Learning in the open enhances our ability to connect; connections lead to collaboration; and collaboration makes us smarter than we are by ourselves. Often this greater intelligence is described by terms such as “augmentation” and “amplification.” “Augmented Intelligence” is quite distinct from “Artificial Intelligence”; though both may travel under the abbreviation AI, augmented intelligence does not involve machines replacing our brains, but rather brains and tools each doing what they do best.

At the same time, there has been a sustained conversation about the effects of digital and online activity on our learning and our very brains. Some voices, such as Nicholas Carr, have raised concerns about the deleterious effects of screen-based and digitally-mediated activity on fundamental cognitive processes such as attention and memory. While most of our reading this week will focus on the ways in which technology can augment and amplify the operations of human consciousness, we will also consider these contrasting perspectives as well.



  • Annotation project #3
    • Using, make at least one substantive annotation (comment, question, additonal resource) on both the article by Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and the article by Chad Wellmon, “Why Google isn’t making us Stupid…or Smart.” Then, for each article, make a substantive response to the annotation of at least one classmate.
    • For help using, see Dr. Pelzel or consult tutorials and guides here. For a primer on different types of annotation, see “Annotation Tips for Students” and “Back to School with Annotation: 10 Ways to Annotate with Students,” by Jeremy Dean.
    • First annotations due by the beginning of class on Monday, January 25. Response annotations due by the beginning of class on Tuesday, January 26.
  • Narrative essay on Smarter Than You Think
    • Compose a blog post in which you narrate your engagement with Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think. This not a summary of the book. Rather, describe some key insights and discoveries that you learned from the book. Also describe how the text generated questions and associative trails you would like to explore (~ 750 words).
    • This post is due by 5 pm on Tuesday, January 26.
  • Web Create Project–select Option 1 OR Option 2
    • OPTION 1:  Story Maps Journal Digital Story
      • Use the Story Maps Journal web application to create a simple story using a variety of digital media.
      • Think of a story you would like to tell. It can be anything with a narrative timeline and also, ideally, a geographical context. Your story can be fictional or non-fiction or documentary; it can spring from your personal experience, or be about a topic or issue you are interested in. It could be something like “places I have lived or visited,” or “places I would like to visit.” Or it could be any kind of narrative at all; the main requirement is that it is a story you would like to tell on your blog/website.
      • Think of your story as having a cover page, and then 8-12 discrete scenes or slides
      • For each scene, you will be able to tell your story using a combination of one or more digital media–text, photos/images, videos, maps, links, and webpages that can interact with one another.
      • For an example story created for a faculty workshop last fall, see “Grayson County Historical Sites“; see also the gallery of story journal maps here.
      • Embed your story in a blog post. Then, in a few paragraphs, narrate your process of creation. Describe how you created it, the software used, techniques/tools within the software, the sources of any media, etc. Think of it as a guide to someone else who might want to recreate what you did.
      • More details on the assignment and the Story Maps Journal application will be given in class
      • The assignment will be due by 5 pm on Tuesday, January 26
    • OPTION 2–DS 106 Web assignment bank or Mashup Assignment Bank
      • Browse through the web assignments and mashup assignments banks of DS 106, and select one that appeals to you to do. If you do not find something that you like, feel free to propose your own. The only other requirement is that you do something different than you did previously.
      • Create an artifact as described in the assignment details. Then, in a blog post, present what you have created and narrate your process of creation. Use a few paragraphs to describe why you chose the assignment or the topic, or what the thing you made means to you. What is its context? What is the story it tells? What you created ought to be embedded into the body of your post, not just hyperlinked.
      • Again, your task is more than the final product. Include in your assignment blog post a description of how you created it, the software used, techniques/tools within the software, the sources of any media, etc. Think of it as a guide to someone else who might want to recreate what you did.
      • This assignment is due by 5 pm on Tuesday, January 26.


  • continue to use Twitter, with course hashtag (#HowtheWebWorks) to tweet links to all of your blog posts, to circulate ideas and resources, and to connect with others and build your personal learning network (PLN)