Don’t Cyberbully the Internet Course!

HaHaA quick note on The Internet Course Paul Bond and I are teaching: it’s ruling! Paul blogged last week about how many chances we took with this course, and how much that has paid off. It’s really been an eye-opening experience. I have to admit it’s hard to come off a class like ds106 and not be tempted to try and reproduce that magic. I think we have smart to avoid making #TIC104 in the image of ds106 too early on. This course has to find t’s own identity, and we did that by really giving the reins over to the students.

Tonight was an excellent example of that. Since week three students have been running ever single class session. Through week ten every class featured panels of five to six students discussing various topics like the history of the internet, the infrastructure, copyright, digital identity, openness, etc. Since last week, students are working in groups of three and presenting on their final projects. Tonight, while Paul was in Pennsylvania and I was in Texas, Elizabeth, Melissa, and Kimberley did an amazing job bringing us in via Google Hangout and running the entire class for an hour and fifteen minutes.

What’s more, they live tweeted all the tweets, and even playacted bullying on Twitter in the background during the presentation using the hashtag: #ticfakecyberbully

They presented on their research on the emerging definition of cyberbullying, and how that is being framed legally in different states. What’s particularly interesting is how so many of these laws are mediated through schools. They did a nice job framing a working definition, exploring the popular media reaction, and looking at the actual legislation. The used another Twitter hashtag (#ticcyberbullying) to capture the cyberbullying resources they were discussing during the presentation:

The class discussion around this topic was intense. The differing viewpoints around legislating cyberbullying, the difficulties of context online, media exploitation, and the question of schools as the catch-all for today’s social problems, including cyberbullying, all came up. During the last few minutes there was a ground swell of what can people actually do to stem this kind of behavior. Some real raw emotion about pushing beyond the talking—love that.

Interestingly enough, we had at least four visitors who weren’t in the class come to tonight’s presentation because they were interested in the topic, and they they were an active part of the conversation. It was awesome.

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3 Responses to Don’t Cyberbully the Internet Course!

  1. Maha Bali says:

    Wow, thanks for the inspiration. I now realize one of the things I should have done in my own ethical issues in edtech course was to try and give students more control earlier (they seemed happy with it when I started to, but a bit intimidated … Less time to develop their autonomy, maybe?). This is a question we discussed in #rhizo14 – how to sort of nudge students towards independence and embracing uncertainty which also means they would want to take over the course.
    Do you get a small group who are louder/stronger who take over the leadership of the course? I assume this happens naturally even in f2f courses (which I assume TIC104 is?) and was wondering how you thought/felt about it, or whether you had strategies to tone it down?

    • Paul says:

      Some students have more to say than others, but everyone has a passion in some aspect of the course so no one gets left out. Because they built the reading list in the first couple weeks, each student had ownership over parts of the course. I think that helped as well. And between the panel presentations and the group projects, everyone gets to be in the spotlight three times over the course of the semester, so they should all get more comfortable in a leadership position.
      I’ve never felt the need to rein anyone in, and I’m not sure I would want to anyway. I’ve always used the louder people as discussion catalysts. Sometimes that would take discussion in unplanned directions, but as long as it was relevant to the course, it was okay with me.

  2. Pingback: Goofed by the Internet Course | bavatuesdays

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