tfw homework spring 2008

About Homework Assignments

The assignments that are listed on this page are to be completed before class starts the day they are due. The latest assignment will be placed at the top to reduce scrolling.

for Thursday, April 24

Please read (in this order) Scott McCloud’s "Understanding Comics" and James Paul Gee’s "Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a ‘Waste of Time’?" and come to class prepared to discuss them in some detail. They are important pieces that should, I suspect, alter our understanding of many of the essays we have read thus far in the module. Readings are linked off the readings page.

Take a look at the final assignment and come prepared to talk about it a bit.

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for Tuesday, April 22

Please read Vaidhyanathan, "Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’" and Howard, "Understanding Internet Plagiarism." You may also read and write a blog post for extra credit on De Voss and Porter, "Why Napster Matters to Writing" (this article is very lengthy, but it is one of the more important ones to be published by Computers & Composition in last five years). If you choose to do this, you will receive between 1 and 3 points added to your class participation grade depending on the length and quality of the response. No more than equal to 2/3rds of page, single spaced, Times New Roman, font size 12. All three articles are available on the readings page.

Please watch Social Bookingmarking in Plain English several times so that you gain a general understanding of tagging.

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for Thursday, April 17

On your home/personal computer, log in to Diigo and install the Diigo toolbar as we did in class (you do not need to re-join the group). Please use the Diigo tutorial (.pdf) for instructions.

Please read Dibbell, "A Rape in Cyberspace," originally published in the Village Voice (available on the Readings page); Garfield, "YouTube vs. Boob Tube" (some of the videos on this page may no longer be available, but they can be seen if you go to YouTube and search for them); Davis, "The Secret World of Lonelygirl" (be sure to watch the three videos on page 1—they are the first two of Bree and a latter one about Daniel). I also suggest you watch some of Bree’s video blogs (all 250+). Start in the bottom right and move left and up as you go. The first two that were added are quite different than the others that follow, so stick with it, as they are fascinating introductions to the series. For more on LonelyGirl15, see "Hey There, LonelyGirl" from the NYTimes Magazine, "LonelyGirl and All Her Friends" (audio and transcript) and "LonelyGirl Just Not Herself Anymore" (audio and transcript) from NPR’s On the Media radio program.

When reading Garfield and Davis, use the social annotation techniques that we discussed in class and that are described on page 2 of the Diigo tutorial. Make sure that you are following closely Step 11 when you are adding your comments and sticky notes. Each student should have at least 5 meaningful annotations per essay. "Wow, this is a cool tool!" is not a meaningful annotation.

On Thursday we will consider both the essays and our annotations.

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for Tuesday, April 15

Please read Wired articles: Turkle (1995) "Who Am We?," Kelly (2005) "We are the Web," Vogelstein (2007) “How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web’s Hottest Platform" and watch a few times Wesch (2007) "The Machine is Us/ing Us." Please also look at the following blogs: PostSecret, The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, Literally-A Web Log, Why That Plate, Lowercase L, and Bathroom Graffiti Project.

Last semester students expressed wonder over older computers, so I thought I would post these two links which offer timelines of computer history: Computer History Museum Timelime, An Illustrated History of Computers. These are just FYI—not required reading at all.

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for Thursday, April 10

Please read Bush (1945) "As We May Think," watch two videos from Doug Englebart’s 1968 demostration of the mouse, hypertext and other technologies: introduction (.rm) and word processing with mouse, and the read Berners-Lee (1994) "The World Wide Web." (Readings available for download on the Readings page.) These texts are all firsts. Bush’s Memex was the first discussion of something the resembled the Internet; Englebart’s demonstration was the first public display of the mouse (in the second video, note the mouse he is using and the little black pointer moving around the screen), word processing, cut, paste, bulleted lists, and hypertext, among other technologies; and Berners-Lee’s essay was the first description of the World Wide Web. Bush’s and Berners-Lee’s essays can be technical at times, so please grasp what you can and just move past what you can’t. The overall ideas are what we are going to look at, not the technical aspects.

