Copies of weekly assignment emails

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January 6-13

Esteemed co-learners —

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with an intimate group. The small size of our cohort gives us an opportunity to form a co-learning community more quickly and deeply. Let’s take advantage of the situation by reading and responding to each other!

There are two kinds of assignments: Your weekly assignments and the assignments that are specific to each week’s texts. I will include your weekly assignments in this message, but not in further messages — assume that you are required to do these each week without me specifically mentioning them.

Save these emails. If you do NOT get an email from me on the Wednesday immediately following our Tuesday meeting, contact me via and cc and to make sure we aren’t having some kind of email mishap. You can find a copy of each week’s assignment emails on the wiki:

Regular Weekly Assignments:

Each week: One of these posts should reflect on the theme of the readings you did in the previous week and which we discussed in our Tuesday meeting. The other posts can be about anything related to social media. (at least) two comments on co-learners’ blog posts. You will find information about blogging here:

(at least) two forum posts. You will find information about forum posting here:

Lexicon work: The co-teacher(s) will take the lead by providing a list of words and phrases from our readings and conversations; co-teachers will define two of these terms. It is up to all of us to collaboratively define the rest of the words and phrases by our next class meeting.

Reading questions: Read the texts for the week. Come to class next week with a 3 X 5 card with your name and one question you would pose for class discussion about each required text and which you are prepared to address yourself. Put some thought into which question(s) raised by each text are most important for you and others to learn more about. Record your questions in your personal learning journal.

Assignments for 1/6-1/13

Introduce yourself in the forum if you haven’t done so yet. Post in the forum outside the introductions topic. Return a couple times.

Blog about your learning so far, your expectations, the role of social media as you see it at this point.

Create your personal learning journal on the wiki.

(Draw by hand, then scan as a .jpg, or use online concept-mapping media such as or cMap tools or Visual Understanding Environment or Google Docs Drawings for concept maps Part One and Google Drawings for Concept Maps Part Two (and them as a jpgs) to create your own concept map of how you now see the subject matter of this course; use this syllabus as a guide, but don’t copy it, rather try to sketch your own map of the territory. Upload your scan of your hand-drawn map or expert your online map as a .jpeg and upload it to a blog post. You will make another concept map at the end of the quarter, depicting what you will then now know about the subject matter. (See wiki page for actual links)

2 co-learners will sign up for each week via the 2015 learner lecture series wiki page to make a seven-ten minute presentation each week in any medium but PowerPoint about an important idea, issue, question posed by one of the recommended readings. Explain or convince us about why your point is important. This is not a book report. This is an opportunity for learners to teach each other by finding, distilling, and expressing something they, in their informed judgement, think the rest of us would benefit by knowing. At least 1 co-learner should sign up for each week’s co-teaching. Coteaching team for Week Three: meet with me during my office hours next week. Email me to confirm.

Assignments for 1/13-1/20 Esteemed co-learners —

I was pleased with our first full class meeting. Seven is a great number. And I believe we’re off to a great start as a co-learning community.

As I noted, if I was to word it as an “assignment,” I would require you to make two forum posts (not topic threads, but posts to existing threads — although you should feel free to suggest topic threads), two blog posts, two comments on blog posts, two additions to the lexicon (add words, define words, expand definitions, add links, etc). I would prefer to ask you to make excellent conversation and to reflect seriously. Feel free to blog, post, comment as often as you want. I suggest checking the forums and blogs several times a week.

This week’s blog prompts, provided by our excellent first co-teacher:

We need someone to sign up to co-teach on January 27 - “Virtual Community and Real Life” (an opportunity to reshape the syllabus!). I know that everybody has signed up for one. We need someone to sign up for an additional one in this case:

We need someone to sign up for a learner lecture for next Tuesday (“Imagining Community”):

In addition to these regular assignments (I won’t be repeating the above instructions each week), this week:

In addition to your forum contributions, read this about forum discussions. (

Use the forum to decide on group projects by next week: Propose a project in the collaborative projects thread (; discuss and enroll in a project via comments in that thread; one team of three, two teams of two; if students don't self-select teams of two or three, people will be assigned to teams to even up numbers. Refer back to the clusters of questions from the first day for potential project ideas. Links to previous projects:

Start an account on and start tagging social bookmarks for subjects that interest you or for your group projects. Come up with a hashtag for your project and also add comm282 as a hashtag. Read this about social bookmarking:

In addition to whatever else you want to reflect on in your personal learning journal, reflect about the process of self-organizing collaborations, collaborative lexicon-bulding.



Esteemed co-learners —

Let’s see what we can do to bring the forum to life. I’m going to reduce other assignments in order to give you more time to check in to the forum several times during the week, to communicate with your team-mate(s) about your collaborative project. I’ve revised the syllabus to reflect a mix of readings that are about more than multi-tasking. I received zero suggestions for alternative readings. I understand that you are all very busy and have been trained to expect your learning instructions to be detailed by your instructors, but when you get out of school, you are going to be in charge of your own learning. The remaining weeks of this course offer an opportunity to exercise your self-learning muscles. But I can’t do it for you.

Your blog prompt: Look at the image of the community you drew before discussion today as a case study. From the discussion we had today, what traits do you think makes it a community? Do you think social media and modern technology could impact on how your community functions?

And of course that is not all you need to blog about. Use this opportunity.

By next class meeting, your collaborative project team should create a wiki page or other collaborative document. Link to it from here: (congrats Fang, Joe, and Michelle) for getting yours up there already! You should describe your project, keep a record of your discussions about shaping the project, post a charter in which you divide the labor and make individual commitments, decide on milestones. One pitfall to be avoided: when you divide labor, continue to communicate about how to interconnect your efforts so you don’t end up with multiple mini-presentations that are related to each other only by sharing a theme.