This site is the common platform for three UNIV 200 sections in Fall 2016. Two are online and one is hybrid meeting once a week face to face. All three instructors (Boaz, Cales, and Coats) have contact information listed in the “Authors” widget, and posts written by them appear under the “instructional posts” category on the site’s main menu. Student blog posts originate elsewhere but are then syndicated to this site under the “student blogs” category. The menu also contains a link to the course google drive folder, which requires a VCU login in order to view and comment.

Our common theme concerns Web 2.0 and the ways that people spend their time on social media. Why are we interested in the things we like? Why do we loiter in some webspaces, or bookmark them and obsessively return to check for updates? Why do some YouTube videos receive an insane amount of views, while others don’t? In other words, why do we like what we like? How do people connect online, and what makes that online connection essentially different than in-person connection? Our job this semester is to query why human beings have expressed themselves online in the ways we have (eg, with lots of LOLcatz), even though the internet is clearly a powerful tool for research, database collation, and instant international connectivity.

This is who we are online.
This is who we are online.

Finally, all three sections are based on a common syllabus, unit by unit schedule, and weekly workflow:

  • Mondays have new content (whether provided by the instructors or by the students themselves later on in the semester) as google docs. Peer collaboration will occur in the google doc comments as information is read and processed. Instructors will also monitor and contribute comments, as well as blog posts relevant to the week’s material.
  • Wednesdays feature conversations between the three sections on Slack, a discussion board app with push notifications and the possibility of attaching files. Instructors will hover and contribute here, too.
  • Fridays will require you to record short, peer-to-peer reflection videos on Flipgrid.

As a rule, major assignments will be due on Sundays at the end of the day. If this presents a problem for your schedule, please plan accordingly to compensate.

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