It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Summer 2011 Diablog Series Entry #2

Hey friend, I was going to tweet this to see if we wanted to diablog about this, and then I decided hey, I’m just going to throw this up here and see if we can make it part of our diablog series! Look at me taking initiative! (Or am I procrastinating from other stuff I have to do…)

Anyways, I came across this article which was Tweeted by Duke Press yesterday, which I also ironically viewed on my mobile device, Discouraging EDU Lessons from Netflix Streaming by Joshua Kim on Inside Higher Ed. The tweet –

When I first saw this tweet I immediately thought that this was some sort of poll to which I excitedly wanted to answer, “oh, I know this one! course lesson number one when using Netflix streaming, MAKE SURE MOVIE WORKS ON YOUR DEVICE”! You see earlier in the semester I had these big plans to show this film – The Garden in one of my classes and this effort failed miserably because for whatever reason Netflix (this was explained to me via customer service) had not converted that particular film to be viewed on the type of mac I was using (I kid you not).

As I opened the link however I realized that maybe the story would be about something I’ve been wondering about for a while now, how do we use instant-watch Netflix in our classes and is this some kind of illegal practice we’re involved in. Because frankly, I think Instant Netflix is probably not intended to screen for your 60 students at once, but hey, that’s probably covered under free use laws right? But you’re not supposed to show a DVD without permission so how is internet streaming content any different? But, when we think about this issue of accessibility, shouldn’t we embrace the ways that instant Netflix allows us to offer video content to our students? Do you know where we can figure out if I’m going to get in trouble for violating copyright/use laws for media in the classroom? Certainly if it’s for educational purposes we don’t have to worry right?

But alas, this was not what the article was about either. If ¬†you take a minute to read through the article it’s actually posing some really interesting questions about how we as educators might need to take a tip from Netflix and provide our class-content in more easily (instantly) accessible ways. This of course is all predicated on his assertion, which I kind of take issue with, that instant-Netflix doesn’t have great movies or that the content is somewhat less than the content we may have once had access to. But I do think he has a point when he writes:

We may not like it, but our students are going to behave with our course materials the way I behave with Netflix. If course materials are not available instantly and painlessly on all their mobile platforms, then they will spend less time with these course materials.

He then goes into some pretty sad “discouraging EDU lessons” from Netflix Streaming which he basically breaks down as access ultimately “trumps” quality of content which again, I take issue with.

So SLP – what do you think about this? Is this another false binary – why are so many of these emerging in our discussions in Summer 2011 series? I guess, quickly (since I feel like I’ve been rambling so much anyways), my issue with this is that it assumes if we have something online or somehow available instantly it automatically means we’re diminishing quality of course content. I’m thinking about this particularly in relation to blogging in the feminist classroom. We’re already critical of the ways that “access” is not necessarily equal for every student – so this is problematic that he seems to be writing from this perspective – but then many students, at least initially point to the ways they feel technology like blogging can be a barrier to them learning, or at least something they’re struggling with. I don’t really know how to sum this up, so I’ll stop for now, what do you think about all this friend, especially in the context of our commitment to using technology in our classrooms from a feminist standpoint?


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