Reading Review and Journal (for February 24th)


1. Topic for your final Paper

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
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How Google is making us brilliant; how Google, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other tools like these will allow us all to achieve higher collective intelligence on several layers and at several axes.

2. Thesis for your final paper. It is the central idea you would like to present in your final paper. The more specific the better. Please make sure to demonstrate how your thesis is related to the Internet and digital media convergence concepts, theories, or models we have covered in our class.

Google provides an interface to a growing collection of collective knowledge, which with proper training, can be tapped efficiently to help solve any problem that has been previously solved and shared. Twitter allows you to ask the world a question, and get 1,000 answers in an instant. Facebook allows for us all to interconnect on a visual verbal basis, actively or passively, allowing for a more comprehensive look at each other’s (constructed) profiles and provides a way to grasp deeper socio-emotional connections with others. Blogs allow us to quickly produce our own pieces of collective intelligence, feeding Google all the while, providing new fodder for Facebook and Twitter, and generally increasing the amount of known published knowledge with each post.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
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3. Two articles (academic or professional) that you would like to use in your paper.

Ivana Marenzi, Elena Demidova, & Wolfgang Nejdl. (2008, June 30). DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from

L. Johnson, A. Levine, & R. Smith. (n.d.). 2009 Horizon Report. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from

Readwriteweb, S. P. (2009, January 30). How to Friend Mom, Dad, and the Boss on Facebook…Safely. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from

Stone, B., & Stelter, B. (2009, February 19). Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from

4. Brief summary of the two articles.

LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning provides a theoretical framework that focuses on the sublime ability for social networks and technology services to enhance learning. This article brings to light some of the ways in which social networks can be particularly utilized in supporting and enhancing teaching and learning. This is in stark contrast to the idea promoted in “Is Google Making us Stupid?”

The 2009 Horizon Report is a yearly prediction of the ways in which current and emerging technologies will affect teaching, learning, and society in general. It is a strikingly accurate and thoroughly enjoyable read for a technologist who has faith in the ways in which technology can help us change for the better.

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The two New York Times articles focus on Facebook. One describes best practices for information sharing for the new user, how to avoid the pitfalls of sharing the wrong information or sharing it in the wrong way. The other article speaks about the recent flap in which Facebook changed its terms of service (TOS) to indicate that the content that users add to the system belonged solely to the company forever. A blog post on The Consumerist brought the change light and public scrutiny, and Facebook quickly reverted to its previous TOS language. This speaks to the concepts of collective intelligence, bottom up media vs. top down media, information ownership, and others that help define Digital media convergence.

5. Brief discussion about how the two articles are related to your thesis.

The LearnWeb 2.0 article shows a framework that could potentially exemplify my thesis that learning is enhanced and magnified with the proper application of Social networking tools.

The 2009 Horizon Report defines a long list of technologies and the ways in which they will theoretically affect learning spaces, learners, teaching, distance learning, mobile learners, portable media in learning, and other aspects of gathering and gaining intelligence.

An example of a social network diagram.
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The two New York Times articles on Facebook will help to bring to light issues regarding the broad increase in information sharing and the relevant importance of guiding new users to use the systems properly. It also helps to show the blurry line that exists between producer, consumer, content owner, intellectual property owner, and privacy in the shared online space.

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Seal of the United States Equal Employment Opp...
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Dr. Ebo asked us to give two specific examples of discriminatory practice related to the following types, using the EEOC web site as a guide.

Age: An employer who chooses one employee over another equally qualified employee for a job based on their age would be in violation of discrimination laws. If an employee decided to reduce benefits to an employee based on the idea that advanced age was causing more frequent insurance claims, they would be in violation of discrimination laws.

