Case Study Notes for Project Mex-Am in Cyberspace

By js, 19 March, 2008, No Comment

1. Define the problem that needs attention

  • What are students perception of their identity construction online?
  • How do students construct their identity online?
  • How is the concept of cultural wealth deployed/reflected in digital spaces such as blogs?
      • community building (MOO)
      • social networking (

Define the real world problem?
The problem is that race and how it is constructed online is understudied. Especially how racial self-identity is constructed in digital spaces. We especially have not studied the young Mex-Am who will become technical communicators, such as web page designers, after receiving associates degrees from technical programs.
(The technical program more than likely does not focus on ideological, philosophical, or political implications of design choices) DO tech programs focus on the user as white?
How does a technical/functional/skills approach to design affect student concepts/development of own identity online?
Some have studied how race is deployed online by looking at websites especially social networking sites such as and ….MOO. xxxx, yyyy, have examined how race is constructed in movies which deal with cyberspace, stories set in digital spaces.
The problem also is that digital narratives have not included how race has influenced the development of digital literacy skills. Much research has been done about problmes with technological access and how this affects the development of dig lit skills. Also, others have examined how technological access or digital divide is drawn along racial and economic lines. Research has ignored how for those students of color who have gained digital literacy skills, how those skills are actually developed, and what particular familial, educational, and community circumstances may have affected the development of their digital lilteracy skills. Especially studies which try to capture the students own perspective on how they gained those skills.

  • it is an exploratory study
  • small group
  • interview
  • questionnaire
  • discourse analysis of digital spaces/artifacts


  • Mex-Am
  • student
  • associates degree seeking in computer technology
  • female/male?

SELECT subject who is typical of some area of interest to begin to collect insights (combined with other studies) used to build a general theory.
SYSTEMATIC about DATA collection

  • multiple subjects
  • shape of question (be careful)
  • use same questions with all subjects
  • drawing up questions
  • setting up a specific time and place

COLLECT data that can be examined by others to allow verifcation of findings

  • use converging methods to gain separate views of an issue

VERIFY conclusions by asking OUTSIDE RATER to examine the collected materials

  • transcribe interviews
  • look for patterns
  • provide categoryy labels and descriptions
  • then use independent judge to use categories labels and descriptions to classify data

PRESENT conclusions as TENTATIVE


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