So this week’s videos with Gardner Campbell and Jim Groom were definitely informative. I had never attempted to “formally” document portions of YouTube before in the manner that #ds106 requested of us as participants this week, though I have certainly timestamped with YouTube before (concentrating on specific clips/quotes within a larger sequence). That said, I think this technique is certainly an important skill to acquire, and I’m glad it was part of the activity for the second part of bootcamp.
The video clip of the text/audio association via Vimeo was fantastic. I teach a graduate level online course called “Web-Based Multimedia Design for Educators” and one of the units I have my students complete focuses on much of what has been discussed in bootcamp during the first two weeks of #ds106. Campbell’s words in video form reminded me of one particular clip that I share with my students: Citizen Cope – Let The Drummer Kick
What’s a Personal Cyberinfrastructure?
As far as Campbell’s article and video discussions are concerned, even though his article was published back in 2009, his sentiments are still very much applicable to today’s digital landscape. There is a “Crisis in Higher Education” that cannot be ignored. Some feel the answer is to go digital, making courses more accessible to our students. MOOCs (massively open online courses) were created for those who may not be able to afford to attend college to be able to learn from university professors free of charge.
The main issue I have with this idealization of online learning (and connected learning) is the same I take issue with in regards to research and academia in general: we are talking to OURSELVES. Those of us who are researchers for a living go to conferences and preach to other researchers who are interested in discussing the same ideals. The very audience we’re attempting to “connect with” knows nothing of the conversations we have “behind closed doors.” What do I mean by this? Well, certainly, the “public” is invited to join us at conference presentations — just pay that $300 registration fee, the $250 per night for a hotel, and $600 for the airfare and you’re all set to learn with us! Hell, as a graduate student I can’t even afford the damn fees associated with attending and presenting at conferences! The ivory tower is alive and well with the fiscal/physical barriers we present to engaging the greater population – the very population we metaphorically pledge to serve as academics. What is the point of researching anything if the theories we develop aren’t being put into practice? Theory is useless without action. Who cares about “thinking about thinking” if all it leads to is more thinking among those who have access, those who are privileged enough to be a member of the exclusive club known as academia, and the marginalization of those whose ideas will never be heard because they’re not a part of the scene. Bullshit. This is why I like connected learning — the idea of sharing knowledge and ideas with others regardless of background – academic/social/fiscal/etc. The research says that MOOCs are predominantly engaging those who are already part of the club – already have BAs, MAs, PhDs. In some cases they are serving the gifted students in K-12 that are years beyond their peers in terms of intellectualization, which is really cool. I love when I see 12 and 15 year olds taking MOOCs to learn more about particular subject areas they’re interested in, just because they want to learn. That’s pretty much the best thing ever to hear as an educator — that students WANT to learn. Thinking about that small population of students that MOOCs serve, then, I think it’s awesome, BUT, again, these are not the people MOOCs were developed for. The problem is that those who we want to educate “for free” haven’t even heard of MOOCs, have no idea what they are, and don’t see any use in them if they are going to cost a fee in obtaining proof that the work was completed ($ is an issue from the start for these folks – the more popular the idea of paying for a certificate that may or may not be considered worth the paper it’s printed on for future employment opportunities is the important point being missed here.
Perhaps all my rambling above is getting off track from what we were supposed to take from Campbell’s words, but it was something I wanted to point out in all of this digital/cyberinfrastructure stuff. It’s important. Now, back to the article/discussion at hand. I was screaming “YES!” in my head as I read the following excerpt from Campbell’s article on a Personal Cyberinfrastructure:
Many students simply want to know what their professors want and how to give that to them. But if what the professor truly wants is for students to discover and craft their own desires and dreams, a personal cyberinfrastructure provides the opportunity. To get there, students must be effective architects, narrators, curators, and inhabitants of their own digital lives.6 Students with this kind of digital fluency will be well-prepared for creative and responsible leadership in the post-Gutenberg age. Without such fluency, students cannot compete economically or intellectually, and the astonishing promise of the digital medium will never be fully realized.
This is why I dig #ds106 so much, and why I felt it was the PERFECT conduit for teaching “Writing for the Workplace.” The workplace nowadays is EVERYWHERE thanks to the Internet. No matter how stubborn “luddites” may be to keep their traditional routes steadfast, the Web cannot be avoided… Much like a large, intricately laid, silk-stranded trap an insect flies into, stuck, struggling to further free itself but only becoming more entrenched in the depths of its master’s handiwork… Sounds creepy and gross, right? Well, here’s the deal, people. You can either be a contributor to the web, or be consumed by it… The ultimate goal is to maintain balance — be careful of where you fly — we can’t (and won’t) all be producers. In a similar vein, you won’t catch any flies if your web hasn’t been carefully crafted, and you’ll starve to death. I’m sure the spider doesn’t make the best web on its first try… You need to practice the craft before becoming one of the best producers of THE Web. I’m not sure how well my analogies are transferring here — Jim Groom built a damn good web — I’ve been stuck on #ds106 for hours!
Awesome post worth sharing:
I came across Brian Metcalfe’s post in response to the exercises for #ds106’s open course, and really enjoyed reading his reflections on the process. I highly suggest checking it out!