Disability: An employer who decided to fire a secretary who was recently diagnosed with legal blindness, but who was still able to perform basic job duties would be in violation. An employer who refused to install a ramp for an employee who became wheelchair ridden in a car accident would likely be in violation, if the install of the ramp was an affordable expense to the business and would not bring undue hardship. Disability Discrimination

Equal Compensation: Two persons doing the same job who are of equal skills, effort, and responsibility, etc. but who were given different pay or benefits would put the employer in violation. If an older construction worker and a younger construction worker both do a similar job, but the employer sees the older employee as an insurance risk for that reason alone, they can not simply reduce benefits based upon that belief. Equal Pay and Compensation Discrimination

National Origin: If an employer hires one person over another because both they and the new employee were both of German descent, the employer would be in violation. If an employer set an employee of a particular national origin to a task that they felt matched some national association with that task (a Chinese American to do an accountancy task, for example, playing on the stereotype) they would be in violation. National Origin Discrimination

Pregnancy: An employer who discovers that a suitable candidate for employment is pregnant can not dismiss her from consideration based on the fact that she’s pregnant. If an employer typically allows an employee to enjoy a benefit whle on leave, they must provide the same benefit to an employee who is away because of a pregnancy.   Pregnancy Discrimination

Race: An employer must not give preferential treatment or a difference of responsibility, etc., based on racial differences. If a boss were to choose a caucasian worker over a hispanic worker to manage a project because they believe that caucasians are more responsible than other races, they would be in violation.  Race-Based Discrimination

Religion: If a employer were to choose a Christian over an atheist for a job because they felt the job required a moral compass and the atheist would be less likely to be morally complete, they would be in violation. If a Christian employer were to only ever promote people who noticeably prayed they would be in violation. Religious Discrimination

Retaliation: An employer who demotes an employee as retaliation for reporting a discrimination violation is in violation for this alone. Threatening an employee who reports a violation of discrimination laws is also prohibited. Retaliation

Sex: An employer who insists upon sexual favors from an employee is in violation. An employer who maintains a hostile work environment due to sexual overtones in the workplace is in violation.  Sex-Based Discrimination

Sexual Harassment: A worker who is subjected to overtly sexual conversations of co-workers because of the allowances of the employer puts the employer in violation of sexual harassment rules. A co worker who commits sexual advances, asks for sexual favors, or promotes a sexually based hostile work environment for others is in violation.  Sexual Harassment

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Once Again, The AP Tries To Redefine Fair Use; Goes After Shepard Fairey For Obama Poster


One of the things about convergence and the ability for unedited, unfiltered (by traditional means) creativity, is that the long standing power bases, editors and filters will feel threatened, and indeed may be threatened by the new found power of the new bottom up creators. Case in point is the Associated Press’ attack on Shepard Fairey’s iconic image based on an AP image of Barack Obama, and the idea that due to transformation, the new image may be considered original, and the originator of the AP image may just have to realize that good starts are just that, and that collective intelligence applies to images too.

The Associated Press is on the wrong of a fair use argument again. It is actually going after artist Shepard Fairey for his iconic Obama poster, which it recently discovered was based on an AP news photograph by Mannie Garcia. The poster is clearly based on that photograph (see comparison at left), but this is exactly the kind of use of copyrighted works that is meant to be protected.

The poster is art. The image it is based on has been sufficiently transformed that even the AP did not know it owned the copyright to the underlying work until a few weeks ago. And Fairey says he hasn’t made any money from the poster, although others have. You can buy the image on posters, stickers, coffee mugs and T-Shirts, and copies of the poster signed by Fairey sell for thousands of dollars. Still, the AP is wants money from Fairey.

via Once Again, The AP Tries To Redefine Fair Use; Goes After Shepard Fairey For Obama Poster.

NY Times Editor Hints At Return Of Online Access Fees


Again, in the context of our discussions in class about convergence, here is a clear example where the financial, industrial, communication, media, and technology aspects of running a newspaper today ask the editors and leaders of papers like the New York Times to consider how the ease of access, the lack of payment for said access, and the ability for news to be gotten in a thousand places for free all point to a need for creativity in solving the reimbursement problem. Technology, traditional business models, and new practices are converging to cause a change in the industry.

