank you Debbie for connecting our contemporary new media reflections to the universal human condition and the concerns of the past.  Indeed the ancient Greeks were also interesteUnknownd in the social practices of community.  We had a bit of fun when we read our chorus lines from Lysistrata.  Like Rheingold, Aristophanes too had a few ideas about the public good, and he often made (bawdy) jokes about the gullibility of fellow citizens.  In this sense (in some uncanny way) both Net Smart and Lysistrata share the timeless provocation of asking how collaboration may (or may not) add up to change that matters.

Finally, it seems that you have the beginnings of a final project design.  Next week, I hope you will all pick up on that conversation, and start to pin down some parameters in order to move forward.  I will help scaffold such a task once you have really settled on your vision.

Next up:

As we continue to reflect on that key question:  “Is life online eroding or enriching our embodied lives?”  we enter into the next phase of the course which will be an extended consideration of “selfie” culture.  Next week Matt will walk us through a discussion of four scholarly blog posts by well know digital media scholar Liz Losh:

Selfie Pedagogy I: The Digital Humanities and Selfie Culture

Selfie Pedagogy II: Internet Identity and Selfie Practices

Selfie Pedagogy III: Networked Spaces, Slut Shaming and Putting Selfies in Dialogue with Theory

Selfie Pedagogy IV: Diversity, Netprov and Service Learning

Please read all four blog posts (taking care to link out and read via the hypertext affordances of the blog genre).

For next week:

-Blog a thoughtful response to the four readings.

-Again, remember to tweet your blog and share/discover through our #NewMediaStudies hashtag and network.

Great class last night.  See you next week!

Dr. Zamora



Expanding our notion of Web Literacy

images-1Thank you to Laura for preparing a versatile and interactive forum for all of us when considering the issue of Web Literacy based on Mozilla’s Teaching How to Read, Write, and Participate on the Web – Web Literacy for Educators.  Laura’s presentation (as remix) had us think about some key questions including:  What is Web Literacy? Which aspects are most important for students?  Who should be responsible for teaching them?  It seem to me that certain competencies were assumed or familiar to us (i.e. web mechanics, search skills, credibility, and composing).  But other skills seemed to push our initial assumptions about what is necessary to be web literate in the 21st century (i.e. coding/scripting/designing, & privacy issues).  Unknown-2I enjoyed our discussion of these skills in particular, and it was compelling to read all of your very different blogs which accounted for your various explorations with the Mozilla online activities.  It seemed a unanimous concern that these unanticipated skills and competencies have not yet been covered effectively or comprehensively in our schools.  In this sense, Mozilla’s effort to support teachers in thinking through the key competencies that lead to web literacy stands as a important contribution to preparing our students for the digital present and future.

Next up:

Debbie will wrap up our discussion of Net Smart with Chapter 5 & 6 next Wednesday. She will lead our discussion in the first half of class, and for the second half of class I hope you will continue your discussion of the final project.  You started an important note pad in which you have jotted down a variety of early ideas for the project thus far.  I sense that you might need to take a step back and consider the learning outcomes you seek to establish in the context of this course.  If you can apprehend what learning outcomes might be more meaningful to you as individuals and as a whole, that will help a great deal in designing a project that is worthwhile.

For next week:

-Read Chapter 5 & 6 of Net Smart.  Blog about the reading.

-Include at the end of your blog some thoughts regarding the learning outcomes that would be meaningful to you in the context of this course.  **What do you want to learn in New Media Studies?  What skills and knowledge do you hope to take from this course?   What forms of learning would integrate most effectively with your own interests and goals at this point in your academic journey?

-Remember to tweet your blog and share/discover through our #NewMediaStudies hashtag and network.

See you next Wednesday!


Dr. Zamora



Our collective intelligence?

Unknown-6Another great evening of discussion.  Thanks to Stina & Melissa for guiding us through an understanding of collective intelligence and mass collaboration.  They presented a snap shot of chapter 4 of Net Smart, and offered us many more examples of social production on the web.  It was great to dial up our class twitter activity a notch as we continue to acclimate to the use of social media networks as a viable tool for both teaching and learning.

I am pleased that we started a conversation about your final project for the course.  I think there is much more road to cover in terms of discussing the possibilities and your overall interests.  It is interesting to think about designing a project with crowdsourcing and collaboration as a specific value/element.   That said, it is yours to determine (I really mean it).  This was a very brief, initial discussion.  I would like to devote some more dedicated time to reflecting/negotiating this work.

