Author Archive: Chris Lott

I like monkeys.

Public Annotation and Private Pages

Just a reminder as you explore, reflect and annotate with while you can technically annotate many password-protected and customizable pages, those annotations might not be accessible to others and they will likely be less than useful without the context to which they are attached.

For example, an intrepid Nousioneer attempted to use on Doug Belshaw’s book by commenting on the GumRoad (the book’s distributor) site. From her perspective, while logged in, the annotations might have context but for the rest of us—even if we login—the annotations are attached to an empty page!

That’s one of the reasons I didn’t assign when reading Doug’s book and something to keep in mind when you are choosing which tool(s) to use when engaging with an online (or kind of online) text. Kudos to Carolyn for jumping in and using though!

Nousion Blogs for Your Feed Reader

UPDATED: 6/21/17 with the last student site. You can re-import the file in your reader.

If you use a feed reader like Feedly (powerful and user-friendly) or Inoreader (super powerful, recommended for information junkies), here is an OPML file you can use to import all class blogs (including comments) at once: nousion-17-all-sites (right-click and save file).

To use the OPML file with Feedly, click on Organize Sources in the sidebar and scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find an Import Opml… link. Use this link to import the file you just saved.

To use the OPML file with Inoreader, click on the Gear icon to access your Preferences, look for the Import/Export section and use the Import button to import the file you just saved (you might want to create a folder to put them all in).

If you aren’t yet a user of a feed reader, you might find it useful not just for this class, but for keeping up with news and information sources of all kinds. Setting yourself up with a feed reader and using it can also count as part of your activities for an upcoming collection. The beauty of the feed reader is that it creates something much like an email inbox with all posts and comments in one place for readings, browsing to comment, etc., keeping track of what you’ve read (and left unread)—and what is new—as you go. This saves a TON of time over constantly browsing to individual sites to see what is new.

For example, this is one of my Inoreader views of all the unread items in class blogs and comments:


The Answer Is Yes

The answer is: yes.

A Nousionaut asked me today if she could, for one of her reflections, “have a discussion on Slack about the chapter and then post a screen shot to our blog?” My response: yes! Even better, I noted, she could create a channel in Slack and have a conversation there…then no screenshots are necessary and anyone who wants to could join in. Yes, a thousand times yes.

I try to leave as many assignments open-ended as possible for just this reason: you can do it your own way! If nothing else, the sheer tedium of writing so many reflections the same way should drive you to trying out alternatives.


Can some of your reflections exist solely as comments/additions to the wiki reflections of your fellow voyagers? Yes. Can some of your reflections be simply comments on other Nousioneers’ blog pages? Yes. Can you record a conversation on Skype or Zoom with a class compatriot (or two, or three) and count that? Yes.

Side note: I refuse to force you to treat this course as something other than independent study…forcing you to engage/collaborate/debate with your peers feels forced and fraudulent…but I think the class is more fun if you do and I recognize such interactions both in terms of Connection and Commitment points as well as freedom to, as our greatest monarch, the Burger King observed, have it your way.

Wiki Reflections and You (All)

Reflections on Doug Belshaw’s book are starting to flow into the book wiki. Please pay attention to what your peers have to say (and how they are saying it, both rhetorically and technologically in terms of how they are structuring, linking, etc. their reflections) and consider commenting on their work and integrating some of their thoughts in with your own.

There are a few ways you can comment and interact on the wiki. The most direct is to insert your comments on the pages themselves, as you can see I have done on Bob Heath’s reflections.

Note that, if you copy the title of a page and use it as a link, as I have done in my comment on Bob’s reflection on Chapter 2, then the page you have linked to will show that in the list of “what links here” (try it for yourself by navigating to Chris Fliss’s Chapter 2 reflections and clicking the “what links here” entry in the sidebar.

Finally, remember that you are writing on and for the web, so make use of the capabilities: don’t just refer to other pages, articles and sites (including your own)…link to them! Writing for the web is a genre/literacy/art of its own that you should explore in this class as you have had to explore formal academic writing style and citations in (probably too many) other classes.

Wiki Problems and Rich Readings

The wiki for Doug Belshaw’s book appears to have an issue preventing new users from registering, making it impossible to post reflections on chapters 1-5 of Essential Elements. I’ve inquired with Doug and hope to have some kind of resolution ASAP.

Until then, if you are reading those chapters and unable to reflect there, you can do so on your own site/blog. Worst case: that will be the new normal. Best case: Doug fixes the wiki and you can just post a link or copy/paste as needed. Until then, don’t let the wiki issue slow you down!

FAQ: Where to Comment?

A common question that emerges at this point in the class: where should you be commenting and conversing with your peers, since that is a significant part of your final grade?

Answer: a major part of the model of this class is promoting not just comments, but discussions (which demands, of course, responding to comments)! But we are also experimenting with a number of technologies, including Slack. I don’t want to be too prescriptive—and Slack is a new experiment for this class—but I do think a principle applies here just as it does anytime you want to engage with others about their work:

Comment and converse as close to the object you are discussing as possible.

For most things in this class, that means on their blog/site or, if the writing needs to be longer, more readily filled with links, etc., then on your own site with appropriate links to what is being discussed. That’s why we are publishing in the open! Occasionally another method will make sense: using an annotation tool, for instance, or commenting via the object’s native platform…as with most things in this course, I encourage experimentation over prescription.

FAQ: Citation Styles (not)

A couple of Nousioneers have inquired about required citation styles for this class. The simple answer: unless stated otherwise for a specific assignment, there is no required citation style. Instead, I would like you to use/link/weave/cite references on your writing based on the following two principles:

  1. Web Readability and Clarity. For this class you writing on and for the web, so make style choices for that medium: that’s much more important than scholarly formatting…and paying attention to those details and how they work in the formal, semi-formal and informal writing spaces is a part of digital/web literacy.
  2. Linked Sources. Link to directly to the material you are referring to (when that isn’t possible, link to a public database, Google Scholar, etc. entry) within your text in a readable fashion.

A good example of what I mean can be found in this (topically relevant) piece by Heidi Olson, a former student in this class who wrote a Search and Research entry on Digital Categories and Misconceptions.