Collecting sources & mapping phenomena

Today is Day 2 of our the four days I have dedicated to preparing for panel discussions. We will:

  • learn about 2 helpful tools for collecting sources and reading
  • use an online mapping tool, Coggle, to concretely explore your phenomenon
  • make time to talk with your group to continue planning

Collecting sources with Pocket and Zotero

As we learned from the first unit, reading online is fundamentally different than other kinds of reading, especially as we have grown to become more mobile with our devices. Hence, I want to introduce you to two apps that help manage reading and tracking sources, both of which have Chrome extensions.

  1. Pocket. Pocket is a read-it-later or online bookmarking service (like Instapaper) that allows you to save readings as you browse the web or social media feeds. I often save readings my friends share on Twitter or Facebook to Pocket and read it at a more convenient time. Pocket also allows you to tag and archive readings, making it handy for organizing readings for reuse. Pocket also makes apps for Mac, iOS, and other devices.
  2. Zotero. Zotero is a bibliography manager capable of curating, tracking, and sharing citations. Like Pocket, you can save readings, but unlike Pocket, Zotero will keep track of bibliographic info (authors, publishers, etc.). Zotero Groups also allow you to collaborate in ways that will be helpful for a project like this. In fact, your panel will be required to share your bibliography with the class using our course group, WRT. To get started with Zotero on your own machine, you’ll need to:

—Make an account in Zotero, and download both Zotero Connector (for Chrome) and Zotero 5.0 (the desktop application) to your laptop.
—Join our Zotero group, WRT and see if there are any folders relevant to your topic. If not create one with your group. You can always rename it later.
—Have each member of your group add their readings to this folder. Again, you can delete readings that aren’t so great and edit and update those that are new with notes, tags, and more.

Mapping your phenomenon

At this point, your group should have encountered a few possible texts for this project. How might you articulate these into a proposal? How might this phenomenon provoke discussion? One way to keep track of your ideas is to develop a mind-map with or Coggle. I recommend the latter since you can register quickly using your Rowan Google account, use it with groups, and embed maps easily.

Here’s an example of one I made using Web Brigades as my phenomenon:

You don’t have to organize your maps this way, but as you develop this project, aim to account for:

  • the definition of the phenomenon: what is it, who says, and/or what elements can be debated or resist consensus?
  • the history of the phenomenon: how does this phenomenon exist on a continuum? how is it a product or function of previous cultures, societies, and technologies?
  • hot takes in the news —  it’s likely that this is how you came across the phenomenon in the first place. why is it important now?
  • associated search terms —what are some related phrases or terms you should search as you seek to better understand this phenomenon?
  • counter-technologies — what tools, strategies, or literacies help us manage, expose, disrupt, or otherwise limit the malfeasance these phenomena cause us online and IRL?

So check in with each other. What are you choosing at this point and how did your research go this weekend? How much do you know about this and how it relates to other ideas? Use Coogle or another kind of map (you can use paper or the whiteboard too!) to develop a tentative plan or set of plans.

Homework for Tuesday, 4/9

Work together today and have one group member email me a link before 9 a.m. Tuesday to a Google Doc or Coggle map that shares a tentative plan that includes:

  • your proposed phenomenon and a list of search terms you are currently using to find information
  • a 1-2 sentence definition of your proposed phenomenon
  • a ¶ detailing the history of the phenomenon
  • an evaluation of 3-4 articles in the news about your phenomenon — include links!
  • a list of 2-3 potential counter-technologies — with links if relevant!