Blog for the course offered at Teachers College, Columbia University during Fall 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Week 3 Assignments

As we begin the third week of classes, you should be quite comfortable in your role as a member of our social software research community. I see that (almost) all of you are bookmarking, blogging, and (I assume) tracking all the RSS feeds with your aggregator. I realize that one benefit of being part of this kind of community is the asynchronous nature of the collaboration. But I must urge some of you (you know who you are) to try to keep up with the assignments. Falling behind by too much can disrupt the experience for everyone.

Someone from the University of Utah recently said: “I don’t read anymore; I just talk to people who have.” Sounds a bit like what we are doing in this class, doesn't it (except that we are ALL reading, of course!)? Do you find it useful, for example, to read Mariana's analysis of the Becker paper? Did it help you decide whether you wanted to go and read the whole thing?

On the other hand, as Robert says "Increasingly I am beginning to feel as if my knowledge base is one mile wide and one inch deep." How much of a problem will this be? How can one correct for this?

Overall, I am really impressed with the quality of the individual work and confident that we are beginning to see the fruits of our collective efforts. As more people begin to blog their assignments, I expect to see a more vigorous effort to comment on each other's posts. Meaningful and thoughtful comments are crucial to maintaining a dialogue. [Unfortunately, most blogs do not have a mechanism for subscribing to the comments. Is there a Blogger plugin to do this? If anyone can find out, that would be great.]

This week, you should continue to conduct 'distributed research,' bookmarking and tagging stuff. You should have the required texts by now, and you should be reading (for your Individual Analysis assignment next week I expect to see the texts being referenced). Remember, the point is to use the books to inform your analysis or critique of the stuff you find on the Web.

There are two additional things that I want us to begin working on this week:

1) Issue Entrepreneurship Assignment: I would like people to start thinking about the social cause they would like to choose for this project. Blog your ideas and ask for feedback from the class. For more information about issue entrepreneurship, please refer to the chapter by Agre in the Community in the Digital Age book. You can find an online version of this chapter here.

2) Brainstorming about the format of the Social Software Affordances Wiki: I have added a page on the course wiki, called SSA Wiki Brainstorming, to conduct a little group activity. In the next couple of weeks, I want everyone in the class to contribute ideas or metaphors about the shape/format that our final project, the Social Software Affordances Wiki, should take. I have gone ahead and contributed the first (lame) suggestion, just to give you an idea of what I am looking for. You can contribute as many ideas as you want. We will pick one later.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


Blogger Mind Valley said...

This sounds like a very interesting study and class that you are teaching. Are you going to post about the social bookmarking and tagging excercise?

We just developed, a new social bookmarking engine that is also taking advantage of tagging. We hope to make it more useful for the online learning environment so any experiences that you have that might help us improve our product would be greatly appreciate.

Hope to hear from you soon. Mike

1:25 AM

Blogger Heidi Trotta said...

Wow ... It was so weird reading a post from someone who is not in our class ... we were just talking today at work about class blogs being private (only available to class members i.e. behind a Course Management tool such as Blackboard) vs. using a public blog space such as this for a class blog. Advantages to both .. I completely forgot ours was public!

Ulises ... I read this chapter and reference was made to Issue Entrepreneurship being present in different contexts on the local (work, church, professional, industry, etc.) vs national social/political level. Can we pick an issue at work/in our industry or should it be a social/political cause on a grander scale?

Thanks ...


9:09 PM

Blogger Ulises said...

I intentionally decided that we should use public spaces for this class as part of our exploration of what the 'social' in social software means. I imagine that as a result, our work spaces will be open to feedback (and even spam) from the internet community at large. Part of the class is to experience and think about how to deal with this.

As far as the Issue Ent. assignment, I will post something separately on that...

10:31 AM


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