Reflecting on Unit 2

Let’s start today with a writing prompt:

  1. Find your WRT folder in Rowan’s Google Drive. It should be labeled as your lastname, firstname (i.e. Luther, Jason).
  2. Create a new Google Doc and title it “Unit 2 Reflection.” Write your name and date at the top.
  3. Freewrite on this question for 10-15 minutes:  What is one thing from our conversations in this unit that stuck with you? What will you do differently, if anything, online? What more do you want to know or learn about after this unit?

As we chat about these answers, take some additional notes on this document as this question is one of six you’ll answer for Tuesday.

Materials for reflection

  • Complete the Internal assessment form if you haven’t done so already. Again, this form evaluates your role and performance in your group.
  • Zotero bibliography — see our WRTf17 Zotero group library.
  • hashtag, chosen readings, Twitter questions, counter-technology or technologies — see your group’s Daily Plan.
  • The spreadsheet of feedback from the class that I shared with you yesterday
  • Tweets — download this spreadsheet to view an archive of tweets that used #WRTf17 (or if you struggled to use the hashtag, use TAGS to make an archive of your own tweets)

Unit 3: The Future of Writing Project

On Tuesday we’ll start our final unit, which will ask you to develop a final project that draws from what we’ve learned in the first unit on web literacies and/or the second unit on digital phenomena and counter-technologies to produce content for a webzine called The Future of Writing. You’ll be allowed to draw from a range of programs and digital technologies — audio, video, html — to create this project, but you’ll have to turn it  by Monday, December 18, leaving you about three weeks to complete it. Check out this Google Doc for ideas and add your own.

Group 5 panels

Section 3 // 9:30 a.m. // #catphish/ing

Panel members:  Gia, Nicole, Briana

Hashtag: #catphish/ing

Twitter questions:

Q1: Have you ever heard of “catfishing” before reading the articles?
Q2: How many of you ever used an online dating app (Tinder, Match, OKcupid, etc)?
Q3: Have you ever came across someone who stole your pictures off of one of you social media accounts and used it as their own?


Counter-technology: How to spot a catphish

Section 4 // 12:30 p.m. // #OnlineIdentityTheft

Panel members:  Jade Pinto, Alexis Esposito, Domenica DeSorte, Jennifer Placendo

Hashtag: #OnlineIdentityTheft

Twitter questions:

Q1: What is online identity theft? Does identity theft only have to do with stealing money or credit?
Q2: Do you currently take any precautions to protect yourself from identity thieves and online fraud? What are they?
Q3: Have you ever purchased anything online? What websites in particular do you use often and trust? What forms of payment do you use?



  • Never give your Social Security number or other information to strangers who call, text, or send e-mail messages to you, even if they seem legitimate, as with phony “phishing” e-mail that looks like it comes from your bank. And don’t write your Social Security number on checks (except those you send to the IRS), noncredit applications, or other forms.
  • Never leave your wallet or purse unattended. Don’t carry your Social Security card, rarely used credit cards, or written PINs or passwords.
  • Store financial account statements, medical records, and tax filings in a secure place at home, especially if you let workers or others inside, and shred those documents when you no longer need them.

Group 4 panels

Section 3 // 9:30 a.m. // #activism

Panel members:  Reilly, Britt, Amira

Hashtag: #activism

Twitter questions:

Q1: Do you think #activism is effective in its campaigning? Why or why not? (Reilly)
Q2: Did you hear about the #metoo campaign before reading these articles? If so where/ who did you hear it from? (Britt)
Q3: Why are progressive activists using hashtags on social media as a tactic to form popular phenomenons– Do you see this as a positive or negative form of expression? (Amira)


Counter-technology: Go on Twitter and search #Activism. Find another activism phenomena other than #MeToo and provide a one sentence summary on what the hashtag is used to promote, or speak out against, and what it means.

Section 4 // 12:30 p.m. // #onlinedating apps

Panel members: Dana, Ellie, Stephen, Melanie

Hashtag: #onlinedatingapps

Twitter questions:

Q1: If you’ve ever used an #onlinedatingapp like #Tinder, what types of info did you allow on your profile? If not, what info WOULD you allow?
Q2: Has anything about these #onlinedatingapps ever raised some safety concerns for you?
Q3: What types of #data do you think #onlinedatingapps might have access to?



