Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In-Progress: Syllabus for Comm 499

Hi readers,

I welcome comments on this work-in-progress.

F2F In/And the New Media Classroom
Syllabus for COMM 499: Special Topics
Assoc. Prof. Kathi Inman Berens
Fall 2011
Class meets Tues./Thurs. 9:30-10:50 in ASC 223

When Socrates and Plato invented the tutorial, face-to-face was the only way in which teachers and students could engage.  This remained true for 5000 years.  Until now.

Join me in a collaborative research opportunity where we investigate the unique properties of face-to-face [f2f] learning in the age of ubiquitous computing.

Does f2f classroom experience enable learning that can or can’t be replicated online?  Are the intimacies we build blogging, on chat, Twitter, FB and Skype the same as or equivalent to those we develop around a seminar table?  Does one mode promote learning and retention better than another--or is it wrongheaded even to consider them separately?  There’s a smartphone in everyone’s pocket.  Is the strictly f2f classroom already a relic of the past?

In this class, we will:
Meet f2f 35% of the semester, and OL 65% (Additional f2f in evening excursions not included in ratio above.)
Build digital artifacts
Evaluate the work those digital artifacts do in the world
Collaborate f2f and online [OL]
Analyze the specific qualities of f2f and OL settings

Participative learning.  We will use asynchronous forums, blogs, social bookmarks, synchronous audio, video, chat, Twitter, some geolocative platforms, and a movie making program of your choice.

In short, we’re going to play and make stuff, and we’re going to think through whether f2f augments our learning, efficiency, and pleasure in our engagement with digital media.  You aren’t required to know a lot of platforms before this class, but you must be willing to teach yourself things.  I usually find videos on YouTube that show me how to do whatever I’m working on.  I also buy step-by-step books about particular programs.  I’ve heard great things about Lynda.com, where for $25/month it’s all-u-can-eat instructional videos on pretty much any platform or program you’d want to learn.  I haven’t subscribed because my needs have been met by googling what I want to learn, watching videos, and spending time playing with it.  Budget time for learning platforms if you are not yet digitally active.

I expect we might pull in guest speakers via Skype to our f2f sessions.

We will meet three evenings outside of class, going out into LA and playing with mobile and geolocative experiences.  Please review the dates on this syllabus carefully to make sure you can attend the 3 evening excursions; your participation in them is required.

If you are thinking that 65% class time online sounds like you can check out, you’re in the wrong class.

The workload is actually steadier than what you’ll find in most other classes.  Think of it like a language class:  if you skip a week, you’ll fall behind.  You’ll submit work weekly, and you’ll be accountable (via chat or in classroom seats) in every class.  The reward: you’ll get immediate feedback on your work, build cool stuff, make some friends with common interests, and think through questions about physical presence and attention that are quite literally at the nexus where humans meet computing.  You’ll walk out with some useful digital skills.

A collaboratively-authored blog, co-produced with 2 or 3 classmates, will feature writing, images, links, videos you make, and other objects you decide are thematically relevant. Grading emphasis will be on your ability to gather useful information on your theme and explain it to non-specialists.
An individually-authored final project: this can be a pecha kutcha presentation (=20 slides, 20 seconds each for a 6:40 oral presentation).  It can be a movie.  It can be a woices project, or a Street Art project.  I’m open to good ideas.
Comments posted in every class.
Blog post weekly.
Robust social bookmarking engaged with at least weekly.
At least 2 or 3 tweets/week.

Collaborative Blog (weekly entries on a theme): 40%
Social Bookmarking/Midterm: 15%
Essay: Twitter and Infotention: 10%
Oral Presentation: 25%
Class Participation: 10%

Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (trans. Glaser, 1994)

Guy Bennett & Beatrice Mousli, Seeing Los Angeles: A Different Look at a Different City (2007)

Jay David Bolter & Richard Grusin, Remediation (2000)

danah boyd, “Streams of Content, Limited Attention” (2009) and “Sociality is Learning” (2009)

John Seely Brown & Doug Thomas A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (2011)

Antonio Damasio, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain (2010)

Henry Jenkins, “How YouTube Became OurTube” (2010) & some posts from Aca/Fan

Steven Johnson, excerpts from Where Good Ideas Come From (2010)

Howard Rheingold, “Attention, and Other 21st Century Social Media Literacies” (2010)

Mobile LACMA

Team blogs authored by students of EMAC 4352 (Prof. Dave Parry, UT Dallas/fall 2010); their theme, privacy and surveillance, is not ours; but these are excellent examples of collaboratively authored students blogs.  Note that class for these 4 blogs ended Dec. 2010, but they are still being maintained, which is pretty cool.
Big Brother is Watching Us
Under Surveillance

