Monday, April 30, 2012

Discussion of our films today?

Anyone interested in offering some reactions to, or thoughts about, the two films we screened in lecture today?  I'm especially curious to know whether or not you thought they worked well together.

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Think you can do better on social media than a 10-year-old?  Better consider the web site of "Super-Awesome" Sylvia first.  And even though it's advertising-free, she's using it to fund her (future) college education (with the help and approval of her parents).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unscientific media fluency class survey: Would you take a winter break course?

It sounds like UW-Madison is moving to institute a winter term of classes during the month-long break between fall and spring semesters.  I'm curious about how many of you would be interested in staying in Madison over the break and paying for an extra 3-credit course (probably taught in intensive three-week fashion where you're basically in class from 9am-noon every weekday, cramming a week of instruction into each morning).  Further, I'm curious if you would do this for a particular class that I developed a while back but haven't been able to teach in years: Video Games and Mass Communication.  Any interest?  (Even if you're not interested in particular -- and don't worry, I don't blame you if you're not -- given your thorough "media fluency" understanding by now, do you think this course would have relevance or appeal to your peers here at UW?)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Data on privacy for Facebook apps

Relevant to our lecture from today: A third-party vendor, PrivacyChoice LLC, has released a tool that rates Facebook apps with a score from 0-100 depending on how well they allow a user to understand and protect privacy.  The tool is rather complicated but their Frequently Asked Questions page helps to demystify it.  How does your favorite Facebook app rate?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Using social media to discuss a social media course

So I have a little blog of my own, called The Note on My Door, where I occasionally post professorly-type essays intended for students, faculty, and staff around UW-Madison to read.  Last month, after your J 176 assignment where you had to find an article on the Internet that was not online, I was so intrigued by the responses that I posted a little note on the experience.  

So far it's been viewed over 4,000 times.

Through comments and emails, this little post has led to contacts from educators and librarians from all over the world -- including a nice request from the folks at ProQuest to be able to adapt the assignment for their own education and training efforts.  

What do you think about having your classroom experience showcased for the whole world?  Is this something that would have been possible ten years ago?  Five?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Notes for this week's discussion

Facebook self-survey. Facebook self-survey. Survey the size and scope of your Facebook network — how many friends, how many close friends, how many degrees of separation between your friends. Then survey the homogeneity of your Facebook network — how many friends at same school, same town, same high school, same politics, same religion, same major, same age. Write a one-page, single-spaced self-critique of your Facebook network and turn it in to your TA. For one-half point extra credit, post it as a "Note" on Facebook for your friends to comment on.

*There are options to search friends by: current city, hometown, school, workplace, [tagged] interest, and friends of friends. For some of the above questions, you will need to manually look for the answers. An app like Friends & Profile Statistics can help, or to assess trends and influence, you might try the full site for the Swaylo app. (Free free to share tips for your peers as comments here.) However, it's not the numbers we are interested in, but what those numbers mean. We want you to think critically and interpret the significance of your findings.

Thought-leader marketing. Identify some key people around campus (fellow students, teachers, researchers, advisers, administrators) and try to get them to engage with your blog. You might invite someone to do a guest post, or ask them if you can repost something from their web writings. Or invite someone to comment on a discussion you are having on the blog. Or just ask their opinion and see if it leads to any greater blog activity.

Make some format choices about your final presentation and digital artifact. In discussion we will ask your group to share what you plan to do for your 1) artifact, 2) presentation, and 3) thought-leader marketing.

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to ask a question

Welcome back from break, everybody.  To get us thinking about media again, I wanted to post an excerpt of a nice little essay I discovered over the weekend in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Written by Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, it suggests some simple techniques for "How to ask a question" — a crucial part of civil dialogue and knowledge production that we all too often ignore:
You have not been invited to give a speech. Before you stand up, boil your thoughts down to a single point. Then ask yourself if this point is something you want to assert or something you want to find out. There are exceptions, but if your point falls into the category of assertion, you should probably remain seated. “Mr. Nixon, you are unworthy of being president,” is not a question. “Mr. Nixon, what else would you have done as president if Watergate hadn’t gotten in the way?” is a question.
Weigh the usual interrogatory words in English: who, what, where, why, when. If you can begin your sentence with one of these you are more than half-way to a good question.  “Who gave you that scar, Mr. Potter?”  “What is a black hole, Mr. Hawking?”  “Where is the Celestial City, Mr. Bunyan?”  “Why are you wearing that letter, Ms. Prynne?”  “When will our troops come home, Mr. Lincoln?”
You will discover that, if you think in terms of these simple interrogatories, you will be able to skip right over the prologue. The right question evokes its own context. If, having formulated a question, you still think you need to set the stage for it, try again.
Don’t engage in meta-speech. “I was wondering, Ms. Steinem, if I might ask you a question that I am really curious about.” Go directly to the question. “Ms. Steinem, who is the man you admire the most?”
Look at the person you are addressing. Speak your question directly; don’t read it. Wait for the answer before you sit down. Don’t try to ask a follow-up question. If the speaker evaded your question the first time, he will evade it again. If the audience applauds your question, you are grandstanding and have failed an important test of civility.
More tips and discussion at the original article.  I wonder, how often in your UW courses do you feel that you really get the chance in lecture or discussion to ask a substantive question?  I fear that we instructors might subtly (or not so subtly) discourage you from doing so.  If that is the case — be bold.  Ask good questions.