Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Notable Posts from DigiCiv Students

Blogging is a flexible medium, and as a new set of students gets accustomed to it, I think it would be helpful for them to know what we see as valuable in posts that have been created to date.

Posting or linking to prior academic work
Bryan Mulkern posted a paper he wrote about Jackson Turner's frontier thesis to contribute to a discussion of manifest destiny. Similarly, Brett Riley, as a follow up to class discussion, paraphrased a paper he'd written last semester about publishing and linked to his bibliography. Marcos Escalona, chiming in the copyright debate, also referred to a prior paper he'd written on the topic.

Posting critically
Not to encourage people simply to be contrary, but I admire when students have the courage to make reasoned cases contrary to popular opinion or to the explicit bias of the instructors. Both Brian Robison and Michelle Frandsen opposed open science (Brian: "Open Science and Why its a Bad Thing"; Michelle: "Open Science vs. Good Science"). David Perkins swam upstream with his "Three reasons why I stayed off the anti-SOPA bandwagon" as well as his post on why the Internet is a drug.

Bringing in Books
Marissa Pielstick relied upon a variety of science fiction texts to make her point in her post, "Re-inventing the Future." Taylor Williams relied upon Cory Doctorow's book, Content, in examining SOPA in terms of takedown notices.

Narrating digital lifestyle

Personalizing history
In her post about 20th century politics, Gabby Paongo looked at democracy replacing monarchy political systems by relating this to her own experience growing up under a monarchy system in Tonga. You won't find that in Wikipedia!

Applying one's major or other courses

  • Marissa Pielstick wrote a plucky post, "The Internet Food Chain," in which she compares biological ecology with online consumption. I'm not sure the analogy holds, but it got me thinking: are there "information predators"? Am I one of them? And if one biological metaphor holds, how about others? What might cyber-Darwinism be?
  • Suzette Rovelsky, a Nutrition Science major, looked at her assigned period (the 16th century) in terms of her major, focusing on people's diets in the Renaissance.

Relating history to digital civilization
This is at the heart of what we want all our students to be doing continuously. Here are some good examples of it happening already:

Proposing Projects
A few students are looking ahead at what sorts of authentic collaborative projects we could be working on in this class. Both Michael Larsen and Jon Kunkee are talking about reforming government and political participation in the digital age. Michael asserts that agile software development is a model for an iterative government. Jon fleshes out several other viable ideas in his post, "Class Project: Government and Internet."