This is my eighth time designing a course that happens, at least in part, in an online space.

I’ve learned to streamline. Less is more, often, when it comes to composing and delivering content in an online space.

I’ve also come to conceive the digital space is a material space. I call it “digitech.” Digitech requires bodily energy and attention, physical resources, although the physicality of working in digital spaces is often overlooked. But in this respect, digitech is not different from physitech; both technologies require bodily investment. Only I’m coming around to understanding that the kind of bodily investment that yields dividends in educational environments favors physitech. “Physitech” materials include things such as notebook paper, pens, typed word-processed documents. Whiteboards and chalkboards and things (oh my!).

IThe physitech materials, in my view, grant us more ways of making meaning (more easily and more affordably) than does digitech. Also the most important layer of any class cannot adequately be capture by digitech. That layer is “dialogue.” I’m not saying that physitech can capture dialogue, but I think we often think of digital technologies as somehow magical in that respect, like there isn’t anything technology can’t do, and do for us. It’s a sense, a feeling. A hope? That inspires people to over-invest in digitech often, especially in education.

During the semester, we will talk a lot about technologies, all kinds of technologies, and humanity. What does it mean to be human in a world mediated by digital technology? What’s different when we mediate with physical tech? What’s not different? Why does it matter? (or perhaps it doesn’t?)

What do you think?

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