Please post a response to your blog by the start of class on Thursday. There is no formal prompt—and there will be no formal prompt for the rest of the semester, only the suggestion that your responses to assigned texts be about the equivalent of 1/2 page, single space, Times New Roman, font 12. When composing your posts, write them as if you are writing for the whole WWW audience—not just for this class and these students and this professor. Because, in fact, anyone in the world can read your responses if they find the blog in a search or stumble upon it through this or other web sites. Discuss, critique, cite—whatever you wish to do; just remember that blogging is all about authority. I also encourage you to comment on each other’s posts. Blogs are also about feedback, so let’s start giving ourselves some feedback.

Remember that each student is responsible for posting a total of 4 blogs per week, at least one of which has to be on the readings. The other 3 can/should be on topics of your own interest. Dr. Wolff is also responsible for posting to his own blog: 3 per week, at least one of which is pedagogical. Don’t leave these blog posts until the end of the semester—be diligent and stay with it. Once you get rolling, it will be hard to stop.

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for Tuesday, April 8

Please read Selfe (1999) "Literacy and Technology Linked," Nardi and O’Day’s (1999) "A Matter of Metaphor" and "Information Ecologies" and post a response on your blog:

The essays we are reading this week are filled with an amazing amount of dense prose and fascinating insights into the nature of technology. For this posting, I would you like to select a passage from either of the essays that you found particularly insightful and thought-provoking, particularly confusing, or that you are skeptical of. Type the passage into your response–include page numbers–and then include your response. At the end of your discussion, pose a question to your classmates (avoid questions like, "So, what do you think?"). I encourage your blog-mates to comment on your post using the blog comment field.

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the response field. Your initial response should be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1" margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

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for Thursday, April 3

By classtime, please read Nye (2006) "Can We Define Technology?" Bolter (2001) "Writing as Technology," and Bolter and Grusin (1999) "The Double Logic of Remediation" and post a response to the following on your brand new, super-exciting collaborative blog:

"Writing as Technology" and "The Double Logic of Remediation" introduce two of the key terms we will be discussing this module: writing spaces and remediation. For this post, please identify three of the writing spaces you use most frequently, discuss their characteristics, and what makes them unique. Then, choose two of those spaces, and using Bolter’s and Grusin’s definition of remediation, discuss how one remediates the other (or how they remediate themselves).

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the blog post field. Have your response be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1" margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

To gain access to your blog dashboard from home/the dorm/anywhere you have a computer, go to WordPress.com and sign in using the username and password set up in class. After you log in you will see a blue toolbar at the top of the browser window. It should look familiar to what we saw in class. Click on My Dashboard. We will be working with the blogs throughout the semester, so start to get a feel for the dashboard area and its functionality. In class on Thursday we are going to spend some time getting to know our blogs a bit more. However, this can also be done online with the aid of WordPress.com’s very helpful and intuitive FAQs page. Use the Topics keywords (also known as ‘tags’) to get you started to find out just about everything you need to know about posting.

Note: If you were absent the first day of class, you will be added to a blog in class on Thursday. Do not create you own.

 

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for Tuesday, April 1 (1st assignment for Module 3)

Please first read Axelrod and Cooper’s "Strategies for Reading Critically" and use the annotation techniques they describe when you read: Penrod (2007) "Why Blog?" and "Blogs as a New Writing Genre." I will check the copies of your readings in class to see how you have annotated the texts. These, and all readings, are linked off the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

For the first part of this assignment, I’d like you to identify your personal, educational, and professonal "interest spheres." These spheres are the subjects, ideas, communities, etc., that you are interested in and/or curious about on a personal level. Often, when we think about our personal, educational, and professional interests we say, "Oh, I’m a Writing Arts major and I’m interested in journalism." Or, "Oh, I’m an Education/Writing Arts double major and I’m interested in elementary education."