In an online question-and-answer exchange with readers this week, Keller said that although advertising generates the bulk of online revenue, “a lively, deadly serious discussion continues within The Times about ways to get consumers to pay for what we make.”

Possibility include charging for full-access subscriptions, developing a micro-payment model in which readers pay a few pennies each time they click on a page and selling news to be distributed on reading devices, as the Times already does with Inc.’s Kindle.

via NY Times Editor Hints At Return Of Online Access Fees.

Case Study and Presentation


Final Case Study:

lemasney-case-study-natural-birth-revised (updated to reflect appropriate suggestions, thanks, Kathy!)

Final Case Study Presentation:

Journal Entry: New Directions Chapter 9


Chapter 9 in New Directions talks about the idea of mediation in the ‘workplace’, where the manager acts as the 3rd party, and the issues that this change brings.

In the chapter, a model is dissected in which 5 elements are considered for the analysis and application of managerial 3rd party mediation. The dispute scenario (nature, relationships, 3rd party experience & preferences), effectiveness criteria (intent assessment tools like efficiency, effectiveness, participant satisfaction, and fairness), third party role ( the approaches of the manager as mediator: autocrat, arbitrator, mediator, motivator, restructurer), outcomes (the result of the mediation: resolution/impasse, nature of agreement, disputant perceptions), and the organizational context (the state of the organization and the way it affects the conflict: history, culture).

Karambayya, R., & Brett, J. M. (1994). Managerial Third Parties. In J. P. Folger & T. S. Jones (Eds.), New Directions in Mediation: Communication Research and Perspectives (pp. 175-192). Sage Publications, Inc.

Personal Experiential Application:

Dr. Millen asks “Therefore, let’s begin the discussion tomorrow night by considering new metaphors, terms, or general frames that are designed to embrace and foster this transformative view of conflict and its resolution.”

I’ll participate as usual tonight, but I was very intrigued by this metaphor replacement, and had some thoughts I figured I’d share as my chapter journal entry. I feel like training implies that we have to apply mediation as though it were a single key that fits a single lock, and without that training that mediation has no chance to succeed.

I’m finding now, especially after reading chapter 9 on managerial third parties, that many of the aspects of transformative mediation can still exist and be useful and successful even though many of the rules (confidentiality, impartiality, neutral third party, professional emotional distance, etc.) may or may not be present.

I think one really useful metaphor for transformative mediation is ocean surf swimming, in which the mediator acts as a sort of lifeguard. Disputants get in to the turbulent water, go as deep as they feel comfortable with, go in any direction they like, progress at their own pace. There might be sharp shells in the sand underfoot, the waves might be a little bit too active, and there are jellyfish, but anything’s better than sitting out on the blazing sand. It hurts! The lifeguard might have swimming advice, might blow a whistle if things start to become dangerous, calling swimmers to come back in to a safer place. Not everyone knows how to swim in the same way – some people learn naturally, some take classes, and some go on to be Olympic surf swimmers. Some people are deathly afraid of water, and some people don’t mind pools, but are afraid of surf. How would training work with them?

Meanwhile, the activity of swimming can be a competition, but in this case, it’s just exercise, a way to feel better, it’s self-directed, and it only goes until the swimmer is satisfied. Unless the lifeguard suggests otherwise.

Journal Entry: Mediation Chapter 1


This chapter introduces the reader to the ways in which we deal with conflict, and makes the point that for some, conflict is an opportunity, and for others, conflict is something to be avoided. If we as disputants have these differing views towards conflict, it may be difficult to begin to address the issue, as someone with high conflict avoidance and someone with low conflict avoidance will likely agitate each other in their handling methods, adding to the conflict. Accommodation, in which we simply suppress our own interests in order to settle a conflict, Competition, in which we see conflict as a win/lose proposition, compromise, in which we both give up something in order to reach an agreement, and collaboration, where we agree to work together to not only solve a problem, but improve the situation that resulted in the conflict, re each examples of the different ways in which we might react to a given conflict.

