This first-ever course on New Media and Open Source Technologies at Binghamton University.

Knowledge and New Media
Azuka Nzegwu

DEPARTMENT OF AFRICANA STUDIES
Spring 2007
Binghamton University

Course Description

Ubiquitous internet hookups in universities and colleges across the country have made it extremely easy to search the Information Superhighway. The problem facing students and researchers of the 21st century is, among the billions of data available, how does one separate credible and questioning materials, bad and good sources*, authentic and manufactured information, over multiple domains on the Internet? Without the necessary tools, this becomes a daunting task especially as the Internet rises as a primary starting point for students conducting academic search. Knowledge and New Media is a practical, introductory course on the impact of the Internet on academic research.

This course will focus on the role this communicative technology plays on our understanding of the world. Specifically, the main concern of the course is: how is this technology changing our research methodology? And, how does it aid in the construction of alternative knowledge systems? The course requires students to participate in the creation of an online bibliographic resource. They will learn to search and gather academic information to create a functional database of citations and references for various disciplines using open-source technology. They will learn to differentiate between repositories of storing and archiving research materials. This course will do two things: provide a general understanding of the principle of search necessary for conducting academic research on the Internet, and cover the basics of HTML.

*Sources include academic peer-reviewed articles, electronic sources, special collections, documentary, video and audio, catalogs, etc.

Learning Objectives

•    Develop and enhance your internet research skill
•    Effectively perform academic searches (database, scholarly journals, indexes, etc)
•    Differentiate between authentic and manufactured sources
•    Create a webfolio and learn basic open-source principles
•    Build a web-based bibliographic reference with free software


By the end of this course, students will:

1.    Become savvy in searching and evaluating materials using the methods learned in this course

2.    Effectively filter search results to determine credibility and authenticity given criteria learned in the course

3.    Be able to easily identify print and electronic resources for a given topic

4.    Develop and enhance their search strategy

Course Requirements & Formats

The class will consist of lectures, demonstrations, discussion, and exercises. A major component of the course is the final project, and a number of smaller assignments. Attendance is mandatory. Participation in all the activities and exercises are crucial for the successful completion of the course.

Reading

All reading materials are online.

Assignments

1.    A webfolio with a short biography, resume, skills and experiences. (5%)

2.    One mini-search on an assigned subject using the library online databases and Google. Student will write a three-page documentation of their search process and strategy. (10%)

3.    A final project which consists of searching, analyzing, and retrieving relevant bibliographies on assigned subject. This project will evaluate your ability to evaluate relevant sources and build a database on any given topic. (50%)

4.    A three-page reflective narrative of your progress and course including your research, library, web skills, and final project. (10%)

5.    A series of short assignments and podcasts. (15%)

6.    Lab participation, discussion, and presentation. (10%)

Search Engine & Research Tools

Microsoft Academic Search – http://academic.live.com/
Africa Resource Center  – http://www.africaresource.com
Google & Google Scholar – http://www.google.com, http://scholar.google.com

Class Policies

Materials will not be repeated. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed. Missing a class will constitute an absence, and a student will need a written excuse and permission prior to the actual absence, otherwise, it will not count. Food is not allowed in the lab.

Course Outlines

Jan 23        
Introduction, Course Overview, Objectives, and Expectations

Jan 25  
     
Class Excursion: Academic Judicial Process

New Media and Content

Jan 30     
What is New Media? What is knowledge? Why are they significant?
Assignment - Group Interview: New Media, Copyright and Fair Use (Due Feb 22)

Feb 1              
Knowledge, Content Planning & Storyboard

HTML: Learning to Code

Feb 6         
HTML, CSS, & JavaScript Basics

Feb 8         
Design: Template, Graphics and Workflow

Feb 13     
HTML and CSS Basics continued

Feb 15
    
Usability: Workflow and User-Friendly and Review of Storyboard

Academic Research: Google versus Library

Feb 20    
Current Trends and Research methods for Academic Search

Feb 22
    
Determining Authenticity and Credibility

Feb 27     
Library Search (Catalogs, Online Databases, Special Collections)

Mar 1
        
Google Search (World Wide Web)

Mar 6         
Due: Webfolio. Class presentations of webfolio.

March 8 – 11:    
SPRING BREAK

Mar 13    
Criteria for Evaluating Bibliographic Sources
Assignment: Conduct a search on an assigned topic using BU’s library resources and Google or Yahoo, and write a three-page documentation of your search process and strategy. (Due April 10)

Mar 15     
Academic Libraries and Corporate Initiatives (Google and MSN )

Mar 20
    
Library and Web Search

Open-Source: The New Wave

Mar 22    
Principles, Movement and Collaboration

Mar 27     
Free Software (GPL), implications and examples of projects

Mar 29    
Africa-focused Academic Project: New Cultural and Social Critiques (Podcast, Blogs and Portals)
Assignment Podcast #1 (5 minutes): Interview a faculty or a librarian about current trends in new media technologies and its affect on libraries and researchers (Due April 17)

March 31 – April 9:
EASTER BREAK

Building an African Web-Based Reference

Apr 10        
Rationale for Creating an Online Reference on Africa
 
Apr 12    
Technical Criteria, Free Software and Open-Access (Database)

Apr 17        
Building your reference list

Assignment Podcast #2 (5 minutes): Identify and analyze a trend in African bibliography or on African focused initiative on bibliographies (Due May 1)

Apr 19        
Searching and Building a Reference List

Apr 24        
Searching and Building a Reference List

Apr 26        
Searching and Building a Reference List

May 1         
Searching and Building a Reference List

May 3
     
Searching and Building a Reference List

May 8
        
Class presentation of final projects

May 10    
Class presentation of final projects
Due: Final Project and Reflective Narrative


Knowledge Project

Africa Knowledge Project is an academic resource that offers journals and databases. Check them out at AKP.

Upcoming Deadlines

CALL FOR PAPERS

Columnists

LivewireRasta Livewire is a leading blog that provides in-depth viewpoints from Rastas in Africa and African Diaspora.

Africa Knowledge Project (AKP) publishes peer-reviewed journals and academic databases.

Ojedi is an online retailer of fine art and exceptional handcrafted pieces from around the world.

Africa House is an Africa and Diasporian gallery. Africa House accepts proposals for submission on a rolling basis.

African Event Posters show posters of events at Africa House.

African Gourmet Dinners shows images of African gourmet dishes.