Monday, December 2, 2013

Maria Jerskey - Final Reflection 2013 (sniff...)

Connecting Activity - 11/13

Thinking back over the year, it’s hard to believe, now that it’s December, that Priscilla and I first got together a year ago to map out the direction we’d go with Community 2.0. It marked a shift in my own participation in Community 2.0 from a faculty affiliate to a co-leader. In the reflection I posted after I first participated in Community 2.0, I noted that “as I approached the Community 2.0 seminar, I was asking myself, “How might I get students to sustain engagement more meaningfully?” Looking back now, I think an additional, implicit question was, “How might I sustain my own engagement with Web 2.0 platforms more meaningfully?”

I wrote: “As a writer, I feel compelled to jump in, try this out, and make it my own. But what is “this?” What does it feel like learning these (so, so, so, many) different [Web 2.0] platforms? What control do I have over my “message?” My “aesthetic?” How does my message and aesthetic change with the platform? How does the platform change with the audience? How does my audience change how I use a platform?

As a participant in Community 2.0, then, I was interested in getting students to ask the same questions (if not explicitly, then at least tacitly) as they began to write for a broader audience and to see themselves expressed differently (in fact “published” online) than on an 8 1/2 x 11" page they would hand into their professor.

As a participant two years ago, I was thinking about my students improving and very possibly transforming as language users and writers in the Academy. I was thinking of how their language and “writing” would necessarily be re-tooled on Web 2.0.

As a co-leader this year, though, I became much more focused on the changing nature of teaching and community on Web 2.0. I began to look more broadly at the challenges others faced who weren’t necessarily teaching writing or language as I had been--but whose teaching was nevertheless mediated through language and writing on the Web 2.0 platforms they chose to adapt in their classrooms.

Fundamental questions about teaching and learning came up in our conversations as we thought to make issues of pedagogical frameworks more explicit this time around. The idea was that even as we presented models of pedagogical frameworks (like HERE), all participants had theories about how their students learned--even if these theories were tacit. We wanted to make these more explicit.

In the previous incarnation of Community 2.0, we had read about and certainly enacted and reflected on community (as the excerpts HERE demonstrate). But this year too, we wanted to problematize it a bit more. One way we approached this was by interrogating the uses of Quiet, the book (but also the TED talk, the reviews, the FB survey, etc.) by Susan Cain. How do we cultivate community in a world that (at least as Cain argues) values those who can say a lot and say it loud. HERE are my thoughts; I loved also the thoughts of my colleagues HERE (Priscilla's), HERE (Porsha's), HERE (Mark's), and HERE (Nicole's and Irwin's via mine ;-)

I loved our F2F discussion about Quiet as I observed that  more people who might not have spoken beforehand were participating, and for those who are chomping at the bit to say more (like yours truly), I observed some self-restraint. This in turn made our discussions about participation and evaluation that much richer. After all--what counts as participation on Web 2.0 platforms? How might its asynchronicity promote opportunities to “hear” the voices of those who might not participate f2f as readily? How in turn, also, does it allow us to think more deeply about evaluating this participation.

[I can tell this is getting too long for a blog post, so follow this link to the rest of my Final Reflection for 2013...]

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