The Internet Course Summer Edition

Apollo Workstation

Apollo Workstation

The Internet Course that Paul Bond and I taught last semester is getting another go round. I was scheduled to teach it the first summer session—which starts tomorrow—but for much of the spring it only had three students registered. A summer course needs at least seven students, so I was pretty certain it wouldn’t run. Well, my being too sure of anything provides a perfect opportunity for the cosmos to illustrate my capacity for fallibility 🙂

The course will be running, and Paul and I will be back at the helm…well, as much as we ever are in this course. We did some pretty intense work designing a student-driven course from beginning to end, and the evaluations we got back last week suggest that it wasn’t all in vain. I’ve never gotten such positive feedback for a course taught the first time. The evaluations were so encouraging that we’re pushing forward with the students designing the course as we go for the summer edition.

As you can see from the syllabus, the first week is pretty tightly planned:

  • they’ll be reading Katie Hafner’s 1998 popular history of the internet Where the Wizards Stay Up Late,
  • brainstorming and then researching the four overarching course topics (Where it came from, how it works, where it’s going, and the social/ecomomic/politic impacts),
  • finding and submitting twelve acceptable articles (3 per topic) for approval,
  • and summarizing all twleve of their articles no later than this Saturday night.

Damn, that’s a ton of work. Oh yeah, I forgot, they’ll also have to get up and running with their own domain and web hosting, install WordPress, and start blogging! But, to be fair, come this Thursday they’ll also have the ability to plan out what the next four weeks will look like.

As of now, the course is managable with six students taking it for credit and two auditors. While planning the summer edition with Paul, the idea came up that the entire class would work together on each topic for a weekly project wherein they create some product of what they learned that week. For example, week two they might do a timeline for the where it comes from topic, week 3 a full blown HTML site for the how it works topic, etc. What’s more, each week will have a different project director managing the week’s work. They’ll also be responsible for seeing the week’s project through.

I’m pretty excited about the additon of a weekly project and director for the summer edition. I think some pretty awesome things could happen if we treat the next five weeks as a collaborative learning laboratory. I also love the idea that each week will be focused on making something that documents the topic in some fashion, and I really am interested to see what they all come up with. Avanti!

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