For Gardner’s New Media Seminar

Thanks again to Gardner Campbell and gang  for including me in his groundbreaking seminar “Awakening the Digital Imagination: A Networked Faculty Seminar” for today’s discussion based on Doug Engelbart’s 1962 seminal report Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework as a jumping off point.

The assignment for today was to read the report (abridged) in the New Media Reader textbook, which includes a fabulous 2-page intro to the article, and Janet Murray’s delightful preface Inventing the Medium.

See especially Doug’s Introduction and Conclusions.

Gardner blogged an account of our session in The Arts of Augmentation.

As promised, here is my follow-up of links I referenced, and links I would have liked to have referenced.

Gardner kicked off the discussion with the final clip from 1968 Mother of All Demos where Doug acknowledges his family seated in the audience.

Re: my experience of my father’s 1968 Mother of All Demos
FYI I covered this in more detail, with more on what it was like having him for a dad, in my talk at the 40th anniversary celebration of the 1968 demo, with a sprinkling of family photos

Re: my blog on the “wibble wobble” method or
How Doug Engelbart taught kids to ride a bike (without training wheels)

Re: the Doug Engelbart Archive Collections
See the MouseSite Archive for his 1960 proposal to fund his Conceptual Framework and his 1962 letter to Vannevar Bush. See also our Archives portal page for links to archival videos, photos, papers, etc.

Re: Engelbart’s relationship with Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think”
See the Influence on Doug Engelbart section of the 1995 MIT/Brown Tribute to Vannevar Bush portal page.

Re: the NMC as “poster child” for Bootstrapping Innovation and Collective IQ
See Bootstrapping Innovation in Action: NMC and ~ learn more ~

Tips for blogging about Doug Engelbart and his work
You can instantly copy/paste a link directly to most any snippet of information anywhere in our website by simply right-clicking on the nearest “purple number” in the right margin to Copy Link Location. This is along the lines of the “serial numbers” Doug described in this week’s reading. Most of our web pages also include a table of contents in the left margin to make it easier to find stuff.
So for example, the two Engelbart readings for this class:

While perusing Conclusions section of the 1962 report, I copied out the following quote pasted below, then went back and right-clicked on it’s purple number to Copy Link and pasted that below with the quote, and then added the italics, quotation marks and attribution:

“First any possibility for improving the effective utilization of
the intellectual power of society’s problem solvers
warrants the most serious consideration.
This is because man’s problem-solving capability represents
possibly the most important resource possessed by a society.”

— Doug Engelbart 1962

Just think how wonderful it would be if, anywhere on the internet (blogs, wiki, email, word processor), you could reference any snippet you see by simply right-clicking on the desired item and choosing “Copy Link Location” from the menu as I did, or “Quote this text”, and it would copy the snippet, in quotes, with author and date, with the link pointing directly to that item in the source document? This is just one of the many unfulfilled potentials of new, maleable, permeable, unbounded media he was envisioning.

For examples of student projects about Doug Engelbart’s work
See our Student Showcase, inspired by none other than Gardner Campbell 🙂

Once again, I was honored to participate in this class discussion, and in this marvelous experiment of a walk-your-talk network of distributed faculty seminars. My appreciation extends to the NMC for all their efforts in making this “expedition” possible.



Christina Engelbart
Executive Director
The Doug Engelbart Institute

2 Comments on For Gardner’s New Media Seminar

  1. Christina, you greatly honored us all with your presence today. I almost wrote “virtual presence,” but your warmth, your keen insight, and your inspiring commitment to the ongoing work came across so powerfully that we all felt as if you were in the room, talking to us directly. After the seminar session ended, one of the Academy for Teaching and Learning Graduate Fellows said to me, “she was just wonderful–I’d love just to go to lunch with her and talk!” And another Grad Fellow, the one you met at NMC this summer, quickly chimed in to endorse that judgment based on her own experience. (Now it’s my turn to make you blush!)

    You made a deep impression. I wish you could have heard the discussion at the close. Suddenly we all seemed to be imagining what it would be like to work within the structure of a concept … to make documents that had the malleability and complexity of thought itself. Yes, a deep impression indeed.

    We are very, very grateful, Christina, for today, for all you do, and for you. Thank you.


  2. Thanks so much for spending a few moments with us, and thanks for the blog post.

    Afterwards, it struck me that the “raw power” of technology has been mostly hijacked by the consumer electronics market. The problem is that too many of us are content with that. We are enamored with the cool tricks our toys can do, but we don’t really expect computing to “make the world a better place” as you said.

    Maybe the reason there are so few examples is that, given what we have so far, the people’s expectations for what can be done with computing are way too low.

    I’m hopeful that since we as a society are in the initial stage (infatuation? obsession?) of our relationship with computing, we will soon begin to recognize that we can build/are building a machine that can actually help solve long-existing problems and make us better human beings.


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