Each student will write a final essay (approximately 500-750 words) that outlines their experience in the course, and the ways in which their thinking about the roles of technologies in publishing, and in our lives, has changed as a result. Students can focus on a single takeaway, on several, or discuss the course as a whole. The takeaway need not be about a specific piece of knowledge, but rather about the experience as a whole.
Technology, in general, has never been my strong suit. I’m interested in learning more about technology and how it works, but, much like science, I’ve never really been able to wrap my brain around how a lot of it works. I was excited and nervous to start the technology course because I knew I would learn a lot, but I was worried about having little prior knowledge. I came into the first class of PUB802 assuming that the class would be a practical lab and we would be learning how to use various publishing technologies, so I was surprised when I found out that it would be mostly lecture style. Given that the media and tech projects were done differently this year, I would like to offer a suggestion to combine the technology and tech project courses—starting both in January—instead of combining the media and tech project courses. I think combining the lecture style learning (like PUB802) and practical lab learning (like the workshops in tech project) would be beneficial to students, especially those with different learning styles.
Now that I’ve offered a suggestion for future classes, I will focus on how the class was run and how it helped my learning. This class can be broken up into a few sections: annotations, blog posts, class lead, and other assignments.
Using annotations for our online readings was brilliant. MPub has been difficult and time consuming, and some readings end up not being read because work takes priority. Having the annotation requirement ensured that I read everything for every week, which improved my participation in class and overall learning. The only thing I would suggest for this is to ensure the people who are leading that topic are still participating in annotations by answering and asking questions and prompting further discussion and threads in the annotations.
I’ll admit that it was tough to get these done every week. The blog post questions weren’t hard or time consuming, it was just another thing to do every week that usually got pushed to the end of the week. That being said, I found them incredibly valuable. For the weeks I wasn’t leading the class, I was still encouraged to participate in the discussions and come up with my own ideas and thoughts about every topic. This definitely contributed to my learning about technology in publishing because I was forced into deep thought about every topic, but I could focus that topic around the things I’m interested in: small presses, speculative fiction, short fiction, etc. Putting things into a perspective that I enjoyed and understood was a great way to think about new things.
Again, this part of the class was beneficial because I dug deep into a specific topic and facilitated discussion with my peers. I tried to participate in the annotations more, as I suggested people should do above, but I think I could have done better if it was more suggested that I do so. I also think Juan should weigh in on the discussion a bit more than he did, especially during some weeks. Leading the class is definitely beneficial to everyone’s learning, but Juan knows more about every topic than we do and it would have been nice to have a bit more lecture from him.
I particularly enjoyed the open knowledge assignment. I think it was valuable for me to learn how to use Wikipedia, and I believe in contributing to open knowledge because it’s important for accessibility. I was less keen about the reflections assignment, though. It made sense to do something like this at the beginning of the semester, but doing the reflections essay and three forms of feedback (written, scantron, and the single question) in class seems to be a bit overkill. That being said, I appreciate that Juan is open to receiving feedback and it genuinely seems like he cares about improving his teaching style and his class for future years, which is never a bad thing.