Networked Narratives 2023: “The Human Nature of Writing”

What does it mean to write in the age of the A.I. and GPT-3? The algorithms can write faster than we can. A.I. has now mastered structure, form, and syntax. Still, it doesn’t have a clue about meaning. At this stage, you can offer a prompt, and the program will spit out something useful within seconds. Prose will be grammatically correct. Words will be coherent. ChatGPT uses the entirety of the open web as it’s data set. It knows basic paragraph structure and it connects ideas together effectively. So where does that leave us human writers? 

For time immemorial, human beings have reached out to the world with words, hoping to connect and communicate, hoping to import both information and meaning to those on the receiving end of an intended message.  We have tried to convey what we know, what we experience, what we think, what we feel.  Writers hope to protect their authenticity and intention, their unique human voice.  But in a world where the machine can do some things more effectively and efficiently, how do we now reckon with the art and science of writing?  What is the impact of artificial intelligence on the world as we know it? How is machine writing a game changing truth? 

In #NetNarr this Spring 2023, we will be a taking small journey together as we attempt to apprehend the significance of “the human nature of writing”. If we know that care and community are critical to how we learn, what is the future for learning and education, in a world written (in part) by machines trained on our own human output? 

About #NetNarr

This website is the official class site for Dr. Mia Zamora‘s Spring 2023 Networked Narratives course at Kean University.  This is a cross-listed undergraduate (ENG 4060) & graduate (ENG 5085) course in the School of English Studies.

#NetNarr: The Human Nature of Writing is the current version of “Networked Narratives” – a connected learning course at Kean University. It is the sixth iteration of this unique course, designed in Spring 2023. Previous iterations of the “Networked Narratives” course live in another place

Also known as #NetNarr, this open, networked, experimental course is the brainchild of two friends and colleagues – Mia Zamora and Alan Levine. Collaborating and co-teaching from a distance (as it has always been done), they were originally inspired by a laboratory-collaboratory concept for learning and a modern version of alchemy. Embracing the idea of both Kean students and open participants tinkering, mixing, remixing elements in their digital laboratory, they designed a unique course about storytelling in a networked world. 

Emphasizing creativity and production-centered forms of learning, “Networked Narratives” (a.k.a. #NetNarr) is a playful connected learning environment for building digital skills and literacies. While the playful spirit of #NetNarr always lives on, we will use this year’s collaboratory to focus profoundly on the impact of artificial intelligence as we question “The Human Nature of Writing.”

We turn from #NetNarr 2021’s examination of the “Post-Pandemic University” to imagine “The Human Nature of Writing.” We will pursue a synergistic and exploratory approach to new AI writing tools and storytelling, while also emphasizing the production of public scholarship and advocacy.  Our course will generate weekly reflective writing and expression in multiple forms of networked media. #NetNarr 2023 will culminate in a student forum about the impact of AI on both writing and learning.  The scholarly forum will be an open online public event, sponsored by the global Equity Unbound network, and proceedings will be published in the The Arganee Journal

Open participants can follow along via the #netnarr twitter hashtag.

Learn more about the history of “Networked Narratives” a.k.a. #NetNarr from our January 2021 podcast with Terry Greene and Anne-Marie Scott as an episode of  Check the O.L.: Liner Notes from Groundbreaking Online Learning.

The official class site for Dr. Mia Zamora’s Spring 2023 "Networked Narratives" course.