Saturday, February 09, 2008

Player Piano

Over on Sivacracy, where I also blog (along with Osocio and Design Your Life), there's been a lot of discussion about why humanities scholars read their papers aloud at conferences, while academics in other disciplines give much more spontaneous presentations. (See part one and part two to get a sense of the exchanges between Siva Vaidhyanathan and Cathy Davidson of HASTAC on the subject.)

Lately, I've seen something even more surreal taking place at academic conferences about digital cultures. Presenters come and just play video in which their argument is presented and supported entirely in edited footage. One of my fellow presenters at AoIR used this technique, and I saw it this weekend at the DIY Summit. Rather than summarize the critique of YouTube as a pedagogical environment that Alexandra Juhasz presents, I would advise you to take her video "tour" and follow her reflections from the inception of a course on YouTube to the playlists with projects, midterms, and finals.

In the Q&A Juhasz emphasized the problem with YouTube's failure to have professional archivists on staff who are indexing visual materials in ways that allow students to access video as well as contextualize it.

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