Those statements are quite useful, but the areas "journalism" and others, like "elementery education" or "law" or "creative writing" are quite broad. For example, what specific area of journalism are you interested in: op/ed, sports, politics, environmental, journalist ethics, etc.? These are subclasses of the larger field of journalism. We can do the same with elementary education: No Child Left Behind, funding of education, politics and education, special needs students, art in education, technology in the el ed classroom, and so forth. Each of these areas offers a very specific community wherein people are exchanging ideas, best practices, and proposals for future changes. Similar things can be done with personal and educational interests. Here, for example, is a breakdown of my professional and personal:

  • higher education (professional)
    • technology and education
    • learning space design
    • classification systems
  • photography (personal)
    • black and white
    • Holga
    • infrared

I would like you to locate 3 or 4 specific areas of professional, educational, and personal interests. Create a hierarchy as above, and bring it with you to class. Then, using the blog search engine—Ask.com blog search (my new favorite), technorati, or google blog search—begin searching for blogs in that particular specific area. So, for example, I might look for blogs that discuss "learning space design." If you have trouble with the subareas, try the overall subject area and then narrow based on what you see. You might also try putting a phrase like "education blogs" into Google and see what you get. By doing that, the first result is to a page that discusses the Top 100 Education Blogs, which itself contains a link to edublogs.org, a site that hosts more than 30,000 blogs.

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for Thursday, March 27

Please read (in this order) Scott McCloud’s "Understanding Comics" and James Paul Gee’s "Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a ‘Waste of Time’?" and come to class prepared to discuss them in some detail. They are important pieces that should, I suspect, alter our understanding of many of the essays we have read thus far in the module. Readings are linked off the readings page.

Take a look at the final assignment and come prepared to talk about it a bit.

back to top

for Tuesday, March 25

Please read Vaidhyanathan, "Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’" Howard, "Understanding Internet Plagiarism.", and Anderson, "Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business." You may also read and write a blog post for extra credit on De Voss and Porter, "Why Napster Matters to Writing" (this article is very lengthy, but it is one of the more important ones to be published by Computers & Composition in last five years, and directly relates to just about everything you are doing on a daily basis with downloading and listening to digital music). If you choose to do this, you will receive between 1 and 3 points added to your class participation grade depending on the length and quality of the response. No more than equal to 2/3rds of page, single spaced, Times New Roman, font size 12. All three articles are available on the readings page.

Please watch Social Bookingmarking in Plain English several times so that you gain a general understanding of tagging.

Please also begin to populate your Netvibes ecosystem. (If you were absent or lost it, use the tutorial we went over in class [.pdf] to learn how to add RSS feeds.) I also encourage you to sign up for Netvibes Ginger while you have time over the break and begin to explore its many features. You may, however, want to wait until you have a basic idea of how to add feeds and what Netvibes is all about. Then go to http://ginger.netvibes.com/, click on "Don’t have an invite code?" and then "I already have a netvibes account." Follow instructions from there. Netvibes Ginger allows you to make a public version of your ecosystem so you can share it with friends (and, later, your professor).

Have a great break!

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for Thursday, March 13

On your home/personal computer, log in to Diigo and install the Diigo toolbar as we did in class (you do not need to re-join the group). Please use the Diigo tutorial (.pdf) to guide you.

Please read Dibbell, "A Rape in Cyberspace," originally published in the Village Voice (available on the Readings page); Garfield, "YouTube vs. Boob Tube" (some of the videos on this page may no longer be available, but they can be seen if you go to YouTube and search for them); Davis, "The Secret World of Lonelygirl" (be sure to watch the three videos on page 1—they are the first two of Bree and a latter one about Daniel). I also suggest you watch some of Bree’s video blogs (all 244+). Start in the bottom right and move left and up as you go. The first two that were added are quite different than the 142+ that follow, so stick with it, as they are fascinating introductions to the series. For more on LonelyGirl15, see "Hey There, LonelyGirl" from the NYTimes Magazine, "LonelyGirl and All Her Friends" (audio and transcript) and "LonelyGirl Just Not Herself Anymore" (audio and transcript) from NPR’s On the Media radio program.

When reading Garfield and Davis, use the social annotation techniques that we discussed in class and that are described on page 2 of the Diigo tutorial. Make sure that you are following closely Step 11 when you are adding your comments and sticky notes. Each student should have at least 5 meaningful annotations per essay. "Wow, this is a cool tool!" is not a meaningful annotation.

