It’s the end of Network Narratives class. It was possibly one of the most interesting classes that I had a chance to participate in. Originally pitched as a follow-up to Electronic Literature class —which was also quite interesting in its own right, I can safely say that Network Narrative exceeded my expectations. The beginning of the class was focused solely on “the darkness” in social media. Frankly, I had some concerns during the first couple of weeks or so because of that. However, as the class progressed further, most of my worries, if not all, were pretty much diminished. Some particular topics that we examined such as the self-representation online or establishing “digital language” by memes or GIFs were thoroughly fascinating.
In terms of its impact, I believe that my perspective on social media has definitely been shifted. I wouldn’t necessarily claim that it has completely changed but there were some aspects more in the negative side of things for certain. Prior to my participation in Network Narratives, I tried to stay away from social media as much as possible. Even in Electronic Literature class, I only remember using it for once and that was about it. Now, I actually see the potential of social media in many areas such as educational possibilities or its inter-relational features. I’m quite certain that I’ll continue to use my Twitter account for future endeavors.
Looking at the syndicated posts (http://netnarr.arganee.world/author/twodonutsmakeinfinity/), I can see that I managed to keep up with weekly blog assignments. I should probably use the term assignment somewhat loosely here as it felt less like an assignment and more like a personal project of sorts. I genuinely had pleasure in writing blog posts for this class, even more so than the other classes, as they felt completely independent and autonomic. Instead of writing a mere response to something that I had read, I was reflecting on my own thoughts on a specific topic. It was as if I was writing things on my personal blog as a hobby, and it tremendously helped me improve my writing style. I guess freedom is indeed the key.
The highlight of the class in terms of activities was definitely the final project. The idea was implementing pretty much everything that we had learned so far into it and I did my best to accomplish that. Time constraints may have prevented me from utilizing a couple of the ideas that I had but overall I’m happy with how it turned out. Though, I’m probably going to revise some parts of it in the future if it is indeed possible to do so. I had some problems with managing my final project for the Electronic Literature class but I guess it simply served as a practice run because managing the final project here was done more efficiently. Any project that allows me to be creative and experimental is a delight, and the Field Guide project was no exception.
Although I wasn’t as active as I’d like to have been on Twitter, I’m happy to see that I managed to get into the top 10 in “leaders” board (http://daily.arganee.world/leaders/). That’s something. The DDA activities were quite fun and I did enjoy their experimental nature. I had actually submitted a DDA of my own at some point, though I do not believe it got selected. I might have actually found a DDA activity that is too experimental even for Network Narratives class. I believe “it’s the thought that counts” after all; I did submit one even if it didn’t get selected.
The least active aspect of the class for me was the annotations (https://hypothes.is/users/Maltese_Tiger). I tried to annotate whenever I could but it was difficult to comment on most of the articles that I had stumbled upon as they were too short or brief in content, or I was simply lacking anything insightful to add at the time, so I simply moved on. My “alchemist friend”, however, managed to annotate quite a lot for the final project (https://hypothes.is/users/Porter_Phoca). I do not know if it makes up for it or not, but I do believe that annotating for the sake of annotating is not an efficient approach. It’s very similar in how I approach commenting on my colleagues’ blog posts; if I do not have anything insightful or critical (or funny) to add, then I avoid offering comments.
Interestingly, my biggest take-away from this class is witnessing first-hand that it is possible to utilize unconventional pedagogy and achieve a successful outcome. One of the ongoing debates in academia tends to be lack of pedagogical methods, and desire to break away from the traditional ones in order diversify education in general. I believe that this class was a perfect example as to how a modernized method could be utilized and still remain effective. On top of that, the subject matter itself is very important to learn. It might be officially considered an elective class but I would propose making it a requirement at some point. As social media becomes more and more a crucial part of everyday life, awareness of its nature, whether positive or negative, and potentials do need to be instilled in the consciousness of people.
I do hope that the future students of Network Narratives get the same amount of enjoyment that I had. #netnarr lives on.