Purpose: Creating a Community

Media Reform, and its sister Media Justice, henceforth labeled as media democratization movements, are collaborative, often grass-roots-driven and networked communities.

A part of the learning experience is us building a virtual learning community, together. That requires “activism” from all of us: Regular and timely participation. At the same time, that allows us to collaborate, discuss, and debate in ways and with platforms that are not always a part of a conventional academic curriculum.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 8.02.25 AMThis blog is the main virtual meeting place for us.

Philosophy: Participation

To set the tone and goals for our course:

For decades already, we have recognized that social sciences (or any academic discipline) are not purely “objective”. First, as for example Em Griffin so poignantly states in his overview book of communication theories, most theories can be positioned on a scale between a descriptive (what he labels “objective”) and an interpretative approach.

Secondly, any decision for topics, methods, or theories is a choice.  And, the results of even the most “scientific” experiments will need to be interpreted, connected with contexts.

Finally, it could be argued that much of social scientific and communication/media research, in a broad sense, has to do with social justice, democracy, common understanding, communities.

Yet, as professionals and scholars we have learned to contextualize our research and position ourselves as “objective” observers.  Also, scholarly work, especially after undergraduate studies, is often individual-oriented. We might even envy activists, politicians, journalists, and fiction writers for their ability to express their ideas with less reserve; and for their ability to affiliate themselves with different communities. Debates and communities academic surely exist, but their contexts  seem more implicit and muted in university settings.

Now it is your chance to earn credits by being engaged, opinionated, interested and curious, even provocative, deliberative. Think of us as a learning community inspired by Socrates: We learn through honest, open, constructive (yet always mindful and compassionate) dialogue and debate.

Netiquette: Be Cool and Play Nice

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 8.06.57 AMOur task is two-fold: (1) To engage, individually, in high-quality academic work; and (2) to participate in creating an inspiring, thriving on-line learning community.

You will be asked to write a “conventional” academic assignment (more in segment Syllan). But your weekly task is to interact by blogging or in other online platforms  (commenting posts and other comments, doing other related assignments) here.

As blogging for a course may be new to some of us, here’s the Netiquette for this blog:

  • Create entries that you yourself can subscribe to.
  • Use text, but when appropriate, feel free to do a video blog, post pictures and links…
  • Think of blogs that you find interesting, informative, and engaging. Use them as models for your writing, i.e., treat your blog entries as any other similar blogged communication.
  • Comment, state your opinions, share new information, link, network, challenge, agree, argue, justify. Be concise, short and sweet (and sometimes funny, possibly!).
  • Think about the purpose of the blog: to co-learn. Respond to the lecture questions, based on the readings and other related insights; add your own spin.
  • Keep the schedule. It is easy to fall back on assignments. Make a habit to quickly review the new briefing/assignment when it is posted and then schedule a time to complete it. You have all week.
  • Your participation will be assessed QUANTITATIVELY (how much), but also QUALITY (interest, enthusiasm, and engagement in topics and others’ comments, new information, connections between theory and praxis, readings and current world affairs, and so on) matters equally much. As they say re: Vimeo comments: Be cool and play nice!

Privacy: Never Compromised

Finally: Just as we use this open access and open source platform to match our theme, we also respect our privacy as collaborators. All platforms we will use will be free, but also accessible for you without publicly revealing your personal information.

  • Although this blog is public — everyone can learn about our engaged scholarship — you can choose any screen name you like for your comments. Just log in with your address so I, the administrator, can recognize you. No one else will see that email address.
  • The first time you comment here I need to approve your comment before it is published. Please be patient: I might not be online when you are. If you have not seen your comment within 24 hours, send me an email.
  • Once your email address has been approved, once, you can post comments and they will appear immediately. (This process is designed to avoid spam.)
  • Here is the comment form that appears when you click “comment”:



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