September 7: Labor Day


TUESDAY September 8 & WEDNESDAY September 9

This week, you are to take a first step towards completing the big Inquiry Project that represents the culmination of your work for this course..

A fuller description of the Inquiry Project is on our clubhouse site on its own page, though the description we have on the master syllabus is a good starting point:

The final assignment is the inquiry project. You’ll have to have this finished and published for a grade by the last day of class. It’s worth 35% of your final grade. Think of your inquiry project as a research paper for the digital age: although it will have many of the characteristics of academic writing, it’ll take advantage of thought vectors in concept space–and lots of creativity–to make something much more involving and rewarding than a typical “term paper.”

You also have my blog post about exemplars for inquiry projects.

So, for now, you know that at the end of the semester, you will be composing a “…thoroughly researched, well-reasoned argumentative essay that was purposefully written to and for the Web.” That’s open to some interpretation, as you’ll see/hear in coming days and weeks, but know that it needs to have a considerable written/narrative component, be well-researched with lots of high-quality evidence and well-reasoned (i.e. logically arranged). It’s a research paper, but not a paper-based paper… And, thematically, you’ll need to stay within the framework of the Internet and/or the digital age.

For this week, you are to write a blog post with a brief description of what you might be wondering about the Internet or the digital age for your inquiry project. At the very least, you want to throw out a potential research question (or questions) or maybe just a writing prompt. Try not to be self-limiting, though. If there’s something you wonder about the Internet and/or the digital age, and want to make an evidence-based argument for that seems a little zany, that’s cool. Really. Consider the research piece about cat litter I linked to at the bottom of my blog post. If you really want to make the case for how cat litter contributes to Internet culture, go for it! In addition, your post should include a  justification for the particular question/topic. Why do you think this makes for a good inquiry project, especially given the theme(s) of this course? Have you read anything yet that you think might lead you in a fruitful direction?

What do you wonder about the Internet and/or the digital age, WonderPeople?


THURSDAY September 10
Read at least these excerpts from Doug Engelbart, “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework”:

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.


FRIDAY September 11

  1. It’s nugget time, once again (lather, rinse, repeat…). Write a blog post making a nugget from “Augmenting Human Intellect” as meaningful as possible. Don’t forget the links (make them interesting, make them revelatory, make them creative) (TAG: nugget3).
  2. In the spirit of Doug Engelbart, and in the general spirit of this course, here’s a fun little concept experience… find something on the Internet that completely blows your mind. Write a blog post linking to it and tell us why it blows your mind. That’s all; have fun with this. (TAG: concept3)