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Social media ain’t what it used to be. Actually, it never was: the fix was in from the beginning. The giant platforms of today were founded with the explicit purpose of making a profit at our expense. It doesn’t have to be this way. In this workshop, we take a look at a social media platform built on an entirely different model, with an entirely different premise. We'll also take a glance at the implications and opportunities for teaching, scholarship, and higher education in general.

Mastodon and Beyond: Our Federated Future [38:05]

Thanks to those who were able to attend our workshop on "Mastodon and Beyond: Our Federated Future." In case you missed it, or if you just want a refresher, we recorded a video for you. You can find this and a few other curated resources on the CAT+FD wiki.

Note that Mastodon is developing rapidly, so this video will probably be very dated very soon, but we hope it gives you a quick picture of where things stand at the current moment.

Technology promises productivity and even happiness — but does it deliver?

With so many apps and options for accessing information and communicating, it’s more important than ever to be highly selective and intentional in our choices.

Maintaining Focus in a Fragmented WorldJoin us as we explore the ideas and practices put forward in Cal Newport’s provocative new book, Digital Minimalism.

Learn about the concepts of digital minimalism and how to implement them.

Date: Saturday, September 14, 2019
Time: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Location: Mellon Seminar Room - LRC 532B

Lunch will be served. Participants will receive a copy of the book.

Open to all Xavier faculty and staff. Limited number of seats — register today!

Some profs in Australia have started a blog to collect selfies and stories of what academics are wearing and why.

With this experiment, we hope to tease out the ethical and political implications of the practice of selfieing in an academic context. We are especially curious about intersections of race, class, feminist and queer politics.

They also want to hear from precarious/adjunct/marginalized academics, but all academic stories and selfies are welcome, including anonymous submissions.

See for yourself: Spectacular Displays of Questionable Judgment

[Spectacular Flyer]

Daphanie Teo writes, "If you think you'd like to submit please do! We'd love to hear your story. Help us use selfies to think through these issues."

See also: #ilooklikeaprofessor

by Bart Everson

So a third-grade teacher out in Colorado asked her students to write things they wish she knew about them. She posted some of the responses to Twitter with the hashtag #iwishmyteacherknew. Now people all over the world are talking about making deeper connections between teachers and students. It's become a news story, a media phenomenon in its own right.

(Read some international coverage.)

It is clear that many of Kyle Schwartz's third-graders are dealing with some heavy stuff, some big emotional issues.

Is this any less true for our undergraduate students? I don't think so. In fact, I'd imagine that some of our students are dealing with burdens just as heavy, if not more so.

I want to go to college

That third-grader who wrote "I wish my teacher knew that I want to go to college" — that student is enrolled here now, figuratively speaking.

How much do you know about what is going on in the lives of your students, outside the classroom? With so much content to cover, with such a full academic schedule, how can we maintain the capacity for empathic dialog?

If you asked your students what they wish you knew — what might they tell you?

Personal Viewpoints Panel

Quick, what does RTX RFP stand for? That's right, it's the Rising Tide 10 Request for Proposals.

CONTACT: Rising Tide Programming Committee [email]
WHO: Rising Tide NOLA
WHAT: Rising Tide X: Conference on Civic Activism & New Media
WHEN: 10 Years Post Deluge |Saturday, August 29, 2015
WHERE: University Center | Xavier University of Louisiana


Rising Tide NOLA, Inc. presents RISING TIDE X, the 10th annual civic activism & new media conference centered on the recovery and future of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. We invite you to be a part of it.

It has been ten years since Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of the Levees.  In that decade, we have endured other hurricanes & evacuations, the worst oil spill in US History, and a disappearing coast. There's been an ongoing reorganization of public schools, Department of Justice consent decrees with police forces and prisons while violent crime continues to be a problem, a former governor running for Congress, a current governor running for President, one former mayor reporting to prison. There's been rapid gentrification and unequal recovery, massive investment in tourism, selective enforcement of rules governing live music, and new hospitals we may not have the money to operate. At the same time, people interact with their communities, government, and news in dramatic new ways. From a daily paper to personal blogs to online newsfeeds to snappy Twitter commentary, we occupy a very different space from a decade ago in both physical and informational senses.  Each of those years, Rising Tide has hosted a conference to explore that space from outside the official narrative of What's Going On, to give voice to those left behind in the wake of the New Orleans Miracles, to remind folks that you can't advertise oil off the beach with a PR campaign, and to point out any number of places We Are (Still) Not OK.

At Rising Tide, we want to put that off-script, unofficial, read-between-the-lines story front and center. We invite you to be a part of it. We do so with this request for proposals for programming, panels, and presentations. 


Proposals should include the following:

  • a brief description of the topic you wish to address
  • a list of participants/presenters describing their relationship to or expertise on the topic
  • how the programming will be presented to the audience
  • how the audience will be involved in the presentation through questions, participation, discussion, etc.

Please email brief (2 page max) proposals in plain text, word documents, or PDF attachments to



Rising Tide encourages:

  • Focus on civic activism - making changes in the community
  • Collaboration between organizations to add multiple and diverse perspectives
  • Using social, alternative, or new media to share information, empower communities, and/or organize activism

Programming at Rising Tide is subject to broadcast via webcasts or social media tools.

