digital culture

ModPo overview

The final enrollment in this free, 10-week noncredit course on modern and contemporary American poetry was 42,523 in the fall of 2012, and 38,150 in the fall of 2013. Contributions to the discussion forums were read (well, viewed) 957,000 times in 2012. Video recordings of collaborative close readings of poems were viewed nearly a half million times in ten weeks (in '12 and '13 each). The course site remains open for those enrolled for another nine months. Here are some links:

1. ModPo home page (enrollments for September-November 2014 now being accepted)
2. participant reviews (CourseTalk site)
3. Facebook group: ongoing, although the course has officially ended
4. a blog created by ModPo’ers: to continue post-ModPo
5. a blogroll of ModPo students’ post-ModPo blogs
6. introductory video
7. twitter feed, ModPoPenn (ongoing)
8. ModPo YouTube channel (includes recordings of live webcast sessions)
9. blog review/update
10. another blog review
11. another blog review
12. another review
13. another review

Our nonbiological thinking

Ray Kurzweil

The “Age of Spiritual Machines” guy, Ray Kurzweil, came to Philadelphia three years after that book had come out and gave a talk to the otherwise dull two-day conference sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Kurzweil is never dull, though. Even a routine account of his presence at that 2003 confab published in the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests the sort of things — e.g. machines that wrote poems — this always-ahead-of-his-time fellow had in mind. “Our biological thinking is fixed. But our nonbiological thinking will grow exponentially.”

The end of books in 1992

From Robert Coover’s "The End of Books" (June 21, 1992, NYT):

As Carolyn Guyer and Martha Petry put it in the opening “directions” to their hypertext fiction "Izme Pass," which was published (if "published" is the word) on a disk included in the spring 1991 issue of the magazine Writing on the Edge: “This is a new kind of fiction, and a new kind of reading. The form of the text is rhythmic, looping on itself in patterns and layers that gradually accrete meaning, just as the passage of time and events does in one's lifetime. Trying the textlinks embedded within the work will bring the narrative together in new configurations, fluid constellations formed by the path of your interest. The difference between reading hyperfiction and reading traditional printed fiction may be the difference between sailing the islands and standing on the dock watching the sea. One is not necessarily better than the other.”

Here's the link to Coover’s article.

Scholarly uses of recordings of poets performing their poetry

A PennSound bibliography

Below is a partial list of articles that make explicit use of PennSound material (prepared by Charles Bernstein):

Christine Hume, Improvisational Insurrection: The Sound Poetry of Tracie Morris, Contemporary Literature, Volume 47, Number 3, Fall 2006, pp. 415-439 (Article)

Hank Lazer, “Is There a Distinctive Jewish Poetics? Several? Many?: Is There Any Question?” Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Volume 27, Number 3, Spring 2009, pp. 72-90 (Article) [At left: Photo of Hank Lazer reading at California State University at San Marcos, October 2008.]

Andy Weaver, Promoting “a community of thoughtful men and women”: Anarchism in Robert Duncan’s Ground Work Volumes
ESC: English Studies in Canada, Volume 34, Issue 4, December 2008, pp. 71-95 (Article)

Charles Bernstein, Objectivist Blues: Scoring Speech in Second-Wave Modernist Poetry and Lyrics: American Literary History, Volume 20, Number 1-2, Spring/Summer 2008, pp. 346-368 (Article)

digital monastery

Justin McDaniel, a member of the faculty here at Penn, has created a virtual archive of Thai Buddhist materials. It's called The Thai Digital Monastery and the web site is lovely--and shows the potential of this project as a virtual archive of far-off materials.

on the institutionalization of e-poetry & related topics

1. Al Filreis, "Sounds at an Impasse," Wallace Stevens Journal, special sound issue edited by Natalie Gerber, Spring 2009, pp. 16-23. [link]

2. Al Filreis, "Kinetic Is as Kinetic Does: On the Institutionalization of Digital Poetry," in New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories, ed. Adelaide Morris and Thomas Swiss (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), pp. 123-140.

Teaching in the "New Media" classroom

In the "is it worth it?" department

Despite great claims made for the introduction of computer and other new-media hardware and software into the classroom, and huge expenditures made by colleges and universities, 60% of the undergraduate students surveyed for a 2007 report by the Educause Center for Applied Research said that they disagreed with the statement, “I am more engaged in courses that use technology.”* The issue, of course, is not whether we should be equipping our classrooms with the necessary current tools; we should. No the issue is whether teachers feel that in such a setting the box marked "learners' engagement" has been checked.

“The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2007,” September 12, 2007, educause.edu/ir/library.

Online Advising

Screenshot from Action News story on online advising, 1999.

In 1999 I was interviewed for the local television news (Channel 6, an ABC affiliate in Philly) about the online pre-freshman advising course I was teaching. Here is the recording.

The prof you know personally

Social media Henny-Pennyism comes to the university

John Housman playing a crusty old-school law prof on TV. Not much chance of friending or following him.

A year ago (3/20/08) I wrote this:

In today's NYT “Thursday Styles” section the lead story, under a huge photo of a famous crusty TV law prof, is a story about “the professor as open book.’ Wow! News! Now students and others can discover their professors' red wine preferences, their favorite films, their social-networking profiles, “friend” them. Or not — or not — if the academic in question does not choose to put such stuff up, which is most often the case, even at this late date into the internet age. So what really is the story here? The key perhaps is where the story runs: the “Style” section, not the higher-ed page/half-page in the main first section. This story befits the My Space/You Tube/no-one-is-private-anymore craze and has nothing to do with academics or education or the professoriat per se.

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