a reminder and following on WP


We’re back from break, and projects proceed apace.  You didn’t have to post over break, but you should be back in full swing by now.  Weekly summaries are due Monday, midnight. The summary for 20 – 26 Mar is due tomorrow.

Following on WordPress

Have a look at the blog projects listed on the sidebar, and when you get to a blog that looks interesting, click the Follow … button in the lower-left of the browser.  Updates will show up in the Reader menu when you’re logged in to WP. Makes it easier to keep up with others in the class – and can remind you to post yourself.


While you’re following, have a look at Jeanna’s Cooking with Jeanna.  Buffalo Chicken dip, crock pot roast beef, Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers: This is food to cook in the dorm or apartment.  Jeanna’s posts are really good, combining images, history, details on tools and procedures, and recipes.


dialectical constellation

Projects are proceeding. I updated the list on the Projects blogroll do you can follow along.  If a link doesn’t work, let me know.

On a side note, drifting from the path, I’ve been reading Wasting Time on the Internet (Amazon), by Kenneth Goldsmith, which has a tangential connection to Weblogs and Wikis as social media. It’s the kind of manifesto that spring breaks were meant for.  In one chapter, “Our Browser History is the New Memoir”, he constellates Buddism, Surrealism, Dada poetry, Marienneti, Samuel Pepys, Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Hester Thrale (new to me), the obligatory observations of Plato and Benjamin, and the state of entropy.

The ecology of the web teeters on the cusp of the hyperpresent and the eternal … While we have the illusion of that things are speeding up, they’ve actually reached a point of stasis, of stillness.

The book addresses a seminar Goldsmith taught at U Penn, spring 2015 (web page), a seminar what was going to draw on the situationists and on psychogeograhy but went another direction.

Live without dead time. — Situationist graffiti, Paris, May 1968  We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping. What if these activities — clicking, SMSing, status-updating, and random surfing — were used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature? Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written? Using our laptops and a wifi connection as our only materials, this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature. Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs. To bolster our practice, we’ll explore the long history of the recuperation of boredom and time-wasting through critical texts about affect theory, ASMR, situationism and everyday life by thinkers such as Guy Debord, Mary Kelly Erving Goffman, Betty Friedan, Raymond Williams, John Cage, Georges Perec, Michel de Certeau, Henri Lefevbre, Trin Minh-ha, Stuart Hall, Sianne Ngai, Siegfried Kracauer and others. Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting is mandatory.

It’s the web as psychogeography.  Reading as dérive (website). Read it with YouTube in the background.

projects starting today

Holborn Sta.

“Holborn Sta.” by elminium is licensed under CC BY

Most of the projects are approved and ready to start.  I’m still looking at a couple of more involved ones and giving some feedback. The projects are listed in the blogroll so you can get a sense of what others are doing.  It’s a diverse collection, from Cooking With Jeanna, to Tony’s Infinite Headphones, to Andy’s look at adoption.

And they start today.

Weekly reflections are due Mondays at midnight. (This week, too!)  Be sure to link to include links to materials you worked on that week.  You don’t need to work on the project over break, but you can if you wish.

Here’s the calendar, as a reminder:

For full credit, your project must start Mon 6 Mar, 2017. Projects officialy end on Mon 24 April.
Post weekly reports to your blog by midnight, Monday, each week. No report = no points for the week.
Monday 27 Mar. About three weeks into the project. Point of Abandonment. If the project isn’t going well, this is the last point to re-think it.
During the week of April 3 – 9, you’ll be taking studio tours of the projects of others. The assignment will be posted.
Last class meeting: Apr 18. We will meet face to face to compare notes and talk about preparing final presentations.
April 24: End of project.
TBA: Finals Final. Face to face students present their work.
4 May 2017 Online student reports due.

Questions be email to me. If you want to meet face to face, let me know.  I’ll be on campus.


OER Text: Webliteracy for Student Fact-Checkers

Mike Caulfield (blog) of Washington State U Vancouver has released a book on web-literacy and fact-checking titled Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers.

The book is written as a classroom text but it works well for self-guided instruction. It’s is a student-oriented text, not a teacher-oriented text.

Why is this interesting?

