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Taking a Breath(er)

It’s been a crazy week. Add to that the announcement we received just an hour or two before our first online (only) class:

We all know now that we will be an “online-only” class for the remainder of the semester. As I said during our class meeting, although the news is hard to take, I do think it is better to know this certainty as we move forward, rather than wading in the dark about when our return to campus might be.

It was so good to see you all on-screen, to speak a bit about the challenges we face and the fears that might be creeping up on us, and to just generally share our perspectives.

Professor Levine and I had a plan for our first onscreen class, but we switched it up before we all met together with the understanding that we would all need to share how it is going as a first priority. I want to reiterate here that we will take it step-by-step, trying new things and pacing ourselves in a way that seems fitting under the circumstances. I want to remind you all that you can always reach out to Professor Levine and me about your learning process and any support you might need. Please just email the two of us directly and we can set up an appointment for any concern you might have moving forward. In addition, we have set up the #netnarr Slack channel that you all have access to now as a more “private” backchannel. Since you won’t be able to gather for the rest of this Spring in your classrooms, the hallways, CAS 314, the Library, or other campus spots like Barnes & Noble or Starbucks, at least you have a virtual space for now just to share/vent/amuse/connect. I encourage everyone to use it, and I think you will find it can be a playful place to convene and support each other.

As we mentioned both before the break (and also on-screen recently), our class was scheduled for an approach “shift” anyway, in the sense that we were looking towards the close of student presentations and the longer theory readings (Ryan will be the last presentation on either April 2, or April 9). And we will start to look ahead to the storytelling emphasis of our class.

Your to-do list:

-If you would like to share some thoughts or add to your earlier thoughts on the Zuboff readings for this coming week, please do so in your blog for next Thursday. Patricia will walk us through her presentation of this material when we meet on-screen at 4:30 pm.

-In addition, please watch the short film (11 minutes) called Frames. This film is a part of a series of three short films produced as part of an international multiphase project on Big Data Surveillance, by the Surveillance Studies Centre. The short films are intended as public education tools to spark discussion and extend understandings of surveillance, trust, and privacy in the digital age, and each film focuses on a different aspect of big data surveillance and the tensions that manifest when the human is interpreted by the machine. Frames exposes the problems in trusting sensor data and facial recognition to interpret human behavior. Any thoughts about the short film can be reflective material for your blog this week.

-You are also welcome to write a blog about how you have been coping with learning from home and online and/or your general concerns and thoughts about life in the time of this pandemic.

A final note as we move forward, slowly but surely:

As you know, our Net Mirror course theme is the examination of life online as we examine issues of digital citizenship, participatory culture, networked learning, and identity in the digital age. Who knew we find ourselves in this kind of situation? It seems to me that COVID-19, and the upending of everything as we know it, is a fitting (and challenging) backdrop to our overall inquiry. ….So… let our future storytelling, and the synthesis of how we must now hang on through-and-with technology, lead us to wisdom and truth about the time we are living in.

Thinking of all of you with concern and support.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora

2 replies on “Taking a Breath(er)”

We all appreciate you both so much. We can’t adequately put it into words. Thank you for your guidance, support and leadership. It has been exemplary! Salute, pace e Gioia to all (health, peace & joy).

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