Monthly Archives: February 2014

Short notice on two dana boyd book talks this week

dana boyd is giving two NYC book talks about her new book:

NYU Institute for Public Knowledge Tuesday (tomorrow): on Wednesday:

The Wednesday talk conflicts with the skill session, so try to go tomorrow, especially if you are interested in the use of technology/social media by youth/teens.

Getting Real

I’m guessing that we all didn’t get to where we are by NOT being obsessive about the details? Amiright???

Getting Real offers pragmatic suggestions to avoid wasting time on eventual dead ends — go forth and if and when you hit a dead end, turn around and keep going.  For many of us, however, not considering the details before jumping in may feel exactly like not doing the necessary prep work.  My question, thus, is this:*  How do we undo a lifetime of programming that taught us to plan ahead while considering every possible contingency?** I suspect the answer has something to do with more faith and less fear…

*In the spirit if Getting Real, I am keeping this post short and to the point.

**Although I am only posing this one question, I must share with you my paranoia that you will think I am half-assing this post.  Therefore, I will tell you that I considered writing about a friend’s childhood tea party preparations that never led to actual tea parties (I am happy to elaborate on this in class), second year IRB application writing that took more than a year, and paralyzing perfectionism that masquerades as procrastination.

so, how?

The “Getting Real” text was fascinating. It was, indeed, a quick read. Many of the things he mentions are quite obvious, like the “just do it” constant meme invading his pages… others are not so obvious… you would think that wanting to do more, to install more, to be more specific would be better, but according to him and to software development more is not better.

I was thinking of academic careers and how more and less are intertwined. As scholars we are supposed to know more about less and less until we are so über specialized it could be almost impossible to find someone who actually understands what you do.

Obviously the book refers to not want to do too much, if you want to do so much you do it, as he says ‘half assedly’… but isn’t that what we do? what we are expected to do? We are PhD students, we are scholars, we are teachers too, many of us are writers, I am a translator…

I remember when i was about to graduate from my B.A. in Latin American Lit I suddenly realized I wasn’t going to get any jobs because who needs what I studied? so I did a course in translation and interpretation and moved forward. I have the sense that humanities are so little needed that unless you expand your expertise you will go unemployed…

the text is referring to apps, to projects, but I believe we ourselves are projects, aren’t we?

I am just venting a bit of my humanities based frustration out there…

There is also his recommendation of doing it QUICK. Really? when has anything academic been done quickly?

on the other hand, I really liked his advise and I am ready to do it, but… do what? we have thrown ideas out there and we kind of discussed them last class, but they are still ‘out there’. I loved how he says that ideas are worthless unless you actually DO them. So, shall we?

Lastly I loved the links, the tools… oftentimes I feel like in school we are taught things which are not so useful… sigh. Can anyone notice my disenchantment in the academic universe?

I also added to the list of tools on the Kitchen Sink wiki… can any of you add or comment on what you have used?

last but not least: PASSION! So important, but what do you do when you run out?


(as an aside or a P.S. it would be helpful if Maura or Mike broke the ‘readings’ links so that a new tab opens up when clicking on it so you can keep both windows open… look at me and my techie lingo!)

x-x-x-x-x update!

Hello all

my wiki post is back up! the a-person who deleted it said  he had done so because of grammatical issues, stating he hoped I would fix them. To which I replied: if you saw the problem why didn’t you fix it instead of deleting? (btw, my grammar is good, he just didn’t like my syntax, which is also quite good)

As if his grammar is good! This wiki-nemesis of mine will suffer the consequences of being bad at community building!


Tool/technology Possibilities

It’s been great to read everyone’s project ideas. Many of your ideas made me think of a couple of resources that could be useful for you:

Miriam Posner, coordinator of the Digital Humanities program at UCLA, wrote a great blog post last year called How Did They Make That? which features several different kinds of digital humanities projects and breaks down the technologies and steps required for each. It’s a good post for getting your head around what’s required for some of the DH projects out there online.

Bamboo DiRT is an enormous resource that’s essentially a database of digital tools for research and teaching. It’s organized by category (e.g. data collection, image editing, etc.) and each category features an annotated list of tools, both free and paid programs/apps. It’s also a great place to browse while you’re germinating project ideas.