Group 3 panels

Section 3 // 9:30 a.m. // #cookies

Panel members: Taylor, Amanda, Kim

Hashtag: #cookies

Twitter questions:

Q1: Have you ever noticed #cookies tracking you from one website to another while on the internet?
Q2: What do you know about #cookies? What would you like to know?
Q3: If possible, sharing an example. Do these ads from cookie-trackers impact your future internet history later on?


Counter-technologyEditThisCookie Chrome extension

Section 4 // 12:30 p.m. // #voicephishing

Panel members: Nikkaya, Tom, Julie, Ariana

Hashtags: #voicephishing

Twitter questions:

Q1.What strategies would you suggest to someone to avoid a voice phishing scam?
Q2. Have you ever received a voice phishing phone call? If so which one; fake prize winner, credit card information, fake bank check, or refund scams.
Q3. How often do you input your card information or phone number online?



AT&T Call Protect

Group 2 panels

Section 3 // 9:30 a.m. // #AssistantTech

Panel members: Jessa, Katy, Darien

Hashtag: #AssistantTech

Twitter questions:

Q1: Do you have one of these devices? What made you purchase it?
Q2: If not then why don’t you have one?
Q3: Would you ever consider purchasing one for your home in the future? why/why not?
Q4: Have you considered any devices listening to you when you didn’t ask for it to? Do you have any stories of strange responses?



Section 4 // 12:30 p.m. // ##Likes #Reactions #SocialMedia #MentalHealth

Panel members: Nah’ja, Olivia, Justina, Taylor.

Hashtags: #Likes #Reactions #SocialMedia #MentalHealth

Twitter questions:

Q1: Does the amount of likes you receive on a post seem to reflect your mood?
Q2: How do you feel social media is taking over our lives?
Q3: Do you feel as though the negatives of social media outweigh the positives?


Counter-technology: Space Phone Usage app (see Olivia’s blog)

Group 1 panels

Section 3 // 9:30 a.m. // #RussianTrolls

Panel members: Tori, Melissa, Amanda S.

Hashtag: #RussianTrolls

Twitter questions:

Q1: What do you already know about web brigades?
Q2: Why do you think Russia feels the need to use #RussianTrolls to influence the US?
Q3: Russian trolls have become more popular in the past few years, why do you think it’s grown?


Counter-technology: Botometer

Section 4 // 12:30 p.m. // #doxing

Panel members: Rachel, Joe, Laura, Lex

Hashtag: #doxing or #doxxing

Twitter questions:

Q1: Do you think #doxxing is ever justified?
Q2: What are some cases of #doxxing you’ve heard about in the news?
Q3: Should #doxxing have consequences? If yes, what kind?


Counter-technology: Dox Yourself! (Google Doc)

Organizing & evaluating discussion

Today is our final planning day for panels. I will walk you through the Google Form our class will use to evaluate your work, as well as lead you through a model discussion on the sharing economy.

Evaluating your panel

Let’s take a look at the draft of this Google Form and make adjustments as needed.

Sample discussion: the sharing economy

  1. Chat on Twitter: Google Doc of questions and hashtags.
  2. Read: “In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty” from a New York Times article published in the summer of 2014. Also see pdf version with annotations.
  3. In-class discussion: Google Doc of questions.
  4. Bibliography on sharing economy: Zotero.
  5. Counter-technology: Google Doc.

Homework for Tuesday, 10/31

Read assigned texts for Group 1 and post comments on Twitter Monday night.

Aligning your plan

Today we are reviewing your meeting notes, providing feedback on your progress so far, then pushing to organize your discussion online and in class.

Review meeting notes

  1. Find your meeting notes in this Google folder and take 5-10 minutes to update this document to reflect any decisions you’ve made since.
  2. Comment on the meeting notes from other groups in our class. As you do, you might consider:
    Pointing out moments that you would look forward to discussing or knowing more about.
    Asking questions — for clarity/knowledge, but also for discussion later.
    Suggesting a counter-technology, or liking one of the options listed
  3. Once you’ve read and commented on others’ meeting notes, regroup to review the comments that other made on your meeting notes. Share any new ideas you gained that might be useful to your discussion.
  4. Add a section at the end of your document called NEW IDEAS that lists them.

Planning for discussion

Once your group feels like it has a strong grasp on your phenomenon, you’ll need to align 4 things:

  • your reading(s), which should get at the complexity, history, and relevance of your chosen phenomenon
  • your Twitter chat questions, which should be focused mostly on our experiences with, opinions about, or responses to the phenomenon
  • your in-class discussion questions, which will be about the phenomenon, but more importantly the reading. These will build from the Twitter chat the night before.
  • your counter-technology, which will go beyond common-sense approaches you’d see on your local evening news broadcast.

