Laboratory Life: Seeking input from YOU on course design

So I’m redesigning a course I’ve taught a few times now (CMNS 253, which I’m teaching right now, too) to transform it from a lecture/tutorial format that uses an all-in-one wiki/blog/CMS (Howard Rheingold’s Social Media Classroom build of Drupal) into, well, a lecture/lab course in writing for social, mobile and pervasive media (using Mediawiki, WordPress, Twitter, Digg, and a whole ecosystem of other open-platform mobile and social media tools).

The 2 hour lectures still follow the same format, tracing the history of analog and digital communications media as told by Wade Rowland in Spirit of the Web. However, what’s new is the lab component: 1 hour following the lecture every week is a workshop in social media literacies and tools, culminating in (1) an individually written research paper in the form of a crowdsource-mediated blog post and (2) a citizen journalism exercise/team multimedia project.

I’m interested in your input, so I’ve included a draft of the syllabus below. Please comment on this post if you have any ideas or criticism. Some of it is more-or-less complete, while stuff toward the end of the thirteen weeks is a bit hazier as of now.

In particular, I’m wondering if there is room in here for things I haven’t yet included – web metrics and analytics, for one, but there are probably others. And I’m also open to suggestion as to whether the lectures should match each lab somehow in terms of theme (though I don’t think this is really warranted, as Rowland’s history stands on its own, and dramatically underlines the watershed represented by the Internet and social media in communications history.


CMNS 253 (W) J1, Spring 2010 – Draft Syllabus

Week 1 (Jan 5) Information, technology, new media, social software.

  • Read: Rowland, Prologue, Chapters 1, 2, 3. See Week 1 for details.
  • LAB: Introduction to the computer lab
    • Overview of Lab Assignments
    • Start a Blog, Get on the Wiki
    • Post a brief blog post about yourself, then post a link to it on the wiki.


Week 2 (Jan 12) The Telegraph. Theories of technology.

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 4, 5, 6. Also, Kierkegaard’s The Present Age. See Week 2 for details.
  • LAB: Doing online research
    • Tools: Google Scholar, Google Books, EBSCO & library databases
    • Style: APA, blogging/linking conventions, attributing, Zotero, Endnote
    • How to identify and use a peer reviewed source
    • How and why to use non-peer reviewed sources
    • Choose a topic (you sill stay with this topic throughout the semester) from a list provided, OR choose one off-list by emailing me about it.
    • Exercise: find a scholarly article that is relevant to the topic you’ve chosen, post the APA-cited reference to it on your blog before next class (we will need you to read it before next class too, as you will be discussing it in next week’s lab).


Week 3 (Jan 19) The Telephone. Theories and critics of Information Society.

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 7, 8, 9. Also, Howard Rheingold’s Disinformocracy, Rheingold’s encounter with Habermas and Kellner on Habermas. See Week 3 for details.
  • LAB: Searching and Social Bookmarking
    • Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon introduced. (We vote on which to use)
    • Search techniques (both push -twitter, friendfeed, etc. , or pull -google,yahoo,wikipedia)
    • Topic search to find a news article, blog, or other timely (academic or non-academic) source of relevance to your topic
    • Find at least 2 people who are experts on your topic who you can follow for timely topical updates
    • Create a social bookmark for the article you found. Establish a routine search for topical items. Everyday, do a news/bookmark/digg search. Also read your feeds (people, experts)


Week 4 (Jan 26) Radio. The Tetrad Protocol as a method.

Read: Rowland, Chapters 10, 11, 12. See Week 4 for details.
LAB: Microblogging (twittering), bouncing ideas around about topics.

Start a twitter account (link to it on our designated wiki page for this)
Find the people (experts) on twitter that you identified last week. Follow them and create a twitter list for your topic.
Update this list regularly, and post a link to it on the appropriate wiki page.
Tweet about something related to your topic. use a hash tag. reply to two other tweets (I will configure a twitter list for the class. You can reply to someone else in the class, or to one of your tweeps you’ve identified as a ‘knowledge broker” in your topic).


Week 5 (Feb 2) Radio as an Industry.

