Wrap up

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Thinking back to the first week of class..........
I was extremely OVERWHELMED.
virtual-intimacy-overwhelme.jpg

This picture is titled Virtual-Intimacy-Overwhelmed.....way TOO appropriate!!

I have to admit that I thought I was in over my head. Twitter.....WHAT?!?!....tweeting.....HUH?......blogging....HMMMM......a paperless class.....REALLY!?!?!??!?!?? This all was too much for me at once. I didn't quite know what to do with myself or the anxiety that had come about. I VIVIDLY remember doing my first queer this assignment. It took me over two hours to complete. Not because I didn't understand the assignment, but having to blog my thoughts, feelings, and ideas seemed nearly impossible, well at the time :)

As the semester progressed Sara assured our class that the process would get easier and it did, kind of. As I mentioned in class today, last night was the first night that I actually began to enjoy using the blog and twitter. For me, the huge technological barrier seemed impossible to cross for a looooooong time! I think Sara brought up a great idea in class today about the future of
queering.jpg.queer desire.jpg.
It would be wonderful to have this course spread across a whole year instead of one semester. There simply isn't enough time for those who have never blogged or tweeted before to fully grasp and enjoy the capabilities each provide.

For this semester I chose to track intimacy. When choosing this topic I wasn't exactly sure where the topic would take me. To me INTIMACY means an experience of feeling close or sharing ourselves with one another. This experience can be shared between lovers, friends, parents, peers, teacher/pupil, and it can be short or long, good and/or bad, intense or dull, and on and on. Within all societies there are regulations on intimacy which are put in place through religion, courts, family, education, health care, the media, and more. Because intimacy is important and mostly wanted, these connections are a central feature of social life; it crosses disciplines inherently.

Tracking intimacy was not only fitting within the course, but within my personal life as well. While tracking intimacy I chose to follow the subject within GLBT families. This is an important topic of interest for me because my dad came out of the closet to our immediate family when I was 12. Tracking the term throughout the semester caused me to think about it all the time. It I would see it or when I would research for another class I would get distracted by articles mentioning intimacy within GLBT families. I found sources that were relevant to the course and also helped me to identify/question with others in my same or similar situation. Also, by going back to look at the topic with a new annotated bibliography helped to extend ideas that were already brought up or to bring about new ideas.

Twitter is fun and challenging. especially when using it academically. When you have to tweet a really interesting scholarly source it is hard to get it into 140 words or less, but you are forced to really bring out the most important points you want to make. Within the last week I have just begun to tweet a few things personally, unrelated to the course. It is kind of like letting someone see your diary. I like the fact that i don't have any friends who use twitter. It gives me this freedom of expression that i definitely do not capitalize on in other social media outlets i.e. facebook. When discussing Ahmed for our diablog group I mentioned to Amy that i thoroughly enjoy reading her tweets because they are SO witty. She told me that she began her twitter account for this class. That was enough of a boost for me to say, HEY, you can do this too!! Now i have to learn how to use twittpic and how to talk @ others via twitter. I can't wait! :)))

The assignments/readings were eye-opening and quite new to me. I had heard of many of the authors, but had never critically engaged with them. Some of them were hard to understand, but I see now that it is ok to have a mushy brain that has been confused beyond belief. Looking back, I wish I would have spent more time time with the readings in order to engage more with the class to have had a better understanding on a personal level. I would mention at the beginning of class that the readings are not only lengthy, but quite academic as well. Tell the students to set aside several hours for each reading in order to be fully engaged. By doing this and taking the time to figure out the technology, the course experience will be that much better.

This class was eye-opening, challenging, fun, and stressful. Learning how to blog and use twitter was initially frustrating, but now I want more of this. I feel as though I have this edge on others because I can use these social media outlets in an academic way. Sara, I am not sure if this is course style is common at the U at all. I just wanted to tell you that the way in which you present the class and its technologies is inviting, empathetic, and fun all while maintaining the course's scholarly foundation.
Thanks for your patience and expertise!


1 Comment

Thanks for your comments. It's great to read about (and to witness with your wonderful posts) your increasing confidence with queer topics and social media. Increasingly in all of my classes one of my goals is to provide students with some digital literacy skills and to train them on how to effectively/critically/creatively engage with blogs/social media. Here's something I recently wrote about the need for digital literacy/training in social media (I wrote it particularly in relation to feminist pedagogy, but I also think it fits with queer pedagogy): Social media isn’t going anywhere. We need to develop strategies for critically engaging with it (not just rejecting it). How do we respond to the ever-increasing presence of social media in our lives/classrooms/workplaces? How are social media shaping who we are, what we know and how we know it? In many ways, we are in a social media era where it is not so much a matter of being for or against social media; they increasingly affect us/shape how we are intelligible as consumer-citizen subjects and regulate what information/ideas/products that we have access to. So, the question is not: are we for or against social media, but how can we position ourselves in relation to social media in ways that are more resistant to its harmful effects while harnessing its potentially transformative possibilities? How do we use social media in resistant, transgressive and transformative ways? How do we develop strategies/ways-of-being that enable us to use/engage with social media for our feminist pedagogical-theoretical-activist practices and projects? What role can feminist scholar/educators/activists have in shaping how social media is practiced--in how people are trained to use them? What skills they develop as they post, tweet and update their statuses?

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