Disruptive Technologies

Course site for Disruptive Technologies. Exploring identity, community, & design.

Category: Community (page 1 of 2)

Bittersweet, Like an Apple Removed from My Heart

So guess what? This is it. It’s a bittersweet moment as I sit here typing out my final blog post. I had so many goals and aspirations to achieve this semester and reached some while never thinking twice about some others. Then there are the goals that I achieved without intending to. You may be wondering what some of those goals are, but I’ve decided to not tell you. If you’re reading this, then let me tell you that you have been blessed with a magnificent brain that can come up with ideas that I could never dream of—don’t let me hold you back.


There is one thing that I learned this semester that I really think you should keep in mind. It’s all about people.

All of this. School, technology, families, the postal service, all of our communities, everything. Don’t take people for granted, but in turn, don’t take yourself for granted either. You’ve fought half the battle by just taking the moment to read this. It proves that you not only want to, but can do it. If you’re having this read to you, guess what, you still can.


After school special aside, this has been a great semester. It’s one of the first courses where I felt like whatever I put in I got in return. I definitely appreciated that it was taught and attended by university administrators–not to have an outlet to vent, but it was encouraging to see that the people behind so many emails care about improving the school and are motivated to do it with students in mind.

As you should know by now if you’ve been keeping up with this blog and course, we had iPads all semester. Needless to say that all my plots to keep mine have been thwarted by that nifty ID number on the back. Oh well. I must say that I don’t know if this semester could have been possible without them. They established a baseline technology that we could implement in whichever ways we saw fit to be successful in school. I frequently caught myself panicking if I left my iPad at home (moreso than if I left my phone). It has been everything this semester–never leaving my side. It took some getting used to, but wasn’t unbearable, and since it was new, it forced me to begin thinking out of the box in general. In essence, it was disruptive. Knowing that I would be giving the iPad back, I can speak honestly and say that I failed and didn’t push it as far as I could. As a broke college kid, I refused to spend money on it. If I had brought my own, or purchased it in the beginning, I think my selection of apps and utilities would have been much more in depth (would have had an external keyboard too). Do I think iPads should be implemented in education? Definitely. Will something new need to be added eventually? Definitely. Is that okay and natural? Definitely.


I bid you adieu, and may the dreams of a back button forever rest with you, my dear Future People.

Technically Yours,


Closing Remarks Chris W.

This class has been a great experience. Coming into this class I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Honestly, I enrolled in the class because I heard we’d get to use an iPad for a semester. While the iPad was nice, I’d say the best thing about this class were the excellent discussion we had in class and how fluid the syllabus was. This class has really opened my eyes to the subtle complexities of community development and really helped me define who I am as a person. The guest we had in class pushed me to do what I want in life (which is to work in the gaming industry). The last section, Design, helped me take a new approach to the creative process that I will definitely use later on in life.

This class has shown me a few apps that I really enjoyed using. In no particular order SwiftKey, Adaptxt, Evernote, and POP.

Adaptxt: If you want swept functionality on your iOS device I would definitely recommend this app. The user interface is clean and is very responsive.
SwiftKey: This is another third party keyboard that has the swipe functionality. From my experience sometimes the keyboard wouldn’t appear and you’d have to tap on the lobe icon more than once. Otherwise it is a great app to use.

Evernote: This app is a powerhouse! From presentations to website layouts Evernote can do it all!

POP: In the design section of the course both teams used this to make the layout of our apps which were our a part of our Final Synthesis.

Lastly, the iPad was really useful this entire semester. Slowly substituted paper with the iPad and it became an integral part of my day to day. This device is useful beyond belief and after this semester is over I will seriously consider buying one for myself.

Cheers to a great semester!

Sam Richards Online Tonight

Hi all … I wanted to point you to the TV series that I worked on for over a year while at PSU with Dr. Sam Richards, an interactive TV show based on his incredibly popular and challenging Race Relations sociology course. You guys got to meet Sam “in class” when he did his virtual drop in … this is the exact show I was talking about. After close to three years the vision is coming true with an online screening tonight. I urge you to watch and think along with the program. I’d love to hear follow up comments from those who tune in. Watch through the lenses of community, identity, and design. Here is a preview …

Listen Up, Can Anyone Hear Us?

To prepare for Thursday’s synthesis presentations, those of us that like to be Too Disruptive would like for you to do two things. First, take a look at Sam Richards’s Ted Talk,  “A Radical Experiment in Empathy.”

Then, we would like for you to take a brief, semi-anonymous quiz. Especially since this is such a small class, we hope that everyone gets a chance to take the quiz (even Cole). Also, please do so no later than Thursday at noon so we will have time to compile the results.

