Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
UKOLN - Potential of Blogs and Social Networking
- Various tensions between HE's attempts to impose control and standardisation on blogging software and the servers on which blogs are held (so as to provide security, archiving, standardisation) and the recognition that external blogging tools (and wikis for that matter) are often more flexible than those enabled within managed environments (like Moodle, WebCT for example)
- The need to educate users (be they staff or students) about how to maintain an online identity safely and appropriately.
- The large variation between what is referred to as 'digital literacy' pointing to 'blind spots' in students' skills (i.e. knowing how to use facebook, youtube, secondlife) doesn't mean that this can be transferred into teaching and learning uses of electronic forms of communication.
- Debates about privacy, and the implications of blurring the boundaries between professional and personal domains (whether this is unavoidable, preferable, dangerous).
Labels: UKOLN elearning
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Only the most tenuous of links...
Labels: personal germanmarket Christmas
Friday, November 16, 2007
Using electronic literature in the classroom
Using a wiki and having the laptops in the classroom has been crucial to this process from a pragmatic perspective. It's enabled me to embed a range of digital texts in the curriculum so that students can see them on the screen alongside their printed handouts. The texts I've used have been Minerva's blog: A Woman of Many Parts, In Search of Oldton, by Tim Wright, and Shelley Jackson's My Body. The texts have been analysed using many different frameworks, exploring narratives of personal experience (Labov), plot structure (Hoey) temporal sequencing (Genette), characterisation and narratorial reliability. In summary, I'd argue that using electronic literature has been useful for the following reasons:
- It draws attention to the influence of medium, and facilitates transmedial comparison
- The increased sensitivity to multimodality challenges the verbal hegemony of much narrative theorizing
- The unfamiliar conventions of the hypertextual / blogging format enable students to question what 'narrative' entails, and to reflect on the assumptions of print culture that become so taken for granted as to be rendered invisible.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Using the internet in scholarship
Friday, November 02, 2007
Transliteracy, wikis and essay writing
This week I tried a new venture with the wiki I am using to support student's work on my Narrative Analysis module. The students are starting to prepare for their main assignment now, and I wanted to be able to help them use various strategies in planning their project. One issue I have encountered in the past is that mind maps are often confused with essay plans. To help students make the transition between a visual image which emphasises spatial connection and a verbal structure which depends on linear argumentation, I set them the following exercise.
1. In groups of 4-5, they had to develop a diagram or mind map to summarise the topics we had covered in class (different frameworks for categorising narrators), showing how this connected with any other narrative theory we had discussed on the module, and giving examples from the (mostly literary) extracts they had in their handouts.
You can see a sample mindmap at the top of this entry. Once they had completed the map, I muddled the groups so that the students reviewed each other's work, face-to-face. This is usually where I would stop in my pre-wiki days, feeling pretty pleased that students had done some good work and had some interesting discussion with each other. The problem is, that in the offline world, those mindmaps are usually disregarded and we don't help students transfer those connections into other mediums of forms of literacy.
My response has been to take photos of each of the maps, post them on the wiki pages (with the help of our fab web designer Matt who resized them for me - Thank you!), and ask the students to use the map as the basis for either a paragraph-length summary of their conclusions or a structured list of points for how they would develop the discussion further. Fingers crossed they will do it. Fingers crossed again it will help them prepare their assignments. For me, it's an exciting step in using web 2.0 technology to support student learning and showing how transliteracy can be put to work in the humanities seminar room.