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August 2, 2006

Fall Teaching Topics

I'm still in the earliest stages of thinking about my freshman composition classes this fall. I know that the course will focus on digital media topics, but beyond that most basic framework and a few specific themes, I'm still thinking about specifics. With that in mind, I'll likely be pointing to articles, blog entries, and online videos that seem to raise useful questions. Given that I'm teaching the section of composition that focuses on the research paper, I do think it's worth spending some time discussing both the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia with my students, a topic that Alex addresses in some detail in relationship to Stephen Colbert's coining of the term "wikiality," although I think Alex's more important point probably pertains to what he calls Wikipedia's "lumpiness," its tendency to place more emphasis on current events topics.

I'd also like to spend some time talking with my students about issues of copyright and YouTube offers an interesting case for discussion, as Bob Cringley points out (thanks to Agnes for the link). Cringly notes that while filmmakers who post to YouTube retain ownership of that material, YouTube's license "explicitly gives them the right to do whatever they want with your video. They say they don't have the rights to sell users' content, but the wording says otherwise and there's nothing in the license to prohibit them from doing so." Cringley also speculates about why people feel compelled to post video to YouTube, a question I want to raise as well. I'm sure there isn't an easy (or single) answer to this question, which will hopefully make it an interesting topic to address with students.

Posted by chuck at August 2, 2006 1:38 PM

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