Of summaries and Cmaps

We’re putting a lot of work up front in this class, but it’s distributed to be manageable, and the load will lessen for a few weeks afterwards. This evening the class will brainstorm how we plan on approaching the main topics of The Internet Course:

how it works
how it has evolved
creation/consumption
intellectual property/fair use
privacy/openness
digital identity
social/economic/cultural impacts
where it’s going

Each student will be assigned two of the topics, and will be responsible for finding and summarizing three readings on each one. The results of the brainstorming session will help in finding information. Everyone will have to find different readings. To help avoid duplication, everyone will have to enter information about their readings in the Readings Form on the course site. The form feeds a spreadsheet, also visible on the page, so everyone can see what has already been taken. The instructors will vet the list. Anything deemed unacceptable will be highlighted in red, and that person will have to find something else. Readings can be research articles, reports, books, book chapters, or videos.

Each reading will have to be summarized in a blog post. The summary should give the reader a clear idea of what the article is about, what argument it makes, the major points it brings up, and the conclusions it reaches. The summary is not meant to be a review or a reaction. It is meant to save the rest of the class the time of reading the article.

Each summary needs to be tagged. In WordPress there is a box in the right-hand column for tags. The tags we will use are:

how it works
evolution
creation/consumption
IP/fair use
privacy/openness
digital identity
impacts
future

It is very important to enter the tags exactly as written above. Some readings may be appropriate for more than one category, so feel free to use more than one tag.

As a result of this process, each student will have six summary posts, three for each assigned topic. Everyone should read each others’ summaries. As a class, we will have digested a large body of knowledge, which will form the basis of our discussions over the next several weeks.

Each student will also create two concept maps. Each concept map will break down the three articles a student has summarized and draw out connections between them. We will be using Cmap Tools for this process, and we will talk more about it on Tuesday. I’m putting it out there now because the mapping process will go a lot easier if it is taken into consideration while summarizing. I will be writing more on Cmaps before Tuesday.

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