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 bubble.us 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.