Tuesday, April 09, 2002


This link to the home page of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration relates to some of the themes explored in Memex. Specifically of interest is the report, A Nation Online, of which which NTIA claims: "the data in this study are among the most broad-based and reliable datasets that have been gathered on Internet, broadband, and computer connectivity." Sounds juicy. I wonder if any gender issues are considered in this report? I'll have to plow through it tonight and see - that is, after I finish grading papers, reading about eighteenth-century pirates/privateers/buccaneers, and designing the template for my Cybercultures and Colonization web project. Right. That will all happen, really.

- posted by laurie @ 4/09/2002 02:05:00 PM (0) comments


Well, template updated. Minor snafu's fixed. I think we're good for right now. There's one minor thing I need to figure out (alignment of the right content cell), but this is not major. Not as bad as forgetting a closing div tag, which caused my whole blog to end up in the right content box! Yay, fun. Learning by screwing up royally. Anyone who might actually be reading this and knows how to code (html, java, c#, whatever), go ahead and laugh. We were all beginners once upon a time!

Now, on to bigger and better projects: my final project in my Comparative Literatures seminar, "Cyberculture(s) and Posthumanism(s)," which will explore themes of colonization on the web. Is the web colonized? Being colonized? What might it mean, if it is? On the other hand, is the human form colonized? Being colonized? And what does it mean, if the human form is being colonized? Thoughs? Questions, concerns, comments?

Oh, the whole point: the final project is a web-based presentation of my research, with the design portion of the grade counting for more than the (what would traditionall be considered) "content."

- posted by laurie @ 4/09/2002 01:50:00 PM (0) comments

Sunday, April 07, 2002


I swear, I am having more problems with my blog than I should. I mean, I do a little html coding and while I am no expert, I should be able to alter my template. For some reason, though, the file won't update! Arrgh!

OK, enough ranting for today, I, as usual, am sneaking in a post when I should be doing something else (like sleeping, at the moment). But I am going to try and post, although it looked like blogspot was down a little bit ago.

I am still puzzling out how women fit in to distance education settings: it seems that women occupy a strangely ambivalent space when it comes to technology, especially computer technology. According to the study cited on the CPSR Gender Pages index, women now use the internet in numbers proportional to population (in the US), but tend to use the Internet differently. Women are also still less represented in computer science and engineering majors, and there was a decline between 1986 and 1996 in the numbers of women receiving degrees in these areas. Not that those numbers indicate a lot, in truth, because they do not consider the number of women who are practicing (professional or amateur) in IT fields who may be self-taught, or who may have majored in another field. Nevertheless, there does still seem to be a gender gap in the use of technology. I would like to think this is generational, and maybe Internet usage will be, but the number of women earning degrees in tech fields is still problematic.

This is related to distance education and educational technologies in an important way: women are not as involved in the creation of educational technologies. They can't be, if they are not receiving the degrees or otherwise achieving the credentials or skills necessary to secure employment in the IT field. Which means that educational technologies are not being created with the woman user in mind, and this woman user tends to use Internet technologies differently than men. Additionally, Cheris Kramerae notes in her 2001 study, The Third Shift:Women Learning Online, that women make up the majority of distance education students (read the Wired article on this report). Does anyone else see a problem developing here? I do . . . .

And now for a rant: I recently read a critique of feminist perspectives on computer technology. This respondant thought that ffeminists are being impractical because they want to change the way IT is done, the way CS is taught, etc. To this person, and to peple who hold similar views, I say, "absolutely!" If pedagogical, disciplinary, and workplace strategies are ineffective or somehow limiting for 50% of the population, then there must be a better way to approach the problems. If I made the same charge of, say, History, or of English, people would agree wholeheartedly. But when a woman charges that a male-dominated field needs to do something more than simply open the doors wide and "invite" women in, then women/feminists are being silly, impractical, etc. The pejoratives abound. I know this is probably not the most supportive venue for unveiling a gender-based critique of technology, but at least it's a venue where my voice may be heard, where the argument may at least get some consideration.

And now, before I get any more riled up, I'm going to post, publish, and hit the hay. Long day today, and a long day ahead of me!

- posted by laurie @ 4/07/2002 10:40:00 PM (0) comments


OK, I figured out my major problem with posting to blogger, which, if I recall, was why I stopped posting after March 11. Cookies. I hate 'em. So I have told my browsers not to accept them. But blogger needs cookies enabled to work. I was having problems ftping to blogspot using Netscape because Netscape is set to auto-reject cookies. SO, if I use explorer and accept cookies from blogger, everything seems to work out ok! This is what I meant by a humanities-type who can't leave computers alone (see the sidebar). Perhaps the associational trainwreck has affected me in more ways than I thought!

So my big recommendation for today is a lovely book of poems by Ms. Julienne K. Coleman, a young woman from Delaware. Bubbles and Other Poems. What I find so spectacular about this book of poems is the clarity of this young woman's voice, and the range of themes she tackles in her poetry. She offers both a window into the innocence and playfulness of childhood and a profound insight into more serious issues, such as peer pressure, identity, and American soicety at the end of the 20th century. If you are into poetry, give her work a try!

- posted by laurie @ 4/07/2002 03:44:00 PM (0) comments

Saturday, April 06, 2002


I am so bad about blogging regularly. Blogging, keeping a journal, writing in a diary, whatever. These activities are all similar, and I tend to be bad at them. As a graduate student, I have exactly zero free time, so my ability to keep up with something like this on a regular basis is somewhat limited. I have to be honest, though: friends and acquaintances keep journals and manage to be successful students, as well. Hmm.

Anyway, today I have little in the way of deep musings. After smacking my head into the corner of my hutch this morning, I became a little braindead. The best part of the head-smakcing-braindead episode is that I gave myself a big ol' goose egg on my forehead about two and a half hours before giving my first paper at a conference. Really, the timing could not have been better.

After giving my talk, I listened to the rest of the papers, went out to dinner with a friend, and came home to sit in front of the computer for the next several hours. I should be reading for class on Monday. I should be writing papers. I am going to go try and accomplish something.

Maybe I will be able to write more frequently than twice a month in the near future!

- posted by laurie @ 4/06/2002 08:11:00 PM (0) comments