Commons Connect

think globally, act locally

5 Questions with… Adam Wandt

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Welcome to the first edition of ’5 Questions’!

With so many great things going on throughout the CUNY community, I thought that podcasts could be a great way to help facilitate conversations within (and outside) the Commons. My first interviewee is Adam Wandt, who was willing to meet me via skype for an hour long interview. The 5 questions below highlight some topics covered in the interview, but I invite you to listen to the full podcast either through iTunes or directly from my Podcast Revolution Feed List. The podcasts are available in mp3 or m4a format, depending on which device you use to download your podcasts.

With the topic of ‘process’ coming up a few times throughout my interview with Adam Wandt, I plan to write a short post going through my process of creating this podcast and uploading it to iTunes. And now, 5 questions…

Professor Adam Scott Wandt is the Deputy Chair for Instructional Technology of the Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and also serves as John Jay’s Provost Representative to CUNY’s Committee on Academic Technology (CAT), which is the group that was put together to start the Academic Commons. Professor Wandt started blogging about six years ago with the creation of his iDive Underwater Photography blog and started blogging on the Commons a few months ago with his Academic Technology: Research and Development blog .

1. What is your favorite aspect of the CUNY Academic Commons?

It’s the way people connect, without a doubt. If you look in social life how people use Facebook to connect to the outside, this is kind of like a professional version of that. It’s the connections that you make, the people you talk to that you ordinarily wouldn’t be talking to – that is kind of my favorite part.

2. Do you believe that blogs have some special type of social function?

They have several functions depending on why you’re blogging. Some people blog to report other people like myself in the academic technology blog, blog to start a conversation. I think there are many types of academic technology conversations that we either need to have or we’re in the middle of having and I think that the ones we need to have … certain blog entries of mine start to spark those conversations and the conversations that we’re currently having, hopefully I could add to those.

3. Have you ever stepped back and deleted something after posting?

I’ve added to a few things, I’ve posted some information and said maybe I should have provided additional information or hyperlinks so I’ve updated. I haven’t had the need or the want really to delete anything from my blogs yet, but I did do one video interview for one of my classes with a US Marine and after I conducted the interview with the US Marine, I was asked unofficially by some groups to take down the interview… After consulting about it and thinking about it for a while and actually even discussing it with some of our reference librarians at John Jay I decided not to take the interview down, but I understood the reasons why people did want it taken down.

4. Has Twitter changed anything about your blogging habits?

Every time I put an article up there I throw it out through Twitter and I’ll monitor the bit lead link to see how many people click on it… I use it to notify.

My use of Twitter itself is more as an academic technology research and development project to try to test out and develop Twitter to see if it can be used as an academic technology tool… It’s become a very quick way for me to throw things out to my students. In the past… if I had an article I would want them to read I would have to take a hyperlink , then I would have to go into an email program, then I would have to write out an email, then I would have to send it out. It’s not really so easy to do that if you have 60-80 students each semester and they’re constantly rotating. You have to keep a fairly signification email list if you want to be able to email things out directly from a laptop or from an iPad and not go through Blackboard. So one of the things Twitter has done for me is I hit a button, I type in a hashcode, maybe a line and then it’s uploaded to Twitter where my students – at their leisure – could check it and the whole process from my point of view takes less than 5 or 10 seconds.

5. There are a lot of different projects going on in the CUNY community. When groups are public it’s a lot easier to see the process of start to finish and I guess with private groups it’s a lot harder. Would you have any suggestions as far as people doing projects on the Commons to help other people to understand the process of collaborating and sharing things with each other?

Most certainly, my first thing is being that we’re in academia, being that we’re researchers we always need to remember exactly what you just said – that people could always learn from the process of what we’re doing. In that, there are certain things like keeping blogs, project blogs, there’s making information available as it could become desensitized. There’s running a project with the expectation of different types of publications at the end – certain publications towards one group, certain publications towards another. I think that whenever we go and we run any sort of research we need to remember number one that we’re doing it to grow knowledge and that eventually the knowledge that we’re growing needs to be disseminated and shared. One of the interesting things about studying technology is that more often than not we’re studying how that information gets shared; we’re studying the process of how things actually get done… I think that whatever projects we’re doing, if we’re going to sensitize and if we’re going to shield what people see, we need to realize in doing so that  the information that is being shielded should eventually be desensitized – if appropriate…

The other thing too is that people need to learn from process. Allowing people as you just said to see how things are done are important, but it always needs to be up to that individual or researcher or blogger or person — they always need to have the decision to say private, not private or when to publish… If everything that we’re doing is always open to full scrutiny the question then comes to will we be able to focus in on anything?

6 Degrees of Open Access

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I have to admit that prior to my attendance of the Digital University Conference on April 21, 2010, my understanding of “open access” was essentially non-existent. After attending the afternoon panel, A Digital Future?, my grasp of open access and academic publishing started coming into clearer focus. As someone who has not (yet) published an academic article, I had no idea about the politics of knowledge access in addition to its relation to a faculty member’s tenure track.

