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Closing the Loop on Honours

So, apparently my last post about my Honours I lied through my teeth, because it’s close to a month since I’ve done my presentation and I still haven’t posted it. I hang my head in shame – it’s been a rollercoaster month.

The Honours I wrote and presented

I’ve uploaded a PDF of my Honours Report, entitled Social Change, New Media, and Everyday Makers: A Case Study of Toronto Transit Camp. An abstract follows:

Among many of its effects, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are being examined for their effects on the world’s democratic practices and governments. At the same time, the impacts of ICTs are not felt simply in one area our lives in isolation – as they bring changes to several areas of our life at once, the effects interact with each other in altering our expectations, norms, relationships and daily practices. As the private sector explores models and methods of collaboration using technology, these same methods are seeing application in the context of public service. I will illustrate this through an examination of Toronto Transit Camp – a self-organizing collaborative face-to-face event organized by a Toronto area technology community – exploring its outcomes as expressed by participants of the event, and the event itself as an example of the evolving relationship between technology, citizenship and civic engagement.

I’ve also posted my slides synchronized with an audio recording of the presentation, aka. a slidecast, (thanks for that, Richard Smith) to SlideShare. The audio file alone is also available.

Note: The file after the 18-minute mark is questions from Richard and another prof in Communication, Roman. The questions are: “What is BarCamp?” and “What were the biggest differences between the Transit Camps in Toronto and Vancouver?”

Click through for more analysis of the honours process and presentation itself.

In terms of things for me to keep in mind for the future with presentations…

  • Practice and feedback from a respectful audience = good.
  • Need to deal with that Um problem. I think I had it a lot less in my practices, but it came out with a vengeance during the presentation itself. It made me say at least 3 times what I needed to, and meant I went 3 minutes over my allotted time.
  • The end of the presentation definitely needs an oomph.
  • I rather like Keynote as a presentation problem program. Definitely much more pleasant than wrangling with Powerpoint on the Powerbook.
  • I rather enjoyed the simplicity of my slides, but it does mean the emphasis is more on me to proceed sequentially with my sentences, instead of the mini-hamster wheel speech I find myself caught in occasionally.
  • Explaining of terms. I probably could have dodged the BarCamp question just by giving it one or two succinct sentences at the beginning.

Oh, the Anxiety

Writing and doing the research on this honours was a huge learning experience for me, especially at the point where I realized I had bit off a bit more than I had the time or capacity to chew. I also felt, and still feel, fairly new about participating in communities; and with this honours, how best to represent, describe and critically examine one. Of course, in the end I’m just one voice, and the beauty of the whole thing is that if my ideas were poorly articulated, have shoddy logic, or are in your opinion or experience just plain wrong, you all have the means to bring it up with me. I admit to feeling a bit reticent, but it contributes to the quality of my scholarship and I should be nothing but grateful for that.

In no particular order, here is a run-on sentence with everything I wish I could have dealt with in this paper but didn’t because I’m human in the worst ways: industrial transformation (and the role of both information/communication and transportation in that), creative cities, TTC staff perspective, social/organizational/technological innovation, organizational change (especially in public agencies), e-government/e-democracy, open data and collaborative mapping, community open source development models and ownership therein, social capital of organizers vs. participants (and the types enabled by different tools, methods and events). The point of this list? A reminder that I have plenty to think about if I’m ever interested in re-visiting that grad school question!

What now, brown cow?

I’ll be going into some more detail about that in the near future, but have no doubt that I am keeping busy – and that it is very exciting! :)

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] rechercheuse Karen Fung has completed her honour’s thesis into Toronto Transit Camp as an example of unconventional social change. I […]

  2. […] (Frankly, that’s probably been the thread tying together most of my obsessions since I started my undergraduate thesis on Toronto Transit Camp.) What I think is interesting is that planning is the existing institution with which we have […]

  3. […] me — it was the experience of Toronto’s Transit Camp in 2007 that eventually led me to write my undergraduate thesis on the experience of public engagement, to help convene and organize Vancouver’s Transit Camp and TransLink’s SkyTrain […]

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