Reading together

Perusall logoWe’ll use Perusall to annotate and read together. Link here to Perusall.

Instructions for joining on the Week 1: Getting Situated page.

Writing together

We will our work in Currents to share and respond to ideas. Link Here (log in to Wildcat Mail first)

Instructions for joining on the Week 1: Getting Situated page.

Make Cycle 6: ethnography

Make Cycle 6: ethnography

April 14-30

Thank you everyone for the lovely work you’ve been doing all semester. I appreciate all the interesting thinking and writing you’re doing (in the middle of less than ideal circumstances too). You rule.

For the next two+ weeks, we’re going to change our routine so we can use the time to work on the mini ethnography assignment. I’ll be inviting you to share some data, start on some analysis, and watch a video of research about YouTube as a model for how to do this digital research.

Our tasks in a nutshell:

  • You can find the Mini Ethnography assignment below and on our Assignments page. Notice there are four example student papers too: we read Morgan, Miguel, and Orion’s last week in Perusall. You might also check out Bella’s paper about Rave Culture if you’d like another model below.
  • By Monday, April 19: watch Mike Wesch’s “An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube” (and annotate in Perusall per usual)
  • By Wednesday, April 21: identify a group for your mini-ethnography project (and get started on data collection). Tell us a bit about why you chose this group to focus on and feel free to also ask any questions about the assignment. (Post in Currents) (this day (4/21) is an asynchronous work day: class not meeting during our 4:00 time. Hoping you’ll work on your ethnography project. You should also join the Book in Common conversation with Ibram X. Kendi at 5:30!)
  • By Monday, April 26: some initial thoughts/analysis of your data in Currents.
  • By Friday, April 30 New deadline Tuesday, May 4: draft ethnography due. Post link to Google Doc in Currents. Make sure share settings are “anyone with link can comment” Thank you!
  • Wednesday, May 5: peer feedback to ethnographies in class.

By Monday, April 19:

Watch Mike Wesch’s “An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube” (and annotate in Perusall per usual).

I want to use Wesch’s talk as an example of how to do this research. Notice how he and his students collected data (in his case, YouTube videos), created categories of that data (sorting the videos into remixes, vlogs, etc), and then made claims about what is happening on YouTube and how it changed our literacies. I’ve always thought it would be cool to update his research: what would we add to the categories and literacies of YouTube now?

Comment in Perusall as you watch, particularly noticing how you might use his insights and research example to do your own research and data collection. You can also leave questions for me about our project as you’re commenting on his video. The video is 55 minutes long, so make a plan for that. I promise that portions will make you smile; he uses lots of video examples in his data that might be familiar.


By Wednesday, April 21:

Identify a group for your mini-ethnography project and get started on data collection. Tell us a bit about why you chose this group to focus on and feel free to also ask any questions about the assignment. (Post in Currents)

This day (April 21) is an asynchronous work day: class not meeting during our 4:00 time. Hoping you’ll work on your ethnography project.

You should also join the Book in Common conversation with Ibram X. Kendi at 5:30!)


By Monday, April 26:

Share initial thoughts/analysis of your data in Currents. Give us a screen shot of some data, link to a video you’re using, link to memes, a link to a google doc…whatever the literacies are that you are gathering for your research. If you’re doing an interview or interviews with people in the community you are studying, you could share a snippet of their responses. Then, tell us how the data collection is going: where are you stuck? what are you learning about the literacies from this study already? Can you try out answering any of the questions below from our assignment? (i.e.: What does “literacy” in this group look like? What is its purpose?)


Wednesday, April 28 & Monday, May 3:

In class work: support for our drafts. We’ll do some writing together and answer final questions about the draft that’s due May 4.


Tuesday, May 4

gif of someone writingMini Ethnography
Google Doc shared with kjaxon@mail.csuchico.edu (*NOTE that my email is slightly different than my regular one for sharing google docs: it’s just like student email… @mail.csuchico.edu)

Due: various due dates for notes/data collection. Draft due Tuesday, May 4. Share google doc link in Currents Community. Check share settings: anyone with link can comment. Thank you!

Choose a group whose literacy practices you want to learn more about. The group can be a group that meets face-to-face or it can be an online group. Describe and analyze how reading and writing operates within the group. Use our readings and our discussions to guide your use of terms and concepts.

Begin by closely observing your group for a week. Take copious field notes. Do interviews (online or in person with a mask and social distancing in place) if appropriate and record and/or transcribe them. You often don’t know what’s an important detail until later. Then read and reread your notes, noticing what seems most important or interesting. Focus in on making a claim about your group, a claim that might consider (but not be limited by) the following questions:

  • What “work” does literacy do in the group?
  • How is literacy learning sponsored?
  • What genres are used? Why? To what extent is new media a component of the work?
  • What does “literacy” in this group look like? What is its purpose?
  • What is the role of literacy for newcomers? How does literacy facilitate or inhibit membership in the group? What role does literacy play in leadership? How does literacy support a structure of the group? To what degree is the group’s organization hierarchical or egalitarian (or in between)? How does literacy create, support, or maintain that organization?

Your mini-ethnography should be 4-6 pages long (some may grow longer and that’s fine) and include generous literacy examples from the group you are studying. The best ethnographies will use our readings to support their analysis.

Resources for data collection:

Interview Protocol

Data Matrix (helps to match research questions to data collection)

Examples from last fall:

Morgan’s “Dungeons and Dragons and Identity, Oh My!”

Miguel’s “Discovering Through Play: Minecraft’s Interactive Game Design & Multimodal Literacies”

Orion’s “Literacies of Autism’s sub/Reddit Community”

Bella’s “Rave Ethnography”


Wednesday, May 5: peer feedback to ethnographies in class. Here are some guidelines that could be helpful.