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 13, 14, 15. See Week 5 for details.
  • LAB: Blogging.
    • Post a blog as a first draft for your Major Research paper, based on your research thus far. Include your two sources (at least one academic) found thus far. Be sure to cite in APA (including a references cited list) and link/attribute appropriately.
    • Comment constructively on 2 other students’ blog posts about social media.
  • Assignment: Major Research Paper draft


Week 6 (Feb 9) Television (and review of previous weeks).

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 16, 17, 18. See Week 6 for details.
  • LAB: Collaborating on a Wiki
    • team forming, idea clustering (based on topics chosen) (teams will also work together on the video assignment later)
    • discuss and differentiate your ideas. identify your unique contribution (we can’t all write about “Facebook and surveillance”, for example – if more than one person is writing about something – try to work together to differentiate your individual topics)
  • Due: Major Research Paper draft. Give it to a partner for formal peer review.


Week 7 (Feb 23) Midterm exam

No reading assigned this week. No lecture/lab this week. 2 hour in class exam. See Week 7 for details.

Week 8 (March 2) Pre-history and history of computers

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. See Week 8 for details.
  • LAB: Exploring & Coordinating Online Syndication: RSS & APIs
  • Due: Major Research Paper draft – formal peer review – use form for review, communicate review privately to original writer (ccd to me).


Week 9 (March 9) Microchips, computers, and the Internet

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. See Week 9 for details.
  • LAB: Exploring multimedia sources
  • Due: Major Research Paper (final draft). Post as a document (Word, Open Office, something that permits me to comment and edit) to your blog. Revise based on peer feedback.


Week 10 (March 16) Search, Social Media and the Real-Time Web

  • Read: Rowland, Chapters 29, 30, 31 and 32, and Jenkins’ “If it Doesn’t Spread It’s Dead” (part one). See Week 10 for details.
  • LAB: Mobilizing your social media
    • What’s in your phone/laptop?
    • Using SMS and MMS with social media
    • Using cameras, streaming media
    • Using location apps
    • Using the field: making use of free wi-fi, 3G, Bluetooth to communicate live (laptop or cel phone)
  • Assignment: for the final multimedia assignment, decide on a topic based on your teams’ individual research. Can you combine your topics or just use one (or two) of your individual studies to springboard into a multimedia project? Remember that you will decide on a local event (or create your own) that is useful to your research topic – a conference, barcamp, public event, political protest, or flashmob. Preferable to use one that’s already happening.


Week 11 (March 30) Copyright and its Digital Discontents

  • Read: Oswald’s “Plunderphonics”, Doctorow’s “The DRM Sausage Factory” and DeBeer’s “Respect and Reality are Keys to Reform” See Week 11 for details.
  • FIELD EXERCISE: Citizen Journalism and/or Flash Mob. We will cover a live event, or create one of our own and cover it, in teams we formed back in Week 6. we will decide on the location ahead of time, so the timing might not sync with lab time. in that case, we’ll cover the event (on a weekend or evening only that we decide as a team, or as a class if we all do the same thing, but regardless it will have to be something that happens in wek 10 or 11 in order to have enough time to edit footage down. I will compile an event calendar of things accessible via skytrain or bus that will be suitable), and instead use this time in the lab for editing/scripting as needed by the various teams of 5. post your footage to the wiki, blogs, and make it creative commons.
  • Assignment: In teams, and using the wiki, script/design your video or multimedia project. Remember that as we’re doing this around a live event, you need to decide what kinds of footage you’re likely to need:
    • interviews – with whom, and using what questions? script your interviews ahead of time, get model release forms and informed consent forms signed first, on location
    • b-roll – establishing shots, ambient footage. looks good behind voice-overs, can be used for montage, etc.
    • event footage. when we get closer to the event, spec out the setting for: lighting, probable noise, angles, probably sites where the action will be, where the audience will be, where signage is, etc.


Week 12 (April 6) The Mobile Web and Pervasive Computing

  • Read: Castells et al, The Mobile Communication Society (Chapters 6 and 7). See Week 12 for details.
  • LAB: editing, remixing, mashing
  • Assignment: Edit your video or multimedia project.


