Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Course reflection

Take some time to reflect on what you've learned during Winterim. Did the class meet your expectations? What did you like? What did you not like? What's one thing that you learned that you'd like other people to know about?

You can respond in a comment here, or send your responses to me in an e-mail.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


While the plot of Sneakers takes place outside the realm of Web 2.0 communication, it does touch on many of the issues we've been talking about in class, particularly around trust and security.

At the beginning of the movie Martin (Robert Redford) is tricked by two men pretending (quite convincingly) to be from the NSA. It's even easier to pretend to be someone you're not when you're online--how do you decide who to trust online? How can you verify someone's identity when you've never met them in person?

The "black box" that was stolen in the movie was the ultimate code breaker--it could break any code in the world, meaning there would be no more secrets. Given how easy it is to share and find information of all kinds online, is it possible to keep secrets anymore?

Monday, December 14, 2009

War Games

At the beginning of the movie military officials want to move to a completely automated system for the launch of nuclear missiles, in order to remove the possibility of human error, thinking that machines are more dependable and "trustworthy."

Do you think it's a good idea to trust computers completely, or does there need to be a person doing a "reality check"?

Some people predict that computers will one day be smarter than people, or that they will be able to learn. Do you think that will happen? Why or why not?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Some people think that the Internet is lessening connections between people--individuals go online, find like-minded communities, and stay in their "bubble." There is also an argument that if all of us find a like-minded community to be a part of, there are fewer shared experiences on which to build our culture.

Do you think this is true? Does the existence of Internet memes challenge those assumptions about online communication? Or do certain memes just become popular in certain groups?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Nings are a social network--just like Facebook, MySpace, or (back in the dark ages), Friendster. What do you think makes Nings better than other social networks? What are their weaknesses?

Do you think Nings might be useful in an educational setting? How can you imagine using them in your academic classes?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Do you think students should be allowed to use Wikipedia as part of their research process? Why or why not?
What advice would you give to someone looking up information on Wikipedia?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Collaboration and Copyright

Today we talked about online collaboration and sharing, as well as copyright--both traditional copyright and creative commons copyright.

Why do you think people post their creative works online when they know that people might "steal" them?

Do you think it's right for large companies to be able to pull videos, etc. from the Internet, even though they might fall under fair use (as described in the Disney video we watched)? By pulling these derivative works (even though they may use copyright-protected materials as a base) are these large companies infringing on the new creator's rights?