For this activity, I finally cracked open the text I’ll be using for one of my new classes this fall, JRM 131 Media and Society (a critical thinking course). Lucky for me, I chose a really cool text: Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (by Marita Sturkin and Lisa Cartwright, Oxford University Press, 2009), and this class is inspiring me to (potentially!) incorporate a plethora of web 2.0 activities in my assessments
To elaborate, in the introduction to the text, the authors note that the meanings that we associate with particular visual images depend largely on our previous experiences and associations (very Psy 101). As they note, “Our visual experiences do not take place in isolation; they are enriched by memories and images from many different aspects of our lives.”
So one thought for an assignment after our first Meet the Class activity is to select one photo for the class to ponder (say, a roller coaster, like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevkev44/2417552516/ ) and ask them to tell us a one-paragraph “story” about their associations with roller coasters, to post on our class Wiki (or will it be a Ning site, Todd? Lol). In psychology, this type of assignment is known as a “projection test,” which is highly subjective in its interpretation, but the basic idea is that you’ll have insight into a person’s personality (“core conflicts?”) by the stories they tell in relation to ambiguous source material.
Another assignment might be asking them to provide a Flickr photo that sums up their current state of mind about… could be anything, returning to school? Being stressed? About learning new technology as part of their assignment? http://www.flickr.com/photos/steffanharries/2545101060/
I actually wanted to comment on his first point: You don't really know what social networking sites you create will take off or succeed.
See, it never occurred to me that one might create a social networking site “just to see if it would fly.” (I know, duh.) But as I read along, I quickly learned that Steve has done this dozens of times.
“They” always say that the most successful entrepreneurs are not afraid of failing & I think there’s something to that. According to this philosophy, it would seem that you would try and try and try, throwing various things up against the Velcro wall -- some will stick, some won’t.
This has important implications in just giving an SNS-oriented assignment a try in your classes and not giving up if they don’t work one semester with one class. The idea here is that you give it a shot, analyze the process during and after, trouble-shoot what seems to work and what seems to be going awry. Then you fine-tune over the break and try again.
Hargardon’s other points were intriguing and astute: the quality of the SNS depends on the quality of engagement, particularly as exemplified by the early adopters… and that the SNS must have a compelling need or serve a real purpose or it will fall flat.
You know, as I think about my (lack of) involvement with Facebook, the final points are key. It does not serve a real purpose for me. Yes, I have gotten in touch with a few key people, but I am not an “active.” Some people think it’s the greatest thing evah, but the real test is whether it’s compelling enough for you? And if not, then what is? Is there another SNS out there that might be? That is the question… Maybe I need to invent one ;-))
I’ve chosen to examine Friendster for this week’s activity. I vaguely remember hearing about it in 2003, but was in my own little obsessed world of a new faculty member, so paid little attention to anything other than TiVo as the time ;-)
The target audience for Friendster was basically anyone who was internet-savvy and interested in meeting others for dating, friendship, something more, etc. It was launched to compete with match.com, with a basic premise that you’d have more luck meeting “sound” FOFs then just blindly searching online for unknown others as potential romantic partners.
One interesting factoid: Friendstar launched in 2002 and was initially popular among gay men, Burning Man attendees http://www.burningman.com (which as a sociologist, absolutely delighted me, lol ;-) and the random bloggers of the universe at that time.
The problem was, it grew to such popularity so quickly that the site regularly crashed, frustrating users, plus there were no filtering devices, so friends and bosses and classmates were all hanging together as “friends.” Another key factor that led to Friendster’s demise was the rush to be “most popular” and collect countless friends. In fact, some enterprising collectors set up fake sites and for some reason, these “Fakesters” outraged the company.
The convergence of all of these issues led to Friendster’s demise, but while it crashed & burned in the U.S., it surged in popularity in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
If I had been on top of my game, would I have considered creating an account and using it? Most likely no, for I am a late adopter ;-)
I like the idea of trying a wiki to allow my Psy 101 students to collaborate on a project in small groups that highlights differences in personality typing. Although I often have students of diverse ages in my courses, even among traditional college-age students, most have experienced at least one “workplace challenge” with a boss or coworker. Often that quintessential difficult person is a colleague with a personality type that opposes the student’s type, or at the very least, is someone who exhibits personality traits that are “annoying” or otherwise push the student’s buttons.
The intention of this activity is to heighten students’ awareness that these differences are not “wrong” or “abnormal” (well, let’s just stick to that theme for now ;-) They’re just different. And if they understood where that “difficult person” was coming from, his or her perspective, prevalent attitudes and behaviors, my students might not get “triggered” so easily.
So… in this activity, students will take a mini-version of the Colors Personality Inventory to deduce their dominant color (or personality) type. They will then jointly create a wiki page in class to address the following:
1. Describe five attitudes and/or behaviors that you value in coworkers.
2. Identify and explain five attitudes and/or behaviors that cause you stress and/or frustration in a work setting.
3. Develop five strategies FOR OTHERS WHO ARE UNLIKE YOU to more effectively work and play well with “your kind”…
My expectation for my students would be to collaborate on the wiki n class. (If need be, we might relocate class to a classroom with individual computers or the computer lab.) My thought is to start in a controlled environment so that I can “force participation” ;-) If it works well, I might expand the wiki collaborative effort to another group project…
Here’s a link to my wiki… http://colors-at-work.wikispaces.com/
(Hopefully I have the settings set correctly so that you can actually look at it ;-))