Daily Archives: March 15, 2017

YouTube! Calculated Publics: Tarleton Gillespie

Databite No. 70: Tarleton Gillespie
Tarleton Gillespie (@tarletonG) presents #Trendingistrending: When Algorithms Become Culture:

I liked this on YouTube and have left iftt and YouTube’s default information feed into my lifestream, just adding the bold emphasis to the last sentence.

Algorithms may now be our most important knowledge technologies, “the scientific instruments of a society at large,” and they are increasingly vital to how we organize human social interaction, produce authoritative knowledge, and choreograph our participation in public life. Search engines, recommendation systems, and edge algorithms on social networking sites: these not only help us find information, they provide a means to know what there is to know and to participate in social and political discourse.

If not as pervasive and structurally central as search and recommendation, trending has emerged as an increasingly common feature of such interfaces and seems to be growing in cultural importance. It represents a fundamentally different logic for how to algorithmically navigate social media: besides identifying and highlighting what might be relevant to “you” specifically, trending algorithms identify what is popular with “us” more broadly.

But while the techniques may be new, the instinct is not: what today might be identified as “trending” is the latest instantiation of the instinct to map public attention and interest, be it surveys and polling, audience metrics, market research, forecasting, and trendspotting. Understanding the calculations and motivations behind the production of these “calculated publics,” in this historical context, helps highlight how these algorithms are relevant to our collective efforts to know and be known.

Rather than discuss the effect of trending algorithms, I want to ask what it means that they have become a meaningful element of public culture. Algorithms, particularly those involved in the movement of culture, are both mechanisms of distribution and valuation, part of the process by which knowledge institutions circulate and evaluate information, the process by which new media industries provide and sort culture. This essay examines the way these algorithmic techniques themselves become cultural objects, get taken up in our thinking about culture and the public to which it is addressed, and get contested both for what they do and what they reveal. We should ask not just how algorithms shape culture, but how they become culture.

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YouTube! How to access your Blackboard LA report

Blackboard Learning Analytics Report for students (Blackboard Learning Analytics)
This short video will show you how to access your student Learning Analytics report from within Blackboard. Part of the ‘Blackboard Learning Analytics’ series.

This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (http://ift.tt/1hexVwJ)

This video is pretty scary. Others may well be different, but I wouldn’t find it motivating to compare myself to the class average for number of logins or social interactions. I am deeply sceptical about whether this would be helpful or useful to a student unless, perhaps, they were doing well and even if they were, is any meaningful information or reinforcement to be found here? A student ‘at risk of failing’ would not rush to read their report, nor find any help if they did.

It is interesting to compare this video to the Blackboard promotional video here

YouTube! How Blackboard thinks about Analytics

How Blackboard thinks about Analytics 
There’s value in data. It’s our job to extract that value by transforming that raw data into helpful information. Dennis Witte (VP of Administration, Concordia University – Chicago), Kendall St. Hilaire (Virtual Campus Administrative Director, Indian River State College), and John Fritz (Asst VP for Instructional Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County) talk about how support from Blackboard Analytics has helped to improve the human decision-making process.

MORE INFORMATION: http://ift.tt/2mtQRj8
via YouTube

This promotional video advertises some of the perceived benefits of an ‘off the shelf’ LA solution. It is interesting to watch it and compare it to this video

Learn about what’s happening in online classes when things are happening
See what works and what doesn’t and alter course design
Enable student-driven decisions
Drive up retention and student numbers in online courses