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Weekend Reading: Web Writing Edition

sunshineAs people on the semester schedule wrap up their year, I wanted to point to Jack Dougherty, Dina Anselmi, and Christopher Hager’s new project Web Writing: Why & How for Liberal Arts Teaching & Learning. As it says on the tin, the born-digital book aims to explain not only why faculty and students might want to develop this skill, but also how they might get started doing so. In addition to the general call for papers, there are also some small subventions available. Jack has previously co-edited a similarly-structured project, Writing History in the Digital Age. Why not submit a proposal?*

On to this week’s links!

  • Katherine Harris takes a sobering look at “An Academic’s Time & Money & Family”: I’ve been contemplating raising a child by myself, but I needed to see what I could realistically handle both financially and mentally.

  • Leslie Madsen-Brooks offers a splendid takedown of the the rhetoric of “disruption” around higher ed: I’m no detractor of entrepreneurship; I encourage my public history graduate students to make their own way in the world, and if I wasn’t so busy with my faculty responsibilities, I’d dabble in it myself. But what if, instead of investing so much time, effort and money in start-ups, MOOCs, lecture capture, unwieldy learning management systems, overzealous intellectual property protections and the like, we redoubled our efforts in open access, open learning and open source? These are the efforts that would prove truly disruptive of business-as-usual at the university.

  • Designer Frank Chimero spoke with students about “The Nature of Problems,” and offers useful skepticism about technological solutions: It implies that our best idea is to use technology to fix the problems amplified by technology. Should we laugh or cry about this? I’m not saying these approaches won’t work short-term, but long-term, it seems to only exacerbate the issue by asking people to be even more efficient in handling even more quantities of information. That doesn’t seem like a good way forward. Instead, we should try something we can do now, without inventing anything: recalibrate our expectations of one another, and educate each other of the demands placed on us.

  • In “All Our Little Lives,” Helena Fitzgerald explains why “Twitter is creepy”: Twitter is a self-curated world of choose-your-own-adventure voyeurism. It becomes interesting when you realize that you can just sit behind the scenes of someone’s life and listen to them talk to themselves, when you realize how many inner monologues — those of friends, celebrities, strangers — are waiting there naked-faced in a neat backward scroll. (Remember, follow me at @jbj!)

  • Jonathan Gagné offers a basic “Guide To Developing an App for iOS: It surely helps to have some coding experience, but you don’t have to know about C, C++ or Objective-C coding at first, since a lot of things can be coded with interactive drag-and-drops or options in Xcode. When you need to code something more specific, then Google searches on Objective-C and looking at the existing code in your application can help.

This week’s video looks at the Internet Archive:

Bonus: If you have not yet seen the adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s “This Is Water”, you really should give it 10 minutes.

*Disclosure: Though at the time of this post I have no role in this project, based on this week’s developments it’s fair to assume that will change.

Photo “Sunshine” by Flickr user rkramer62 / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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