The Internet Strikes Back

Tomorrow starts the second session of The Internet Course. But instead of the leisurely twice-a-week over 15 weeks, 75-minute class pace of the Spring session, we’re doing two hours a day, four days straight every week for five weeks. “Heading north at 110 per,” to borrow Bud’s phrase. And hopefully, when it’s done, we’ll look back and say, “That was intense!”

I’m co-running this thing with Jim Groom, but due to the schedule my presence will be more virtual and asynchronous this time around. That means I don’t get to be a slacker with the blogging and commenting. No one else does either.

We’re paring the course down for the time frame, so we’ll be looking at four main points about the internet: where it comes from, how it works, its social, economic and cultural impacts, and where it’s going. How we approach those topics will be driven by the students’ interests. They will brainstorm ideas on what we need to know about each topic and do research based on that. That research will form the bulk of the class reading. The class will build weekly projects, creating knowledge artifacts representing their research. They will have as much input as they want on what those projects will be. I like the idea of using Timeline JS to show where the internet comes from. I also like the idea of building a series of interconnected HTML pages to describe how it works – it seems to make sense on a meta level. The idea of the projects is to create resources on the internet about the internet, feeding back into the machine so others can learn from what we’ve learned. Videos are another option for projects.

The whole class will be involved in all the projects. That’s a nice benefit of having a small group – we’re all in this together. We’re going to rotate group leadership through the class, a different pair each week, so everyone gets a chance at the helm. It will be intense, but life on the Internet is always intense.


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