Reflections on the Class

When I started the MPub, I thought I was going to end up in editorial. It wasn’t until John’s Text and Context class and my own self-led research into scholarly communications that I realized I might want to go into tech. This class, Tech Theory, was really important to me as I prepared for an industry that I didn’t have as much background in as I would have had I gone my original route. Though I understand PUB802 was more theoretical where PUB607 would balance out the practical technology, I do wish both courses had been running the entire semester concurrently.

What worked for me

1) Hypothes.is annotations

We’ve talked a bit about digital reading behaviors, but I think annotating via Hypothesis really helped me concentrate on the content and get something out of it. It was helpful that reading the articles was incentivized beyond being able to successfully participate in class discussion the next day. Though I do think it could have been rewarding to have our annotations publicly visible, I understand why we didn’t. Perhaps for future classes, there could be a consensus requested. Engaging in the reading and knowing I had to contribute to a building conversation also helped me stop from skimming. I’ve started annotating pages that weren’t for class, and I think it’s a plug-in that I’ll keep installed and use in the future.

2) Student-run classes

I appreciated the opportunity to educate myself really well about a certain topic and have to be responsible for knowing as much as I could about it. In the future, however, I wish that this aspect of the course was better structured and laid out in advance.

3) Industry guest: Jamie Broadhurst

Jamie’s presentation on the data involved with Fire and Fury was super enlightening. Having recent, real-life examples of how the tech we’re learning about is used in the industry was helpful to orient our perspectives on the way things may work.

What I think could change

1) Shorter student-run segments of class

Though we didn’t always know how long we’d have that day to lead the class we structured, it was often upwards of two or two and a half hours. In the future, I think it would be better to have students lead for about an hour and a half, after which we would have instructor-led or industry guest-led lessons to fill in the gaps that students may have a bias against or be missing.

2) More industry guests

I noticed an overall trend that when comparing fall semester to spring semester, fall semester had far more industry guests. Because half of our classes in the spring semester involve tech, I think it would be helpful to invite more tech-focused industry guests into the classroom. I feel that as students we have a more limited network of acquaintances in magazines and tech than we do of Vancouver’s book publishing scene. More industry guests could also help students who are, in the spring semester, still struggling to find places to apply for their career placements, as I believe many of our cohort chose placements with guests that had visited throughout the program.

3) Cross-over classes?

It might be neat to occasionally cross the practical and theoretical between PUB607 and PUB802. If crossover classes aren’t an option, it would at least be nice to structure 802 to have parallel components with 802.

Overall, I enjoyed the course and learned a lot. I feel much more ready to embrace a role involving publishing technologies. My fellow students did a good job of preparing their classes, and my perspectives on the industry has changed a lot

2 Replies to “Reflections on the Class”

  1. Thank you for the feedback. I will continue to evolve how I run this course, and it is extremely useful to hear your experience. I would love to hear more about what you thought of the content—what topics stood out, and why? What was missing? What was your main take-away?

    1. I really enjoy learning about open access publishing technologies, because I think scholarly publishing differs from commercial publishing in that people are less attached to the idea of the print book. It’s easier to experiment, I think, which makes it a great case study to look at for other types of publishing. AI was also one of my favorite topics, which I don’t think was on the original syllabus. What we learned about AI wound up being pretty relevant to our other courses too. One thing I noticed was that the classes tended to build on one another, which was nice — though toward the end, some of the topics overlapped so much that some of the content became repetitive (which, I think, is why we had very similar essay prompts for weeks 8 and 9). My main take away was that these skills are pretty pervasive throughout the industry, and that knowing how to apply or at least understand how technology impacts the work your doing is a valuable skill.

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