Week 13 (April 13) Student Video Presentation Day

  • No assigned readings. See Week 13 for details.
  • Hand in video/multimedia project via this wiki the night before (April 12), and bring a hard copy to class as a backup.
  • Screening of student multimedia projects in Lecture.

Convergence 2009, as it happens

9:32 AM: David Plouffe about to start…

9:38 AM – introductions, Sauder school of business. iPhoto/Flickr not working well…

9:40 – Plouffe on stage, obligatory Sarah Palin joke

9:42 – not just a winning campaign but a credible grassroots campaign – “social media embedded in our DNA” from the start

9:45 – challenges going against Clinton. have a strategy. adjust strategy, not tactics.

9:48 – not that it was online fundraising, which everyone does, but the composition of the campaign. who the people were, the quality of the people…

9:51 – eventually the Obama campaign force the McCains to play on their turf.

9:55 – diversity. Iowa was essential in the race.

9:56 – “demographics is destiny”

9:57 – this room is terrible for taking pictures. massive backlighting from fog soaked Burrard Inlet

9:59 – strove to make the demographics younger, more multiracial. recruited voters with no voting history. simple radio ads, online ads, texting – here’s where you vote. here’s where you caucus.

10:00 – lookout tool, tracking new voters.

10:02 – looked at eary voter demographics to analyze them, focus grouped them = market intelligence on younger, newer voters.

10:03 – iPhone app, other technologies – used to register voters. volunteers did it for free.

10:05 – “palling around with terrorists” – voters don’t take this stuff at face value.

10:07 – Macbook Pro battery going to die soon. I cna’t believe it’s down to 40 minutes of wifi/Firefox use! back to the shop! sorry if I drop out…

10:10 – direct news to supporters via video etc. “wanted them to hear from us first”.

11:43 – spent some time helping the Fearless/W2 crew at the VJ table outside 211. Will miss panels until our soundcheck @12:30.

13:38 – more of same. good lunch. I will be in a panel at 2:05 PM. Should be live streamed.

14:00: my panel came and went. went well. mobile polling glitched out.

15:15-16:00: discover via Jim Udall that not just mobile polling but also the whole service point seems to be not receiving SMS, despite streams working just fine. My laptop becomes the videostream layer in the VJ mix for a time…testing of the service point continues: Fido, Rogers, Bell phones all fail to send SMS…

16:00: conclude after numerous tests and Jim’s scripts that it’s Fido’s fault that the SMS are not going through. somehow Jim pushed the polling responses through – so at least the data is now available for later crunching…

16:15: gotta go – family responsibilities call…

Friday Zeitgeist: GeoChat, Twitter filters, Street Hacks, Youtube FAIL

Youtube CSS FAILI might start trying to do a “weekly zeitgeist” digest every Friday (or at worst, just paste together some cool links I’ve found). I’d like to include the sorts of links that contain answers (even partial, or even just plain wrong) to all of our questions, before many of us even formulate those questions. That, and funny shit. Here goes…

GeoChat is inviting participants. I’m joining, and so should you! Open source, network-traversing GPS/messaging? For disaster scenarios? A no brainer.

Russel Beattie reads my mind (and raman amplifiermany others), and he’s working on some code to separate the tweets from the twits (snarkiness mine). Let’s see if he gets there before some round-cornered logo accompanies some social media hipster-whoreapp that does the same thing but makes us feel icky because of the fast-talking jerk who made it. Snarkiness. Mine. Srsly though, where would we be without fast-talking jerks?

Too much coffee, man. Or, It’s Friday, I’m in Love.

An excellent read (so far), ccd so you can download (tipped off by @janchip, who’s also bringing the skinny on street hacks to MIT next week).

And finally, a major CSS FAIL at Youtube hit some student work at SFU (pictured above). Thankfully I had Grab ready and reproduced one of the borked pages (for the full comedic effect of the upside down youtube page, go to the full size jpeg on my Flickr account and read what it says in the blue box on the right).

Have a great weekend, folks.