Hamad Sindhi – Project Ideas

So I’m not a very creative person, and I’ve been trying to jot down as many ideas as possible, but so far have only been able to produce 1 and a half ideas, and here they are:

1. The half idea: I like the way memes play a part in the social life of the Internet. I was impressed with Patrick Davison’s ‘The Language of Internet Memes’ in The Social Media Reader, as well as our conversations about memes in the Core I class – their folk character, their ephemerality but also how they can provide a window into the cultural conversations of the time. I think it may be a good idea to show students how to create these cultural objects, how to trace their distribution in a social network and how to analyze the conversations people initiate because of the ideas embedded in those memes. This does not have to be a ‘creation’ activity only. Before students start creating their own memes, we could learn how to analyze the significance of past memes that garnered much attention (ex: #muslimrage, the ‘this is what I actually do’ meme, etc.). Students will learn about the context of such memes (why and how did they start?), and learn how to analyze their impact on the communication, spread, and death of ideas.

2. Creating an intro level Sociology inter-textbook: For an intro level class in Sociology, almost all professors use a large and expensive textbook that is usually never bought or read by the students (at least in my experience at BMCC, where students come from financially unstable backgrounds). I’ve been thinking of ways to provide students with the relevant chapters as cheaply as possible without violating copyright laws, but it still does not seem to be enough. Even if they have access to the material, it is often written in a language that is not at their reading level and/or does not engage them enough. Thinking through how to get the students to engage with any material before class, and connecting it with the principle of intertextuality at the core of the Internet as well as the principles of collaboration, citation and source-recognition at the core of Wikipedia, has led me to this idea: the students will use the Internet’s many ‘texts’ (written, pictures, videos, audio, games) to create their own chapters on a very large online cork board-type space (pinterest?). As the professor, I would provide lots of structure, like taking the main concepts found in one textbook chapter and setting them up on the board in a logical manner, and guiding the students to figure out what is a good source and what is an unreliable source of information. The students will then post (under their assigned concept) any relevant texts that provide the definition of the concept, examples of the concept, people associated with the concept, etc, with a brief explanation of what the post is and how it relates to the concept. Students will also be required to comment upon and question the postings of other students and thereby engage in a dialogue about their interpretation of the concepts. To make this as close to a traditional textbook as possible, the questions on any quizzes or tests will relate directly back to the boards they create. In short, I envision this as a space for students to create their own chapters, still working with the concepts that any traditional textbook would contain, but making it their own by posting texts that make sense of the ideas to them and engaging with other students about the validity of their sources and the level of understanding they have about the concepts. Class time would be used to go over the board the students have created during the week and fill in any gaps or correct any inaccurate information.

Hamad Sindhi – bio

Hello everyone! I’m a third-year Sociology student. The question that drives my academic work is: how do we belong in this time of neoliberalism and globalization, and how does that belonging get strengthened for some and disrupted for others? I’ve focused this question down to questions of citizenship and embodiment during environmental disasters. I am particularly interested in observing the relationships between people and objects when preparing for and dealing with disasters, because I believe that studying such interactions can tell us something about how disasters are important in the social construction of belonging. Along with my research interests, I am also devoted to pedagogy and to being a public sociologist. I have taught ‘Introduction to Sociology’ and ‘Media Theory’ (at BMCC and City College, respectively), and have also started a personal academic blog to help me start and explore ideas that may become research projects in the future:, which is still in a nascent stage with only one post so far. And here’s my twitter handle: @hamsindh.

Jennifer’s bio

I am a third year student in the Urban Education PhD Program. I am in the somewhat curious position of auditing Core 2, having just completed the class last spring, so I would like to offer my experience with project development (hint: a lot of failure) instead of just being a creepy lurker. Another ITPer and I chose to collaborate, and we submitted a proposal for a series of salon-style meetups/workshops. We imagined that scholars, technologists, and artists (some GC-based, some not) would muse on tech tools through presentations and hands-on activities. By emphasizing the sensual and social — such as through incorporating musical and theatrical performance, visual art, and food — we wanted to challenge the disembodied assumptions that accompany much of our thinking, teaching, and learning about the digital. While we ultimately shelved this particular project idea, the process of collaborating was enormously valuable, and we are now working together on a project in tandem with the CUNY Academic Commons development team (which I’d be happy to explain in class).

When I’m not sitting in on classes, I’m the social media fellow for my program. You can follow us on Twitter @UrbanEdCUNY. I am also part of the editorial collective for Theory, Research, and Action in Urban Education, our program’s online, open-source, peer-reviewed journal. This year, I’m a co-organizer (with Michael Mandiberg) in a series of seminars on Experiments in Extra-Institutional Education through the GC’s Center for the Humanities. Finally, I work at the Stanton/Heiskell Center, which helps public school teachers incorporate digital tools in their teaching.