  • Mike published the book as CC-BY. Open source – open use. Free to distribute.
  • The book is still being written. Mike’s releasing it now because enough of it is ready to go, and will be updating and adding stuff over the next few months. That’s a new way of working with books like this. Because the book is distributed in digital format, it can be updated without reprinting. which makes serial publishing an option.
  • He used PressBooks (site) to publish the book simultaneously with web access and in multiple eformats. Open-source again.
  • Mike’s a nice guy who works at a state university and is able to release the work he does for students at the university to the wider public. Washington state tax dollars at work. Freedom of access. Academic freedom. > Mike Caulfield is currently the director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, and the editor of the New Horizons column for the EDUCAUSE Review.
  • The book and Mike’s means of publication is timely in a time of propaganda.

Mike’s blurb:

So in November I switched gears and began to write a textbook for web literacy that focused on the question of what web literacy for stream culture looked like. What I found is that it had to be quick and tactical. Users are presented with hundreds of headlines and statements a day through social media, and asked to retweet or share that information with little or no background. Students need skills that help them to get closer to the truth in betwen the few minutes between when they see something and when they decide to share it. Conversations with researcher Sam Wineburg confirmed this need for quick and frugal fact-checking basics.

So I wrote this book: Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. It’s still rough and unfinished in places, but it’s in a shape that’s suitable for classroom use.


bootcamp over – we’re connected

think we’re all connected, anyway.  The blogroll should be correct, and I’ve visited each blog to see recent changes.  I’ve Followed… everyone – and added everyone to an RSS feed.

(Go to your Feedly account. Click the + button in the left sidebar to bring up the search field. Paste in the url of the blog to follow. Click the green Follow button, and use the menu to save the feed to your list.  Thanks to Brian for helping yesterday.)

Also check your blog to make sure you’ve enabled comments! (Dashboard > Settings > Discussion.)

As far as I know, all themes have a link to making comments. You may have to look for it. But comments are also accessible from the Reader > Followed sites page.

If you’ve completed bootcamp (check D2L if you’re not sure), it’s time to move on to What Makes a Blog and What Do Bloggers Do?

The first deadline is Thursday, so have fun.

inaugural reminder for bootcamp2017

There’s nothing about the inaugural in this post.  It’s actually a reminder about Bootcamp2017 Deadlines for this week.  You should be working on the activities under Week Two of Bootcamp2017: Looking into RSS feeds and setting up a blog roll.

But a few blog posts are also due this coming Monday.  These are going to be a little easier if you install the Press This bookmarklet for WordPress.

Fri 20 Jan: Midnight: Write a post about Creative Commons and Intellectual Property: Read up on and write a post on copyright and the CC movement. Do the research first. Look into Creative Commons, and read up intellectual property (IP) by googling the term. WIPO is a good place to start, or References section of the Wikipedia entry for intellectual property – but go further! The Missing Manual also has some information on copyright on the web, on placing copyright notices on your weblog, and asking permission to post – which should be part of your research. There is also info at flickr/Creative Comments section.  Then write up a blog post in which you share your findings, linking to the resources you found most useful, and annotating those links. End this post by considering how you’ll be licensing your work for this class, and why you made that choice. This post is due by midnight Friday so others have time to read and comment.

Extra credit for posting on whether a tweet is copyrightable or not.

On Sat, Sun, Mon: Visit the posts of others and comment on those posts. See what others found, comment when appropriate.

Mon 23 Jan, midnight: Post a reflection on these two weeks of Bootcamp2017 set up.  By Monday midnight, post a reflection on these two weeks of Bootcamp set up. Refer to the HeuristicForWeeklyReflections as a guide. Link to your work for the last two weeks. I’m not considering your work with BootCamp2017 complete until materials are linked. Categorize this post under the appropriate category on your blog (Weekly Reflections or something similar).

You can post your reflection earlier, of course, once you’ve completed the bootcamp activities and had a chance to review what others are doing, glean what you can, and comment here and there.


BootCamp2017: Week Two: Face to face meeting

This post is a little experiment.

The overview of the face to face class is in this post.  I’ll add my notes for the class to the Comments after the class has met. If, after class, you have any questions or additions to make, add them to the Comments.

Week of 17 Jan

BootCamp2017 continues: Week Two is about RSS, CC and IP, setting up your weblog further, and practicing embedding media into blog posts. BootCamp2017 also suggests Continuing Activities.

In class

  • Questions on the CourseStatement2017? Weekly Routine, Criteria for Engagement, reading and replying to others, multiple posts during the week …
  • Questions, problems, concerns, suggestions
  • Refine your blog: Common Mistakes, from lorelle.wordpress.com. This excellent page is WordPress Management in a Box: a wide-ranging set of tutorials for managing your blog.
  • About Attribution and an Attribution Helper from @cogdog.
  • How to check your progress: D2L > Assessments > User Progress > Grades.  D2L provides only 50 characters of comment, so I’ll be concise.