While programming is free to address political topics, Rising Tide maintains a strict non-partisan forum, current elected officials and campaigning candidates for political offices are discouraged from participating in programming.


Rising Tide attendance has averaged more than 100 attendees, media, and volunteer staff annually. Conference content live streamed on the web averages over 1000 unique viewers during each event, with archives on our website.

Last year's conference featured a keynote address from education activist Andre Perry, and hosted programming on Lost New Orleans History, the Young Leadership Council (YLC), civic engagement to fix the Treme Center, and religion in Post-Katrina New Orleans . Past speakers have included Lt. General Russel Honore, U.S. Army (ret.), acclaimed local writer Lolis Eric Elie, professor of history Lawrence Powell, Treme and The Wire creator David Simon, geographer Richard Campanella, journalist Mac McClelland, entertainer Harry Shearer, and authors David Zirin, John Barry, Christopher Cooper, and Robert Block. Previous panelists and a description of programming history can be viewed on the Rising Tide website.

More information is available at the Rising Tide website:; at the Rising Tide blog:; on the Rising Tide Facebook page; and the organization can be followed on Twitter @RisingTide.

Rising Tide NOLA, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed by New Orleans bloggers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federally built levees. After the disaster, the internet became a vital connection among dispersed New Orleanians, former New Orleanians, and friends of the city and the Gulf Coast region. A number of new blogs were created, and combined with those that were already online, an online community with a shared interest in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast developed. In the summer of 2006, to mark the anniversary of the flood, the bloggers of New Orleans organized the first Rising Tide Conference, taking their shared interest in technology, the arts, the internet and social media and turning advocacy in the city into action.

Photo credit: Personal Viewpoints Panel by Maitri, on Flickr

Last week CAT's own Bart Everson gave an invited talk at Xavier's long-running series on Across the Curriculum Thinking.

Watch Social Media, Social Justice on Vimeo

(See our wiki for related resources and credits.)


by Janice Florent

Social media has evolved into more than a simple tool to stay in touch with friends or to share vacation pictures. Educators are finding interesting ways to use social media in their teaching and learning. Benefits to using social media in teaching and learning include putting concepts into context, keeping course content up-to-date, and fostering a sense of community both in and out of the classroom.

Facebook and Twitter may be ubiquitous, but there are many other social media tools out there that can enhance teaching and learning.

Facebook and Twitter are social media tools that are familiar to most people. Here are a few other social media tools that are being used in education:

You can read more about how three educators are using these social media tools in the Campus Technology article, 6 Alternative Social Media Tools for Teaching and Learning.

At the Immigrant: last call for blackout beer

SlideShare has just announced that their "slidecasting" feature will be discontinued. Slidecasting is a nifty service that allows a slideshow (such as one might create in Powerpoint or Keynote) to be synchronized with audio content. In other words, it allows you to narrate your slides.

Nifty, yes, but apparently not popular enough to warrant ongoing maintenance. The folks at SlideShare cited lack of widespread usage in today's announcement.

At the end of February, users will no longer be able to create new slidecasts. At the end of April, existing slidecasts will be zapped into oblivion. Actually they will be converted into static presentations, i.e. plain old slide shows sans audio.

Attentive readers of this blog will know that I, Bart Everson, CAT's resident Media Artist, have created several slidecasts for eager faculty members who were unable to attend my workshops.

So, this is last call for slidecasts.

If you are interested in these topics, check out these presentations before April 30, at which point they will go silent.

This should serve as a cautionary note. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Free services offered by internet companies are liable to vanish quickly.

Photo: At the Immigrant: last call for blackout beer / CC BY-NC 2.0/

A faculty member came to me and said she wanted an interactive map to help her students learn about art history from a global perspective. She had poked on the web looking for such a resource but found nothing that suited her needs.

My mind started to reel as I briefly envisioned creating an interactive map from scratch, but I quickly came to my senses. Even if we couldn't find a ready-made map, surely we could find a tool for creating maps quickly and easily.

Sure enough: We found ZeeMaps.

It's extremely easy to get started with this site. You don't even need an account (though it might be a good idea to create one). Within seconds, you can have a fully navigable map of the world at your disposal, which you can use in many different ways.

We found it most expedient to drop simple markers on the map. You can add multimedia content to the markers, including text, photos, audio files, even YouTube videos.

Best of all, for our purposes, a web link can be associated with each marker.

This means that our intrepid faculty member would be able to link markers to existing high-quality web content. No need to fuss with tricky copyright issues. It becomes an exercise in content curation. The faculty member is able to focus on learning objectives.

A couple caveats are in order. At the free level, ZeeMaps is supported by ad revenue. So unless you plunk down some cash, your students will probably be seeing some advertisements. Also, I haven't tested this product extensively. There may be limitations of which I'm simply not aware yet.

If you need an interactive map for your teaching, you may wish to give ZeeMaps a try. Just head over to and create a map to see how easy it is. Let us know how it goes.

(A lot of people seem to be importing lists of locations into ZeeMaps from other sources, such as an Excel spreadsheet of addresses or coordinates. For help on how to do that, see this tutorial from KDMC Berkeley.)

Sue Frantz

Today CAT welcomes Sue Frantz who will be showcasing some essential technology in The Academic's Toolbox. We're learning plenty which we'll be sure to share in the weeks and months ahead.