Invention, curriculum, and digital humanities

In the humanities’ ongoing struggle to find its way back to wherever the students are (or lead the students back from wherever they are), one of the more written about tactics involves the digital humanities. Basically the premise is that many students are STEM focused, so connecting with more technical matters is a way to…

What does/would “data rhetoric” look like?

This is something of a follow-up on my last post, where I concluded by suggesting that we might need a “data humanities” and a “data rhetoric” that paralleled the emergence of data science. I should probably say first that I don’t mean this as a replacement for terms like digital rhetoric or digital humanities. It’s…

designing rhetorical technologies of deliberation

An interesting article in The Atlantic, “The Binge Breaker,” discusses the challenges of ethical design for social media, smartphones, and related technologies. The article focuses on familiar and widespread experiences in digital culture: its addictive qualities and attentional demands. It is no surprise that devices and apps are built with the express purpose of attracting user attention: “the digital…

sharing and caring in the social web

In the nightmarish scene below, a purple dinosaur commands that you “share your stuff:” If you are of a certain generation, younger than I (or parents of that generation), then the refrain that “sharing is caring” might be echoing through your skull. In the world of Fb, of course, sharing takes on a whole new…

what if wolves and elephants were writing students?

Despite the title, this isn’t really about animal rhetoric, instead a video and a recent article about evolution. The video below explains how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park not only altered the ecosystem but the physical geography. (Spoiler: wolves chased the deer out of certain areas of the park, allowing for trees and…

Brain to brain communication and the (new) materiality of thought

Brain-to-brain communication is probably something you’ve encountered in the news in the last year or so. We’ve seen things such as monkeys controlling robotic arms with their thoughts, paralyzed humans moving themselves with the aid of an exoskeleton, and recently experiments in communication between two people and linking rat brains together to create an organic computer….

rhetoric, the humanities, and service departments

MLA’s Profession has a interesting new article by Christopher Newfield: “The Humanities as Service Departments: Facing the Budget Logic.” I recommend that you read it, but I will give a brief summary here. Using the examples of SUNY Albany’s closure of language programs and Middlesex’s closure of its philosophy department, Newfield investigates and critiques the budgetary…

finally, robotic beings rule the world

Last week in The Guardian Evan Selinger and Brett Frischmann ask, “Will the internet of things result in predictable people?” As the article concludes, Alan Turing wondered if machines could be human-like, and recently that topic’s been getting a lot of attention. But perhaps a more important question is a reverse Turing test: can humans become machine-like…

What If? Special Higher Education Issue

Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris at Hybrid Pedagogy ask “Imagine that no educational technologies had yet been invented — no chalkboards, no clickers, no textbooks, no Learning Management Systems, no Coursera MOOCs. If we could start from scratch, what would we build?” As the image here suggests, this reminds me of the What If? Marvel comics. The ones…

speaking truth to Twitter

To be clear, Twitter has many possible uses, its primary one probably being making money, but, of course, its users, including me, put it to work in a variety of ways. It seems in the last year or two many academics have discovered Twitter (in much the same way that Columbus discovered America). And among…