Tag Archives: digital assignments

My New Media Lab Blurb and Icon and a Critique Using WebNotes

Icon fin kreniske
My Icon

I recently joined the New Media Lab (NML) at the CUNY Graduate Center. The lab coordinators asked me to create an icon and write a blurb about my project that will be posted on the NML website. Here’s the blurb and click on the link at the bottom of the page to see my critique of my project icon and blurb.

Title: Is Blogging Good For Your Health?

Research indicates that writing about college experiences in a private context can lead to positive health and academic outcomes for college students (Pennebaker & Francis, 1996).  Recently Finkel et al. (2013) showed how a writing intervention had a positive influence on married couples happiness. Daiute et al. (2003) and Cohen and Riel (1989) demonstrated how audience is a key component of writing. Do the positive benefits of writing persist when that audience is the general public, as is the case when blogging. Or must the audience be specifically chosen by the writer in order to contribute to positive health outcomes?

Currently I am exploring a variety of platforms including blogger, wordpress, and edublogs to determine which will work best for this project. Following the initial phase of selecting a platform I plan to create and pilot test at least three blogging templates. During the research project participants will be able to select one of the three templates to use for their blog. The final research project will analyze how participants write in the blog setting as compared to a more private MS Word setting.

Who will the participants be?

What will the writing prompts be?

On my blog you can follow the progress as I develop these tools and concretize my method.

Brief Note on my WebNotes Critique:

I wanted to use WebNotes to critique the real NML page, however, it will not be posted for another couple of weeks and this assignment for ITP Core II is due by Tuesday. So I have pasted the blurb and icon on my blog above. Then I used WebNotes to comment on this icon and blurb. I found it a bit overwhelming when I looked at the WebNotes; to ameliorate this I suggest minimizing all of the stickies and then going through and maximizing and minimizing as you please.

Ideas on Digital Assignments in response to June 2009 Academic Commons

repost from Core II ITP blog:

I recently got lost in time as I perused the June 2009 issue of Academic Commons.  For years I thought peruse meant to leisurely browse, but then I learned it means to read deeply or scrutinize. I still think of the word peruse in a playful way.

These articles seemed to reinforce many of the ideas we talked about last semester, and continue to discuss in the current ITP term. One of the main framing points for these papers is that in the current era students need to practice analysis of material not content regurgitation (Wesch, 2009).

Each article is quite rich so I’ll just pull a few of the parts that struck me and maybe people can add their perspectives on what they found most intriguing, whether from my post or otherwise.

Bass et al. (2009) quote Davidson saying “The whole system of credentialing, grading, evaluating, writing recommendations, all of that, is antithetical to true participatory learning formats and learning communities. Higher education has never figured out if its primary goal is learning or if its primary goal is training citizens for elite positions of class power and leadership. The whole system of ranking (among institutions and among students) is based on “distinctions,” as Bourdieu would say. Participatory learning, especially when it is anonymous, contests the bases and even the sanctity of many of those distinctions”.

I’m puzzled; Higher ed is both, is neither, is both but shouldn’t be either? Agree, disagree?

The Yancey article on E-portfolios was intriguing and is perhaps especially relevant to Humanities or creative writing and digital art programs. I wonder how relevant an e-portfolio is for social science or hard science students? I guess this comes down to the question of what is valued. In my field, psych, the value seems to be placed on tight impersonal writing. I wonder what a student would gain by developing an E-portfolio of their research reports. Okay they would gain knowledge about digital tools, but how does this help them if their goal is to be a biologist? Wouldn’t their time be best spent crafting their writing and reading about their content area?

If pressed, I might say that one activity for a psych student could be to do a ds106 type creation of their research project. Perhaps film the data collection, a few interview clips, and then share this. As an instructor I would be a little concerned about the department giving me a hard time for having undergrads film their participants and not following all of the necessary ethical procedures for recruitment. I guess that would push me to be better versed on these procedures, so it could be a good thing.

Finally, I find assessment is one of the most challenging parts of teaching a course. I use a research paper rubric and a presentation rubric. Even with a rubric I find it really challenging to grade student presentations. Perhaps it comes from an inner contradiction about who I am as an instructor; I want my students to work hard and earn their grades. But how do I measure ‘hard work’. I don’t want to be a dream crusher nor do I want to be a pushover, and striking the balance is a great challenge. I like what Rhodes is doing in creating a broad interdisciplinary rubric. One shortcoming of the Rhodes rubric is there is no section for basic writing mechanics.

Any interesting ideas for integrating digital assignments into the courses you teach or participate in? Any assessment ideas? Other thoughts?