“The spread of recipe-like clarity can accelerate the sharing of knowledge among groups working on the same problem, but it can also make it easier for others to benefit from the knowledge so produced, because clear expression of an idea can travel from person to person and group to group more easily than the same idea expressed in a way that only the members of a specific group can understand.”
—Shirkey, Cognitive Surplus (141)
In Chapter five, we learn a bit about culture and the ways in which we benefit from the spread of knowledge. A few times during this chapter, I found myself reflecting on some of the skills and experiences I’ve gained while working at my internship. When Shirkey described the idea of creating recipe-like clarity, I immediately thought of all of the tutorials and documentation we make for maintaining parish websites.
More times than not, we train the users at the parishes and then find ourselves doing most of the work for them in the long run because they either forget entirely or have a difficult time following the documentation. This discovery led us to generate some simple training tutorial videos in Adobe Captivate, a program designed to generate screencasts. A video provides a type of clarity that cannot be expressed even with the most basic words on paper. The same comparison could be made when looking at broadcast journalism and print journalism. Although print journalism generally has more concrete and correct facts, words cannot paint the crime scene like actual video and audio footage can. I’ll always be partial to print journalism–because it’s my craft, but I’ll be the first to criticize where it still lacks. That’s why it’s so important with today’s day and age that print journalism pair articles with multimedia online, whether it be galleries or brief clips.
On a complete tangent, I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss my reaction to the lawsuit faced by the college freshman for his “illegal” use of Facebook as a study group tool. Prior to this reading, I had never heard about this fight. I can honestly say that I would never think to create a Facebook group to help me study for a midterm or final, but it makes sense that students would utilize this as a tool that eliminates time constraints. In a perfect world, I don’t see a problem with it as long as there is an equal amount of contribution from all parties. I agree that the point of studying and homework is not to get all of the answers correct; rather, it is to learn the process, but I can understand why these students would be compelled to do as great as possible because college and life afterwards is very competitive. Anything, such as a 4.0, will give you a competitive edge; although their methods were not fair to other students.
At the same time, I’m not sure it is fair for the university to charge the student with 147 counts, because it was a collaborative effort. Furthermore, it seems evident that the students did not realize that they might be doing something wrong in the first place. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be penalized but it seems a little extreme for a first offense.