On Thursday we will consider both the essays and our annotations.

for Tuesday, March 11

Please watch two videos from Doug Englebart’s 1968 demostration of the mouse, hypertext and other technologies: introduction (.rm) and word processing with mouse, and the read Berners-Lee (1994) "The World Wide Web." (Readings available for download on the Readings page.) These texts are all firsts (and are directly related to the Bush article we read for Thursday). Bush’s Memex was the first discussion of something the resembled the Internet; Englebart’s demonstration was the first public display of the mouse (in the second video, note the mouse he is using and the little black pointer moving around the screen), word processing, cut, paste, bulleted lists, and hypertext, among other technologies; and Berners-Lee’s essay was the first description of the World Wide Web. Bush’s and Berners-Lee’s essays can be technical at times, so please grasp what you can and just move past what you can’t. The overall ideas are what we are going to look at, not the technical aspects.

Please also read Wired articles: Turkle (1995) "Who Am We?," Kelly (2005) "We are the Web," Vogelstein (2007) “How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web’s Hottest Platform" and watch a few times Wesch (2007) "The Machine is Us/ing Us." Please also look at the following blogs: PostSecret, The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, Literally-A Web Log, Why That Plate, Lowercase L, and Bathroom Graffiti Project.

Last semester students expressed wonder over older computers, so I thought I would post these two links which offer timelines of computer history: Computer History Museum Timelime, An Illustrated History of Computers. These are just FYI—not required reading at all.

Please post a response to your blog by the start of class on Tuesday. There is no formal prompt—and there will be no formal prompt for the rest of the semester, only the suggestion that your responses to assigned texts be about the equivalent of 1/2 page, single space, Times New Roman, font 12. When composing your posts, write them as if you are writing for the whole WWW audience—not just for this class and these students and this professor—because, in fact, anyone in the world can read your responses if they find the blog in a search or stumble upon it through this or other web sites. Discuss, critique, cite—whatever you wish to do; just remember that blogging is all about authority. I also encourage you to comment on each other’s posts. Blogs are also about feedback, so let’s start giving ourselves some feedback.

Remember that each student is responsible for posting a total of 4 blog posts per week, at least one of which has to be on the readings. The other 3 can/should be on topics of your own interest. Dr. Wolff is also responsible for posting to his own blog: 3 per week, at least one of which is pedagogical. Don’t leave these blog posts until the end of the semester—be diligent and stay with it. Once you get rolling, it will be hard to stop.

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for Thursday, March 4 and 6

Even though class is canceled on March 4 for our module, there will be parts of this assignment that are due on March 4 and parts that are due March 6.

For March 4
In class we discussed several possibilities for how to best organize files on our own computers and on the portfolio that you each have access to as students here at Rowan. The portfolio is part of Blackboard (formerly WebCT) and is being set up now so that when you get to the Portfolio course at the end of the major you have all your work and papers in places that can be easily found. By classtime on March 4, please complete the following. The instructions will take you to portions of an overall portfolio tutorial created by Rowan IT. Use this tutorial and it is quite helpful.

  1. Log in to Blackboard and set up your portfolio as was shown in class and is described in the tutorial section entitled "Accessing Your Portfolios." The first time you access your portfolio you will be asked to choose from a list of "tools." Check them all.
  2. In class we learned how to construct a useful hierarchy for organizing our course information. Now we are going to put that into play. There are two key features of the Blackboard portfolio that we will use for this: folders and binders. Folders will be used for non-course organization. Binders will be used for course-related organization. For example, you might create a folder called "Spring 2008" in which you would include a binder called "Intro to Writing Arts." Learn how to Add Folders and Add Binders.
  3. Once you have read through the pages, create your hierarchy, including folders that represent your educational timeline by structuring the organization of your portfolio. Create binders for each course you think you will need to take in your remaining time at Rowan, and put them in the proper Folder. To learn more about what courses are required, see the Writing Arts major requirements. I realize that you may not know exactly when you will be taking specific classes, so try to get as close as possible to what you think you will take and when.
  4. Once you have completed your final essay for this module, put it in the Intro to Writing Arts folder. Only Microsoft Word documents will be accepted.You can learn how to Add Files to a Binder.
  5. Add Dr. Wolff as a Guest Portfolio Reviewer of your portfolio so he is able to see your organizational structure and read your paper. You will be asked for his username; it is: wolffw. Read about how to add a Guest Portfolio Reviewer.

