Intellectual Property, Privacy, and Open Access Policy: Presented at the 4Cs, Indianapolis, IN, 19 March, 2014

This was my contribution to the workshop, “From Emma to Marca: Technology and Pedagogy in a Decade of Open Source Writing Software Development,” organized by Christy Desmet for the 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication. I’ve revised the title a bit here to reflect more accurately the final contents of my brief talk.     My contribution continues our conversation about big picture issues of open source development, trying to answer the question, “What do we gain by bringing this sort of educational technology development in house, rather than outsourcing it to–mostly–corporate developers of proprietary software?” And my answer to that question is, “We acquire more control over our personal data and intellectual property.” To begin, I would like to consider the obvious questions involved in a decision whether to adopt a given technology in any class. As Ron and Sara demonstrated in their overview of the <emma>/Marca development process, when teachers and program administrators are involved in the development process, we aren’t just asking these questions, we also acquire a lot more control over the answers. This shift, from tech consumer to tech creator, mirrors to some extent the shift we are encouraging our students to make, from passive readers or content consumers to active readers and authors. And, like our students, when we began looking at the world from this new perspective, we realized that, in addition to the obvious questions everyone always asks, we also needed to begin thinking about a different set of questions that are equally relevant to our ethos as writers, teachers, and makers. In April of last year, the New York Times...

Re-Defining Hybridity for Higher Education: Emory Center for Interactive Teaching, Atlanta, GA, Spring 2013

In the Spring of 2013, Pete Rorabaugh and I conducted a four-part workshop series on hybrid learning and critical digital pedagogy for Emory’s Center for Interactive Teaching. Below is our overview of the series, linked to the working Google documents we created for the first three sessions. The final session was a “show-and-tell” where participating graduate teaching assistants and faculty shared their own work in the classroom. Overview The use of “hybrid” in educational circles requires some immediate unpacking. Like “postmodern” or “canonical,” it has accumulated several interpretations, some of which are contradictory. Hybrid education takes on an economic focus when it’s used to equate to seat time: half in the classroom, half in an electronic space. This application represents an administrative priority that, while not unfounded in our current economic climate, can be more useful for the university’s bottom line than for student learning. A reliance on economic hybridity results in a neoliberal environment where an educational commodity, the “curriculum,” is “delivered” to the most students possible at the lowest overhead cost to the institution. Within higher education circles, “hybrid” assumes several, often widely divergent interpretations. Significantly, in some administrative formulations, “hybrid” has often come to mean simply achieving a reduction in face-to-face time in the classroom through the integration of an online component. Left unexamined, this overly-simplistic formulation of “hybrid,” although it may serve the university’s economic interest by reducing instruction costs in the immediate term, may only incidentally serve–and may in some circumstances actively impede the achievement of–pedagogical goals like improving student learning outcomes. Critical pedagogy–a discipline evolved from the work of Paulo Freire and rooted...

Analogy, Textuality, and Materiality in the Medieval Studies Classroom: Presented at the ICMS, Kalamazoo, MI, 10 May, 2013

This brief position statement was my contribution to the roundtable, “Productive Anachronism? The Promise and Peril of Historical Analogy in the Study of Medieval Culture,” organized by Anna Wilson and Jonathan Newman at the recent ICMS in Kalamazoo. I was fortunate to present alongside my collaborator, Alison Valk, who worked as an “embedded” librarian in the upper-division Chaucer seminar I describe here. Warm thanks to Anna, Jonathan, Alison, my fellow presenters (update: Richard Godden has blogged his contribution here), and the attendees who showed up and stuck around for a 7:30 pm panel Thursday evening. The experience was both enjoyable and productive.     In his “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto,’” Bruno Latour advocates for a discursive practice he labels “compositionism.” Composition involves assembly, construction, creation. It challenges and calls into question the conceptual boundaries that often separate literary things, things such as books and scholarly essays, from non-literary things, things like paintings and musical scores, buildings, drama, and dance. Latour’s discussion of compositionism also seems to blur at least some of the distinctions we often make between literary “authorship” and literary “scholarship” by suggesting the artist and the humanist ultimately draw upon many of the same tools and processes. The interdisciplinarity and multimodality Latour attributes to compositionism are inherent in the period and the historical artifacts we—as medievalists—study. Yet, for the most the part, the products of our scholarship—including pretty much everything from critical editions of canonical texts to interdisciplinary studies of art and architecture—conform to narrow disciplinary and aesthetic conventions born out of the dominance within modern academic discourse—and to some extent perhaps within our culture...

Making Law and Policy for Public Pedagogy: Emory Symposium on Digital Publication, Undergraduate Research, and Writing, Atlanta, GA, 29 February 2013

I’ve blogged here the Prezi and the notes from a presentation I made at the Emory Symposium on Digital Publication, Undergraduate Research, and Writing. Thank you to  The Emory College Writing Program, Emory’s Office of Information Technology, and Emory University Libraries, for inviting me here today. In keeping with a general desire to avoid the standard “sage on the stage” format and to prompt discussion rather than boredom, I’m going to offer a brief position statement outlining a general approach for responding to and dealing with regulatory issues that may arise as colleges and universities go public with pedagogy. Then I’ll walk through two examples that help to elaborate how that approach might shape decisions in matters that involve FERPA and public relations. I have written about fair use and copyright in the pedagogical context elsewhere, in particular on Hybrid Pedagogy and TECHStyle. For that reason primarily, although I’m happy to answer questions about intellectual property law during the Q&A, I’m not making that part of my prepared remarks today. [new frame] In addition to thanking the symposium organizers, I also want to acknowledge Moya Bailey, Tyanna Herrington, and Audrey Watters. In one fashion or another, they and their work are represented in or have influenced my talk today. [new frame] The Approach Interpretation and application of the law within a higher-educational setting can and should take into account factors that distinguish institutions of higher learning from other–especially commercial–regulatory contexts. Why? Because we should presume laws–especially laws specifically targeted at educational institutions–are designed to facilitate, or at the very least not interfere with the important work of the classroom....
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