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Week 9: Online and Offline Public Spaces

March 20, 2010

For our group project we decided to look at the Student Learning Commons in the Surrey library. Out of the 4 unique qualities of mediated publics we chose to look at the replicability of  information in the room.  Replicability in the internet is traditionally the concept of copying information from one place and transporting it to another place. This poses problems for several reasons. One, the information is no longer privatly owned and is available to the general public. Secondly, information can be modified by the person transmitting it. Personal bais can shape the context and meaning of information making it drastically diferent from the original.

People choose to come to this space to learn writing stratigies and to get help from TAs. There are designated places to work on projects, show slides and write. We also noticed that by the windows there is confortable seatting so that studenst can relax. While we were observing the environment we noticed several things: it is a calm place that tends to be on the quiet side. It is tailored to small group working environments and one-to-one tutoring services. The layout is open so that everyone’s actions can be seen and privacy is limited.

Information in this room can be either passed by word of mouth and or handouts. For example, let’s say Sally came to the SLC to improve her writing skills. While here, she talks to several people who pass on to her techniques that would improve her writing style. After this experience she feels overly confident and decides to tell several of her friends the new writing rules she learned in hopes that she can help them. However since she did not have a hard copy of the information, she warps it and changes the meaning of a few of the rules.  This scenario is similar to information posted online.  A quote or fact can be changed to meet  personal needs once it is put on the internet.

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