The ds106 assignment for this previous week was to read O’Reilly’s “What Is Web 2.0?”, Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine’s “Web 2.0 Storytelling: The Emergence of a New Genre”, and Seven Things You Should Know about Creative Commons.
First off, for most of higher ed, the term web 2.0 is still some strange ideal that is being chased while the rest of the world has moved past it. I was really struck by the undergrads taking ds106 declaring that the term web 2.0 was meaningless to them as they have only known web 2.0. They were too young to have used web 1.0.
As a person who works in higher ed central IT and manages or is otherwise involved in running various participatory platforms, what really came out to me reading O’Reilly’s piece this time was the confluence of technical architectures and architectures of participation. It almost as if when everyone is coming together to create and own something together, the platform itself needs to be flexible enough to be a participant as well.
Then there is this nugget from Levine/Alexander Web 2.0 Storytelling:
A single course blog, for instance, tells the class “story.” Considering the course blog as a narrative project, an instructor thinks not in terms of producing static content but instead in terms of capturing an audience, of adding an emotional hook to the content. Lecturers are familiar with telling stories as examples, as a way to get a subject across. They end discussions with a chal- lenging question and create characters to embody parts of content (political actors, scientists, composite types). Imagine applying those habits to a class Twitter feed or Facebook group.
This is what I try to convey to faculty who want to create a class blog. The fact is that everyone has to be working together to create a whole. The blog is not just a dropbox to dump the same old assignments. And the narrative isn’t linear either. There are many ways to approach it.
One timeline follows blog posts in chronological order. Another follows comments to a single post. A third follows links between posts, such as when the author refers to an earlier situation or references an old joke. Web 2.0 creators have many options about the paths to set before their users. Web 2.0 storytelling can be fully hypertextual in its multilinearity. At any time, the audi- ence can go out of the bounds of the story to research information (e.g., checking names in Google searches or looking for background information in Wikipedia). Often, the paths do not necessarily follow routes and destinations entirely generated by the story’s creator. User generated content is a key element of Web 2.0 and can often enter into these stories.
“User generated content is key” – When thinking of a course, it might say “student generated content is key.”
I don’t mean to connect all my thoughts on the ds106 course readings to education, but that is the prism through which I see the world. It is also the prism through which the authors of these readings early in the course (Levine, Alexander, Campbell) are seeing the world.
I’m sick of typing words right now, so let me conclude with my video: