Course calendar can be found above and HERE.

G+ Community

We’ll use a G+ Community to share our artifacts and ideas. Link here

In Class Prompts

In Class Prompts

Day 1: thoughts about writing

From my colleague, Leslie Atkins Elliott, in Composing Science–

As mathematician Halmos (1970) notes, in an essay on writing, “It might seem unnecessary to insist that in order to say something well you must have something to say, but it’s no joke. Much bad writing, mathematical and otherwise, is caused by a violation of that first principle… To have something to say is by far the most important ingredient of good exposition — so much so that if the idea is important enough, the work has a chance to be immortal even if it is confusingly misorganized and awkwardly expressed” (p. 3).

While it can be hard to have “something to say” in reference to scientific phenomena, it is harder still to organize and write a meaningful paper when you have nothing you really want to say. The structures designed to help with the exposition of an idea — a five-paragraph essay or the headings of the typical lab report—become a MadLibs of science writing as students, without a clear idea to share, seek the “right” words to fill in the template. Rhetorical structures, which may be useful in organizing ideas and helping us find the holes in our arguments, can only do so much in helping us have an argument to make in the first place. If students “cannot” write a topic sentence, it is likely that they have no topic sentence. If they do well on all but the “analysis” section of a lab report — and why report on a lab if not for the analysis? — then it is likely that they have no real analysis to share. These structures can help highlight that, but all the writing instruction, rubrics, and templates cannot give students something to say.

It is, therefore, critical that students have something to say — a hard-won idea that they are proud of, a unique insight that they developed, a representation or a piece of evidence or a way of phrasing an idea, or even a question that their investigations have helped them articulate. One job of our course is to help students have ideas they want to share.




Some writing: what do you track? List out some things that come to mind…

What do you keep track of? Your followers? Your likes? Your steps walked? Your workouts? Your heart rate? Your sleep? Your gas mileage? Your hours worked? The number of books read? Your “top 9” instagrams and snapchats?

Share in trios. And then discuss: what do you gain, benefit from tracking a self? What problems do we imagine?

How does your school record (your student-tracked self) compare to the full picture of your life as a student?

Jan 24: Big Mother is Watching You

  • The content: Point to places in the reading that are interesting, strange, puzzling and talk through in smaller teams. How does this add to the conversation about tracking from Monday? Does the article remind you of any films or books? Is she making an argument(s) here? What is the purpose of the article? 
  • The structure as a mentor text: What are some features of this text that resonate with you? What are some of your favorite sentences? Why? How might we use this article as a model for our own first paper? What elements would you borrow?


Jan 29:

Write a Memo to me, your peers, and your mentor in either a comment or write it at the top of the essay:

What was challenging about this assignment; where did you struggle? What do you like about the draft so far? What are your concerns? What part would like feedback on specifically?

Jan 31

Amber Case says both that technology is increasing our humanness and that we need moments with no external input to create a self.  What is the purpose of the digital tools you use (do they help you communicate, shape your identity, get things done)? How do they shape who you are? What kinds of research questions might we explore from Case’s claims? 

The Selfie & The Self

What does this mean: “we are coming to terms with the fact that visibility is the new currency —our private data is a commodity that can buy us conveniences and perks to make life more interesting if not easier.”

“The selfie is proof that you were physically present at a particular location or were in a certain mood or in the company of other people. The self-uploading of the selfie is a verification that this is not a photoshopped or a doctored image. That this is indeed what you were doing. That this is not an image captured by somebody else. That you are in control of what you want to look like and what image you want to circulate on the reputational networks that you belong to.”

“It reminds us that deep in the server clouds is a database with an algorithm that has watched you more keenly than your parents, your partners, your friends or your shrink, and that even when you are tired of producing information, it gathers data about you, continuing to grow (and decay) even as you pass through time.”

“This self is produced through an amalgamation of big data and analytics that seek to know us, indeed, construct us, beyond our own will, knowledge or agency.” What does your “self” look like in the cloud?

“Because which selfie are we going to look at? At one? At a series? At a collection? Do we follow its journey through the endless repetition through the networks? What happens when a selfie morphs? Or, somebody photobombs it? Or, if it is a twofie? Or, a Groofie?”

“And perhaps, the way in which to understand the selfie, is not to look at its visibility, but at what it makes invisible — the complex machinations of power, control and manipulation that hide behind the glossy interface of the selfie, and create new challenges for us to think about what we see and what we don’t even as what we hide and what we reveal online.”

