Brain Food

Think of the MOOC as a sandwich.

It’s a bit unorthodox, yes, but bear with me.

Okay, so the MOOC is a sandwich right? Well what’s the bread?

Media and news literacy, the foundation of the MOOC, is the bread. It’s basest believe of keeping everything connected and improving communication and productivity through interaction on the internet and integration of media and technology into our lives is sort of the thing that holds everything else in a MOOC together. It’s obviously the delicious, white-bleached, Wonderbread.

But what goes inside of the MOOC? What exactly makes the MOOC so great at keeping everyone and everything connected?

We need two things here: Cheese and Meat.

Meat goes down first. Always.

Then cheese.

But, in terms of the MOOC, what are these substantial morsels called?

I say that both the meat and cheese together make up digital storytelling.

Here’s why.

If media and news literacy is the bread that holds everything, then what does it enforce/encourage to happen on the internet and through the use of media? How do we communicate this information and these stories of ours that we publish on the internet because of the fact that we are experiencing the effects of #metaliteracy?


Newsflash, it’s called digital storytelling. Digital Storytelling allows people to tell their own stories and information through various forms of media, which is rooted in the open line of communication that comes with media and news literacy.

Moving on.

If you’re feeling adventurous, and I know I am, you can add some lettuce to your sandwich, which would obviously be the technobiophilia part of this delicious snack! To recap, technobiophilia is pretty much our obsession with seeing biologically natural things and processes in digital format. The lettuce is to fool us into thinking we’re eating healthy when we go and cram a bunch of chips into the sandwich later.

The chips don’t stand for anything. They’re just really good with sandwiches. 


Technobiophilia? Really?

Somehow, it doesn’t surprise me that we have become so invested in our technology that the term “technobiophilia” even exists.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Then think about how many times you’ve used ocean screensavers littered with dolphins, galaxy and stars cell phone wall papers, and crackling digital bonfires in place of real ones.

Now you do.

As we move closer into the age of MOOCs, eBooks, and online bank accounts, there is growing anxiety over the way it seems machines have come to dominate our lives, hence the soothing ocean sounds on your laptop as you type away.  

To be honest, in my opinion, this just signals how far metaliteracy still has to come.

Metaliteracy’s most fundamental objectives lay in the belief of technology making our lives easier. Metaliteracy and MOOCs aim to connect life and objectives and goals through technology in hopes that communication and the exchange of ideas will flow quicker and more productively.

Those who have yet to realize this are the same people who become anxious over the appearance of nature in digital form. They are scared about the rise of technology because they are uninformed. They have also yet to manage to incorporate technology and media into their lives in a way that is advantageous, and not domineering or overwhelming.

Instead of agonizing over the deterioration of traditional string-and-paper-cups communication, people should embrace this kind of evolution and enjoy their amber waves of grain on their desktop computers if that is what it takes to ease the transition from “pioneer” to “Computer Science Major”. Nature and technology aren’t very different at all.

They are each constantly changing yet stubbornly stagnant, and humans have trouble with the existence of both, but they can each be enhanced with increased of #metaliteracy.

I guess progress never comes easily.

Some people need to get with the Microsoft/iOs program already.


Digital Storytelling

Getting taught by a teacher through a computer?

Metaliteracy: 1 

Traditional standard: 0

It’s become glaringly apparent throughout this course that using technology to enhance communication across distances, not enhance it, has become the new standard. Now that I’ve learned about digital storytelling, its even more clear now that we-as in the entirety of the world-are evolving into an age where we’re more connected through technology. Telling stories through abstract pictures and images and just narrating voices as the scenes flipped by on-screen used to be something reserved for creative types with expensive cameras and editing equipment. Not anymore. How very MOOC-ish of it…

Digital Storytelling allows people to tell their own stories and information through various forms of media, especially online, encourages the very thing that MOOC and #metaliteracy is based in: open communication and the open flow of ideas and collaboration.

Your timeline on Facebook is digital storytelling. Your vine video showing you slapping your friend with a palm full of flour is digital storytelling. Your constant tweets about #tgif are digital storytelling. Your instagram updates while out with your friends are all digtially telling a story.

(And all of these stories are exactly the same. Which, in a way, is sort of sad that metaliteracy has progressed but our ideas of originality have not, and neither has our in-person storytelling.)

I didn’t know any of this before. I actually just thought that it was socializing and everyone was doing it so it only made sense for me to keep up with my friends this way, but digital storytelling is the advancement of metaliteracy in its basest form. Imagine what can be created from it if we all put these connections to greater use. Metaliteracy to me is a kind of “connectedness” between all information. It deals with all forms of information, as well as the process behind creating new information and circulating that information. 

It’s powerful. Hopefully, now that I’m aware of the power of digital storytelling, I’ll be able to put it to better use in the future. 


What metaliteracy means to me

It’s 2013 and we live in a digital age of replacing friendships with social network “likes”, “hash-tagging” our interests, and “reblogging” our assent to sassy bloggers talking about current events.

Now, even our classes are getting a tune up.

It’s not in my nature to give in to the heavily digitized customs of our current era. I’m actually in favor of the old practice of “face to face conversations”, but it seems like metaliteracy and the MOOC can be less dreary than the rest of the things we do online. MOOCs, or massive open online courses, are online courses aiming to encourage unlimited participation. They rely on community building by students, teachers, and teaching assistants, which can be pretty useful at setting up lines of communications between students and faculty. They’re also pretty interactive, with tons of videos and graphs and all other kinds of media, which promotes a certain kind of engagement to learning that I don’t think can be fostered with regular materials. Metaliteracy and MOOC go hand in hand; If MOOC is the icing, then metaliteracy is the cake. Metaliteracy is mainly the promotion of critical thinking and collaboration with others in a digital age, which MOOC is certainly designed to enforce as well. 

To me, metaliteracy sounds good in theory and, if it lives up to the hype of those that endorse it, seems like it could be a very useful tool in my studies. Communicating and exchanging ideas with my classmates, keeping an open line of communication with my teacher, and keeping me up to speed with the fast paced, digital world we now live in seems possible with metaliteracy. Nowadays, networking is more important than ever, and keeping connections while in school and beyond keeps a person current, informed, and connected with others in partnerships that can prove to be beneficial in the future. In this course, I hope to learn how to transition successfully into a more “metaliterate” lifestyle and use it to my advantage in my academic life, as well as my pursuits that aren’t academic, like career planning. 

What better place to learn about metaliteracy than a MOOC?