Mike Wesch’s digital ethnography videos, including the current project Visions of Students Today (2011)

Week 1: F2F
Readings: Johnson, Rheingold
Build: your Twitter acct., form teams for blogs; register with Diigo (social bookmarking)
Aug. 23, 25

Week 2: F2F
Readings: EMAC team blogs, Brown& Thomas entire; social bookmarks, Twitter;
Aug. 30
Sept. 1: Evening excursion (6-8 PM)

Week 3: OL
Readings: Boyd, “Attention,” Bolter & Grusin: Theory section; Media ch. 10-14; social bookmarks, Twitter
Team blogs go live 9/8
Sept. 6, 8

Week 4: OL
Social bookmarking: what you’re finding & reading
Readings: class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter; Bolter & Grusin, Self section; Wesch’s videos
Sept. 13, 15

Week 5: OL
Readings: class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter; Bennett & Mousli, excerpts
Sept. 20, 22

Week 6: F2F
Readings: class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter; Jenkins, “YouTube,” Baudrillard, excerpts
Sept. 27
Sept. 28: Evening excursion (6-8PM)
[or: depending on scheduling prefs of co-learners; TBD during first week of classes.]
Sept. 29: Evening excursion (6-8 PM)
Over weekend: upload some digital artifact you made during/after our excursion

Week 7: OL
Readings: class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter; Boyd, “Sociality”; Oct. 4, 6

Week 8: OL
Readings: Damasio, excerpts
Essay due 10/13: Twitter & Infotention
Oct. 11, 13

Week 9: OL
Readings: class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter; Rheingold
Oct. 18, 20

Week 10: F2F
In-class workshops; individual conferences w/me
Oct. 25
Oct. 26: Evening excursion (exact time TBD)
[or: depending on scheduling prefs of co-learners; TBD during first week of classes]
Oct. 27: Evening excursion (exact time TBD)
Over weekend: upload some digital artifact you made during/after our excursion

Week 11: OL
Readings: Bennett & Mousli, continued; class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter
Nov. 1, 3

Week 12: OL
In-class workshops: prep for oral presentations
Nov. 8, 10

Week 13: F2F
class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter
Oral Presentation of digital artifacts
Nov. 15, 17

Week 14: F2F
class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter
Oral Presentation of digital artifacts
Nov. 22
Nov. 24: Thanksgiving holiday

Week 15: OL
class blogs, social bookmarks, Twitter
Wind up & rumination on f2f & OL
Nov. 29
Dec. 1: Last Day of Classes

Academic Integrity Policy
The Annenberg School for Communication is committed to upholding the University’s Academic Integrity code as detailed in the SCampus Guide.  It is the policy of the School for Communication to report all violations of the code.  Any serious violation or pattern of violations of the Academic Integrity Code will result in the student’s expulsion from the Communication major or minor, or from the graduate program.

ADA Compliance Statement
Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester.  A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP.  Please be sure the letter is delivered to me as early in the semester as possible.  DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776.

Howard Rheingold’s “Expected Learning Outcomes” summarizes what the diligent student will achieve in our course:

“Students apply the tools we use in this course in five interrelated kinds of activity: research, reflection, collaboration, presentation, and networking. In the course of team co-teaching, and collaborative note-taking, students will use one or more of interactive presentation media. Group project teams will use social bookmarking to conduct research, forums to discuss how to organize the project on the basis of this research, blogs to reflect on the personal, social, political significance of the project, and interactive media to augment their presentations.

Students who successfully complete this course will be on the way to mastering the 21st century meta-skill of knowing how to learn to use new social media, to assess a new social medium's potential cognitive, social, and political impact, and to tune or relinquish use of the medium for their own purposes. In addition, students will have practiced mindful self-observation of the ways they use their own attention. Increased facility at inquiry and collaboration are other meta-skills dedicated students should expect to gain.”

I add: students will understand the common and different valences of socializing online and f2f, and bring to their interactions a deep awareness of how those contexts operate singly and in tandem.

I look forward to working with you!

Twitter: @kathiiberens
blog:  F2F in the Mediated Classroom
email:  inmanber[at]usc[dot]edu; kathiberens[at]gmail[dot]com

1 comment:

Ernst said...

Hi Kathi,

really exiting content! really difficult to give feedback without really knowing the context of the course.

- what skills/knowledge will the students gain or practice?

- I think it's really cool that (from what I gather) you are going to link their normal practice to online learning. It's kind of a double loop or meta-learning. Is that what this course is about? could you make it more specific for your students? (without dictating too much, off course). This is really difficult, so hat off to you.

cool stuff! have fun in Disneyland