Bootcamp Deadlines for this week

  • Refer to BootCamp2017
  •  Fri 20 Jan: Midnight: post about Creative Commons and Intellectual Property
  • Sat, Sun, Mon: Comment on those posts
  • Mon 23 Jan: a reflection on these two weeks of Bootcamp set up.

it’s about linking

Blogging – and wiki writing – is about linking. Actually, all writing, probably all communication, is about linking (intertextuality, cross-referencing, name checking; allusions, foreshadowing and flashbacks, quoting, gossiping, telling stories about the day …).  Working digitally means means using links that already operate in communication but also using the digital affordance of the hypertext link. Wikipedia has a fundamental explanation of  the hypertext link as used on the web, while David Kolb theorizes what it means to read and write complexly linked text.

(Typically, text isn’t as heavily linked as the paragraph above for reasons of usability. And, just so you know, it took me longer to select the link targets and refine the link text than it took to compose the text of the paragraph. Blogging isn’t about speed. It’s about depth and breadth.)

Linking is part of writing a blog post – on the same level as thinking through what to write. Linking means creating links to web pages, other blog posts, images, videos, definitions, alternative considerations. Learning to link takes practice. When they are well done, links aren’t simply stuck in or added on. They become integral to the post.

For next week in Bootcamp2017, writing about RSS and CC gives you an opportunity to practice this kind of hypertext writing, which involves introducing sources, incorporating them into your own work, commenting on what others are saying and doing… Each week, you’ll also be linking from your reflections to the posts you wrote during the week, creating a sort of table of contents in which you comment on your own work. But the main move in a blog post is to link to other places.

Embedding an image or video – yours or those of others – is also linking. It also demands some commentary.

A good way to see how links work in action is to go visiting. Visit some of the blogs listed in the blog roll under Past Contributors to set a sense of how and when they link. Not every post includes a link. But you’ll find that posts with links are richer, have more potential to be read, tend to be more interesting. The writer who links out is also drawing stuff in, bringing something else to your attention. Drawing attention to something obligates the writer to introduce and comment on it – say something about what is being brought forward.

For the mechanics of linking, read The Missing Manual, chap 4. Or try Links at the WP support pages.

See also

some notes on linking

blogging is not in vain

Blogging is an assertion of a self breaking away from simulation and commodification. Blogging is not in vain. Blogging is the authentic voice of the blogger. Geert Lovink, Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture:

The truth is that [blogs] are not just the tiresome ramblings of the boring written to the bored. Though for the most part not professional writers, bloggers are often eloquent in the way that those who are not self-consciously polished often are—raw, uncensored, and energized by the sound of their newly awakened voices. And by keeping a daily record of their rites of passage, bloggers often give a shape and meaning to the stages and cycles of their lives that would otherwise be missed in the helter-skelter of modern existence.

It’s easy to assert that something is raw, uncensored and so authentic. Bloggers may not be pros, but because they aren’t, they write closer to the heart, with Raw Authenticity – except when we see that the authentic pose is still a pose, when we discover that what’s being said is really something being re-said as though it were truth from on high. Authentic doesn’t mean insightful. Authentic doesn’t mean smashing an exhausted illusion. Authenticity is a pose, a posture, created by rhetorical choices.

Are we kidding ourselves in our vanity? Would we be kidding ourselves if our authentic selves were blogging?

Foucault scholars would say something similar, namely that blogs are “technologies of the self,” …. But what if the self has run out of batteries? With Dominic Pettman we could say that blogging is a relentless pursuit in the age of exhaustion. Blogs explore what happens once you have smashed the illusion that there is a persona behind the avalanche of similar lifestyle choices and pop identities within online social networks.

We’ve been promised this before. “the authentic voice of the blogger” on google gets “about 2,360,000 results (0.67 seconds) .” That’s commodification.


politics on @weblogsandwikis twitter stream

They’re talking politics on the @weblogsandwikis twitter stream. They don’t usually.

I follow educators that work closely with weblogs and wikis and other social media (@holden, @cogdog, @kab13, @audreywatters), some students who have taken the class who are interesting to stay in touch with (@bradtramel), and a few organizations that tie into education and media (@eff, @creativecommons).  Typically, these people post about educational matters they are involved in: Wikity.cc, ds106, Fedwiki …

Since October, educational concerns have turned towards Washington politics. Their concerns are legitimate and their comments valuable. They also continue to post about their educational activities, so I will not stop following them.

