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Welcome to “Networked Transformations”

I have been looking forward to meeting each of you and getting this course underway for sometime.  This course, entitled Networked Transformations (#ResNetSem), is a direct extension of my own Fulbright sponsored research this year into the transformative power of digital networks.  Some questions we will consider together:

How have networks transformed our ability to tell, share, and participate in stories in the digital age? How has participatory culture recast the traditional terms of cultural contribution, writing, and even what it means to author something?  

This seminar will look closely at networked forms of digital writing and art, political activities, and identities emerging from the practice of participatory culture. We will consider the economies of reciprocity, the ethics of generosity, and the poetics of connectivity.  We will also think about self-organized counterculture and the creation of new types of agency while we investigate digital activism and an aesthetic politics of disruption and intervention.   

This course will be an open (online), connected (networked), co-learning (participatory) experience.  One factor that often leads to boredom and lack of energy in the traditional classroom is the way that learning is perceived as a passive activity—a thing that happens to students. What you learn and how you learn it is decided by someone else, without considering what you care about, what you know already, or what you want to learn.  Part of the idea of an open class comes from giving you the opportunity to influence the course.

As we build a foundation for Networked Transformations, I want to place value in the interests and ambitions that each of you bring to this course.  The seminar will include a chance to work on research projects while writing/thinking in/about an open networked learning environment.  In this course, you will be closely connected to a group of my graduate students/researchers at Kean University in NJ (where I am the Director of the MA in Writing Studies program).  With the clear purpose of thinking more deeply about the affordances and constraints of digital networks, we will build a professional learning network by collaborating with my colleague Professor Alan Levine (@cogdog) who will be directing the Kean University graduate students with their research work this semester.  Together we will share ideas, explore forums, discover new platforms, and grow our professional learning networks.  Our cross-institutional learning community (#ResNetSem or research network seminar) will reach beyond the literal four walls of the physical classroom as we design/build/blend our own digital network(s) together. Through discussion and negotiation we will identify shared purpose and a mutually beneficial learning agenda, we will compose many collaborative documents, and we will embrace peer-to-peer cooperation and learning.  I know that through our collaboration we will lay foundations of knowledge which will no doubt influence your future practice.

Some questions for you to start with:

What do you want to learn during our time together?  What do you want to make during our time together?  Please remember to bring some initial answers to these key questions, because ultimately, I hope you will feel inspired to answer them both imaginatively and creatively through our collaboration.

See you on August 31st for our first class together.  Looking forward to it,

Dr. Zamora