“I see no harm in book-learning”

"I see no harm in book-learning": A pedagogical practice of transmediating "The Tales of John Oliver Hobbes"

A pedagogical practice of transmediating
“The Tales of John Oliver Hobbes”

Presentation abstract: Acceptance of using social media as a formal aspect of the university learning experience has increased in past few years. Different disciplines, like the digital humanities, have begun to experiment with these platforms by utlizing transmediation as a pedagogical practice. The purpose of this presention is to reflect upon this method as a learning experience and to consider its implications for the training of future scholars.

In the Winter of 2014 professor Jason Boyd at the Department of English at Ryerson University, directed a course on Digital Publishing. While taking place in the physical space of Jorgenson Hall, a large portion of the course took place online. Having the intention of combining theory with practice, the course assignments revolved around the creation of what Ray Siemens et al. calls a “social edition”, an annotated edition of a text that utilizes social media for the open participation of scholarship. Chosen for its relative obscurity within literary studies, a collection of Victorian-era novels printed in 1894 titled “The Tales of John Oliver Hobbes” was multiplied, extended and augmented through a variety of mediated interventions in the class. By way of the Internet Archive “The Tales” was transformed into two distinct texts on Wikisource, the subject of reflection on a WordPress blog, and the creation of a Twitter account.

In considering this cluster of media, the purpose of this presentation is to explore how the borders of the classroom and social media push up against, absorb, and resist one another as the object of “The Tales of John Oliver Hobbes” was transformed into the place of learning, or what Ikujiro Nonaka calls the “ba” in the creation of knowledge. Part autoethnography of a participating student and part actor network analysis, this presentation reflects on the thresholds of textuality and pedagogy as they interact in an increasingly computer mediated educational space.


Interface 2014: Transmediation, Carleton University, May 2, 2014

Presentation Website



knowledge creation, digital humanities, social edition, wiki, Actor network theory

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