Blog conversation on FSLT12

Lakhovsky, Conversation (public domain)

The feeds are starting to come in to the FSLT12 blog aggregator. And it is already a rich source of information and potential conversation. Questions are being asked about what makes a good teacher, and what makes a bad one! Jenny Mackness addresses the issue of blog aggregation generally in a MOOC. We are struggling with this and will be making changes to the template so that syndicated feeds only show the first 100 words or so.

But my question is more about the nature of conversation in this context. I will need to locate references, or ask if anyone has any to support my assertion, here. I wonder if this new epistolary form may be going a bit Baroque or even Rococo.

Continue reading “Blog conversation on FSLT12”

Curriculum design for new social media – a great illustration of incorporating digital literacy into the curriculum #pcthe

In “Introduction to Mass Communication,” I’d like to see more discussions about how personal communications can easily become mass communication because the Web has hyperlinked everything.  Students should explore the changing models of mass communications – how int he past, content used to be broadcast to the masses, and would then be shared person-to-person.  Today, content is often shared person-to-person first, to be followed by dissemination to the masses.  Why?  How?

In “Human Communication,” I want to see the students dive down into the intricacies of how relationships created and maintained using social media are different than those that are solely face-to-face.  How does social media enhance or degrade these relationships?

In “Visual Communication,” the students should understand the visual impact of content on the Web.  How did we go from fancy, tricked out websites being a best practice to something as plain and boring as Twitter?  How and why did the banner ad die?  Why, when asked if there were ads on Google, did one teenager at the Web 2.0 Summit say, “no – are there supposed to be?”

In “Digital Skills and Information Gathering,” how do you differentiate between what’s fact and fiction online any more?  How many sources are need to verify?  What’s the definition of a source?  How do you use tools like Wikipedia and other social media as breadcrumbs to find more credible sources?

When I took “Media Writing,” I learned the AP Stylebook and how to write press releases.  Students should absolutely still learn these skills.  But, they should also learn how to write like a human being, in a conversational tone, not as a public relations machine.  They should learn what a good blog post looks and sounds like.  They should learn how to take a key message and put it into their own words, into their own writing style instead of conforming to a style guide.

Media Law” should still involve a LOT of discussion of past cases and legal precedents, an exploration of the First Amendment, thorough reviews of the Pentagon Papers trial and other landmark cases.  But, there should also be a lot of “what if?” questions that tackle today’s social media landscape that hasn’t, in a lot of cases, gone through the legal rigor that other media has.  Let’s study Cybersquatting cases like LaRussa vs. Twitter, Inc. – let’s discuss the impacts of cases like that that don’t have a long legal history, but will surely help define the environment in which these students are going to be working.

I’d rename “International Communication” to be “Global Communication,” and I’d focus not just on the differences in communication styles between Western and Eastern countries, Asian cultures and Hispanic cultures, but on how it’s just as easy to communicate with someone 10,000 miles away as it is with your next door neighbor.  I’d have my students study the differences in how Americans communicate with each other online vs. how Eastern countries do it.  Do the basic communications differences that apply in face-to-face communication apply online too?  If not, why?

In “Communication Ethics,” this class would bring up discussions about attribution in an online, shareable communications environment.  How do the old rules of copyright and intellectual property apply?  Do they apply?  What about basic human interactions – if you ignore someone who sends a DM on Twitter, is that akin to ignoring someone who reaches out to shake your hand?  Where’s the line between criticizing the service your receive from a company on Twitter and attacking the person?  If I say,”I think @comcastcares is an idiot who doesn’t know which way is up, am I attacking Comcast or am I attacking Frank Eliason? Note: Frank is awesome )

I would also add a class on “Principles of Customer Service” and make “Creative Writing” a prerequisite as well.  You see, social media shouldn’t be a class – it’s interwoven throughout a lot of classes.  And this isn’t just for communication classes, this would apply to political science majors (Barack Obama’s campaign anyone?), economics majors (how has the ability to share data globally and instantaneously impacted the speed at which the market changes?), sociology (how has social media changed the way families and friends communicate with one another?).

from “Rethinking Public Relations Education” by sradick on 11/20/2009 governingpeople.com

A much longer excerpt than I usually feel comfortable reposting, but this is a great illustration of curriculum redesign for digital/academic literacy.

how HESA normalises black, mixed and other ethnic group graduates to reduce their impact by a quarter! http://bit.ly/gsVwv

Or, at least that is one possible reading of this following example from HESA’s Guidelines for the use of the DLHE Longitudinal Survey Dataset.

To illustrate how this is done:Black, mixed and other ethnic group graduates accounted for 21.9% of the selected Sample A.

From the initial census it is known that these graduates represent just 4.9% of all graduates

To ensure that these graduates feature in the analysis in their correct proportion, the ‘black’, ‘mixed ethnic group’ and ‘other ethnicity’ graduates in the sample would be given a weight of 4.9/21.9.

You mean weight the results by 5/20 because most of the respondents were black! What is the correct proportion? This is a small example of how marginalised groups appear to have to work five times as hard just to be level.

4 dimensions of digital literacy #shock09

I was discussing an unpublished draft of a working paper on digital literacy at Oxford Brookes. It struck me that a communication theory model might be useful when looking at the tools we might use. The four dimensions I recognised in the paper were:

  • n-0: solitary reflection
  • 1-n: broadcasting ones self: blogging, writing for publication
  • n-1: using a library, searching the web
  • n-n: participation in discussion forums, teams.

It seemed that if one were aware of the different kinds of communication one could suggest that some tools were better for some things and some for others.

Interestingly, about a week later I was doing a bit of a lit search for Digital Literacy in Academic Search Complete and came upon Guy Merchant’s (2007) article: Writing the future in the digital age. Literacy, 41(3), 118-128. There I found the same approach used as a typology for digilit.

  • One-to-one Messaging Inter-personal email
  • One-to-many Broadcast messaging Blogging Webpages
  • Many-to-many Chatrooms, 3D Virtual Worlds, Online gaming, Discussion boards, Wikis, Photo-sharing (123)

Is there evidence of the use of Web2.0 to do deep learning?

It is sometimes asserted that while students are using web 2 tools extensively there is no evidence that they are using them to do deep learning. I believe this assertion should be questioned.

Continue reading “Is there evidence of the use of Web2.0 to do deep learning?”

Digital natives? Analogue colonists

Graham Attwell makes an important point here, which resonates with work done on university students’ use of the Internet for learning by colleagues at Brookes.

The locus of work or study: the context in which the person engages in online activity is far more important than other more accidental attributes of the individual such as their year of birth or their sex. Yes, year cohorts will have different contexts available, but there are adept and critical users of the internet of all ages, just as there are digitally illiterate “digital natives”.

Continue reading “Digital natives? Analogue colonists”

Participatory media literacy: it does matter

This post is one small link in a chain started for me by A J Cann in a post on his Emerge blog, The P word, fed from Science of the Invisible that linked to Michael Wesch’s post, Participatory Media Literacy: why it matters, referring to “… Howard Rheingold’s great little article, Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies,” I am reminded of my colleagues at Brookes, who regularly observe that students show a highly uncritical approach to the media with which they saturate their world (and by which it is saturated). Undergraduate use of the Web for learning was studied in a large multi-method research project aimed to evaluate learner experience of e-learning at Oxford Brookes University, Exploring patterns of student learning technology use, reported at Networked Learning 2008.

Continue reading “Participatory media literacy: it does matter”