Alan Levine of the New Media Consortium recently hosted a Connect@NMC session with our TLISI 2009 featured speaker Michael Wesch, an anthropologist who studies the impact of new media on society and culture. Wesch and his Digital Ethnography students from Kansas State University explained how their class is structured — first of all, it’s not a class but a research group, and rather than a syllabus, they follow a research schedule which is editable by members of the group. Using Netvibes, Yahoo! Pipes, Diigo, and Google Docs to keep track of their work, the members cooperate to research, discuss, and develop a project with the working title of “The Fight for Significance in the Age of the Microcelebrity: Anonymity, Anonymous, Smart Mobs, Mad Mobs, Bot Mobs and the Great American Poets.” Their efforts will culminate in a group paper and collaboratively edited video.
As the researchers write on Wesch’s blog, the aim of such an intensely collaborative undertaking is to “see all the big ideas we have entertained throughout the semester coming together to create something beyond that which any single one of us could have created.”