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Archive for the ‘Class Assignments’ Category

I thought I’d  review one of my teacher’s websites, Dr. Heba Amin’s.. The reason for that is simple, I find those two courses (the art of web design and surveying digital rhetoric very similar. Although each is taught in a different department their content is more interlacing than you think. Picture this, in both courses we were required to do virtual portfolios or online identity  as our projects..

The link to the artist and teacher’s website http://www.hebaamin.com/

In her representation of herself leans more on the professional side, she puts her work(Art portfolio) her CV and her blog all in one project. She blogs about her artwork, she documents all her art projects,some of which are very interesting installation or projections on the walls …

Her use colors and design make it appear simple yet appealing  and I think it suits her goal of reach to professional audience and demonstrate her work.

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Reading the article “A World I Don’t Inhabit: Disquiet and Identity In Second Life and Facebook” raised a few questions in my head. To summarize the articles it discusses mainly two things. the potential of having or using the two amiable social mediums facebook and second life as educational software. Second it touches down upon issues of “virtual” identity and whether it should be trusted or replaced with the real one that one I shall put on hold for now, and we’ll discuss the first point first.

First of all, I shared in class, I don’t think  that facebook should/could be used for educational purposes. or any social software for that matter. I suppose you know the saying “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”. Using facebook in education to me is like (if say I am a teacher)  knowing that all my students go to a certain club and. would rather miss my class to hangout in that club. Then I  decide that I would go there and teach. It doesn’t sound right. we mentioned in class that a teacher’s argument could be; that I have wordpress and other blogs and websites and I use blackboard and still my students would not give head to all that , would rather leave it all and go to facebook!  well we don’t follow them to facebook, we make our stuff more attractive to get their attention them. Plus I pretty much doubt one can have the attention span of a student on facebook  long enough. As it makes any information about anyone a click away.

So it will serve as a distraction for instead one posting a comment on one’s post he could then make a posting on his profile image or check out common friends.. Also it gives way to mixing personal with professional life. You don’t want that happening in class. It’s ancestry, and does not make everyone comfortable to mix the workplace with personal life.

The other Idea I wish to share about regarding virtual identities. Reading the paper made me reflect on the notion of real and virtual identities or what they call “Real Life” and “Second Life”.Also about one’s self image and who one’s portrayal of it. It made me realize that everything one does  not just in the “virtual world”( as the virtual world is part of the real world as our dr. says..) it reflects who I am or who I believe myself to be. Thinking what kind of image do I want to to convey. This does not necessarily mean that one hides one’s identity but knowing who you are should show up in you actions.. And what you do reflects  how  you see yourself.

The article also raised the idea of trust and it pointed out that you can not trust what you can not see and raising up the issue of multiple identities.. Well (Thomas) I disagree. I am with you about understanding people more when you meet them face-to-face and read their facial expression and tone of voice. but one can also hide his intentions and act out well in real life as well.

Actually regarding the issue of multiple identities in virtual life, well can have that in the real life too but maybe not as much… It is all about , like the author says, what ‘face’ do you want to show on “face book”.

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Teenagers hasten to post their diaries and most private thougts online  while  adults  strive not to disclose any personal information about them. This is the privacy paradox according to Barnes in her article A Privacy Paradox: Social Networking int he United States.  she explains that journals they are proud to post behind their parents back, may be trakced down by school officials, admistraiton and potential hirers… Teens seem unmindful of what they  are doing says Barnes as “Locked away on hundreds of servers is every minute detail of our daily lives from our individual buying preferences to personal thoughts …Teens use social networking sites as a form of entertainment, but occasionally online predators use these sites to stalk victims.”

and to make matters worse, government officials collect these data in the name of “security” and markets base their businesses on it….

but what does Privacy really mean?

It is coined in Conceptualizing Privacy as

“freedom of thought, control over one’s body, solitude in one’s

home, control over information about oneself, freedom from surveillance,

protection of one’s reputation, and protection from searches and interrogations.”

What about  postethmus privacy?? another related topic on my mind these days..

The terms means the privacy of the dead after they are long dead. Do we have the right to then publish all their material writings and work? To answer that  I looked some arguments online.. bottom line my opinion on the subject is as such, though it might help us understand the person perhaps more to read his writing, it leaves no space for the writer to standup for himself as he could while he was alive. As an arabic saying goes the meaning dies with the writer.So is it our right to unleash this meaning?…I think not.

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Digital Education

In surfing the web on e-learning and web 2.0 I came across this article by  Steve O’Hear

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/e-learning_20.php

To start with I am not sure  he  uses the term web services correctly,  a web service in my  field of study (computer science) means a function that  resdies on a remote machine, to which you pass parameters and it replies with an asnwer. Not at all a  wiki or a blog as the writer coins it… but anyway…He gave an interesting example of how blogging helps in education, he says a teacher in a class, asked his literature  students to create a blog and post on it their reviews on a certain book, and later he asked to author of the book to view the blogposts! Kinda dynamic and an interesting idea, which coming to think of it , resembles inviting the author to the class through a virtual visit, that is not confied by time or space. In Blogging the possibilities are just amazing and that’s just one approach…

Another interesting approach is the podcasts. Podcasts are “pre-recorded audio programs that are posted to a website and are made available for download” and so they provide the opportunity to record the lecture( they can be either voice or video) and make it available online.The writer of the article shares how apple is collborating with stanford university to make available  podcasts made by the teachers. Not only that but  recently there is also student genrated content  available  on itunes and there is a whole  area for education. Which to me is interesting because I ask my professors to record their lectures and I find it useful to listen to them while on the bus..It’s interesting how there is a whole industry booming around that.