Massive Technology Show (Vancouver, April 1) as it happens

6S/Capulet/Peer1 panelists
6S/Capulet/Peer1 panelists

torn btw liveblogging and tweeting. what is the appopriate or trendy thing to do for conferences/panels now?

listening to Peer1/6S/Capulet panel right now.(11:08 AM)

Richard Smith: throwing “business sheep”. heh.

why does the assumption that TV and radio are not interactive media prevail? let’s not forget our media history, or we’ll repeat its mistakes. (11:12 AM)

Julie Szabo: don’t let marketers blog. let the project managers do that (11:25 AM)

Julie again: bloggers aren’t media journalists. Don’t shout your message at them. Interact with them, get to know them (11:29 AM).

Jen of 6S: twittering while waiting on hold with Rogers (instead of making an angry post-facto blog post) was effective in getting her call answered (11:32 AM).

Jen again: traditional PR materials are inappropriate for the blogosphere – can’t just re-post them there. (11:40 AM)

My revised view on “what’s appropriate” for liveblogging events – limit tweets (if feeding into yr Facebook), stick with a blog, or use some filter on your tweets to keep them out of networks (like FB) that might have a low threshold for tolerating yr constant updates. Will indenti.ca, friendfeed or microplaza solve this problem? (11:45 AM)

update: April 3 – no frickin power plugs in here. WTF? here’s why only one panel gets coverage.

Up In Ur Transient Droopal. With Announcements.

I’ve finally taken the plunge into Drupal on the label/company page. I haven’t had much need for a main company URL or site, so I’m going to use it as a ‘social media’ (is there such thing as an ‘antisocial’ medium?) sandbox – essentially an experiment in multiple feed aggregation and integration of mobile generated media. I’ll be adding modules over time, and also likely changing the design on a regular basis, when the mood strikes me.

MUSE3, public displays, NV08 & Fusion recap

MUSE3 CMNS planning whiteboardI’m chin-deep in MUSE3 planning (excuse the outdated site at them thar preceding link – that’s part of what I’m working on), gearing up for our Showcase Proposal Forum this Friday (check back on Friday morning with that link for the webcast), adjusting my Web 2 specs after all the Northern Voice interaction last weekend, reading about commercial applications** for live public displays, listening back and forth between Bob Dylan, M.I.A. and Wire, trying to think when I’ll get time to get back at the comps.

**Akoo International sees much commercial potential in growing its mVenue network of interactive public displays. This is quite similar to MUSE3’s plans, with the caveat that we are also looking to create live public displays as just that – public digital space, not more sites for strictly commercial exchanges to happen in public**

Northern Voice was, as usual, great for chatting and renewing/starting acquaintanceships that make sense in the fuzzy, biz/social tech scene in Vancouver – which is more and more resembling an indie music scene, just with more computers in it. The content was more engrossing for me than last year, esp Alan Levine’s 50 Ways to Tell a Web 2.0 Story. While I shouldn’t complain (I did have a slot to present my research [PDF download], after all, for which I’m very grateful and honoured to be selected!) there were times in a few sessions when I felt a bit out-barked. The emphasis on adhocracy in the structure of some sessions tends to make shouting out of turn the way to be heard. More than once this happened, and I imagine others in attendance (who might’ve had valuable comments to make) may have also felt left out of some discussions. Anyway, that’s my .02 cents on how to improve the loose moose dimension of NV (can I get a mod please!), which in every other regard was fun, lively and highly informative.

I also made some interesting contacts after presenting on my mobile research last week at New Media BC’s Fusion Digital Venture Forum, which was a great prelude to NV. Thanks to Kelly, Adam and the rest at NMBC for putting me on the bill at the last minute, and to the audience for tolerating my wiggy tech.

Northern Voice 2008 – accreted notes

SkylightsRough notes from today’s conference…

13:30-14:00: An afternoon discussion with a Vancouver City Planner, a rep from mag.no.lia, some guy from Portland, and many others.
the challenges for cities=adopting social media for public participation initiatives.

how do people get something back? more than just “thanks for coming”. stewardship is important. but how do we get people unplugged and back in the community, actively participating.

Irwin: it’s a conservative time, politically. lockdown mentality within city staff and bureaucracy.

