Your first talk in front of the class is coming up next week. It’s time to think about some of the things we said we value in public speakers: confidence, eye contact, body language, volume & variety of voice — all the things that count as delivery. To continue our conversation about this, watch this video of author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell (I also invite you to look at some of his pubic lectures or TED talks and read some of his published writing). So, Task 1: watch.
B.J. Fogg is an instructor at Stanford and a persuasion guru. As a graduate student, he researched the idea of credibility in computing design. Read this short research article co-written by Tseng and Fogg, “Credibility and Computing Technology” (library login required). Alert! This is an article written for an audience of specialists, so parts of it may be hard to follow. Our focus will be on the concept of credibility (not on their methodology or on computing technology). Come to class ready to talk about their ideas about credibility. Task 2: read.
Spend 15-30 minutes on the website of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Look around in the tabs at the top of the page: News, Events, Resources, Our Work, About… As you poke around, think about Horner’s ideas of credibility as well as Tseng and Fogg’s ideas. Task 3: surf.
Write a comment (use the comment function, below), making a connection between at least 2 of the 3 tasks (above). For example, how does Gladwell’s position relate to Tseng and Fogg? Or, how do Tseng and Fogg’s ideas apply to the SFBC site? Your comment can be informal, can include questions, criticisms, examples, etc., and should be about 50 words or so. Task 4: write.
The New York Times has just published an opinion article about public speaking and rhetoric. The article focuses on Donald Trump, but illuminates larger questions of authenticity and honesty in political speech. “Across the West,” the writer tells us, “the conventional language of politics really is undergoing a crisis of credibility.”
Chris Carlsson, a San Francisco activist and writer, was there at the beginning of Critical Mass (or the “Commute Clot,” as it was originally known).
Since the first Critical Mass more than twenty years ago, the event has spread around the world. Here in San Francisco, as elsewhere, it has sometimes caused controversy.
In short, the event has variable credibility: some people strongly approve of it, while others are sharply critical of it (or of some elements of it).
Your assignment is to read some selections in a book edited by Carlsson (many other people contributed to the book, as you’ll see). Read Carlsson’s Introduction and a few of the selections that follow. This will give you a sense of the participants’ view of the event. The PDF is linked here.
The entire book is available at the USF library in print form and at nearby bookstores such as Green Apple Books.
If you’re thinking of going to Critical Mass, you might also want to watch the rest of USF student Ellie Vanderlip’s film The Human Motor.
The ride begins at Justin Herman Plaza on the last Friday of every month. People begin assembling around 5 or 5:30 pm, and they actually begin riding around 6 pm usually. There is no leader and no one is in charge.
Effective communicators need to use a wide range of online tools to make an impact. For this reason, Speaking of Bicycles is managed through a WordPress site hosted by USF.
In order to turn in your work and interact online with other students and with community partners, you’ll need to create your own blog and link it to the course site.
Working with WordPress (the software behind the course site and millions of other sites around the world) will help you develop valuable communication skills and a better understanding of what’s “under the hood” of a lot of the internet.
WordPress also allows us to have an “open connected” course, where community partners and students can interact and share information and ideas.
The Center for Instructional Technology has prepared instructions for creating your own USF blog.