I would start the class thinking about relationality and technology by having the students read Frankenstein. I think a lot of people do this. I think Mary Shelley gives us a very interesting examination of technology as a social relation. And as you read further in technology and think about, as I do, Lewis Mumford's argument that if we're not really talking about technology and its impact on social relations, we're talking about technology as social relations, I think thinking about Frankenstein is useful. So, when most people do readings of Frankenstein, they look at how technology enables male reproduction. And one of the, I think, critiques that Mary Shelley has about challenging gender in that way, is that Victor Frankenstein is unable to make connections with his new technology and through any kind of extent technology at the time. So he is a figure who is I think very useful for us thinking about the problems of technology, the problems of not relating. He's also a figure that's very useful for us when we're thinking about teaching biotechnology or learning online because he highlights for us the necessity to take responsibility for technology use. That technology uses are this creation of new kinds of relationships and online pedagogies have to work on the creation of those relationships. This isn't something that's just given. And I think there's almost an assumption in Frankenstein, and I don't think you need to make this, but that female reproduction is natural. And when a woman gives birth to a child, we know this isn't Mary Shelley's experience, but when a woman gives birth to a child, she naturally has some kind of connection to it. Victor interrupts this by showing us just how much effort has to go into relationality. So, here's something that I think is actually very useful for thinking about online pedagogy and for thinking about pedagogy in general. We think there's a give and take maybe that happens in the face-to-face, and we fear when we go into online learning that we're going to lose that give and take. I think what actually happens is that we become much more intentional in making connections. If we're good at online pedagogy and if we're good at online learning, and if we have platforms for that learning that enable the building of relationships, things go very well. Students want that relationality, professors want that relationality. And in fact one of I think the very interesting affordances of online technology, and this is related to Frankenstein, is that if you give intention to relationships, social barriers begin to go away. So in the novel, Frankenstein, a middle class family makes connections with a young person who's in poverty. Doesn't necessarily always go well, but they intentionally make that connection and they build that relationship. And much like I think that the early critiques of online education as being somewhat impoverished, we know that with continual responsibility for the connectivity that we possibly enable by doing things online, that we can build a better form of technology. And I think this is true for all the kinds of learnings that we encourage our students to do. That we're inviting them either into a new technology, we're inviting them into a new technology of relationship, and we're inviting them to create new technologies with their own students, with their own coworkers. And the basic lesson of Frankenstein that I think is very useful for us is, don't try a new relationship unless you're willing to take responsibility for it. So, at the end of the day, I think technology creates a scene for new kinds of responsibilities. So, when I look at Frankenstein and masculinity, I actually think it also has lessons for us thinking about doing critiques of how some people do their gender online. The book itself is situated in relations and the very kinds of relationships that we see I think magnified and multiplied in online teaching and learning, but also in online sociability. It's situated in letters, it's situated in stories told to other people, it's situated in adoptions across traditional families and so on. And when you look at how the monster is attempting to intervene into these social networks in a way that Victor Frankenstein is not doing very well at it, you see in a certain sense a failed attempt on the part of a being to push not only beyond his constructiveness, like his literal put together parts from dead people mass, but push beyond masculinity. And for online learning, I like to have my students think about where women are chased out of spaces, where spaces are hostile to people of color, where spaces are hostile to LGBTQ people, where forms of technological innovation keep people with disabilities away. And to get them thinking through the experience of the monster, who first sees himself in a puddle so he's establishing a social relationship with a reflective surface. He first begins to learn to read by hearing other people read but he doesn't get to be with the readers. To think about how the distances that are sometimes embedded in technologies create a scene where people can become much more megalomaniacal they can become more auto-didactic, more disconnected. Also that auto-didacticism is not necessarily a terrible thing, but it's the disconnectedness that I think is a problem. And so, I have them also as they're reading Frankenstein look at things in GaymerGate where the claim that social justice warriors are killing gaming for men is a very problematic claim especially at a time when 50% of gaymers are now women. And certainly, I think it's useful too to look at other forms of online life as they're thinking about how they'd like to address pedagogy, like Second Life and to see whether the opportunities for avatars to easily become people of color, are there or not? In some scenes it is in some places it's not. And so part of my point in having them think about Frankenstein is for them to think about how the monster keeps trying to intervene in new sociabilities but keeps being rejected. And how can they