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UMD NOW LOA (Tara, Charissa, Angie)

by on May 4, 2011

LOA – UMD NOW (Tara, Charissa, Angie)

1)    Identify and develop a coherent analysis of women and gender in relation to significant issues — in this case, social media:

Our social media class has helped us to analyze women and gender in relation to social media . One of the most obvious demonstrations of this concept was guest speaker Tara Rodgers, who demonstrated the power of social media to connect people and to spread ideas. Through her sound art and tumblr account, she has been able to create allies in people from other countries that she had never met previously. By demonstrating the impact that women can have through reaching out with media, we, as students. were able to understand what kind of role we can play in social media movements, as well as how we can use social media and technology to create new media and activism movements. Further, we examined how social justice and feminist issues intersect with social media and technology, and took this understanding into our project development. Zandt’s book (Share It!, 2010) really illustrated the power of social media and and how it can be used to further feminist and social justice discourses, activisms, and work.

2)  Demonstrate understanding of social and/or cultural differences, inequalities, and/or relations of power:

We demonstrated an understanding of cultural and social differences in class discussions around Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out (Ito, et al., 2009). We discussed the different media usage habits of people based on age, geography, and culture and we shared our own experiences accessing to technology media, and what kind of information we seek. Also, we discussed the patterns of media usage in terms of the younger generation compared to older generations. In conversation with our professor, we shared our varying experiences now and in the past, when media was not as widely available as it is now. Boler’s Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times (2008) also illustrated how social media and technology can interact with feminism, relations of power, and social differences, and give us insight into how social media and technology are being used to effect real social change — which we witnessed in the revolutions in the Middle East.

3) Draw appropriately on a range of work in women’s studies scholarship, creative work, and theory (both from this class and other courses already taken):

Two members of our group were both in WMST400 with Katie King, which is a theory class (the third member took the same class with another instructor a few years ago). Our experiences in that class, along with previous women’s studies class, has provided us with a strong prior knowledge relating to analyzing, critiquing, and examining intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, age, and (dis)ability. These knowledges helped us explore how social media and technology impacts and relates to women’s studies, feminisms, and discourses. Creatively, this class has been a lot of fun, but exploring feminist scholarship through arts and crafts allowed us to approach issues we are familiar with in new ways, leading to brainstorming new ideas and new understandings of how activism, social media and technology, and feminist scholarships can relate and interact.

4) Know how to document evidence and/or research:

The research we did for this project was not typical research as we have experienced in traditional academic classes; in this course we experimented with different forms of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress. As we tried to figure out which forms worked best for our project, much of research was “messing around” and “geeking out,” which is difficult to document, but our readings lent themselves to our explorations in social media.

5) Show competence in presentation skills: writing and other forms of presentation:

We demonstrated competence in presentation and writing skills in a variety of ways. First we presented our project at the Theorizing the Web Conference, which required we present our vision and ideas in a professional way while interacting and networking with  people interested in technology, feminism, social justice, and/or activism. We were proud of our efforts and interactions related to the conference. We are also grateful for having had the opportunity to work in such a professional manner and found it to be a moving and unique experience in our educational careers. Additionally, we presented our ideas and plans to one another in our classroom workshops, offering feedback and encouragement to our classmates. We demonstrated proficiency in writing both this blog documenting our project processes, as well as the blog and site we developed as part of our project.

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