I’m going to wield the magical big stick super powers I have a subject coordinator and veto some class decisions that were made about participation in relation to assessment. Specifically, if you claim to do something, and haven’t, then something should happen as a consequence. I’ll explain why, but first I’m doing this not because I think the alternatives developed or other options are wrong, but in the specific context of network media and the trust based assessment model we have adopted we want the idea of trust, reputation, and the concept of a trust or reputation network to be enacted. In this model trust is understood and defined as an obligation you have to another, it is not only a relation you have with yourself. Trust, in this deep sense, is where you have expectations of others and they, in turn, of you. I trust that my friend will do what she says she will do, the people I am collaborating with will do what they say they will do and that I even need to trust other drivers on the road to, pretty closely, follow the road rules, and I will too, so that it isn’t Russian roulette every time I decide to drive a car, or ride a bike.

In this way of thinking about trust we can see that it is not something I can define for myself. It is completely dependent on the judgement of others. It is not up to me to decide that I’m trustworthy – this is up to those that need to trust me to determine. This is similar (not identical, but similar) to how reputation works online. Your reputation as a blogger for example is determined by others judgement, often realised through readership, and more significantly, links in. This is why a twelve year old can be an authoritative fashion blogger, even they when they started they had absolutely no industry reputation or position at all. I could be employed as a fancy professor at an Ivy League university, but when I take up blogging, if my blog isn’t much good, then it simply isn’t much good and its reputation (and potentially mine) will be low. However, as a professor at an Ivy League university I don’t have to do much else to have reputation and authority within the university, simply because it is a hierarchical system and I am, by definition, a long way up towards the top. Being near the top bestows authority – the role and hierarchy guarantee this – whereas when I start blogging, my prestige from my position will probably help, but if I don’t walk the walk in my blog my real world position very rapidly counts for little. This is why we can think of it as a reputation network, because the authority of your blog is determined by others, not by the institutional granting of authority (they are a professor, they must know what they are talking about, they are employed by Vogue, what they think matters more than someone not employed in the fashion industry, they write for a music magazine so must know more than that blogger over there).

The participation assessment is repeating this. It relies on trust as you self audit your participation each week, but it only becomes a trust network when others are able to judge your trustworthiness. Remember, trust is not something you can self define, it relies fundamentally on your conduct in relation to others, and they are the ones who decide. (It is hard to build, easy to break, much harder, if broken, to restore.) Therefore for the participation assessment to become a trust network there needs to be consequences of breaking that trust. What those consequences are, well that I’m less concerned about then making it clear that trust is not something you are able to define for yourself – it is not up to me to claim that I’m trustworthy. I can think I am, I can claim I am, but the proof is what others say about me, not what I say about myself. Why? Because trust relies upon an ethical obligation to an other.

Beta Unsymposium 0.3

Back on, Tuesday, 12.5.2. Hopefully full complement. We have carry over questions due to the industrial action of last Tuesday:

In other news, in other labs this week work to date in niki will be critiqued, and then further developed (next week the next lot of topics will be distributed). Readings have been updated, Adrian saw a platypus (alive) in the Yarra at Templestowe, and these are the very good questions from Friday’s class for the symposium:

  • how does hypertext relate to storytelling in different media formats?
  • is the work we publish online only validated once it is viewed/consumed by others?
  • do you think the digitalisation of literary texts and the use of the E-reader will eventually replace the physical book completely?

And we have bonus questions from one of the Thursday classes:

  • Does the traditional essay no longer hold value in eduction?
  • What method of essay writing should be taught in schools? Is creativity the priority?
  • Could hypertext be a substitute for referencing?
  • Has writing improved or worsened with technology?
  • What do you think will be the consequences of electronic writing?

I Can’t Get to Class, So Participation?

This is called a STICKY post which means it stays at the top of the page so you see it. More recent stuff appears underneath. So if you’ve come back a few times and don’t think anything new has appeared, scroll, please. Down.