Click here to take the brief quiz, Making ‘My’ Way Downtown

What We Want From Faculty

A pop up WordPress site from students at UVA in the wake of the Martese Johnson incident. That’s a terrible word, incident, to describe what happened to this young man. Even in the absence of an appropriate word I felt it was an important site to share for lots of reasons. Through the lens of both community and identity I feel there is much to discuss. What in these words can you relate with?

 In class on 3/19/2015, our class discussion touched on the lack of support students feel from faculty in the aftermath of the brutalization of Martese Johnson and at other times of crisis here at UVA, especially when those crises center around race. We took the last ten minutes of class and wrote out what we wanted to tell our faculty. These comments are excerpted from those 27 students’ in-class responses. Who are we? We are women and men. We are Asian, black, Latino, white and multiracial. We are from a variety of cultural, national, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender and sexual identities and backgrounds.

Thoughts On Identity – Chris

My name is Chris and these are my thoughts.

I made this video using only the iPad and iMovie. It took my a little longer then I’d like to admit to figure out how to split video clips but once I figured it out it was easy. I have used iMovie on my Macbook Pro, so the software is not foreign to me but as seen above creating what I consider great content is a challenge. In hindsight I should have used the case as a stand and recorded from a desk. It was a fun experience regardless.

Week 6 Video: Building Bridges

Please watch this video and share your reactions as comments to the post. We would have watched this in class today. Try to focus your responses around what you know about community from our previous work and what you think you know about identity from our emerging work. Everyone should watch, comment, and engage in conversation.

Synthesis – Community – Team Right Shark

iPad reflexion – Week 4 – Shady

On the positive side, I’m really enjoying just bringing the iPad to class.  All the content is there, it’s easy to use, it helps me collaborate with my team-mates, I can get up to do a presentation without having to carry anything else other than the iPad.

On the negative side, because i’m not too familiar with it, I feel it slows me down when I’m trying to move fast through Google Drive.  I find it cumbersome to name, sort, and share documents.

The most surprising thing so far is the fact that I have been doing really well without a keyboard.  I was set that I would need one when I first got the iPad, but so far, I have been working really well with the native iPad keyboard.

Chris Takes A Trip On the Cluetrain

21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.

  • If you as an organization take yourself too seriously, you suck up all the fun of work. Why do something if you cannot enjoy it and why take out the fun when you can put fun in?

22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.

  • This goes hand in hand with 21. Putting up a front is the last thing you want to do. People can see through phony masks of humor.

68. The inflated self-important jargon you sling around —in the press, at your conferences —what’s that got to do with us?

  • If people cannot understand what you are doing as a company, it would be difficult for new people to get into what you are doing as a company.

Work and fun should go hand-in-hand and if you are not having fun at work, make your own fun!

iPad in the classroom – SWOT Analysis – Team Right Shark


An iPad in the classroom will help students tremendously. The device is intuitive enough where students will not need to be taught how to use it. It will provide students with access to the internet, social networking, and an infinity of learning apps and tools that will enhance the classroom experience. Students will no longer need to carry a bundle of books, notebooks, pens, laptops, cameras, etc. They will be substituted by ebooks, e-pens, e-notes, etc.

Using an iPad in the classroom makes it more interactive, engaging, and embodies a culture of creativity.


iPads are unable to perform some functions that desktop or laptop computers can perform. For students in certain majors this means much of their coursework couldn’t be completed using the iPad, somewhat making it a redundant device.
Studio Art and Digital Art students frequently make use of the Adobe suite.
Music and Music Technology students use DAWs like Ableton Live and Logic
Computer Science and Information Systems students especially would need a computer for the following tasks:
Running an IDE like Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, or Netbeans
The Java JDK and JRE
Access to the filesystem for reading, writing, and executing files
Being able to install platforms or languages like ruby, python, node.js

Digital art and music software is available in Staller Center SINC sites, and after hours access is provided for students enrolled in these courses (although many students do still choose to use their own computers for working at home).

If comp sci students are then the exception, it makes sense that they would be the ones that require additional computing hardware.


The opportunities that would be made possible with a student body that functions primarily on iPads have the ability to affect the University on a physical level. Space currently occupied by the bookstore could be repurposed and the amount of space devoted to books could be reduced. Instead, the library could focus on ebooks and resource sharing that could reach beyond the campus. More space could be designated to meetings spaces that foster an interactive learning environment. It could also have a recharging center.


