I'd like a semester where students wrote blogs, podcasts, and filmed vlogs instead of writing essays.
December 3, 2010 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Help me find some great sources that discuss New media (and/or Web 2.0 tools) for use in the university classroom.

I'm working on my final paper (graduate level, 5-7pages) for the semester. I decided to write about New media and how I believe that it should be given a larger emphasis in the university classroom, particularly in freshman English composition courses. New media includes things like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Wikipedia, podcasts, even Metafilter. I think that while it is very important for students to learn how to write different kinds of essays, it's equally important for them to learn how to use New media platforms more effectively. Some students' lives are firmly entrenched in New media -- they spend hours and hours of their day engaging with it. Other students don't even know what Twitter is, much less how to use it. I think that it's important to address both kinds of students. The first can be taught how to more effectively use New media and the second can be introduced to New media and be taught why it is important to know how to engage with it.

I guess the main point of my paper will be that New media is showing us how modes of communication are changing and expanding and that learning how to use these new modes of communication is just as important as teaching students how to write a traditional essay. There are audiences that can be effectively accessed only through the use of New media. Composition courses are meant to teach students how to navigate the world through efficient communication, so it's really essential to start integrating New media into these courses, otherwise we risk becoming outdated and producing students who observe the world rather than participate in it.

I'd like suggestions of scholarly papers, news articles, editorials even, that push for the use of New media in the college classroom. I've been able to find a few short articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but if anyone here has something they think I should definitely read, please let me know. I'd like to avoid books if possible, as I'm not sure I have enough time to read a whole book, nor am I sure that I'd even have access to that book here.

I'd also like examples of New media at its finest -- youtube channels that are noted for their role in initiating social change for instance, or a really exciting non-traditional use of twitter or facebook. What I'm trying to do is show that such platforms have the potential to be used for much, much more than "OMG went to a gr8 party last night!" Rather, that they can be used for something socially, environmentally, or personally constructive. That in fact, it is possible for intelligent discourse to be hosted upon these platforms. The examples don't only have to be about social change/activism; in fact, I'd love to see some examples that are tied to the Arts, as well.

Thank you very much for your help!
posted by joyeuxamelie to Education (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It's not quite on target, but I'd like to suggest a 1987 paper by anthropologist William Beeman (et al.) called "Hypertext and Pluralism", which evaluated several efforts to incorporate new electronic media into the classroom. Basically, what they observed was that new media did have a positive impact on university education, though it was mostly on the instructors, for whom the exercise in re-shaping their pedagogy was just plain good practice at thinking about how to connect ideas and engage their students. I attended a department luncheon just today that reinforced the point in my mind: three instructors gave brief talks on how making their students blog all semester was a big deal to them. In point of fact, the student blog entries were perfunctory and not infrequently dismissive of the exercise. But it was clear that the instructors had thought a lot about how to make blogging work, pedagogically, and it probably did make them more attentive than usual to what their students were doing.

Tl;dr: one of the best reasons to do what you're suggesting is to shake up the teachers, rather than the students.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:01 PM on December 3, 2010

Go here. And look for me! Good luck - I am teaching Advanced Digital News next semester at the University of Florida. I'm going to need luck too!
posted by mad_little_monkey at 5:29 PM on December 3, 2010

You can check out these resources too. Katy is amazing.
posted by mad_little_monkey at 5:31 PM on December 3, 2010

This org focuses on high school & middle school-age instances, but I think you'll get some inspiration. Resources section is basically a bibliography of research.

Startl and the work of Henry Jenkins might also be of interest to you.
posted by smirkette at 5:45 PM on December 3, 2010

Oh, hi, sorry for crossover but I only just noticed this question after posting, but you might be interested in "the education arcade" and, as mentioned above, Henry Jenkins.
posted by infinite intimation at 9:15 PM on December 3, 2010

Best answer: If you want an example of a professor who does things like 'have students create/edit/maintain a course wiki, or getting students to Vlog, or create collaborative video projects, or maintain blogs and web 2.0 materials on the course topic, check out the work of Michael Wesch at Kansas State, and his 'mediated cultures' blog (yeah, they always look like they are having fun).
posted by infinite intimation at 11:15 AM on December 4, 2010

Best answer: Worth 18 minutes of your time, asking how to move modern classrooms from teaching students to be Knowledgeable, to Knowledge Able..
posted by infinite intimation at 12:42 PM on December 4, 2010

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