While the fall semester is just beginning, this season’s call to submit book orders is a haunting reminder that the spring semester will be here very shortly. As I have noted previously, I will be teaching a new and experimental course on Folklore and the New Social Problems. Alongside ethical and topical matters, a meta-concern of this course is information literacy and the cultivation of durable research skills for a changing world. The call to submit textbook orders is especially ironic in these contexts in ways that I do not have time to explore in this post. Thinking about them today though, I wanted to catchup with an inspirational colleague (and an inspiration for my upcoming course) so I checked in online with Michael Wesch. I was happy to see that he has been named “Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars” at Kansas State University (well deserved!). I also watched, for the first time, his video Information R/evolution. It is a great companion to The Machine is Us/ing Us and it focuses on the changed information ecology in which those of us with access to digital resources work. Like many of Wesch’s other projects, it speaks well to the concerns so many of us are trying to negotiate. It is a valuable resource for my course. Check it out.
To be clear, I love books and nobody is working harder than my library colleagues to address the changes Wesch introduces. A key value of Wesch’s video work is his ability to explain these changes to general audiences (including those undergraduates with whom he has had such success).