Online Identity Course: 2 Weeks In…

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new half-semester 2-credit undergraduate course I’m teaching here at Indiana University. As promised, I’ve uploaded the class syllabus.

The class has met four times over the last two weeks (it meets twice a week).  It’s still too early to tell how the class is going and how much my students are getting out of the class.  Part of that is directly related to the design of the course as it’s front loaded with sociological material (Cooley & Goffman).  It’s deep, challenging material and it’s hard for some of my students to see where we’re going and how this material relates to the Internet.  “We’re getting there!” I promise them and I hope they believe me because we really are getting there.  And even though I hate that we’re running through these ideas so quickly and doing them such injustice (One day for Cooley’s Looking Glass Self?  Two days for Goffman’s ideas regarding impression management? Are you kidding me???) I believe very strongly that this will pay dividends when we get into the rest of the material by providing crucial and useful lenses and frameworks for us to use in thinking, reading, and talking about online behavior.

I try to keep this blog professional and not spend time discussing my personal trivia and emotions but I have to confess that I’m very excited to read my students’ first assignments which are due on Monday.  I’ve collected feedback from them in class so I am confident that most of them are on the right track and they’re “getting it” but you never know for sure, particularly when you throw a new instructor teaching a new class (with new, untested assignments) into the mix.

As this class continues, I hope that I’ll gain insight into my students’ beliefs and behaviors regarding online behavior and identity.  More importantly, I hope that I’ll be able to make use of and share those insights here.