Wednesday, week 14 (Dec. 2)

Today is Tuesday of week 14, the last week of the semest. It's also December 2 (or March 277, at least that's what it feels like to me!)

Schedule for today

Drop-in tutorials

Drop in tutorial: 1-2 pm, open to all.

  • Option 1: reserve a spot on this Google appointment page, with additional capacity 2-3pm!
  • Option 2: "drop in" anytime, but you may have to wait a bit in the waiting room.

Both are for a Zoom meeting, using the Green Link on your respective Canvas SECRETS pages (or find the info in your Canvas Calendar).

  • Optional video conference chat/check in at 11.30am. We can chat about your final project, and can do so in breakout rooms if there are multiple people: get to know each other's projects! Find the link for the meeting on the SECRETS page on Canvas or in the Canvas Calendar for the course.
  • If you're looking for additional materials, remember I added a video to show how you can find additional related sources in the Trexler Library catalogue on the webpage for Step 3 for the final project. Check it out!
  • I'll be looking through your projects and provide feedback, but you can also give feedback to your colleagues! Check out the Peer Review set-up, it's a bit different from the usual randomizer.
  • The Test Splot has its first student contributions. What will you add? Try this out before posting your final assigment on the real Splot!
  • Various assignments have been trickling in, so keep an eye on the list of "ongoing assignments" from throughout the semester that are due before it's too late! All you need is on the Week 14 Page.

History Club!

Meets at 5pm over zoom, email me for the link - there are elections for officers!

Tech and teaching: Against surveillance

Since we transitioned to remote learning and teaching in the spring, the use of technology has of course increased tremendously in our day to day lives. Whereas previously you were able to sit through a class with just a notebook and pen, you now have to have a device out, or you can't join the synchronous class, or post to your blog. So much for the advice of "put away all your distractions"!

There has also been an increase in surveillance technology, for instance to proctor exams. There has always been a lot of this already built into a site like Canvas, but it could be even worse. Today, there was an event that many of my friends and colleagues tweeted about under the hashtag #AgainstSurveillance. It's a very rich conversation and I encourage you to have a peak at what is going on nationally, so you will have the language to fight back against what may be coming for you, not so much at 'Berg, but when you go to grad school or take courses elsewhere over the summer in future.

I think this tweet sums up a lot of what's behind my thinking: we use a lot of "tech" and digital tools in my courses, but I hope that for all of them, you feel there is a point, and you are in control of your work. You can, at the conclusion of the course, delete your blog, export your work, or delete your annotations. I'll clear out the Cloud Lounge at the end of the semester, too. Canvas has no meaningful data to crunch on you, to measure how "engaged" you were to predict your score in a future course. We're not feeding the monster* of algorithms, instead we're feeding your learning. Feeling or actually being watched all the time is, in my experience, not conducive to learning.

A cute tiny bunny after all that heavy stuff!

"If a student learns something, but there is no instructor present to record a grade, has learning happened?"

* Note that some of what prompted me to write that post has since been ditched at Canvas, but I still don't feel comfortable feeding the site too much of your data. If I could find a non-Canvas solution for sharing grades that's safe and FERPA compliant, I would.

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