In class on Tuesday we would have spent some time getting to know our blogs a bit more. However, this can also be done online with the aid of WordPress.com’s very helpful and intuitive FAQs page. By classtime on Tuesday, I would like you to learn how to do the following using the FAQ page linked-to above, and the create a post that contains all three items. Use the Topics keywords (also known as ‘tags’) to get you started. The subject of this post should be on a subject that is related to your personal, professional, and/or educational interests:

  • add / write a link
  • emded / post a YouTube video

For March 6
Please read Bush (1945) "As We May Think," Selfe (1999) "Literacy and Technology Linked," and Nardi and O’Day’s (1999) "A Matter of Metaphor" and "Information Ecologies" and post a response on your blog:

The essays we are reading this week are filled with an amazing amount of dense prose and fascinating insights into the nature of technology. For this posting, I would you like to select a passage from either Selfe or Nardi and O’Day that you found particularly insightful and thought-provoking, particularly confusing, or that you are skeptical of. Discuss why and also discuss how you think the essays build on or respond to some of the ideas and concerns raised by Bush. Type the passage into your response–include page number(s)–and then include your response. At the end of your discussion, pose a question to your classmates (avoid questions like, "So, what do you think?"). I encourage your blog-mates to comment on your post using the blog comment field.

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the response field. Your initial response should be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1" margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

for Thursday, Feb. 28

By classtime, please read Nye (2006) "Can We Define Technology?" Bolter (2001) "Writing as Technology," and Bolter and Grusin (1999) "The Double Logic of Remediation" and post a response to the following on your brand new, super-exciting collaborative blog:

"Writing as Technology" and "The Double Logic of Remediation" introduce two of the key terms we will be discussing this module: writing spaces and remediation. For this post, please identify three of the writing spaces you use most frequently, discuss their characteristics, and what makes them unique. Then, choose two of those spaces, and using Bolter’s and Grusin’s definition of remediation, discuss how one remediates the other (or how they remediate themselves).

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the blog post field. Have your response be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1" margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

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for Tuesday, Feb. 26 (1st assignment for module 2)

Please first read Axelrod and Cooper’s "Strategies for Reading Critically" and use the annotation techniques they describe when you read: Penrod (2007) "Why Blog?" and "Blogs as a New Writing Genre." I will check the copies of your readings in class to see how you have annotated the texts. These, and all readings, are linked off the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

For the first part of this assignment, I’d like you to identify your personal, educational, and professonal "interest spheres." These spheres are the subjects, ideas, communities, etc., that you are interested in and/or curious about on a personal level. Often, when we think about our personal, educational, and professional interests we say, "Oh, I’m a Writing Arts major and I’m interested in journalism." Or, "Oh, I’m an Education/Writing Arts double major and I’m interested in elementary education."

Those statements are quite useful, but the areas "journalism" and others, like "elementery education" or "law" or "creative writing" are quite broad. For example, what specific area of journalism are you interested in: op/ed, sports, politics, environmental, journalist ethics, etc.? These are subclasses of the larger field of journalism. We can do the same with elementary education: No Child Left Behind, funding of education, politics and education, special needs students, art in education, technology in the el ed classroom, and so forth. Each of these areas offers a very specific community wherein people are exchanging ideas, best practices, and proposals for future changes. Similar things can be done with personal and educational interests. Here, for example, is a breakdown of my professional and personal:

  • higher education (professional)
    • technology and education
    • learning space design
    • classification systems
  • photography (personal)
    • black and white
    • Holga
    • infrared

I would like you to locate 3 or 4 specific areas of professional, educational, and personal interests. Create a hierarchy as above, and bring it with you to class. Then, using the blog search engine—Ask.com blog search (my new favorite), technorati, or google blog search—begin searching for blogs in that particular specific area. So, for example, I might look for blogs that discuss "learning space design." If you have trouble with the subareas, try the overall subject area and then narrow based on what you see. You might also try putting a phrase like "education blogs" into Google and see what you get. By doing that, the first result is to a page that discusses the Top 100 Education Blogs, which itself contains a link to edublogs.org, a site that hosts more than 30,000 blogs.

