Week Three

Here is a detailed account of the Third week. Keep in mind that all sections of Living the Dreams are synced up for the activities surrounding the New Media readings (Linklider for this week). But the section-specific activities may not be familiar to students in those other sections.

One of the expectations for this class is that you will write a little every day, thereby getting into practice to write a lot by the end of the eight-week term. Sometimes we will need to complete specified tasks nearly every day; other weeks may include a lot more flexibility. Feel free to work ahead; just be sure to provide what’s required by the due dates.

Wednesday, 9/2

  1. Compose a blog post with a nugget (i.e. a pertinent passage from a reading that grabs you in some way) from “Man-Computer Symbiosis” and make it as meaningful as possible.  It could be a passage that puzzles you, or intrigues you, or resonates strongly with you. It could be a passage you agree with, or one you disagree with. The idea here is that the passage evokes some kind of response in you, one that makes you want to work with the passage to make it just as meaningful as possible.
  2. To make it meaningful: Either continue using your nugget from Week 1 to flesh out why this nugget is significant by comparison, or write about the nugget’s significance in its own right (NOTE: We will eventually have multiple assignments designed to figure out how to synthesize the ideas in these new media readings) Key question: How does the nugget connect to the entirety of Licklider’s essay, and why is your interpretation of it important?  Write no more more than two paragraphs. NOTE: if you already have a provisional (e.g., sketchy) idea of what your inquiry project will be about, feel free to make the nugget meaningful in terms of that idea.

Thursday, 9/3

Revise your nugget post (indicate this by writing “EDIT” at the bottom of the original post and have the changes follow.  Keep your original post intact) and link out to at least three classmates’ posts from 9/2. (A key goal here is to continue getting used to linking out to other blog posts, including your own, frequently and robustly.)

Friday, 9/4

  1. Complete the following concept experience activity:
    • Start with a blank piece of paper (real, or virtual). At the top, write “Analyzing the obvious.” On the next line, write the most obvious thing you can think of regarding your favorite webspace, webtribe, or webphenomenon. Something like “Cats videos are really popular on Youtube” (if your interest was lolcats videos on Youtube) or “Google Glass is like science fiction!” (if your topic was Google Glass).  If you get stuck, write down as many obvious things as you can think of. Do this quickly. You’ll find your flow soon. Then pick the one you like best.
    • Now notice the time you start your experience. You don’t need a URL yet, just the time. You’ll find the URL in your history, later.
    • Now pretend that your obvious statement is a form of research question for your inquiry project.  If this doesn’t make you feel a little silly, then you haven’t chosen a truly obvious thing to analyze.
    • Now start your research on your computer. Your job is to analyze this obvious statement. Here’s where you’ll need to be creative. You’ll need not just to solve problems, but to find problems too. You’re not looking for answers. You’re looking for better questions. Obvious things can’t be analyzed unless you come up with really good questions. (Note: Steer clear of questions that can be answered with a “yes!” or a “no!”  Words like “significance,” and “impact,” and pronouns like “why” and “how” will be your friends).
    • Try and work on this concept experience for at least an hour. You can take breaks if you want, but the longer you can work uninterruptedly, the better the chance that the question will become more refined and you’ll have a better understanding of how your interests relate to what’s already out there on the topic.
    • After you’ve finished, look over your history and write an extended and extra-thoughtful, extra-creative blog post that reflects on how you interacted with the computer as you analyzed the obvious research question. Your history will help you. Don’t wait too long to do the blog post–do it while the experience is fresh in your mind.

Monday 9/7

Read at least 5 of your classmates’ nugget posts, and 5 of your classmates’ concept experience posts, and provide thoughtful comments to the authors.  Key Question: How do other people think about questions (either just plain old differently, or with a different degree of specificity, or within an unfamiliar frame of references)? This is an early version of the kind of peer feedback (workshopping) that we prefer in this course: it is based on your own curiosity rather than your attempt to guess what your instructor is looking for in assessed writing.

Tuesday, 9/8

Compose a blog post explaining the connections you saw between your thoughts on your own concept experience (on formultive vs. formulated thinking) and other students’ thoughts on theirs. Link to four other blog posts and compare yours to theirs (you may link to earlier posts of your own as well). Lastly, think back to your original nugget post and write how you could look at your text differently. Key question: what kinds of questions will be more successful for the answers you wish to seek? Sometimes it’s all about how we ask our question.

For Wednesday, 9/9:

Read at least these excerpts from Doug Engelbart, “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework” and find a nugget you may want to work with next week.

  • Chapter I, “Introduction,” parts A (“General”) and B (“Objective of the Study”)
  • Chapter II, “Conceptual Framework,” parts A (“General”) and B (“The Basic Perspective”)
  • Chapter III, “Examples and Discussion,” part A (“Background”) sections 2 (“Comments Related To Bush’s Article” and 3 (“Some Possibilities with Cards and Relatively Simple Equipment”)
  • Nothing from Chapter IV
  • Chapter V, “Summary” (all)
  • Chapter VI, “Conclusions” (all)
  • and of course, pick your nugget.
  • You should also watch some or all of “The Mother Of All Demos.” There’s a nice set of highlights made by SRI International that’s great as an overview.