This semester Anders Fagerjord (at the University of Oslo) is teaching a course based on Gregory Ulmer’s book Internet Invention. The course at UiO is called MEVIT2500: Multimodal design (web-design) (NB: It’s in Norwegian). I’m really impressed – I haven’t read the book thoroughly, but took a look last semester (at Anders’s suggestion), and thought wow, this looks like a great way of doing a course but way too complicated, especially in our Norwegian system. Basically the students construct their own online identities, creative web-based mystories, and learn a lot about rhetoric and theory on the way. Ulmer includes all the exercises and lecture notes and such, but the level seemed quite ambitious for undergrads. Perhaps I judged too fast: Anders is running this as a course for 100 undergrads! He’s set it up in a cool way, with just five lectures and a lot of structured group work (that link is to an xml file, for some reason I need to reload it to see it properly formatted), where students meet in groups of five to work on very clear topics. I asked how they manage this, and Anders says three teachers will move between these little groups of students giving advice and seeing how they’re doing. They’re also planning to give feedback to students’ on their assignments along the way using email. Students will get no help with HTML and coding, though there are links to online resources (and frankly, the very basic HTML required isn’t that hard).

I think it’s a brave and wonderful idea and I’m really interested in hearing how it works out. I suspect it might turn out really, really well. As, uh, a head of department in charge of managing resources and stuff, I’m very impressed at how they’ve set it up in a way that shouldn’t over-tax their resources and that places students in charge of their own learning yet supports students throughout. Let’s hope so, anyway.

5 thoughts on “teaching internet invention to 100 undergrads

  1. John

    I agree! Brave, interesting, and fun! With 100 students, it seems like a stretch to cover them all, but the group approach might work well.

    I would be interested in seeing what the students produce. Using this technology – web as a medium – and being able to produce and share literate new thoughts and ideas is important for the growth and maturity of this wonderful medium.

  2. Anonymous

    I’m taking Fagerjord’s course. Seems interesting so far.
    Having some trouble wrapping my head around the whole idea of mystories, though. Ulmer’s own presence of the web didn’t help me much…like navigating the long dead geocities web rings of myspace rejects :/

  3. Leah Ingrid MacLennan

    This is a very good course and a fine web-presentation. I wish I’d had something like it when I was in college ten years ago! It’s also a good thing that I have a Swedish/Norwegian grandmother from Minnesota, I absorbed the basics of Scandinavian from her. Thank you for providing the link. Leah

  4. Karen Steinfeld

    I think it’s great that Fagerjord has come up with such a
    creative way of teaching a class. As a student my self, I’d love to take on
    a class where you interact and work as if it was a
    real life job almost.
    But then again Jill, so was your class (HUIN 105)

  5. Jill

    Why thanks, Karen 🙂 And Anonymous, I hope you’ll let us know how the course develops!

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