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October 15, 2008

ATAC meeting, 10.15.08

Notes from the meeting for the Academic Technology Advisory Council (ATAC).

Linda Jorn presented on the ACTIVE (align, communicate, transparent, innovation, success measures, value, and evidence of success.) Scott Barnard presented the new Moodle site. Jen Mein spoke about CLA-OIT and how we support instruction and research.

October 10, 2008

Is Google Making Us Stoopid?

A question about the article "Is Google Making Us Stoopid?" The question -- do we buy the argument that Google and other Web 2.0 tools are necessarily pushing us to think broad but not deep. They also push the ideas from Information Behavior and the Research of the Future. I also recommend reading Miler's classic paper, The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.

Kirsten brought up the question of does the fact that materials are online, does that make students just "absorb" them and not think about authorship -- they make statements as if they are making those statements. Is this just a studentship thing (learning to annotate things, cite sources, etc.) or do they fundamentally deal with these differently because its online, in these ideas?

"Man Computer Symbiosis", by Lichleiter -- cognition, information literacy.

Mitch brought up the idea of access to information online vs. analysis. The really interesting thing, according to Google, is whether or not computers can start to do analysis for us.

Is there a value to unanswerable questions?

Dawn says, let's define analysis in a broader way, and she thinks that students are really synthesizing information in a very nice way that we should be proud of and learn to understand. She also suggests that Google is overly-represented by white men in the silicon valley.

Muriel says that students should be taught to understand authenticity, and to understand.

Dawn suggests that we should learn to write for newly literate media students, who are really looking for the meat and potatoes of the article.

Jian suggests that he agrees; a new form of writing.

Linda indicates that this may be more of a phenomenon of being able to document what we're doing, rather than an actual shift from what we're doing. That is, that people have always surfed and skimmed, but now we can *demonstrate* what they are doing and record them through the web.

Kate says that she fears that students aren't very good at the questioning piece of this.

Alisa asks if students' confidence in writing comes from the proliferation of user-generated content -- basically, they see a range of online writing, good and poor, and they see that they are better than some of that.

Pam asks if our ideas about what makes something credible.

Phil asks if we are making Google Stupid, rather than just is Google making *us* stupid? He says that Google gathers a lot of data from us and that's what makes Google what Google is.

Kirsten asks if the commercialization of the web will determine what is credible? Mitch says that these things are very important, but that the open-source community offers an alternative.

October 2, 2008

Digital Writing: Writing Online luncheon

Session 1: Is your Wiki really a bulletin board, Phillip Barry, Computer Science.

Session 2: JoAnna O'Connell, Spanish and Portuguese

Session 3: Integrating Digital Writing Tools, Rick Beach, Department of Curriculum & Instruction

SESSION 1: Is your Wiki really a bulletin board, Phillip Barry, Computer Science.

Types of digital writing:
1. Collaborative writing (a la Google docs or iChat screensharing)
2. Aggregated writing (a la RSS feeds)
3. Community writing (a la wikis)
4. Individual writing (a la MS Word)
5. Non-linear writing (a la HTML web sites or wikis)
6. Media-based storytelling (a la YouTube or podcasts)

These *can* be very different -- the affordances of the web allow for us to do some things online that can be quite difficult.

He outlines a few characteristic questions of online writing:
1. Is the product fixed or evolving?
2. Who is the audience?
3. Does the technology require expertise to use?
4. Is authorship individual or collaborative?
5. What is the level of incorporation of others?

He outlines the following comparison/contrast:

Type || Is the product dynamic? || Audience? || Authorship?
Wiki || Yes || world || group
Bulletin board || somewhat || group or world || group
Blog || no? || group || individual
Google docs || yes || group || individual or group
Web pages || somewhat || world || individual or group
Non-digital || no || group || individual

SESSION 2: JoAnna O'Connell, Spanish and Portuguese

Using technology for writing -- she's making a pragmatics argument that people often adopt technology when it becomes germane for them. She argues for teaching language and writing in context, so they actually *do* things first, then actually integrate these ideas into their teaching. She makes a learning styles argument -- "Some people are parrots, and can repeat anything you say back to you. For others, its just noise until they see it written down."


SESSION 3: Rick Beach, Curriculum & Instruction

He spends most of his time talking about tools. Bubbl.us is a concept mapping tool. He uses Ning.com for a CMS. He also demonstrates voicethread.com.