Jade Did Drumbeat: A Field Journal

It's Interactive and Ethnographic


Top of the Tent

Top of the Tent

It’s like the class never ends.

Robbie, First Interview

That is the quote that has been stuck in my head since the first day of interviews.  The class never ends, and it is a good thing, and a bad thing, like so many things with this complex project.

Timing Communications

Class never ending means that any time someone is hit with inspiration they can start a dialogue either via the listserv or the website or make an addendum to a shared document.  The instantaneousness of tools such as email for future class tended to create an rapid dialogues that were closed if you logged in an hour too late (I think this is one of the reasons I am more partial to website communications).  Using google docs to create private wiki-like documents was also a very good “on your own time when inspiration hits” tool, but it did lead at online chats that disrupted schedules and caused private tensions for the group.  At the same time, the ability to communicate in these ways was liberating.

I actually really like communicating via Chat.  And it was really cool having you and Robbie on video chat during our meeting on Sunday.

Mary Caton, Class meeting following a chat over a google doc

Meeting Times

Originally Future Class was supposed to meet a few times a semester.  This turned in to every other Tuesday.  In actuality we ended up meeting every Tuesday + we’d meet early and stay late + we occasionally had meetings on additional days of the week including on weekends + we went to Drumbeat, all in addition to the multiple times a day, including weekends, when we would find emails in our inboxes, posts on the website, etc.

My other professors don’t know about this class or how much time it takes.

Nick, Final Interview

Project Time

For students with active projects, part of the communications that were happening in an almost constant stream were keeping people in the loop on status of said projects as all projects ended up being class projects.  My class website project ended up taking many more hours than I would have anticipated to initially launch in addition to more people (Sorry again Ruby!), partially due to user error.  I also broke the site twice during initial development.  As a result of these things I lost a weekend.  However, once it was functional the website was used as a catalyst to play and tinker in ways they wouldn’t have existed if we didn’t all share knowledge and contribute extra time.


I am on the new site.  Whitney is going to take me behind the hood on some websites and give me a crash course on web mechanics, after which I will be able to know how I can volunteer my services (or what exactly these emails mean..)

Nick, email regarding switching websites

Other People’s Time

Organizing the class and the prep for Drumbeat took so much time from other people, especially those on Staff at HASTAC.

We all also had to take bits of information and turn it into a program, be on conference calls with Mozilla twice a week, and do countless hours to get everyone safely to and from Barcelona.

Cathy, Private email reproduced with permission

All people involved directly depended on each other, and on us, the members of future class, to make time to ensure that everything moved smoothly.

There is Never Enough

I know this appears on another part of the site, but I think it warrants a restating.

we’re like the flavor of the month.
I mean every day it seems

some crazy new invitation is coming asking for us to teach people to think in a different way

Cathy, first day of class

Members of Future Class are seen as part of HASTAC, not just because we signed up, but because we’ve spent the semester embodying the HASTAC ethos throughout the experience, especially at Drumbeat.  Drumbeat propelled us to use our time wisely so we could effectively manage our individual and collective projects, our other school work or work work, and our lives.

HASTAC and this class are in an incredible spotlight … opportunities keep coming because of that.  It has put pressure on our collaborative project and also been, well, amazing.

Cathy, private email reproduced with permission

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