With every major decision made there are bound to be some threats. Some threats that we as a team foresee associated with providing iPad Airs to all students stem from current partnerships with companies who heavily rely on paper. If these paper reliant companies do not make the choice to go more digital we could see their monetary support decreasing substantially. Assuming we can cope with the loss of our dead tree partnerships, the next hurdle we as a university must overcome would be the redesigning of existing spaces that are not equipped to handle the influx of this quantity of tech. Pushing this new tech on our current infrastructure will be detrimental since many problems arise now with less devices connected. This will cost quite a bit. Assuming redesigning goes well, we now have to worry about push back from faculty, staff, and students. The reasons for their resistance can be as numerous as the amount of students but a bit of good public relations should change most minds. With the entire student body equipped with iPad Airs the university must look at redefining academic dishonesty at include the new tech. After all is said and done if Apple ever tanks as a company we as a university are in grave danger.

These threats, although numerous and very real, do NOT outweigh the benefits of providing iPad Airs to all the students to enhance their college experience. The potential for creativity and innovation will put this university in a light to which no other learning environment has ever seen.

Definition of Community – Team Right Shark

A group of living beings that share a common characteristic, united by a network of social interactions.

SWOT Outcomes

I’ve added the slides we generated during the SWOT Analysis to this post for you to reference as you work on your weekly posts. If you think of additional Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats please leave them as a comment below. The original scenario is included as is the wrap up slide that can guide you in your work.

If Wenger Were a K-Cup

This week’s reading, Wenger, “Community” from Communities of Practice, is, as many of my colleagues have already pointed out, a fairly hefty article. It took a bit longer for me to read which I believe is partially due to the fact that I attempted to only read on the iPad, and I do not currently know how to highlight or whatnot like during my usual note taking.

This is the second chapter of his book, and Wenger often references chapter one. It might have been helpful to have that knowledge, but wasn’t entirely essential. To my own understanding,

Wenger describes a community of practice on a few different levels. I best equate each of these levels (or at times it could be better understood as a concept or other similar thought-model/pattern) with my job.

I work in Academic and Transfer Advising Services at Stony Brook University. We handle academic advising for all transfer students and continuing students after their freshman year. Take for instance, this picture:



At my work, our practice is helping students academically through transfer articulation and advising. We have decided to come together to develop this practice. We have formed a “process” which is reflected in the Red-Covered binder. It has all of the policies and regulations. “Jackie’s Posting Guide” represents each employee’s own contribution to these practices: We all have a specialty. We come from different backgrounds with different experience.

This “contribution” is not only expressed via policies, but also through simple “water cooler conversation.” In our case, it is the office Keurig! Employees talk relationships, the weather, general gossip; they laugh and cry together; parties are celebrated together. Each of these contribute to the overall atmosphere of the community.

Wenger was also adamant to point out that communities of practice are not limited to a particular office, building, or even country. To represent this, I opened Google Hangouts on my iPad Air. Although you cannot see the name, it is actually a colleague that I have done much work with via Hangouts.

If you have read Wenger’s chapter, you may notice that I chose to not use much of his terminology. Frankly, I found it to be a bit excessive. Of course, I plan on delving into this matter further, but I believe that these things can be said much more simply than his terms: Mutual Engagement, Joint Enterprise, and Shared Repertoire.


I am curious to know other “simple” examples of this idea. I’m sure that it can be used in education, and I think that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are possibly heading toward this idea of a “shared” repertory of knowledge. However, I wonder how classrooms can more immediately begin to transition to this style of learning. I personally enjoy Wenger’s thoughts and believe that it is indeed part of what can help the education system.

Question is…is there a middle ground between MOOCs and the classroom? CDT 450 seems to be on the right track, but are there other possible ways? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What are your ideas?

Technically Yours,




Week 2 Chris

This week’s reading was on Wenger’s study of Communities of Practice. Based on what I read I saw Communities of Practice as a shared space where members of this shared space participate in the exchange of knowledge and creation of new ideas based on individual problems. A Community of Practice is made of 3 parts mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire.

Mutual engagement is an obvious requirement. If the members of the community do not sign that unwritten contract to interact with one another a community cannot be built. I would describe joint enterprise as the synergy  of the members. I read shared repertoire as the culture of the community.

I watched this video to help me understand Community of Practice more and one thing I found really interesting was Wenger did not define wikis, blogs, or forums as Communities of Practice just merely tools. When I just started wrapping my head around Communities of Practice, I instantly thought of wikis, blogs, and forums.

I am a part of a group at my university called Computer User Digital Development Learning Environment or CUDDLE. During our CUDDLE sessions students of many different educational backgrounds come to collaborate on ideas and help each other out on personal projects. Based on the definition I understood from the reading, CUDDLE can be called a Community of Practice.
Some questions I have after reading up on Community of Practice are:

  1. At what point does a Community of Practice become more beneficial than traditional classes?
  2. Would MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) be considered a Community if Practice?
  3. Are there different types of Communities of Practice?
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