A simple premise come central tenet of this subject is that you are responsible for your learning. This translates in normal talk as you are responsible adults. I’ll be blunt. From my point of view you are all old enough to:

  • vote
  • get a gun licence (and shoot ducks, rabbits and foxes)
  • get a drivers licence
  • get married without your parent’s consent
  • join the army (and receive the training to kill people)
  • join the police force (and receive the training to use a weapon lethally and arrest people)

Given all that, if you can’t come to class then you’re certainly mature enough to:

  1. tell your teacher before the class happens
  2. print a copy of the participation diary (it’s included as part of the participation sheet)
  3. fill it in
  4. scan it at any printer at uni or photograph it with your phone
  5. and have it sent to your teacher that day

if you’re so sick you can’t do this, then you’ve gone to the doctor so you can include a copy of a medical certificate. If you’re not so sick you need a doctor, then you can manage this as a) a courtesy to your teacher, b) as understanding what taking responsibility for your learning means. (In your job you don’t take time off work and then tell your boss you couldn’t make it afterwards. Not sure why anyone thinks treating your teachers, your classes, or your learning any differently is OK, it isn’t.)

00 Readings – to be done in Class One – What is Networked Media (the subject)

This is a speculative curriculum. We encourage speculative writing and media making, critical writing that plays with fiction and voice. The passage below is the reading for the first class.

This is networked media, at least while sitting at a cafe on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon in mid July.

Something a bit unkempt, even dishevelled. Smart, a lot – too many – of ideas. A sea indeed of ideas. An ocean of ideas. And there’s networked media. A boat. Certainly not a big one. Doesn’t really have a sail but there is some sort of mast to pin something on, against, to. Or a motor. Not adrift. It bobs, floats, weaves. Seeks and follows eddies of the breeze, currents, a wave. Sometimes it gets blown and washed around, other times darting along with deliberate intent revelling in its boat knowledge of breeze, current, wave. There is no shore. Not at least to be seen. Anywhere. All ocean, and because it is all water one place is as well as close enough, or further away, than any other. Each wave is different. Different enough to have a difference, a difference that matters. This gives this ocean contour, currents, eddies and tides. You dip an oar, seeking something over there, enjoying the whirl and whorl of water around the oar.

Some Possible Questions
What sort of experience might it be to be on this boat? What might you need to know to get by? Is this is a metaphor of the network? Why? How? Why not? If this is a description of this subject (it is) then what does it suggest, for you, about what is going to happen here? What are the things that have knowledge, that ‘know’ in the speculative, imaginary, description? What does it even suggest, that things know? What isn’t in this description, as a subject?

The Big First List of All The Things To Be Able To Do in My Blog

These are the ‘blog how to’ basics that we will be working through as part of the first two or three classes.

Real Basic

  • know how to log in
  • know the URL of my blog
  • know the URL of the subject blog
  • be able to post entries to my blog


  • able to set comment controls
  • turn on spam filtering
  • set time zone
  • know where to change/set email address and change password
  • know how to recover lost password
  • write an appropriate ‘about’ page
  • making the about page visible
  • linked to the disclaimer page from your footer or sidebar (

Writing Outwards

  • can create a link from text in a blog post out to somewhere else
  • built a blogroll
  • uses different ‘sections’ (categories) in my blogroll
  • provided links to other services and/or sites I am on or use
  • use categories with posts
  • use tags with posts

Making it Mine

  • can use the edit tools in the post editor
  • have experimented with a different template
  • have modified a template using widgets
  • have modified the title, subtitle, colours and header of my blog
  • make categories visible/available on my template
  • made tags visible/available on my template
  • added pages

Beginning to Weave

  • posted a photo in a blog post
  • embedded a vine clip in a blog post
  • embedded a photo of fine from flickr, instagram or some other photo service into my blog
  • embedded video of mine from flickr, vine, vimeo, or some other video service in my blog
  • send something from my phone to my blog