This winter quarter I taught a fully-online class on Digital Globalization, which I greatly enjoyed. I believe that Digital Globalization is a form of globalization that is every bit as powerful as economic, political and cultural globalization. Of course, it is also inextricably linked to all these other forms of globalization. It’s strange, therefore, that has remained largely invisible in the literature in the field.
One point that struck me from the class is that the media gives a great deal of attention to the question of surveillance by governments, but my students are every bit as concerned about surveillance by corporations such as Facebook. I had also assumed that my students would be digital natives. Many of them, however, felt a great digital gap between themselves and younger siblings, who spend a great deal of time on social media, such as Instagram and Snapchat. They appreciated the chance to learn about topics such as Bitcoin that they had heard about in the media, but knew little about. From my students, I learned that there was a Bitcoin ATM in Portland, as well as bars and apartment buildings that accepted Bitcoin.
A few notes about the syllabus that follows. The majority of the content, including almost all of the videos, were obtained from my library’s Streaming Video and Music database. For this reason, I haven’t included the links here, because they would only work for people with accounts at my university. As you can see, I’m also beginning to use modules for online courses. In this particular case, I began with two weeks focusing on the individual (social media, the generation gap, music and art); two weeks focusing on institutions and the economy (Uber, Airbnb, the sharing economy, Bitcoin, 3D printers); and two weeks focused on the nation-state level (surveillance, privacy, encryption). For the fourth module of the course, students do three weeks of independent study on of the topics that they’ve explored in the class, to answer a key question. The goal of this module is to develop learner agency.
The final week of the course content students share a digital artifact, which is typically a Google Slideshow. I’ve done this in previous online classes, and it’s always very popular with the students, who take a great deal of pride in their work. I like the assignment because it in a sense it creates a co-constructed syllabus, in which students are responsible for their own learning. Lastly, for multiple reasons I did not allow students to do any research for this course on the Dark Web; that is, they could not research in areas of the Web that they could only access via a TOR, ITP or Freenet browser.
Shawn Smallman, 2016 …