Take one of these quotes (or another one you like from the article) and try to draw it. What illustration would you make to visually represent the ideas? Work alone, pairs, trios….

Audrey Watters

Feb 7: Working with Audrey Watters’ article

FIRST: log in to your Google account

Then, split into two groups in your workshop teams and look for your team’s Google Doc below. Open the reading. We’ll be annotating together

Example annotation

Allie’s group:

Team 49A

Team 49B

Jazmin’s group:

Team 48A

Team 48B

Cecilia’s group:

Team 47A

Team 47B

Ruben’s group:

Team 46A

Team 46B

Kelsey’s group:

Team 45A

Team 45B

Sabrina’s group:

Team 44A

Team 44B

David’s group:

Team 43A

Team 43B

Olivia’s group:

Team 42A

Team 42B

Cristina/Kasey group:

Team 41A

Team 41B

Feb 12

“A Guide for Resisting EdTech: The Case Against Turnitin”

If you were to explain to someone outside of class what this article is about, what would you say? Point to a couple of sentences that you think sum up the article pretty well?

From one of the articles this piece links to: “E-texts could record how much time is spent in textbook study. All such data could be accessed by the LMS or various other applications for use in analytics for faculty and students.” I am worried by how words like “record,” “accessed,” and “analytics” turn students and faculty into data points. I am worried that students’ own laptop cameras might be used to monitor them while they take tests. I am worried that those cameras will report data about eye movement back to an algorithm that changes the difficulty of questions. I am worried because these things take us further away from what education is actually for. I am worried because these things make education increasingly about obedience, not learning.”  Let’s think about this in connection to the Google annotation work we did with Watters’ article. How is what we did similar or totally different?

Let’s take a keyterm in the article like “agency” and see if we can come to understand what the term means and how they are using it. Look for places in the text where they use this term. How might we turn that term into an artifact?

This article just came out this week: “Another Terrible Idea From TurnitIn”

Feb 26

Choose a spokesperson for your group and help them to get organized to share what your article was about. Perhaps craft a couple of sentences together that the spokesperson could share.

Then, also have the person share: What kinds of ideas might we follow up on from Internet’s Own Boy? What would be next steps for ideas to look into? For example, you might want to look at the connections between SOPA/PIPA/Net Neutrality and other internet rights issues. Each group share a couple of ideas that came out of the film that someone could pursue.

2-3 minutes of sharing.

Feb 28

Post in your G+ community under the category: “In class writing Feb 28 (Garza, Shafei, Vargas)”

  • What did you learn about one of these advocates and their work? What was interesting to you? What are your take-aways from looking at their information and sites?
  • How are they making use of digital platforms for their advocacy work? What did you notice about their websites, use of hashtags, writing, films, tweets, etc? How are they using digital literacy and digital sites to make change?

Expect to spend about 20 minutes writing.

Then, share out ideas from your writing in small teams. Try to work with people in your small group who read about different people (Alicia, Jose, Esra’a). Answer these questions together:

What do Garza, Shafei, and Vargas have in common? What can we learn about how to use digital tools and platforms from them? What research might we pursue or could be inspired by these people? What would you want to learn more about?

March 5

Brainstorm ideas as a group: what might you research?

Once you have a bunch of ideas, choose 1 and talk through: how would you research? what would be next steps? what search terms might you use? what authors might be good to start with?

Have someone in your group prepared to share one idea.


Stormie Sutton’s final, multimodal project

April 11

Example paper


  1. What was the criteria for Monica’s paper? Try to create this backwards…what do you think the assignment asked her to do?


2. Make an attempt at criteria for our own papers: what would you expect to see in our drafts? Should we say how many sources people should use? Why or why not? What components or sections might we find in these papers? Do we want to say anything about length? Citing? One way to think of this is to consider writing practices you wish you were better at for college papers: what could this paper help you to work on?

The mentors and I will take your input to our meeting and create criteria for the papers. We’ll share this with you at the workshops. The paper is due Monday.


You should expect that the paper will do the following:

  • argue for a specific approach or point of view, even if it is tentative. (i.e. at this point in time, given the research I have read/conducted, I argue that  . ..) OR provides information and analysis of an idea (i.e provides analysis of how women are represented in the media or how car culture is created in online communities…)
  • select the most relevant research for discussion/support of your ideas
  • is carefully documented including MLA or APA in text citation and Works Cited/References

You will be evaluated based on the complexity of your claims, your use of support/outside sources, and you attention to editing and citation format guidelines.


April 25

Website ideas

From Olivia on DACA

Damsels out of Distress

Resources for multimodal projects