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for Thursday, Feb 21

Please read (in this order) Scott McCloud’s "Understanding Comics" and James Paul Gee’s "Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a ‘Waste of Time’?" and come to class prepared to discuss them in some detail. They are important pieces that should, I suspect, alter our understanding of many of the essays we have read thus far in the module. Readings are linked off the readings page.

Take a look at the final assignment and come prepared to talk about it a bit.

back to top

for Tuesday, Feb 19

Please read Vaidhyanathan, "Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’" and Howard, "Understanding Internet Plagiarism." You may also read and write a blog post for extra credit on De Voss and Porter, "Why Napster Matters to Writing" (this article is very lengthy, but it is one of the more important ones to be published by Computers & Composition in last five years). If you choose to do this, you will receive between 1 and 3 points added to your class participation grade depending on the length and quality of the response. No more than equal to 2/3rds of page, single spaced, Times New Roman, font size 12. All three articles are available on the readings page.

Please watch Social Bookingmarking in Plain English several times so that you gain a general understanding of tagging.

back to top

 

for Thursday, Feb 14

On your home/personal computer, log in to Diigo and install the Diigo toolbar as we did in class (you do not need to re-join the group). Please use the Diigo tutorial (.pdf) to guide you.

Please read Dibbell, "A Rape in Cyberspace," originally published in the Village Voice (available on the Readings page); Garfield, "YouTube vs. Boob Tube" (some of the videos on this page may no longer be available, but they can be seen if you go to YouTube and search for them); Davis, "The Secret World of Lonelygirl" (be sure to watch the three videos on page 1—they are the first two of Bree and a latter one about Daniel). I also suggest you watch some of Bree’s video blogs (all 244+). Start in the bottom right and move left and up as you go. The first two that were added are quite different than the 142+ that follow, so stick with it, as they are fascinating introductions to the series. For more on LonelyGirl15, see "Hey There, LonelyGirl" from the NYTimes Magazine, "LonelyGirl and All Her Friends" (audio and transcript) and "LonelyGirl Just Not Herself Anymore" (audio and transcript) from NPR’s On the Media radio program.

When reading Garfield and Davis, use the social annotation techniques that we discussed in class and that are described on page 2 of the Diigo tutorial. Make sure that you are following closely Step 11 when you are adding your comments and sticky notes. Each student should have at least 5 meaningful annotations per essay. "Wow, this is a cool tool!" is not a meaningful annotation.

On Thursday we will consider both the essays and our annotations.

for Tuesday, Feb 12

Please read Wired articles: Turkle (1995) "Who Am We?," Kelly (2005) "We are the Web," Vogelstein (2007) “How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web’s Hottest Platform" and watch a few times Wesch (2007) "The Machine is Us/ing Us." Please also look at the following blogs: PostSecret, The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, Literally-A Web Log, Why That Plate, Lowercase L, and Bathroom Graffiti Project.

Last semester students expressed wonder over older computers, so I thought I would post these two links which offer timelines of computer history: Computer History Museum Timelime, An Illustrated History of Computers. These are just FYI—not required reading at all.

back to top

for Thursday, Feb 7

Please read Bush (1945) "As We May Think," watch two videos from Doug Englebart’s 1968 demostration of the mouse, hypertext and other technologies: introduction (.rm) and word processing with mouse, and the read Berners-Lee (1994) "The World Wide Web." (Readings available for download on the Readings page.) These texts are all firsts. Bush’s Memex was the first discussion of something the resembled the Internet; Englebart’s demonstration was the first public display of the mouse (in the second video, note the mouse he is using and the little black pointer moving around the screen), word processing, cut, paste, bulleted lists, and hypertext, among other technologies; and Berners-Lee’s essay was the first description of the World Wide Web. Bush’s and Berners-Lee’s essays can be technical at times, so please grasp what you can and just move past what you can’t. The overall ideas are what we are going to look at, not the technical aspects.