as either teachers, learners or people in workplaces using technology, start to think about how to make technology more inviting to people who are different. So, what are the assumptions that are built either into avatars, into forms of communication, even into the kind of terseness of text messaging or Twitter, that sometimes seems to be a masculinist approach to relationality, where it's very abrupt and it's sort of agonistic instead of relational? Now, I don't want to get essentialist about gender, but the point simply is I think there are styles that are associated with this. And the other thing I get them to look at too, is that assumptions about masculinity and technology use are sometimes social stereotypes. They're not actual real things. So, Victor Frankenstein, is an hysteric. He swoons, he faints, he cries, he weeps, he gnashes his teeth. He's not a man who just is his upright and unfeeling. And so, the kind of gender stereotypes about the bold technology user I think that seemed to have it be an isolated man who can do all his work and he'll be fine, is I think it's a stereotype that needs to be interrupted, and one that I think we can easily interrupt by going into either gaming situations or learning situations or the communities formed in MOOCs and find that, yeah, males may be trying to one up one another, but they also have feelings, they get hurt, they respond to that hurt. And so, we think about the fact that Victor is representing himself as if he's a masculine isolated person but, in fact, there are forms of relationship that are subtending his experience. Now he may be in a certain sense, as I say here on this slide, a paradigmatic technogeek. But I think in other ways, he shows that that stereotype and that kind of isolated masculinity is actually quite impossible. Well, when we think about technology, of course, one of the key words that probably comes up all the time is network. I mean he's clearly in relationships. Someone has to feed him. When you think about the kind of lone wolf out there on the interwebs, they're also very networked at the same time. So, one of the things I would like us to think about as we're thinking about the possibilities of learning in new ways via technology, is to think about the problems with technology. How does someone like Victor Frankenstein misuse technology? He's single minded. He doesn't listen to what other people think. He doesn't read what other people say he should read. He doesn't listen to his advisers. As someone who does graduate advising, let me tell you that's one of the biggest sins I think that Frankenstein has. He won't listen to his advisers. He instead goes off on dead ends. He's an autodidact. And as I said just moments ago, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But one of the problems with Victor's approach to learning is that he thinks he can read through these books out of the context of their meaning and out of the context of understanding his responsibilities for what those books will enable him to do, which in this case is re-animate dead flesh, which is probably not something most people are going to be doing. But he doesn't have to think of the relationships in which those books were immersed. He doesn't have to think of the critique that was behind why the books wound up not being very important and so on. And so, he doesn't wind up thinking about teaching and learning as this network experience. And I think we know when we think about online learning, that creating those connections is one of the most important affordances. And really reinforcing the necessity for creating them taking responsibility to me is also very important. He doesn't think through his consequences. And as a result, his physical health is damaged. As a result, his monster goes on a murderous rampage. I mean that's probably not what's going to happen to most people. But what I think really is a problem is that technology overtakes its maker. And in this case, it overtakes its maker because its maker does not engage in a relationship. Now I know I keep hitting this, but I think you have to think about the fact that as we're talking about technologies as social relations and learning scenes as places of social relations, we have to take responsibility for a number of different things. If we create something we have to be responsible for it. But the next issue is, if we are already embedded in social relationships and those are defined in and through inequality, we have to take responsibility for mitigating that inequality. So, when I think about Frankenstein as a gendered story, it's also about getting us to realize that that lone wolf learner, that lone wolf scholar, is not only not a good model because it ruins people's lives, but it's not a good model because it doesn't accommodate difference. There is no way for Victor to learn from anyone else because he doesn't need anyone else. And whether it's the monster, and the monster may be the monsterousness of feminity asserting itself into this reproduction again or maybe the monsterousness of someone who needs adaptive technologies to live and work in the world. And I think in another way that Frankenstein is a very interesting story, is to think about the monster as a disabled being who is trying his best in worlds that will not accommodate him to make his way into learning and into sociability and how he's rejected. So, I think Victor is unable to see difference. And it has been very difficult I think in the history of technology for people who get power, whether they get power in writing code or they get power in creating computers or whatever else it is software, to see that embedded in their practices are the potential for bias, if not intrinsic bias itself. And there's some arguments that coding with it's zeros and ones are the paradigmatic moment of binary thinking and because of the binary, it reinforces an ideological binary. But I think if you read the moral of Frankenstein, it's to think about design, implementation and relationality much more carefully.