I am also intrigued by the inherent politics in such an undertaking (a project that embeds collective intelligence and crowdsourcing as a key design element).  Such an undertaking gets at the heart of the issues discussed last night about the ethics of crowdsourcing.  Who benefits from a collaborative effort? What are those benefits and are they different for different individuals?  If a project relies so much on the spirit of volunteerism, then how do we design a community that matters to people, that taps into their desire to create, play, to participate?  What motivates people to want to participate?  Does it always come down to money and power gaining more traction?  Can those age old human realities be subverted by a more inspired design for meaningful participation?

images-2I am grateful to Howard for spending some time with us.  He was quite articulate about the ethical ambivalence resulting from the tools at our reach in the age of new media innovation.  Yes, we have new ways to accomplish what we set our sights on, but at the heart of our pondering lies the timeless question of what it means to be human.  What are we using our new tools for? Yes, our tools have transformed.  But have we gotten any better at imagining a better world?  Social media has helped drive revolution, but the suffering of some at the expense of others remains a revolving reality when the dust of “change” has settled.  Revolution is like the wheel that turns, …the players change, but the realities of people’s struggle remain.  When and how can we realize real transformation for society?  Have we gotten any better at designing better futures for everyone?

In many ways, things have remained the same when it comes to an assessment of our collective humanity.  Dave & Matt blogged about these concerns (…perhaps out of -wisdom, -cynicism, -and/or frustration, –or other things that I cannot imagine, as I am not them….).  And others have expressed similar thoughts in class.  Laura, brought the question directly to Howard which was a great provocation in the brief time we had with him.  And he answered with a kind of grace that I appreciate.  His answer is that it depends on each one of us, that each of us, is at the heart of what is possible.  “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

For next week:

Laura will guide us through a discussion on Web Literacy based on Mozilla’s Teaching How to Read, Write, and Participate on the Web – Web Literacy for Educators.  Please surf this website, clicking on their About page.  Explore the tools for growing a web literate community.  Please try a couple of their featured Activities.

To do:

1.  Blog about your understanding of Mozilla’s Web Literacy portal, and reflect on your own experience trying out a couple of their Activities. You can reflect on what you experienced and/or learned through your chosen activity.

2.  Think about the group project some more, do a bit of brainstorming about what you would like to do.  We will devote the second half of class to this issue next week.

Have a great holiday weekend, …with love,

Dr. Zamora





Honing our “Crap Radar”

UnknownThank you Martha for taking the lead first, and starting us off with a great discussion!  Your instructive video covered  “Crap Detection” effectively, and the interactive exercises you had us engage in were just the thing to bring to life our collective reflection on this timely topic.  By applying the CRAAP test principles to a variety of different sources/cites, we were able to consider how finely tuned our “crap radar” really is.  We enjoyed the opportunity to “triangulate” in an attempt to verify credibility of a source – a great way to deal with the age old “…is this really true?”  Triangulation is certainly a useful protocol when wondering whether to trust a source.  As a closing thought on crap detection, I think Postman’s point about our own biases being the most challenging to detect is a key consideration, and ultimately, this challenge lies at the heart of any real critical thinking.  “Almost nothing is about what you think it is about–including you.”

I also enjoyed our discussion during the second half of class.  Thanks again to Laura who shared her 7 year old niece’s youtube upload as well as her 12 yr old son’s youtube channel.  Please send them our admiration Laura!  They were both a pleasure to watch, and they helped me think further about participation power.  At just seven and twelve, they are using digital tools in such empowering ways.  KidsTechThey are using digital participation tools in ways that are not only social, but also deeply involved in learning and creating.  If we have anxiety over the resulting vulnerability that is inherent in the new media age, we must also behold the transformative power of claiming such a self-fashioned, empowered voice.  Kids these days ;)….  I just read a great blog by Cathy Davidson on the topic entitled What Makes Us Fear For Our Kids? Screen Time Today, Comics, TV, Novels Once Upon a Time.  ….More “food for thought”.

Plan for next week:

Melissa & Stina will take the helm by covering Chapter 4 in Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart:  “Social-Digital Know How: The Arts & Sciences of Collective Intelligence”.  They will lead us through the first half of class.

In the second part of class, we will be speaking with Howard Rheingold via Skype.  I am glad we had an such interesting discussion about what you might like to talk to him about when we connect next Monday (2/10).  We started a draft doc with some initial questions formulated there.  **Please go into the document and edit and/or add questions.  **Also, please mark the three questions that you think would facilitate the most interesting discussion with a star or asterisk.  This will serve as a loose “vote” for the best questions to start our discussion.  I am hoping we can have a somewhat natural conversation/dialogue rather than a stiff Q & A.  No doubt that a little preparation will go along way in making our brief time with him more interesting and thought provoking.

To do:

1. Read Chapter 4 of Net Smart.  Blog & Tweet your post to #NewMediaStudies.

2. Evaluate the Reading Roster for the material you would like to cover for your presentation night.  Please email me with the texts you would like to cover.

3. Check the document which has the potential interview questions for Howard Rheingold.  Edit/add and vote with 3 stars for your top picks.

4. Start to think about the final project which still remains “to be determined”. Start to brainstorm possible ideas.  We will have a longer discussion about the project on the night of 2/17.

See you next week!  I look forward to our next class :),

Dr. Zamora




ENG 5085