Please post a response to your blog by the start of class on Thursday. There is no formal prompt—and there will be no formal prompt for the rest of the semester, only the suggestion that your responses to assigned texts be about the equivalent of 1/2 page, single space, Times New Roman, font 12. When composing your posts, write them as if you are writing for the whole WWW audience—not just for this class and these students and this professor. Because, in fact, anyone in the world can read your responses if they find the blog in a search or stumble upon it through this or other web sites. Discuss, critique, cite—whatever you wish to do; just remember that blogging is all about authority. I also encourage you to comment on each other’s posts. Blogs are also about feedback, so let’s start giving ourselves some feedback.

Remember that each student is responsible for posting a total of 4 blogs per week, at least one of which has to be on the readings. The other 3 can/should be on topics of your own interest. Dr. Wolff is also responsible for posting to his own blog: 3 per week, at least one of which is pedagogical. Don’t leave these blog posts until the end of the semester—be diligent and stay with it. Once you get rolling, it will be hard to stop.

back to top

for Tuesday, Feb 5

Please read Selfe (1999) "Literacy and Technology Linked," Nardi and O’Day’s (1999) "A Matter of Metaphor" and "Information Ecologies" and post a response on your blog:

The essays we are reading this week are filled with an amazing amount of dense prose and fascinating insights into the nature of technology. For this posting, I would you like to select a passage from either of the essays that you found particularly insightful and thought-provoking, particularly confusing, or that you are skeptical of. Type the passage into your response–include page numbers–and then include your response. At the end of your discussion, pose a question to your classmates (avoid questions like, "So, what do you think?"). I encourage your blog-mates to comment on your post using the blog comment field.

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the response field. Your initial response should be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1" margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

for Thursday, Jan. 31

By classtime, please read Nye (2006) "Can We Define Technology?" Bolter (2001) "Writing as Technology," and Bolter and Grusin (1999) "The Double Logic of Remediation" and post a response to the following on your brand new, super-exciting collaborative blog:

"Writing as Technology" and "The Double Logic of Remediation" introduce two of the key terms we will be discussing this module: writing spaces and remediation. For this post, please identify three of the writing spaces you use most frequently, discuss their characteristics, and what makes them unique. Then, choose two of those spaces, and using Bolter’s and Grusin’s definition of remediation, discuss how one remediates the other (or how they remediate themselves).

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the blog post field. Have your response be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1" margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

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for Tuesday, Jan. 29

Please first read Axelrod and Cooper’s "Strategies for Reading Critically" and use the annotation techniques they describe when you read: Penrod (2007) "Why Blog?" and "Blogs as a New Writing Genre." I will check the copies of your readings in class to see how you have annotated the texts. These, and all readings, are linked off the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

For the first part of this assignment, I’d like you to identify your personal, educational, and professonal "interest spheres." These spheres are the subjects, ideas, communities, etc., that you are interested in and/or curious about on a personal level. Often, when we think about our personal, educational, and professional interests we say, "Oh, I’m a Writing Arts major and I’m interested in journalism." Or, "Oh, I’m an Education/Writing Arts double major and I’m interested in elementary education."

Those statements are quite useful, but the areas "journalism" and others, like "elementery education" or "law" or "creative writing" are quite broad. For example, what specific area of journalism are you interested in: op/ed, sports, politics, environmental, journalist ethics, etc.? These are subclasses of the larger field of journalism. We can do the same with elementary education: No Child Left Behind, funding of education, politics and education, special needs students, art in education, technology in the el ed classroom, and so forth. Each of these areas offers a very specific community wherein people are exchanging ideas, best practices, and proposals for future changes. Similar things can be done with personal and educational interests. Here, for example, is a breakdown of my professional and personal:

  • higher education (professional)
    • technology and education
    • learning space design
    • classification systems
  • photography (personal)
    • black and white
    • Holga
    • infrared

I would like you to locate 3 or 4 specific areas of professional, educational, and personal interests. Create a hierarchy as above, and bring it with you to class. Then, using the blog search engine technorati or google begin searching for blogs in that particular specific area. So, for example, I might look for blogs that discuss "learning space design." If you have trouble with the subareas, try the overall subject area and then narrow based on what you see. You might also try putting a phrase like "education blogs" into Google and see what you get. By doing that, the first result is to a page that discusses the Top 100 Education Blogs, which itself contains a link to edublogs.org, a site that hosts more than 30,000 blogs.

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