At the same time, I understand that the subject might be annoying. If it is, you do not have to follow @weblogsandwikis for the Weblogs and Wikis course. It’s not required.

first friday

Morning 10 JanIt’s Friday and the Weblogs are pouring in. For instance:

Jeanna’s Blog, from our online grad student. Check under the Blog link in the nav bar for the blog posts.

Bri Grander managed to claim her own name on WordPress, and has linked in her Instagram stuff using a widget.

Marena Cloud also claimed her name, and is writing Nonsense. The blog’s About page is hidden in the menu in the upper right corner of the page.

Richard Case has just gotten started with a couple of posts. He commented on the differences between the WordPress interface in The Missing Manual and the current version.

I found that this site’s interface has changed drastically from the book, but, after a bit of exploring, I found the items I was required to change. I am unsure what to make of my tagline at the moment since I have not made any blogs yet, and I am unsure what I may blog about in the future. For my next blog I will write an introduction. What might you look forward to learning about me?

Getting started is often awkward – what do you write? where do you start? – so I appreciate the effort you’re all making. You might want to have a look at the blogs posted in the Current Contributers list.

The first deadline for BootCamps2017 is tonight, midnight, so you still have time to get started.

welcome to the daybook

Weblogs and Wikis starts tomorrow, 10 Jan, with our first face to face meeting. We have one online grad student shadowing the face to face section, but more may register during the next week.

The tradition is to start with BootCamp2017 exercises to get a WordPress blog set up, a twitter account set up, a gravatar setup, and everything linked together. The first deadline is midnight 13 Jan.

The text we’re using – WordPress: The Missing Manual – is a downloadable PDF from the CourseStatement page.  The book hasn’t been updated for the newer interface of WordPress. But that shouldn’t be a problem: The concepts are the same, some of the procedures and interface designs have changed. The best thing to do is consult the Help files on the pages you’re working on, give yourself some time and read first, do second.  Seriously: Reading and then doing will save you loads of time in getting set up.

Also, the WP Support site at https://en.support.wordpress.com is very good. Use the search box. E.g. Search for gravatar to find out what they are and how to set one up.

The first deadline is this coming Friday, so get on to things as soon as you can.  Looking forward to getting started.


Lovink on snark in blogging

dog in open car window

Weblogs starts in about a week, so to get started, an observation about snark, from Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture by Geert Lovink.

Snarky language “contains quips or comments containing sarcastic or satirical witticisms intended as blunt irony. Usually delivered in a manner that is somewhat abrupt and out of context and intended to stun and amuse.” It cultivates irritable or short-tempered moods into a style. By doing this, it moves the discussion away from attitude and conviction to the level of language. Snark is not just jargon, it jargonizes. The snark is not primarily interested in positive self-promotion.

Snark is a language to keep things at a cynical distance – to create and maintain a disconnectedness from feedback. Any feedback. All feedback. But snark is a register, too, a social posturing, out there with stuffy (professorial) and sweet (marketing).

According to Revenge of the Blog “snarky sounds more like witty sarcasm than cold cynicism, it contributes more to the Young Urban Professional than to the authoritarian character (as described by Adorno) whose cynicism is a way of distancing himself from his own ethical involvement.” The author, Pit Schulz, points out that finding one’s personal voice is a central aspect of blogging. “Etymologically snarky could be associated with the nasal aspect of snoring or snorting. This sonority refers both to a certain private informality of pajama journalism but also to a state of routine and disconnectedness to a feedback which allows the modulating of expressions.”

Emo gets reader and writer no closer together than snark. its tl;dr cant be bothered to even punctuate this shit because. Emo’s a pose, too – a posture that faces cynicism by embracing it.

The opposite of snarky would be emo (emotional); blogging mimics office chats in that it is informal without ever becoming personal. Its brevity stems from the lack of time of the writer, who soon must give his or her attention to work tasks.

Alternatives? Oh yes. There are more than two registers.

Robert Scoble … has a cynical-business read of the term. “The smartest people in my RSS are usually the least snarky. Why? Cause they could give a f**k about all the traffic.” (35-6)

We’ll find others, but blogging isn’t about the traffic.

final tomorrow, mon 2 may

I’m officially absent minded. I posted the correct day and time originally (back in March), then changed it to an incorrect day – then finally double checked the finals schedule.

It’s tomorrow, Mon 2 May, at 1:00 -3:00. Same room.

Prepare a 5 – 7 minute presentation on your project. The final write up will be due … hang on … let me check …

The writeup is due anytime after your project closes on Apr 26. The deadline is 5 May 2015.

Sorry for the confusion.