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Assignment 2: A Personal Cyberinfrastructure

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Read Gardner Campbell’s short article titled “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” Additionally, you will need watch Professor Campbell’s presentation on the topic at the 2009 Open Education Conference called “No More Digital Facelifts: Thinking the Unthinkable About Open Educational Experiences.”

The article and the presentation will serve as a theoretical and practical framework for the work we will be doing over the next 15 weeks, so please take the time to read and watch both carefully—and then blog your response. Tag this assignment “Assignment2” (no quotes).


  1. Jay Mair

    January 11, 2011

    That was an extremely thought provoking discussion for me. At first parts were not making any sense to me and then every now and then something made sense and I could see to the bottom of the pond only to find someone had touched the pond and ripples were clouding my view. The pattern repeated its self, the ripples would stop and I could see clearly until the next ripple started. Digital facelifting certainly was a different way of looking at the way teachers in my sphere move their written hard copy notes to our LMS. Most teachers I work with avoid any interaction online, in preference to talking to them in class when they can. I could only imagine the double-glazed look on their faces if suggestions were made for students to start personalising their learning and assisting in the creation of their own cybersinfrastructure. To imagine students collectively, collaboratively creating, designing, producing their own cyberinfrastructure would send them all to the nut house. How can I influence them? Do I have an online presence? a domain? a cyberinfrastructure. NO, I think I might be nibbling at the edges and at least a little closer to that bag of gold but not nearly close enough. I really like the analogy of the alphabet and cyberinfrastructure. Without the alphabet I cannot create words that allow me to communicate to others. At present I am like a small child struggling to master the cyberinfrastructure that I feel I need to successfully communicate to students in the future. – Assignment 1

  2. Sarah Parlett

    January 21, 2012

    I thourghly enjoyed Gardner Cambell’s “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure” article. It makes a lot of sense and is an interesting approach to taking the initiative of interacting online. Now a days, kids have grown up on the world wide web, from social networking not only for friends but to find love, as well as through school. Who writes papers anymore? Everything is done on a computer with much of our knowledge found through the internet. The idea of cyberinfastructer is a great way to not only let students be creative and learn but by producing something that identifies themselves is a huge learning experience much needed for the future. Many people are not technology savvy; I being one of them. By creating my own domain I am learning how to find help on my own through tutorials, about the alphabet where I can more readily communicate with others, how to best search for information and so much more.

    • cogdog

      January 25, 2012

      Hopefully you mean that the notion of a traditional paper is passeé there is still much to be said for writing, and thatbisceven more important in this Internet age; even things produced as media have a start in the planning stage as writing.

  3. Reverend

    January 21, 2012

    Good for you, you;re ahead of the game. Gardner’s talk is in many ways the inspiration for ds106 as a course. And his insistence on pushing students to consider these spaces as personal, creative domains is extremely seminal for just about everything great that has come out of this course. Now you are ahea of the rest of us, which rocks for you. And some good news is that Gardner will be with us live streaming next Thursay to talk to us about these ideas an much more so stay tuned.

  4. Abbie Boaduwa Yirrah

    January 22, 2012

    “Digital Facelift” sounds like a slap in the face, when higher education thinks it is making “progress”, Campbell is quick to say oh no! that isn’t what progress is about, this is is just a mere “facelift”. This essay was an interesting read, for one thing, Campbell did mention some key points that are worth pondering over. The idea of students building their own personal cyber infrastructure that extends to their life after college is note worthy, not only do they acquire technical skills and engage in knowledge transfer in a digital world, but they are also able to network with folks all over the world, while sharing and acquiring knowledge from other minds other than theirs. Students directing, and managing their own lives whiles learning through the process sounds like exactly what the IT world needs for a complete revolution. Campbell’s vision of a world where students, faculty and staff collaborate to learn new technology and its application is also noteworthy. He says and I quote “Like the students, faculty and staff must awaken their own self efficacy within the myriad creative possibilities that emerge from the new web”.

    By the way, isnt teaching students at an early stage to be technologically equipped another way of making them so reliant on technology, that they will almost get to the point where they can’t do without? Then what happens?. My biggest critique of this essay will be that he is proposing a world where only virtual communication exists, Campbell automatically assumes that all students, faculty and staff have access to the kind of technology he is proposing. Scenario, what happens if we go along with Campbell’s proposal, we all wake up one day and technology is gone, systems are permanently shut down, and data is lost forever, how does the world start over? Is it then that we start implementing plan B? and is there even a plan B. Reading this over a hot cup of tea, I obviously felt Campbell’s passion for a more technologically advanced world, however, it is almost as if he refuses to acknowledge that with the advancement of technology comes a whole host of issues, some of which are yet to be solved, why then compound the situation? Believe it or not, I am not against technology or its advancements, am all for it. Its just scary how much we are becoming so reliant on it that we are literally not pursuing other means of communication in the educational systems and even in our personal lives.

    Take a look at Campbell’s proposal, if faculty and students are communicating through the web, what is the point of office hours? If anyone of you readers is anything like me, there have been instances where I have exchanged emails with Professors and there has been miscommunication on both parts, I go in to talk to them during office hours and problem is solved within a matter of minutes. What I would suggest is some sort of balance, while we are educating ourselves on the latest technology and finding ways and means for faculty, staff and students to communicate, let us explore avenues means as well. We need to get a point where even without technology, we can function and be content with our modus operandi. I am not suggesting that we make technology secondary, it could still be primary but not take center stage in our lives, its all about finding that balance. We should be using technology and not the other way round. Its all about finding that balance, Good essay though, read it a couple of times and it still intrigues me each time I read.

    • cogdog

      January 25, 2012

      Abbie, you have given this some thought, and as having done this before, you are now adding to your cyber infrastructure, I wonder if you could share in class tonight what that has meant, if anything.

      As a colleague of Gardner’s I can say he is not advocating a full technology immersion for everyone at the expense of the real world interactions. He is one of the most gifted teachers and brings tht passion in person. He is not suggesting replace everything with technology, but augmenting.

  5. Matt Patterson

    January 29, 2012

    I think what was really interesting was Gardner’s idea of cyber infrastructure in relationship to higher education. The picture he painted towards the end where everyone has their own digital space to post, cultivate and learn was great. The education system is broken today. Too many students go in and out without ever contributing or picking up anything that is worthwhile. Forcing or allowing students to have and maintain a cyber infrastructure would make each student appreciate fully the education process in its modern form. They would be in effect responsible for what they gain in their education at a four year institution.

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