Thinking about our online/media habits

images-3We had an interesting discussion to launch our semester-long analysis of new media.  Opening up with a consideration of our overall digital practices and the way new media is woven into our lives, you did some individual freewriting and then moved on to shared reflection.   The Think-Pair-Share exercise brought to the collective surface some interesting tensions regarding our relationship to digital tools and technologies in our lives.  In listening to all of you, I sensed a distinct ambivalence regarding technology, devices, new media, and social media.  You all acknowledged the empowerment that is gained and how crucial technology is to our everyday functioning.  But there was also more than a heavy dose of anxiety that accompanied that positive acknowledgement.  There seemed to be a concern over blurred boundaries between work time and down time.  You expressed an inherent unease with a lack of control over time, …fear of a lack of presence/focus.  There was a consistent acknowledgement of being disconnected from our bodies when connecting to new media portals (i.e. sloth-like stasis, slumping and hunching over, etc.).  And many of you expressed a distinct anxiety regarding the accelerated effect these new tools might have on the development of young people.

imagesI think this clear ambivalence regarding new media is a useful acknowledgement with which to kick off the semester.  As we set a course for a rigorous consideration of how technology tools have effected individuals, communities, and culture, let us bear in mind this particular starting point.  It might be instructive to revisit a similar self assessment as we wind down our discussions at the end of the semester.  What might evolve, shift, and/or endure regarding our understanding of new media in our lives?

Coming up next week:

-Martha will inaugurate our “discussion lead” class tradition with two articles:  Scott Rosenberg’s In the Context of Web Context: How to Check Out Any Web Page; and Neil Postman’s Bullshit and the Art of Crap Detection.  These two articles will be read in conjunction with Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart (Chapters 2 & 3).  Martha will lead us through the first half of the class (4:30 – 5:45).

-For the second half of the class, we have a few items on the agenda:

  • We need to confirm the reading(s) that each presentation will cover.  Please look over the Reading Roster carefully now that you know what night you will be presenting (and what theme you will be considering generally speaking).  Please be ready to share with me what coverage of texts you plan for your lead night.  If you are working with a partner, please confer about this.
  • Howard Rheingold will be joining us for about 30-45 mins for the latter part of class (via Skype) on the evening of February 10 (the week after next).  We should decide what we want to talk to him about.  Let’s discuss this in person and make a thoughtful plan for our time with him.
  • We should begin our discussion of a final class project.  This will be an ongoing negotiation for a few more weeks, but we should at least get some ideas started regarding what you would like to do as a culminating project for the course.

Your to do list for next class:

1.  Send me your Contract Grade email with the grade you will be earning this semester.  I need a formal record of the contract from everyone.

2.  Post and tweet (to #NewMediaStudies) your BLOG #1.  Your blog post should consider the readings for the week (listed above).  You do not need to address every aspect of all the readings.  Rather, write a thoughtful response based on some aspect of your synthesis of the readings.  Some of you might choose to highlight something specific, others might want to reflect as a broad overview.   I look forward to reading a variety of different takes/angles.

3. Before class, check out your classmates first blog (under Student Blogs).  Surfing through your classmates posts will certainly enrich our discussions and understanding.

See you next week everyone!

Dr. Zamora

Off to a good start!

imagesI know this course will be a memorable one, as I am confident that the combination of people participating in this class will yield some exceptional learning moments.  It was so nice to connect with all of you again to get this thing started.

A review of what we did: -We introduced ourselves. -We talked through the course website and the documents that comprise a traditional syllabus. -Together we set the tone for our time together, establishing the foundation for a thoughtful learning community.

For your to-do list this week:

IMG_4568Make sure you acquire the two texts that are not provided for you electronically.  Those two texts are Net Smart by Howard Rheingold, and Participatory Culture in the Networked Era by Henry Jenkins, Mizuko Ito, & danah boyd.  These two books should be available now in the campus bookstore, or you are welcome to get them via other venues as well. (* All other texts are accessible by link on the class Reading Roster).

-Please read the Introduction & Chapter 1 from Net Smart.

-Please send me the url for your class blog and your twitter handle.

-Finally, please take a closer look at the Reading Roster, identifying what readings and media might be of particular interest to you.  Consider what date you might want to “present” on the calendar, and also consider if you want to present individually, or in partnership with another colleague in the class.  We will work on filling out the course schedule in the second half of class next week.  If each of you have a few dates in mind, and a couple of topics with corresponding readings selected, I think that will make our course scheduling process move forward smoothly.

imagesAgain, a great class to start us off on this journey together. I’ll see you next week.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora

Welcome to New Media Studies

noahwf_screen-silhouette2I have been looking forward to meeting all of you and getting this course underway for sometime.  New Media Studies is such a timely course.  As we continue to reflect on what it means to write in this day and age, I am quite sure our class will expand your understanding of writing in the 21st century.

I have designed this course as an open (online), connected (networked), co-learning (participatory) experience.  In my own experience, one factor that often leads to boredom and lack of energy in the traditional classroom is the way that learning is perceived as a passive activity—a thing that happens to students. What you learn and how you learn it is decided by someone else, without considering what you care about, what you know already, or what you want to learn.  Part of the idea of an open class comes from giving you the opportunity to influence the course.  As we build a foundation for New Media Studies together, I hope you will place value in your own interests and ambitions.

ss-ioWhy have you signed up for a New Media Studies course?  What would you like to learn during out time together?  What do you want to make during our time together?  Please remember to bring these key questions to our classroom.

I have had the pleasure of working with many of you already.  Some of you I will have the honor of learning with for the first time.  On our first Wednesday night, we will meet and get to know each other a bit, and we will discuss why we have all chosen to converge for this experience.  Through discussion and negotiation we will identify shared purpose and a mutually beneficial learning agenda, we will compose many collaborative documents, create new projects, and we will embrace peer-to-peer cooperation and learning.

I am really excited for this semester.  I have determined three broad themes for us to embark on together in the following order: 1. Web Literacy & Social Media Literacy;  2. Selfie Culture;  and 3. Participatory Culture & Networks.  We will generate thoughtful discussions as these themes serve as general anchors for our unfolding conversation.  I have also planned some fun experiments to try out with all of you.  That experimental spirit is by no means an accident, but rather a committed entry point to genuine learning.  Let’s tinker and explore together, as we discover what it means to write in a metamorphosing mediascape.

Looking forward to connecting soon,

Dr. Mia Zamora

ENG 5085

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