25 ene. 2011

Analog Humanities, Anyone?

Analog technology is underused in today's environment. You couldn't get a grant to give undergraduates $50 fountain pens and make them write everything with those.

Analog humanities means books, paper, and pens. The real human voice in a class full of other human beings. Sound waves through the air.

The digital element won't disappear. I like blogging, writing on the computer, and even converting my analog technology vinyl record albums to digital mp3 format. Digital technology is wonderful for storing huge amounts of information in tiny little objects and sending information rapidly from place to place. It's convenient and fast. I have 50 hours of flamenco podcasts to listen to.

Is the medium the message? Then the podcast of "Enduendando" would have no duende. If the medium is simply the mode of transmission, with no effect on the content transmitted, then it becomes trivial. There is no value added in being digital, except for its convenience.

But convenience is not trivial.

1 comentario:

Thomas dijo...

I prefer the analog model. No PowerPoint, no "digital classroom" for distributing messages and materials to students, just old school reading lists, classes, office hours. We can call it infinite bandwith.

If we really want to play with new media, in my opinion, then we should produce documentaries to replace the big lectures. Professors could blog about the course material during the semester. Everyone has their own limit but I'd say more than 25 students is a pretty big lecture, but ceratinly lectures for 100+ students might as well be a series of movies, supplemented by blog posts.

But the only reason to do this would be to free up time for more small-group interaction and one-on-one supervision.