By “align” I mean that these four elements should work together and not feel like a potpourri of topics. If you are feeling that way, it means your phenomenon is too broad; try starting with the counter-technology and work backward.

Activity: Choose a reading for your discussion and develop two sets of discussion questions: one set for Twitter and one set for in-class. Aim for 3-5 questions per set. Do this together in a Google Doc that you share with me.

You might want to review the document I shared last week on writing good questions and avoiding bad ones. You also might review the link I shared from Hootsuite on leading Tweet chats. One key suggestion is this one:

Most Twitter chats follow a Q&A format so you should also come up with five to 10 questions in advance, and try to predict answers so you have some responses prepared.

There should be a fair amount of flexibility for Twitter chats to develop on their own, but it doesn’t hurt to be as prepared as possible.

You can also create graphics or GIFs in advance to include in your chat posts, or even turn your questions into graphics to make them stand out in your followers’ feeds.

Homework for Thursday, 10/26

Finish your discussion plans: finalize your chosen reading(s) and have drafts of both sets of questions. We’ll continue to review these in class on Thursday and review the evaluation forms for your groups. Group 1 will lead us off on Tuesday, 10/31.

Writing discussion questions


Zotero, cont’d

For homework I asked you to:

  1. Make an account in Zotero, and download both Zotero Connector (for Chrome) and Zotero 5.0 (the desktop application) to your laptop.
  2. Join our Zotero group, WRTf17 and find your group folder, which is labeled by section and group number (i.e. Section 3, Group 2 has the folder labeled “3.2”).
  3. Have each member of your group add a reading or two to your group folder on a phenomenon they’re interested in (or one you are already pursuing together).
  4. Tweet out one of these readings with a comment. Use both the course hashtag (#WRTf17) and the hashtag(s) of the phenomenon.
  5. Respond to a classmate’s post using the same hashtags.

Take a few moments in your group to catch up: How did this go? Help those who could not get up to speed with this. Call me over if you get stuck.

Mapping your phenomenon

At this point, your group should have saved and tweeted 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 Coogle. I recommend the latter since you can register quickly using your Rowan Google account, use it with groups, and embed maps easily:

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 thinking of choosing at this point? 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.

Discussion questions

Once you start focusing on a specific phenomenon, it’s time to begin thinking about:

  1. which readings you’re going to make us read and
  2. how you’re going to get us to talk about them.  As for the former, you should choose a reading or readings that help us understand the complexity, history, and newsworthiness of your phenomenon.

Aim to have us read 1-2 readings that total 2,500-3,500 words (not sure what the word count is? check out the Word Count Tool).

Once you have these set, you’ll want to develop a set of questions that will be asked initially over Twitter via asynchronous chats, but carry over into the classroom. In other words, while conversations will occur online before class, your group will have a chance to push on certain threads in class before unveiling your counter-technology. As such, we want to think about the kinds of questions that make group conversation meaningful. In your experience what makes a good discussion in the classroom and out?

This handout from a Canadian university walks us through some of this:


Let’s try this with a shared example.


Twitter chat

As part of this project, you are going to lead part of this discussion online through Twitter and IRL. So what’s a Twitter chat? This recent blog post from Hootsuite defines it as

a public discussion on Twitter around a specific hashtag … led by a designated moderator—brand or individual—who ask questions and facilitate the discussion at a predetermined time

While we won’t be having these chats synchronously, each group will choose a hashtag as well as a set of questions with clear labels (i.e. Q1, Q2, Q3) and post them to Twitter with our class hashtag, #WRTf17.

Before we meet in class, students will read the articles, find the group hashtags, and respond to your questions — and each other — using A1, A2, A3 so we can all keep track. Let try this with one of the above examples. Who would like to volunteer?

Homework for Tuesday, 10/24*

There is no class meeting on Thursday, 10/19; however, you need to meet as a group to develop your plan for the discussion. Whether that meeting occurs during class time on Thursday, at another time, or online is completely up to you. Your attendance to you meeting, however, will be considered when factoring your grade.