Digital University Conference- photo courtesy of Andrea Vasquez

After searching for information about open access on the Commons, I came across Scott Voth’s (@scottvoth) Wiki Wrangler post about his creation of the new wiki page Open Access Publishing. Scott points out that, “As the cost of journals continues to skyrocket, OA needs to be on our minds.” This was certainly on the mind of Jill Cirasella (@cirasella), who created the public group: Open Access Publishing Network @ CUNY (OaPN @ CUNY) a couple of months ago after being inspired by Maura A. Smale (@msmale).

Maura was more than willing to contribute to the group she inspired Jill to create, replying to the forum topic Stephen Francoeur (@stephenfrancoeur) started: Library and info science journals that are OA. Scott used Maura’s comphrensive list of OA journals to create a new wiki page: OA Journals in Library and Information Science, which he tagged under Open Access (OA) and Library Science for easy access.

Most recently, George Otte (@gotte) posted a new blog entitled “An Immodest Proposal“ where he discusses the need to create an online journal, suggesting that those who are interested post to the Open Access group’s forum thread: Starting an online journal. With 5 comments on George’s blog post and 21 posts in the forum, the conversation of open access publishing at CUNY has begun. We also learned that Steve Brier (@sbrier) has plans to start an online, open source journal to publish the works of doctoral students in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy program. With many willing contributors and Scott Voth’s direction for logical platforms and various models, I am certainly looking forward to seeing how this new model of academic publishing unfolds at CUNY.

Want to add your thoughts to the conversation or offer assistance? Jump in here!

6 Degrees of Facebook

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To quit or not to quit, that was the question… 30,000 users, that was the answer.

Whom among the Commons folk? Well, I know for sure Matt Gold (@admin) after reading his blog post “Why I Left Facebook“. Giving links to great resources, Matt forgoes the basic Facebook=Bad conversation and instead explains why he personally felt the need to leave Facebook. I couldn’t agree more about not wanting my child’s pictures being used without permission — not cool Zuckerburg!

I also know Boone B. Gorges (@boonebgorges) quit after reading his post “The Meat of Facebook“. Boone thinks that Facebook should be regulated in the same respect that the government regulates the meat industry.

“The government is justified in protecting its citizens at their most vulnerable (you might even say this is the primary reason for government).”

Despite the company’s humble roots, they have grown to be what anyone would call a “big business” — with an estimated net worth of nearly 4 billion dollars. We all know happens when big business is not regulated,  cough cough… BP… cough.  After Zuckerburg recently admitted at the D8 Conference: “When I was 18 or 19 years old, I did a lot of stupid things“, he reveals Facebook’s ultimate mission statement — via hoodie!!

While I like the recent steps he took to simplify privacy settings and the concept of the new insignia, what the H is it doing on the inside of his hoodie?? More importantly couldn’t this be done on any other platform? Yes. Well, not really. Definitely, but not immediately. I’m sure Facebook with not be the last place to connect people online. Myspace used to be the place where everyone had to be, and now it’s primarily used to promote bands. When the time comes, Facebook will also have relinquish it’s throne (and grip).

When that time does come (or if they do something uber creepy), I will be more than ready to jump ship like @lwaltzer. While I agree with everything Luke said in his blog post, “I Can’t Quit You Facebook“, from his reasoning behind not quitting to his thoughts on Twitter, the following quote really stood out to me:

“Many, but not all, are to the left of center, and most are to the right of me.”

I have (what some of you might alright know) a diverse set of friends on Facebook, most of whom are to the right of me. As someone who views web 2.0 platforms as a means of promoting social justice, I find that Facebook is a great forum for political (yet civil) discourse.

Some may argue that facebook and politics should never mix, somewhat like beer and politics. As someone with experience in the service industry, I certainly appreciated when these rules were adhered to by inebriated customers! In regards to Facebook, however; I would have to disagree. Of course (as with everything), there is a line. There have been many groups and individuals on Facebook that have crossed this line, but I’d like to consider myself a cut above (or a world apart) from these types of individuals.

So I posted an update on my Facebook profile about considering leaving and shortly after I saw that my cousin joined the group 1 Million Against the Mosque at Ground Zero!, which prompted me to post this religious AND political update…


With over 40 comments I thought the discussion was finally over, but it continues 5 days later. This thread, along with my other cousin’s comment, “@Sarah M M: thank you for posting this, and putting up with all the abuse. This is why you shouldn’t give up on facebook” made me realize I still had a vested interest in Facebook! In this thread alone I learned that one of my high school friends served as the New York State chairman of the Patriot Party, worked as an Arabic linguist for the Marines, and helped work search and rescue on the north side of the pile near the Winter Garden on 9/12. He also points out in one of his comments:

“Most of the other people I talk to who were actually there just want peace and reconciliation.”

Sure, most people won’t sway from their political or religious opinions, but if that thread was able to make one person think about the issue from another perspective then I’m more than OK with that. If you need three reasons why I am still on Facebook:

1. Community

2. Betty White Hosting SNL

3. This (thanks @wrhernandez!) YouTube Preview Image

While I certainly didn’t quit Facebook on May 31st, plenty of others did… did you?

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