Thoughts on Wikis, Responsibility, and Cultural Shifts

I'm currently re-reading Robert E. Cumming's introductory chapter from Wiki Writing: Collaborative Learning in the College Classroom, entitled "What Was a Wiki, and Why Do I Care? A Short and Usable History of Wikis." This is one of the readings for my class on digital rhetoric, and it serves as a handy introduction to the invention of wikis, the reactions to them in the "ancient times," and some of the key concerns about their impact on knowledge production. Basically, it's some nerd shhhhh. That said, it has got me thinking a lot about the role of wikis in our culture and, more importantly, just how much has changed since I was a kid. While there are still people running about saying you should never use wikis, for the most part, even academics have softened on them. A lot of you probably remember when that wasn't the case. Hell, remember when that wasn't the case for me as a teacher. Mind you, I was never the type to outright fail a student for using Wikipedia, but I did strip away points. Read More

Compliments Matter (or, Tell Someone You Value Their Work)

In the past two months, I've twice met the same former student in my gym. Each time, we have a wonderful conversation about what he's reading, his newfound love of writing, his dreams for the future, and so on. Each time, he reminds me just how much one of my classes influenced him to be a voracious reader and a deeper thinker. These are the kinds of interactions that truly make a week of exhaustion worth it. And they're a reminder of just how important compliments can be. Read More

Space Opera Course Update

A few months ago, I asked for input from folks interested in the online space opera course I planned to teach/run at some point during the summer. Many of you gave me some excellent feedback about the form the course should take, the readings, cost, and so on, and so I set out to try to put something together in time for summer 2017. Well, it's officially summer, and as should be obvious right now, things aren't exactly put together. And there's good reason for that. Read More