Managing Attention in the Classroom with Distraction

Jake Cowan

Devices, Tools

Two of the more ubiquitous problems instructors face today are, on the one hand, the pervasive distraction of smartphones, and on the other hand, the inability to gauge a student’s comprehension of classroom material in the moment. Although the latter issue long precedes the emergence of the former, these are not unrelated difficulties. Both are questions of attention, whether won through a students’ interest in and engagement with a classroom discussion, or lost to a quickly silenced ring interrupting conversations and fingers

Lesson Plan: Using Siri to Teach the Ethics of Digital Labor

Andrew Heermans

Devices, Lesson Plans

The rapid rate by which technology replaces and outdates itself has been measured since 1965 by Moore’s Law, which dictates that the amount of transistors within a integrated circut (microchip) doubles approximately every two years. Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, has predicted that the viability of his projection will cease in 2025, and since 2012, there has been a consistent slowing down between circuit transistor “doublings”. However, according to research on the physical limits of computation, a predictive model based

Machine as Organism: Technology, Biology, and Collective

Andrew Heermans

Data, Devices, History

      The constant increases in technological capacity, prevalence of automation and machine assistance, and the advancement of bio-tech, artificial intelligence, and medical technologies, expedite the tendency to view the issue of human subjectivity through a dichotomy of man/machine. This framing pre-inscribes a frictional relationship between man and machine, as if machines desire to, and are succeeding in closing the ontological gap between human beings and machines and/or artificial intelligences. The paradoxical novelty that wearable technology presents us (both

Tinkering With Pedagogy: Experimenting With Technology at the DWRL

Andrew Heermans

Accessibility, Devices, Games

At the start of last academic year, the Digital Writing and Research Lab assigned two research imperatives: data visualization and wearable technology. While data visualization is ubiquitous in most forms of media, and serves an already established and crucial role in empirical research and its dissemination, the affective affordances of wearable technology are emergent, and the cultural narratives that surround this category of technology is contingent upon the continuous emergence and advancement of new devices. Recently, the DWRL has obtained

Lesson Plan: Digital Reproduction

J Brentlinger

Devices, Lesson Plans, Pedagogy

In 1935 Walter Benjamin wrote, “Around 1900 technical reproduction had reached a standard that not only permitted it to reproduce all transmitted works of art and thus to cause the most profound change in their impact upon the public; it also had captured a place of its own among the artistic processes.” This assignment musses with his assertion by creating a digital, “academic,” work of art. It asks students to produce an audio recording of his article “The Work of

Ethical Design and Time Well Spent

Matt Breece

Accessibility, Devices

Diagonal matrix with rows and columns of mobile phones with different social media icons like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

The amount of time we spend engaged with our digital devices, especially our smart phones, doesn’t necessarily make us feel more empowered. The organization Time Well Spent argues that the reason for this isn’t some moral failing on the part of users but rather a question of intentional design: “Many people think our devices are neutral and it’s up to us to choose how to use them. But that’s not all true. Attention companies (like Snapchat, Facebook or Netflix) spend

Invisible Knowledge

Amy Tuttle

Accessibility, Data, Devices, Digital Archiving, Locative Media, News, Pedagogy, Social Media

Screenshot shows that "trump meme" is the top result.

Since you’re reading this online publication, I imagine that you, like me, leave hundreds of digital traces every day. A lot of these traces are things we can see–things like emails, texts, blog posts, twitter posts, photographs, Youtube comments, or Facebook likes. But today I’m particularly interested in the invisible, unintentional digital traces we leave–things like records of our internet searches and website visits, or the location data that logs our movements and phone calls. There’s knowledge in the invisible

Machine Communication: Using and Understanding MIDI

Andrew Heermans

Devices, Multimodal Writing, Tools

  When multi-track recording was developed in 1955, it allowed for the concept of “production” as we understand the term in contemporary music-terminology. By recording the individual elements of a performance, one could alter and edit each part of the whole composition, or start from individual parts and construct an entire composition. This not only changed the musical process, but the product as well, unlocking new and previously impossible feats of musical arrangement and production. On a smaller scale, the

Rhetorical Synthesis: The Story of the Roland TB-303

Andrew Heermans

Devices, Multimodal Writing, Tools

Short GIF of a man displaying a tb-303, touch bass line synthesizer.

The Roland TB-303 is one of the most influential electronic instruments to date. The story of the instrument and its influence remind us that objects can be “active agents rather than passive instruments or backdrops for human activity” (Boyle, Barnett). The machine is an analogue, monophonic bass line synthesizer created in 1982 by Roland. Designed as a companion piece for performing or practicing musicians, it was a band mate and instructor in one. The machine could not be played as a

Pedagogical Periscope: The Basics of Streaming a Webinar from Your Phone

Jake Cowan

Devices, Pedagogy, Tools

Whether it’s the weather or you’re just feeling under the weather, traveling to campus and working with students in person isn’t always the best course of action for your writing course. In fact, staying home can sometimes be the most pedagogically effective choice—students always will appreciate the break, and you can probably use one, too. But just because you’ve stayed home and in your pajamas doesn’t mean a lesson can’t still be learned, by both students and instructor alike. With