___________

laptop labyrinth14:00-14:30 – TransitCamp: sign the letter. translink is not open. we want open data.

______

14:30-15:00

http://mobile.shoeco.biz. How do people learn on mobiles? Awesome. Low turnout, however.

shoeco is a fictional shoe store mobsite. how would such a propietor learn how to use it? using wordpress with mobiles. it works.

simple wordpress widget.where can I d/l it?

lappy room onlymy post didn’t work.

interfaces are “brutal”

how do we condense knowledge into mobile-sized pieces? that’s what he’s seeking to solve here. – how would i do that “while i’m driving along”?

——–

15:30-16:00: Megan Cole’s Social Media

couldn’t hear anything, froze almost to death

——-

freezing to death

Chris Heurer and Roland Tanglao on mobile blogging

mobile blogging=video, audio, multimedia blogging

what tool is appropriate for what circumstance?

I asked: why the candid sharing of media? why not work with a script? Roland thinks it’s a difference btw old/new paradigms. I’m not so sure.

publicity/privacy issues act as a mediating membrane of sorts.

Irwin

Scott & Roland

Kate in Terminal

Why mobile services are not being adopted :: Apptrigger

Survey results paid for by Texas-based company AppTrigger (the study itself was conducted by LM Research & Marketing) suggest that UK mobile operators could be doing much more to promote adoption of advanced mobile services among their subscribers. The data purportedly support the conclusion that

mobile phone operators are largely locked into proprietary application suites and hindered by complex connectivity issues. The missed opportunity comes in the form of traditional IN-based applications such as pre-paid, voicemail and SMS. Operators lack the application connectivity to integrate these existing applications with new services across their legacy and next generation networks to work seamlessly and cohesively together. This limits their ability to blend best-of-breed, multi-vendor applications in a timely fashion to respond to users’ demands and push these services out more quickly.

I agree with this interpretation, and I further concur with the company’s VP of Marketing that “the ability to bring innovative network services to market via new environments such as Web 2.0 will be the catalyst that enables monetisation of application mash-ups. Operators need to be positioned to reap the rewards of these opportunities”. Wireless operators interested in having their subscribers use advanced mobile services need to open up their platforms to enable the kind of radical social transformations (and associated entrepreneurialism and investment) we’ve witnessed in the IP-based web over the past several years. Getting in sync with services like Jaiku, Twitter, or Shozu (perhaps offering these up as bundled services independent of typical data plans) might be a start. I’m no business strategist, but surely it’s a no-brainer to offer up existing, user-friendly, post-beta services to subscribers rather than to try and flog your own non-interoperable walled MMS gardens.

But I have two issues with the interpretations that the authors put forward.

  1. To reduce the adoption question to lack of promotion is fallacious. There are myriad cultural and social reasons why users will not adopt mobile services. No amount of mobile marketing can force people to change their behaviour. This is precisely why opening up wireless networks to Web 2.0 services will encourage adoption of advanced mobile technologies – users are actively involved in development cycles in the Web 2.0 paradigm. No application in this arena will thrive without end user input, period. And the model is working so well in a competing virtual space – the IP-networked laptop/desktop world. This is why the US and Canada (and, it seems, the UK, according to this study) lag behind the developing world (where there is no platform competing with the mobile platform) in adoption of mobile services generally (not just the advanced services).
  2. The data in their full study is presented in a confusing way. There is no indication of the number of respondents surveyed – only percentages – and hence the study is not apparently scientific (at the very least it is not transparently so).

Still, some interesting discussion points here.

The Internet Is Filesharing :: On ISP Levies and Creators’ Rights to Remuneration in Canada

I was recently asked by the Songwriters’ Association of Canada (SAC) to submit a briefing on why file sharing is inevitable, and why a levy system for ISPs makes sense. (The SAC is in the process of submitting a proposal along these lines to the Canadian government, in light of the political deliberations over where our copyright law is headed).

Here‘s the draft of my briefing to them (PDF, 176K). The gist of it? The internet IS file sharing. Comment, suggest revisions, and correct me where I’m wrong, if you please.

Read the SAC’s Proposal and sign up to support it here.