[CITASA] are you teaching "It's Complicated"?

danah boyd danah-asa at danah.org
Tue Aug 12 08:26:07 EDT 2014


This is exactly the kind of reality check that I was hoping for.  It's hard from a single university perspective to get a broad sense of the economic logic of college students writ large but I too noticed that students rarely bought the books (diligent ones scrambled for library copies) and, often, didn't even buy the course reader. One of the main reasons that I wanted my book to be 100% freely available was because I wanted anyone with an interest to be able to read it.  But I've run into interesting barriers around this so far. Even though the free copy is available online, universities don't accept CC licenses when producing course packets which means they use the physical (and pay the royalties, increasing the costs).  And faculty often assign the book in a way that requires the purchase of it. (I was originally just going to ask for syllabi to see if y'all pointed to the URL but then I tipped my hat.)

I wrote this book to be read, not purchased. But, obviously, I have to play nice with my lovely publisher who has been amazing to me.

As for David's question, I also wrote it to be read in chunks, knowing fully well that different chunks could easily be assigned to a classroom.  For example, the chapter on "Privacy" and the chapter called "Inequality" are the two that I wrote with an eye towards undergraduate classroom assignments because these chapters help provide context for youth (and, truthfully, adult) practices in ways that can prompt good discussions.  Each chapter is stand-alone (although the Intro does pull it together). Of course, y'all will have to tell me if I'm successful on that front.

Also, since a few people privately asked where the free copy is, it's off my website. But here's a direct link: http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf

danah


On Aug 11, 2014, at 1:58 PM, David Nemer <dnemer at indiana.edu> wrote:

> Good points Karine.
> 
> I echo your guys' thought. Although I'm just a PhD candidate / TA, the engagements with the readings usually take place in our discussion sessions, and as far my experience goes, trying to get undergrads to read is really hard. Buying the books has never been a problem to them, and now with e-books embedded in the University's academic systems (Blackboard, OnCourse), most of the time the students don't have a way out.
> 
> I've had a couple of good experiences. One with a text book in which the publisher provided a series of videos and multimedia quizzes that coupled well with the book. The down side of that approach is if the instructor relies too much on it, then it won't leave much space for her / his teaching. The other good experience has been with my own book, in which I provided the students with free e-copies. Since I knew the material well (and had already in my mind how to use it in class) and the book was heavily based on engaging photos and short text, then I was able to get the students to read it.
> 
> With that said, danah, as you were writing / designing your book, did you ever think about how you would teach your book to undergrads or about how you'd advise others on how to embed your book in their lectures?
> 
> Cheers,
> --
> David Nemer
> PhD Candidate in Social Informatics
> School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University
> Author of "Favela Digital: The other side of technology" - http://favela-digital.com
> Editor of the Social Informatics Blog - http://socialinformaticsblog.com
> http://www.dnemer.com
> 
> 
> On Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 11:10 PM, Karine Nahon <karineb at uw.edu> wrote:
> Thanks Gina and danah for starting this stimulating conversation. 
> 
> In general, I don't assign monographs/books to students (undergrad and grad), but give them a list of articles/chapters from books for 3 reasons:
> 1. An ideological reason -  I believe that we (as teachers) should allow students free and open access as possible to materials. It will help to minimize some economic gaps that exist among students. 
> 2. A fabric of articles and chapters tailored for the purpose of the course, would suit the different teaching styles and goals that different teachers have.
> 2. Finally, in many cases I find that one monograph/book doesn't cover all the complex facets of phenomena I teach. It is much more easier to get a more comprehensive picture by using articles with different narratives/writers/paradigms, and at the same time, it allows a better basis for academic debates on these topics.
> 
> Karine
> 
> Karine Nahon/Associate Professor/Information School/University of Washington/Author of Going Viral/eKarine.org
> 
> On Aug 11, 2014, at 2:21 AM, Gina Neff wrote:
> 
> Replying to the whole list on this one: I’ve noticed quite a bit of push-back recently on buying monographs. For years, I’ve had an informal policy of assigning at least one monograph for each of my large undergraduate courses (and many of you have been the beneficiaries of this). But a recent experience with an “instructional designer” for an online course left me a bit sour – she said that students are not buying even inexpensive monographs for the online courses and balk at paying Amazon, itunes etc for a copy of a movie. Overall course material costs have plummeted – students no longer pay for course packs. But still I’m feeling a weird pressure to keep the monetary cost at zero. Anybody else?
>  
> Gina
>  
> Dr. Gina Neff
> Associate Professor, Department of Communication
> University  of Washington
>  
> Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study
> Central European University
>  
> Twitter: @ginasue
> http://ginaneff.com/
>  
> Author, Venture Labor: Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries
>  
>  
> From: CITASA [mailto:citasa-bounces at list.citasa.org] On Behalf Of danah boyd
> Sent: Monday, August 11, 2014 2:13 AM
> To: citasa at list.citasa.org
> Subject: [CITASA] are you teaching "It's Complicated"?
>  
> Many of you have mentioned in passing that you're teaching my new book in your fall classes (*thank you*!!!).  If you are, I was wondering if you'd be willing to send me a copy of your syllabus?  One other question: If you are teaching my book, are you encouraging students to buy it or are you sending them to the free version?  (I'm fine either way but, as you can imagine, folks are asking me how giving away my book is impacting classroom adoption and I have _zero_ clue.)
> 
> danah
> 
> ------
> 
> My New Book: "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens" 
> 
> "taken out of context / i must seem so strange" -- ani 
> http://www.danah.org/  || @zephoria
>  
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------

My New Book: "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens" 

"taken out of context / i must seem so strange" -- ani 
http://www.danah.org/  || @zephoria

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