Gee whatever happened to venerable “yellowed lecture notes” that profs supposedly rely on decade after decade?

I dunno. I don’t have a yellow pad.

Tuesday was the first class of my Networked Narratives class at Kean University. It was more than wild and thrilling last year when I co-taught with Mia Zamora; she was in the room with students in New Jersey, and I beamed in via Google Hangout.

That was then.

This year, I’m teaching the class myself as Mia is at University of Bergen on a Fulbright gig. I’d say that’s maybe brave and innovative for Kean to allow it; more likely no one is closely watching. Shhhhhh. But we continue our collaborations and networked teaching as we are loosely weaving together the course I am teaching at Kean with a larger section class she is teaching at Bergen.

This changes the teaching quite a bit, as I’m responsible for the full 3 hours of class time per week. But I have two former students there as TAs, and as shown in the first class, Hailey and Marissa are more than my eyes and ears and to start up a google hangout. I’m not doing much lecturing; each week I create my “long rambling” post announcement with the activities for the week. Our class time is for discussion, networked activities, and sometimes we will be doing virtual studio visits with digital media creators.

It occurred to me in the morning before class, as I was reviewing a google document of my plans for the first class, that it would be rather helpful if my TAs had in advance a more coherent set of planning notes. This is partly in case of The Technology Going Belly Up but more importantly, so they are in sync with the activities I have in mind.

Also it would help me to refine what is now a loose mess of ideas in a Google Doc. So I am putting my planning notes out in the open.

The home of my teaching notes

Check back in 15 weeks to see if I kept up my pace. But I feel it was helpful to all for the first class session, see Week 1 notes.

What is also a boost is that of the 6 graduate and 4 undergraduate students, five were in the class we taught last year (this year’s course has a different focus and course number so they can take it as a new course).

This was more than helpful in terms of having half the class familiar in the way I taught, but I was so please/impressed with they way they led the way into open discussions. But more than that, all pitched into help when I asked them to help the new students complete the Labyrinthus (a choose your own adventure like approach to walking the path to get twitter, hypothesis and blogs set up, plus submitting the info to the form that adds them to the Feed WordPress syndication hub).

Experienced students helping new ones get their tools set up as I watch via the Google Hangout screen

They even got safely through the tricky Magic Box part to figure out the RSS feeds for their blog.

I’ve been using this tool for years in Feed WordPress set ups. A common mistake, and it happened to 2 students this time around, is when I ask for the link to their blog, I get one that is actually the link to their dashboard view of their own blog, like

It’s a subtle thing, but this is not the public URL of a blog. It works for them because they are logged into their own blogs. Anyhow, I added a few more checks on the Magic Box code to trap these errors (you can see a public version at http://lab.cogdogblog.com/magicbox/).

I check every blog feed submitted to my sites; it helps me begin to know them and their sites, I can get a sense right a way how new they are. I have to say all he students were experience in creating blogs, and all but one had twitter accounts, and maybe one third had existing hypothes.is accounts.

I had to reflect back to those first ds106 classes I taught in 2012; it took then maybe 3 weeks to get to this point for all students:

My new script that takes the information submitted via Gravity forms also adds the twitter and hypothesis account names to the place in WordPress Links where Feed WordPress stores data… this allows me now to generate those links when I list all the blogs in my class:

I have other grand plans of generating a dashboard type page for each participant that shows their blog, twitter, and hypothes.is activity.

Grand plans.

For now, it’s just keeping up with the planning and typing up of my non-yellow non-lecture notes.


Featured Image: Lecture notes for “The History and Analysis of Musical Comedy,” taught by Sylvia Fine at the University of Southern California, Spring 1972 from the Library of Congress, rights statement unclear. I took a screen capture of page 2, removed the middle and added a blur effect. I call this the shrugging WTF license.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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