This course is designed to introduce you to . . .

. . . the tools and techniques you will need to navigate an increasingly complex world of digital information. Rather than assuming digital tools dilute or pervert rational thought, we will explore how best to use these resources to produce meaningful and rigorous knowledge about the world. The approach will be project-based, meaning that you will learn by doing. Some activities will be small and localized—attempts to learn key tools by applying them to subjects you are interested in; other activities will be directed toward the larger collective project of the course, which will be to build a multimedia timeline of key encounters and events in the life of folk singer Phil Ochs for the staff at the Woody Guthrie Center. Since “tinkering” can be a process fraught with failure, and we want to encourage you to take risks, you will be assessed in two ways: (1) on the quality of the finished product and (2) on the quality of your reflections about the process, which you will post to your own Wordpress blog (project #1).

The aims of the course are as follows:

  • To introduce students to basic methods of social, historical and cultural analysis, including data collection, primary and secondary source discovery and analysis, standards of evidence, and styles of argumentation
  • To develop the information literacy skills students need to navigate today’s digital environments
  • To build skills in planning, developing, and implementing digital and multimedia projects using a variety of Web 2.0 tools

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about standards of evidence, argumentation, and presentation when writing for the web
  • Find, analyze, and evaluate digital primary and secondary source materials and determine when and how to use them (or not)
  • Credit and cite all sources appropriately and in accordance with copyright law, including images, sound clips, video clips, blog posts, and quotations or summaries.
  • Plan and produce multimedia research projects using easily available Web 2.0 tools. More specifically, you will be able to:
    • Create and manage a Word Press Blog
    • Edit and Write for Wikipedia
    • Create and Curate an Online “Brand”
    • Create, Edit and Distribute Blog Posts, Infographics, Timelines, Videos, and Audio Podcasts

For the complete syllabus, CLICK HERE.

For OSU’s Syllabus Attachment (resources and handy dates), CLICK HERE.

Course Communications 

In addition to this blog, where you can find information about resources, assignments and other matters, we will use the workplace communication app Slack for direct messaging, discussion, and project-building. The Slack channel for the course will be: You will be sent an invitation to join; click the link and follow the instructions.

You should follow the Slack channel #announcements to receive course announcements and updates in a timely fashion (set your notifications to alert you to new items). You should also use the slack channel #questions to ask questions about the course, #ochs to share materials for our final project as you find them, #resources to share info about new tools, projects or archives of interest to the group, and #chatter to, well, chatter off-topic about whatever.

Why Slack?

There are some good reasons to use Slack instead of D2L, Twitter, or another social media option:

  • Businesses often use Slack to coordinate collaborative projects, so this is preparation for the job market.
  • Students can establish groups and communicate with peers in a variety of ways and without requiring instructor permission.
  • Slack is searchable, so you can easily find conversations, assignment sheets, and other materials lost on other platforms.
  • Slack can be accessed online or via apps for both Mac and PC, desktops and mobile devices. That means you can participate in conversations on the go, at all hours, and without limits.
  • Slack enables you to send files, images, video/audio clips and links just by typing them in.
  • Slack interfaces directly with apps like GoogleDrive, Dropbox, Office365 (free for OSU students–ask me how!). It also allows you to use emojis, gifs, polls and other modern communication tools.
  • Unlike Twitter or Facebook, Slack is not public and does not impinge on your private life. All your coursework will be enclosed in, and confined to, Slack. It will be accessible but not wide-open.

How Slack?

I will send an invitation to your OSU email. Watch for it, and click the link when it arrives. Check your junk mail or clutter folders if it doesn’t arrive, or email me. Follow the instructions.

For further instructions, visit “How to Get Started With Slack.”

If you run into trouble while using Slack, just click on the item called “slackbot” in the left pane. Enter your questions there, and the app will provide you with links to answers.

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