With all of this in mind, it gives one insight into some reasons why some conflcts seem doomed to stagnate and build, while others are resolved with very little effort at all. In later chapters we look at some environmental, cultural, and historical reasons why some conflicts are easier or harder to work though, but this chapter really looks at the personas of disputants and how a mediator’s awareness of these stances can help keep a dispute from becoming a roadblock.

Domenici, K., Domenici-Littlejohn, & Littlejohn, S. W. (2001). Mediation: Empowerment in Conflict Management, Second Edition. (2nd), 198. Waveland Press.

Personal experiential influence:

In my own conflicts in life, the contingencies of a particular conflict definitely shapes that way in which I react and deal with it. The importance with which I regard the outcome, the longevity of the outcome of the conflict, and the past relationships I’ve had with other disputants all shape whether I try to collaborate, avoid, accommodate or compete with the disputant.

For instance, we can take the same situation, let’s say where another person says something derogatory about my appearance, and depending on the other person, I will react either by remaining quiet (avoidance), discussing the reasons I look the way I do and how it relates to the way they look (collaborate), agree with them, and maybe add how my hair’s all messed up (accommodate), or tell them that I, at the very least, know how to pick out a good shirt (compete).

On Fighting Fair to Resolve Conflict


Found this post indicating the average view of conflict, using terms like ‘fighting’ to describe conflict interaction. It does give some interesting advice on how to change that perception, ironically.

What Kind of “Fighter” Are You?

Do You…?

* Avoid conflict at all costs?

* Feel that any criticism or disagreement is an attack on you?

* Hit “below the belt” and regret it later?

* Feel “out of control” when conflict arises?

* Withdraw and become silent when you’re angry?

* Store up complaints from the distant past?

At one time or another, most of us have done one or more of these things. That’s because in most relationships, conflict inevitably arises, and for many of us it creates significant discomfort. But conflict, if handled appropriately, can actually strengthen relationships and improve our understanding of each other. When handled badly, conflict can result in broken friendships, ended relationships, and long-simmering feuds.
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Journal Entry: New Directions Chapter 1


The Benefits of Transformative Orientation of Mediation

The relational view of mediation provides an alternative to simple individualistic me versus you problem solving style mediation, which is the most commonly practiced style in the form now. Transformative style is poised to increase human awareness along two key axes: Empowerment and Recognition (p. 15).

It is important for mediators to avoid simply solving the problem for disputants, no matter how simple it might seem to be to do, as disputants are more likely to agree to and own solutions that they devise themselves through trusting inquiry.

The transformative methodology stresses the disputants being given the ability to devise and own a shared, collaborative solution to their conflict (p. 21). Active listening and monologues in turn is demanded as part of the process (p. 18). Individualist views emphasize me and my while transformative, relational views emphasize the me and my as they relate to you, yours, we, ours, and all of ours.

Folger, J. P., & Baruch Bush, R. A. (1994). Ideology, Orientations to Conflict, and Mediation Discourse. In J. P. Folger & T. S. Jones (Eds.), New Directions in Mediation: Communication Research and Perspectives (pp. 3-25). Sage Publications, Inc.

Practical Experiential Application:

Active listening, in particular, has been an especially useful tool for me in my own day to day conflict resolution toolkit. In normal conversations, we do more back and forth work in our communication, where I’m thinking about the points that I want to make next, the context of the moment right now, the ways in which I’m going to add to or refute what you just said. You’re dong the same thing. While practicing active listening, we put aside all of that cross pollination of ideas between my thoughts and yours and simply focus on those of the current speaker. In active listening, we act to silence ourselves, stifle our want to interrupt, and work to understand the similarities and differences between your ideas and mine. This is difficult to do while practicing active listening, but nearly impossible to do in normal conversation, where there is the constant flow of nonverbal data, environmental context, and our own babbling mind. Active listening is a form of working to silence all of that.