Life Online

Whenever I start leaving comments on my students’ blogs, it takes much longer than I planned because I start searching for links to share with them.

Recently they were assigned the following under the heading of “AGENCY, AUTHORITY & TRUST”:

• Qualman, E. 2009. Chapter 2 in Socialnomics.
• Paine Schofield, C. B., & Joinson, A. N. (2008). Privacy, trust, and disclosure online. In A. Barak (Ed.), Psychological aspects of cyberspace: Theory, research, applications (pp. 13-31). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
• Albrechtslund, A. (2008) “Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance” in First Monday. Available Online:

• Zittrain, J. “Meeting the Risks of Generativity: Privacy 2.0” in The Future of the Internet & How to Stop It. Available Online:
• Caplan, S. (2005) Social Skill Account of Problematic Internet Use. Journal of Communication 721-730. 55(4)

Their responses to these readings have been great, thoughtful, and engaging, and they made me think of these two videos also on the topic of social networking and digital footprints, one more lighthearted than the other:

I leave you with those for tonight because I’ve got 10 more students’ blogs to read, but wanted to post before I forgot!


when it rains…

Final post for the night, I promise!

This one should have been the first because it discusses and then lists all the things that have been keeping me distracted from blogging, but oh well…

Now that I’m past midterm, I have to say that this semester is flying by! October was a blur of grading 40+ freshman papers every week. Yes, I said EVERY WEEK. Silly me thought that repeating the same reader response/research reaction to various chapters in New New Media would be a good idea. I probably should have spaced the first 3 of 4 essays [750-words each] out better, but I was pleased to see the majority of students improve from essay to essay.

What pleased me most were their group presentations and collaboratively written papers. While I think a few students would prefer not to work in groups [I was one of these students as an undergrad], 9/10 of these papers were very well written, fully researched, and properly formatted in APA.

That’s another thing. I’ve switched to using APA style this semester, which has me scrambling to various online resources to double-check everything. Most helpful has been this UW-Madison site and the PDF Documenting Sources in APA Style: 2010 Update

The reasons I switched from MLA to APA are simple: the Learning Community I’m teaching in is linked with an ICT course that already uses APA and the graduate school at UW-Stout requires all Master’s theses to be formatted in APA. Soon we will be ordering all graduate faculty and incoming graduate students hard copies of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, but until then, the online resources will do.

Keep in mind that all of what I just listed about grading was only related to my 2 face-to-face courses. Total, I’m teaching 5 this semester…

My online 101 students also wrote individually-authored researched responses and group papers on New New Media, but that class has dwindled to 13 active participants.

My ENGL-495/directed study student is brilliant–see his blog here. I’ve had the best time creating a reading list for him and seeing his understanding of research methods [particularly for internet-based projects] evolve. You can see from his posts what those readings are, but I’ve got to give shout outs to these two new books: Markham and Baym’s Internet Inquiry: Conversations About Method(2009) and Hargittai’s Research Confidential: Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have (2009).

I’ve already written about the graduate course this evening, and I do have ideas about incorporating their technology literacy narratives into a journal article to answer this call, but here’s a laundry list of other things that have kept me busy:

  • submitting a proposal to for an NEH Summer Stipend {fingers crossed!}
  • flying to NOLA for a 40-hour stay to rejoice in Matthew and Mandy’s wedding
  • attending A Low Key Gathering at the wacky House on the Rock to celebrate 10 years of American Gods
  • attending the e-Citizenship institute in Detroit & ending up on an editorial board for a new ADP initiative e-journal
  • proposing a “Conversation Starter” presentation to Computers and Writing 2011
  • drafting a proposal for this Oxford Internet Institute Symposium on the Dynamics of the Internet and Society with my fav Irishman Daithí Mac Síthigh
  • convincing fellow Tech Comm faculty to road trip to De Pere, WI in June to attend THATCampLAC {Yes, we know we’re not a liberal arts school, but given this meeting’s location and our recent addition of a DH concentration, I think it’s a great opportunity to learn from others who “must build stronger off-campus networks” as well as discuss technology and pedagogy}
  • considering an application to the Institute for the Digital Humanities @ University of Denver

    So yeah, I’ve been busy! And I haven’t even mentioned all the committee work…ugh

  • Nov

    something that always makes me smile

    Free books!


    Well, I did earn these.

    I was recently awarded a $100 Emerging Technology grant to explore my use of blogs in the graduate course, ENGL 745-Communication Strategies for Emerging Media. If you recall, I also earned one of these grants to explore using Twitter in ENGL 101-Freshman Composition, with the final report posted on this site under Twitter Research.

    Below are excerpts from my grant application:

    During the Fall 2010 semester I have required my graduate students (ENGL 745-Communication Strategies for Emerging Media) to maintain a blog as a reading journal. I had originally thought to have one course blog where we all contributed, but I realized there may be repeat entries on the assigned readings, so I opted for students to create individual blog spaces so they can share their responses and comment upon each other’s posts. The added value of writing in a public space such as a blog is that students need to consider an audience wider than their instructor and peers.

    Given that our Masters of Science program in Technical and Professional Communication is in its first year, my ultimate intent is for these graduate students to include posts about other courses they are taking this semester and/or continue to blog throughout their time in the program.

    As a blogger, Internet researcher, and teacher, my career is focused on engaging students and remaining relevant. With this said, I hope to draft a chapter-length paper that analyzes the reach of these graduate student bloggers’ public discourse and the evolution of their identities as young academics. Based on their end-of-the-semester reflections, I also plan to speculate my future pedagogical use of a blog space over a D2L-based discussion forum.

    Because I am also a faculty member in the newly revised undergraduate Technical Communication program, this project will greatly aid me when teaching courses devoted to digital humanities, not to mention enhance discussions about conducting research in virtual spaces.

    I look forward to sharing my research findings with those here at UW-Stout interested in digital storytelling, public writing, and social software; doing so will let me generate new connections both in my home Department of English and across campus.

    Here are the titles I ordered with the grant money:

  • Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments
  • Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press
  • Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters
  • Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies)
  • Digital Literacy for Technical Communication: 21st Century Theory and Practice

    Anyone have other titles to suggest for future reference?

  • Nov

    Ultimate Pet Shop Boys

    So not only do the Pet Shop Boys have a great new compilation out, with a fabulous single called “Together,” the video for it features everything I love: waltzing girls in petticoats, hip-hop dancing boys, folk-dancing moves in a club, and a rehearsal to performance motif!

    Not to mention a bench-sitting Chris and dog-on-leash standing Neil. SIGH…SWOON…SIGH