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Weekend Reading: Goodbye March Edition

I’ve been exchanging emails with a lot of fellow academics this week and we’ve commiserated over the difficulty of March. Whether you were on spring break or not, there’s something about this month and its placement in the already-fast spring semester that I always find dizzying. Here’s a few links to reading while catching one’s breath this weekend:

  • The University of Guelph Library is making fun use of one of my favorite tools, Twine, for a short interactive experience “Manage Your Research: EndNote, Zotero and More.” It’s a fun way to narrow down choices for handling bibliographies, particularly if you’re looking for new software scoped appropriately to your project, and it’s an interesting example of using the hypertext format to provide choice-based advice.

  • Joshua Eyler’s piece in Inside Higher Ed, “Against Student Shaming,” is a response to several recent pieces discussing some of the difficulties in teaching that center on students: “Our students are human beings. They deserve to be treated as human beings, with empathy and positive regard for what they may be going through. That does not mean that we abandon our standards or that student accountability should take a backseat. But it does mean that, before we blame or shame them, we could at least try to find out what is driving their behavior.”

  • Legislation this week on internet privacy is poised to impact all of us who rely on the web for life and business. Klint Finley at Wired takes a look at how to respond in “VPNs Won’t Save You From Congress’ Internet Privacy Giveaway:” “you’ll need to take your online privacy into your own hands. Several technical workarounds—especially virtual private networks, or VPNs—will return some semblance of control to you, the internet user. But even these solutions are far from perfect. When it comes to privacy, tech can help. But it doesn’t take the place of having the law on your side.”

  • Lee Rainie, Janna Anderson, and Jonathan Albright published a useful new report from the Pew Research Center this week on “The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online:” “A share of these experts predict that greater regulation of speech and the implementation of reputation systems, required identification, and other technological solutions to curb harassment and trolling will result in more surveillance and censorship. They expect that this could change many people’s sharing behaviors online as they try to protect their privacy, limiting their contributions and stifling free speech. They also expect that widespread identity provision could shift the balance of power even more toward governments and corporations at the expense of citizens as the prospect of anonymous speech fades.”

  • Jessa Lingel has shared a free excerpt from her upcoming MIT Press book Digital Countercultures and the Struggle for Community: “This book offers alternative narratives of increasingly common technologies as a way of expanding our ideas about who uses the Internet and how countercultural communities develop practices that help them to sustain their group ethics and identities. By looking at countercultural experiences with digital technologies, I compare the imagined uses of the web to the lived and often messy practicalities, explore how experiences of otherness shape uses of and relationships to technology, and investigate the roles that are played by social media platforms in fostering (or fragmenting) community.”

Have a great weekend!

Little girl in the big world.Ginger flickr photo by aistekanc shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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