All posts by A. Nelson

I am a historian of Russia with expertise in cultural history and emerging interests in animal studies and environmental history. My current research projects include studies of the Soviet space dogs, the significance of the Belyaev fox domestication project, and the cultural implications of domestication, particularly in Eurasia.

Comment on Time frames and the web by A. Nelson

I love Scott McCloud’s Ted Talk! The first time I led the NMS we watched it and I posted about it here:
The link to the Ted Talk is on that post in case people can’t view it here (for some reason the video isn’t showing up for me now).
Also, I’d say that the work you do with the online course exhibits develops the “infinite canvas” concept and the networked interaction of the web in unique and inspiring ways. Very cool stuff.

Comment on Time for Co-Learning by A. Nelson

Your situation sounds ideal in so many ways — good for your students, good for your research, and good for you! I’m in a field (history) where books and articles are the most valued kinds of scholarship.
My “recalibrations” this term weren’t particularly innovative — just a more mindful allocation of how I spent my time. While I still saw my courses as 24/7 engagements, I carved out some regular hours for research (not as many as I used to, but more than I’d managed in my first semesters of mostly on-line interaction). I also figured out how to work with my student editors in ways that helped us curate the content on a predictable weekly schedule, and gave me more time to read, comment and reflect on what the class was creating (because the student editors managed lots of the technical / formatting details). And honestly, I think I might have felt like everything was quite manageable if we hadn’t had so many technical glitches. Our WordPress platform was incredibly slow and unstable all semester, which just ate….into…..the….hours…..we……all….could…..have….used……..much….more….effectively. It’s maddening to be at the mercy of forces you don’t control, and to see your students suffer as a result. So I’m really looking forward to the final unit of Connected Courses to get some insight on best practices for keeping my courses out of the blogtalk garage in the future!

Comment on Metaphor and Computers by A. Nelson

I think Jon is onto something here, especially if we think about human-computer interaction (as opposed to considering “the computer” as a distinct unit / technology of its own. One of the things I like about Brenda Laurel’s selection is the possibilities it opens up for thinking about agency and interaction (between agents) that move past the human-tool / human-technology binary.

Comment on Poo-tee-weet? by A. Nelson

Yep, really sorry I missed this last week! I won’t ask everyone to re-run the session, but I’m intrigued by the prospect of creating pieces of the puzzle (are they even part of the same puzzle?). It certainly does feel that way sometimes…and yet this is the opposite of what Viola advocates for and Andi identified as the “subtractive elements of creation” (
And thank you for working Vonnegut into this! A random time quote: “Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” But there has to be a why, right? Otherwise why would he remind us to “Wear sunscreen”?

Comment on the sacred, the profane, and the porcupine: thoughts on Bill Viola’s ‘Will there be condominiums in data space?’ by A. Nelson

Oh Andi – I so regret being lost in the time warp last week when you all talked about this. What a cool post — You’ve woven a coherent thread through these four salient points of Viola’s text and made me think about his claims about the division between the sacred and profane (I’ve always found that nugget so provocative) in a whole new way. Thank you!

Comment on Inevitable Media by A. Nelson

Two things: One I’ve been thinking about your household as a Minecraft node all week –the kids running the server, summoning in assistance from around the world, mastering by making….They are lucky to have a dad who both supports their ambitions and can knows how to keep them safe in the virtual world.
The other piece: I’m wondering how you see Viola’s concept of data space (as something that has always already existed in human art and memory systems) in light of your insights about K&G. The geosynchronous music on the mall “sounds” to me like a transformative kind of experience. I guess I’m wondering how we think about the distinction between an ongoing elaboration of the old and the point at which the new medium / context / technology yields something qualitatively different?