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.
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
- Shintaro Pang used the Chinese new year as an occasion to describe how he has integrated digital tools into his personal life (Skype, mebeam, 12voip). I didn't know about the latter two.
- Jamie Smith told the story of getting to speak at one of the local TEDx conferences. That gives some authority to her reflections on education and technology.
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:
- Phil Pare compared Prohibition to SOPA in terms of the futility of government trying to exercise some kinds of control. His mused that if SOPA passed, there could be the possibility of a "super powerful nerdy mafia." Sounds silly, right? Only that's exactly what the group Anonymous styles itself as, and it took down 10 government websites last week through its hactivism, including the Dept. of Justice website one hour after the DoJ indicted Megaupload.com for copyright violations. SOPA didn't even need to pass for Phil's prediction to come true.
- Marissa Pielstick compared modern science to the patronage system. If musical composers from the 19th century could break away from sponsorship and become freelancers, could modern scientists similarly break away from traditional funding models and do freelance science? Fascinating.
- Skyler young looked at how novelist Charles Dickens used his fiction to bring attention to social ills and advocate reform, contrasting Dickens' method with the many ways so many people are able to discuss and call for reform today, even without being an eloquent published writer.
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."