Blog Post

How I use HASTAC: A case study

How I use HASTAC: A case study

The recent How do you use HASTAC discussion combined with a G+ post I wrote on this topic spurred me to write a little case study in how I use HASTAC and how you guys, the HASTAC community, have had small, regular, and important contributions to make to my teaching and thinking.


Basically, HASTAC is a sounding board and sketchpad for ideas.  Pretty much all of the posts I've written have felt experemental, tests of ideas.  The reponses I get are always energizing, as I hope my comments are to others' posts.  Here is a case study in how posting some experemental ideas on HASTAC has blossomed into real-world expereinces, virtual connections, and tangible improvements to my ideas:

Note: the below is a rabbit warren of hypertext.  This itself it an interesting indication of how many connections are involved here.  It's essentially a case study of how the modern internet influences my daily life.  

As I mentioned above, back in the Fall I posted something on HASTAC about how I was going to teach a course using the $35 Raspberry Pi computer.  Barry Peddycord (who I'd met at THATcamp RTP in 2012) posted a comment about a Splatspace/TriLUG event in Raleigh in January (event page here).

During this event and the Saturday after Pete Soper  (who I met at Splatspace and who also commented on my Pi post RE educational materials) showed off his Pi prowess by VNCing to a Pi through a Pi.  It was then that it kinda started to dawn on me that I could use VNC in the classroom.  But it's been on the back burner until HASTACer Chris Lindgren posted a comment on that post about 1) his own plans for a Raspberry Pi course, this one on composition and 2) a sweet tutorial on VNCing into the Pi (which allows you to use the Pi from another computer without having to connect a monitor etc).  The tutorial was exactly what I had been looking for, and is the perfect material to get students up and running with VNC on the Pi (though, I still need to figure out how Windows users can do it.  Maybe VirtualBox running Linux.  There's always a way...). Said tutorial was written by some folks at Interloc Rochester, a hackerspace in upstate New York that I have no connection to besides the link.

A theme I've been noticing in my life lately is that the more focused and excited I've gotten about specific things (like the pi and coding education), the easier it's been to 1) be productive and good at them and 2) find other awesome people and resources related to them.  HASTAC is a great conduit for this sort of thing.


For the record, here's a screenshot of my VNC'd Pi on my iMac pointed to, of course, the post that started it all.  Full circle.

I don't think the complexity of the above connections is at all exceptional.  But following these links is somewhat like recounting a circuitous train of thought to someone else: it seem impossibly complex, un-anticipatable, and idiosyncratic.  HASTAC is a place where interperonal, cultural synapses happen, I think, and that's how and why I use it.


Read more about my ongoing Raspberry Pi adventures here.  Or just wait for my next HASTAC post :)


Any comments on this?  Similar/different to how y'all use the site?



I think you've hit it.  Love of what we're doing here, the things we discuss, and of learning is what makes HASTAC go.  It's certainly what motivated me to trace these links and share them here.


Very happy that the post has a chance of doing some good.  I'd be happy to help however I can when it comes to grant time.  I'd love to see HASTAC prosper and grow.  It's a community that has a compelling vision of what the future of academics can be and I feel fortunate to be a part of it!


Dear Elliott, You've made my day, week, month .  .    this detailed, complex post is EXACTLY why we do HASTAC which, believe me, is a labor of love.   We've been able to keep it dues free and open by a lot of volunteer extra labor on top of the grant activity that supports the main enterprise (and comes with lots of duties of its own), as well as with really dedicated members (and some key, generous support from Duke University and the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke for things like free office space, desktop support, heat and light:  all very, very nice to have).   It's worth it because we love the community we are part of and that you and others are building, not only on line in the virtual space but for the future of higher education and learning (formal and informal) more generally.   You have been very generous in taking the time to document yourself as a "case study."  Believe me, we will use this in future grant applications that we hope will continue to sustain us.  Ten years, over 10,000 network members, and, we believe, a lot of lives and careers supported, inspired, and aided by generous community members such as yourself.   Thank you!