Keep me posted by having one group member email me a summary of your meeting, including a tentative plan for discussion that includes:

  • when and where you met and who was present
  • a 1-2 sentence definition of your proposed phenomenon
  • a ¶ detailing the history of the phenomenon
  • an evaluation of 3-5 articles in the news about your phenomenon — include links!
  • a list of search terms you are using
  • a list of 1-3 counter-technologies — with links!

*Please email me no later than Sunday night, 10/22.

Defining phenomena and managing online sources

We have a lot planned for today, including getting you up to speed on Twitter, developing strategies for defining the topics and phenomena for your project, and introducing you to some tools for managing sources.

Twitter, cont’d

On Tuesday, some of you had unexpected trouble with Twitter requiring your phone number. As you might know based on the reading for today, Twitter is trying to boost its verification procedures to block abusive accounts (from the Russian state, for example). If you’re still having trouble, these seem to be your options:

  1. Try again. Try making an account using your real name, but from a different device, machine, browser, etc. until it lets you make one. The problem here is that you need another email address.
  2. Create a phone number in Google Voice. Although Google Voice will require you to provide your real number (which Google will store in its database), at least Twitter won’t. You can then use the GV number for Twitter. See this page for help.
  3. Just use your phone number. This is not ideal, but this would be the easiest thing to get you in — plus, you can probably remove it once you have created an account. FYI, their privacy policy for your phone states this: “If you provide us with your phone number, you agree to receive text messages to that number from us. We may use your contact information to send you information about our Services, to market to you, to help prevent spam, fraud, or abuse, and to help others find your account, including through third-party services and client applications.” You can change this in your privacy settings and Twitter agrees that it will not include this identifier in its Log data. 
Once all is well and you’re online, please be sure to add your username (aka handle) to our blogroll.

Counter-technology project: a case study

By now you should have:

I mentioned on Tuesday that this process models (on an admittedly smaller scale) what I’m asking you to do for your project. Take 5-10 minutes to talk with your panel about this set of readings and via the following tasks. Have someone tweet out your answers (or share the task) using our hashtag #WRTf17.

  1. Describe or characterize certain phenomena, forces, technologies, or bad actors in these texts that require new digital literacies.
  2. Suggest additional readings that would deepen your understanding of these phenomena.
  3. Provide a list of search terms and keywords for such a search.
  4. Explain how these provoke certain counter-technologies, literacies, practices, or strategies.

Defining phenomena 

On Tuesday each section brainstormed some of the possible negative phenomena that requires new digital literacies:

These were generally good starting points, but they could be more specific. The next step is to learn more about how these phenomena could be more narrowed and complicated, just as we did in the example above. This means taking similar approaches, trying to better understand and define them. For each, you might:

  • Start with Wikipedia to evaluate the scope of a phenomenon — especially how it is defined, structured, and linked to other phenomenon.
  • Brainstorm and keep track of additional keywords or search terms as you read. By reading the Wikipedia entry for clickbait, for example, I see that “listicles,” “Buzzfeed,” or even “yellow journalism” might be good search terms. More importantly, I notice that “viral marketing” is listed as a “See Also,” which means perhaps my phenomenon is actually more broad than just “clickbait.”
  • Search Google News to see how the phenomenon is being discussed today. These might be the articles you assign our class when it is your panel’s turn.
  • Search Google Scholar and Campbell Library for books and other scholarly materials on the subject.
  • As you search also be on the lookout for counter-technologies — again defined as tools, strategies, or literacies that help us manage, expose, disrupt, or otherwise limit the malfeasance these phenomena cause us online and IRL.

Collecting sources with Pocket and Zotero

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 service (like Instapaper) that allows you to save readings as you go. 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. Pocket also makes apps for Mac, iOS, and other devices.
  2. Zotero. Zotero is a bibliography manager capable of 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, WRTf17.

Homework for Tuesday, 10/17

  • 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, WRTf17 and find your group folder, which is labeled by section and group number (i.e. Section 3, Group 2 has the folder labeled “3.2”).
  • Have each member of your group add a reading or two to your group folder on a phenomenon they’re interested in (or one you are already pursuing together).
  • Tweet out one of these readings with a comment. Use both the course hashtag (#WRTf17) and the hashtag(s) of the phenomenon.[Example: “Here’s an op-ed from the @washingtonpost about the role of #clickbait in politics. #WRTf17]
  • Respond to a classmate’s post using the same hashtags.[Example: “Skimmed this article quickly. Why did @facebook install a #clickbait filter when we need literacies! #WRTf17”]