The AUC Angle

I was going through CLT ‘s website,  that is to say,  the Center for Learning and Teaching at AUC.Their goals and mission..And to my surprise, I found out  that they help  teachers record their lecture with  the Panopto lecture capturing system through the simple steps below. I think we are going somewhere fast ..

How to record and Post your lecture online:

Get an account
Send clt.vid.ser@aucegypt.edu for a Lecture Capture account.
Install Recorder / Get trained
Bring your laptop to CLT and take a 20-minute installation/training session on how to use Lecture Capture.
Prefer your office? ~ Make an appointment with sta@aucegypt.edu for a trainer to meet you there.
Record your lecture
Use the Lecture Capture recorder to make your recordings anywhere/anytime.
Upload your recording
A click of a button and your lecture gets automatically uploaded, packaged, and posted online.
Share your recording
You will get an Email with a link to your recording. Forward/Post it on BB for your students.

http://www.aucegypt.edu/academics/llt/clt/IVS/Pages/LectureCapture.aspx

other  related articles

on e-learning

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With the advent of technology, new ways of persuasion have given rise to new rhetorical situations  that were not apparent in the old days of Rhet.. Of those ‘new ways’, I would like to briefly discuss blogging. Blogging has evidently boomed recently. And of the famous booming blogs; blogspot(powered by google) and WordPress(the one I’m currently using).  Here are some interesting  stats I found about blogs (from the blogworld)

  • Over 12 million American adults currently maintain a blog.
  • Over 57 million Americans read blogs.
  • 89% of companies surveyed say they think blogs will be more important in the next five years.
  • Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs.
  • over 120 thousand blogs are created every day.
  • There are over 1.4 million new blog posts every day.
  • 22 of the 100 most popular websites in the world are blogs.
  • Blog readers average 23 hours online each week.

of the  characteristics that I belive this new  medium brings are:

Invisible Audience

I  myself  have started blogging about a year ago, and I described the process on my  blog as ‘having my own space on cyberspace’. I can see the advantages to using a digital medium when sharing one’s experience or expressing one’s self through a blog . First of all it is an advantage not to see the audience as one feels compelled by having  a physical audience. It is like acting on stage or acting to a camera; It is one thing to know that you might have an audience, another  to actually face them. One might feel more free to express one’s self through the lens or similarly through the medium of blogging.

Forming bonds of identity that cut through geographical bounds

It is true that there are basically communities that  exist online. As  pointed out  by James Zappen in his article Digital Rhetoric: Toward an Integrated Theory (2005), quoting Sorein Matei and Sandra J Ball Rockeach that those communities may cuts across gender, income, age, education, and ethinicity.Moreover the idea of forming virtual identities is true in a sense  that one can have an online identity, that may or may not be more distant to the real self.

Time in your own hands
Another advantage is having time on our side. I can
have an inspiration about a topic,  sit down and write about it(or use a text editor for the matter if I am a computer savvy) and then when it’s good enough I post it.

And the great thing about  this online medium is that the audience can view it at their own leisure. At the time that they wish and at the place that they wish. Almost instantly they can read and more over respond.

Privacy, Limitation and Access
Moreover I can control who can see what, and if I wish to be anonymous  or not.  Giving permission, and granting access rights.

Attaining Perfection

The great thing about the blog is that posting is not the end, it could be the middle of the process. You can easily republish or update your posts, if  like me you would like to work on perfecting them, making it a  job that can consumate a lifetime.

Also if you wish, you can allow for commenting, which makes it ever the more interactive.

Last but not least (cliché, so true..)

Blogging an end in itself
At a time when I was blogging (which is not at all these days), I felt for some time that I live to blog. I would  be going through  my day thinking about  interesting stories to blog . Sometimes I would disable comments and at others  I add restriction to some blog posts to be seen by the certain friends with which I would love to share things. Thereby protecting my privacy.

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Reading all those posts in The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab   about captology* has made me more excited about technology and it’s capabilities. It features new ways of persuasion, here are a few examples.

  1. THRU YOU
  2. Free Rice .
  3. Obama Fan Page.

THRU YOU is a website that features a collection music videos that are made outof  an unrelated collection of  youtube videos. It is very musical, and perhaps delightful . Very creative and impressieve.  And what makes it  persuasve  is that fact that in the credits, they tag the videos that are being used (the raw material in essence) so  people tune in to see themselves   when they know that they were tagged, which exponentially increases the numberof people watching … Read More

Free Rice is a game you play for free. The money coming from companies advertising on the website is  donated to hungry people. 10 grains of rice per correct answer. So  you play feeling you are playing  for a good cause. It is definetly a win-win situation for all, certainly a great way to use technology. And now I can learn Italian and feed hungry people both at the same time! Read More

last but not least Barack Obama’s Fan Page  shows that even Politics use this ‘new technology’ as a means of persuasion. The lab talks about Barack Obama’s fanpage on facebook, and their statistics,  I quote:

As of today, the actions of 3,134,949 [7,495,233  when I visited] real people on Obama’s Facebook Page are echoed by:

-578,708 Wall Posts
-1,670 Notes (1000+ Comments)
-41 Videos (700+ Comments)
-21 Posted Items (100+ Comments)
-15 Photo Albums (500+ Photos)

The numbers are very impressive to say the least.
*CAPTOLOGY: Computers As Persuasive Technology.

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