Mia C. Zamora
Mia Zamora, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Kean University Writing Project, and Coordinator of the World Literature Program at Kean University in Union, NJ. Dr. Zamora is a faculty leader committed to encouraging lifelong reading and writing. Her passion for literature is rooted in her belief that reading and writing are essential to communication, learning, and citizenship.
Zamora is a scholar of Electronic Literature (literary works that originate in a digital environment and require digital computation to read.) She is a digital humanist and she writes about how digital technologies are transforming education in the 21st century. She is an educator who embraces #ConnectedLearning as she advocates for open networked education. She is currently launching a University Makerspace — a site for interdisciplinary campus collaboration and an outreach hub for students and teachers throughout the state.
Zamora has won the Kean University Presidential Excellence Award for Teaching, she is a Fulbright scholar, and she is a past President of the New Jersey College English Association. Her research interests in Comparative Literature, Postcolonial Literature, nationalism, and cultural studies are reflected in her book entitled Nation, Race, History in Asian American Literature: Re-membering the Body and her Postcolonial Studies Book Series. Zamora completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a fellow of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
Monday, June 19, 2017
More than enough books, TED Talks, and blog posts have described the potential of storytelling. Stories often enhance our endeavors, whether in business communication or in learning, in political rhetoric or in our overall understanding of the world. The emphasis on the special essence of the story suggests an existence of a certain kind of magic. Could a story work like an elixir? For us, this notion of the magic in stories paved the way for our “digital alchemy” effort co-teaching Networked Narratives — a 2017 open course based on a digital storytelling class at Kean
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times recently quoted President Obama as he reflected on his Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books. “At a time,” Obama says, “when so much of our politics is trying to manage this clash of cultures brought about by globalization and technology and migration, the role of stories to unify — as opposed to divide, to engage rather than to marginalize — is more important than ever.” In today’s polarized environment, where the internet has let people increasingly retreat to their own silos (talking only to like-minded folks, who
Thursday, November 17, 2016
On the morning after election day, I tweeted: Slept 2 hrs. My 1st act of love & creative imagination 2day: starting my kids day off w/courage, honesty & belief in goodness. Deep breath. — Mia Zamora (@MiaZamoraPhD) November 9, 2016 Shocked, exhausted, and profoundly heartbroken, I knew to meet the day with the universal mandate for good parenting: to serve as my children’s best example. I took similar steps to support and listen to my students. Soon thereafter, I came to realize I was experiencing a form of grief. A sense of loss shared by so
Monday, October 03, 2016
This current back-to-school season is no doubt marked in tangible ways by a contentious presidential election cycle. I find myself wondering how much this indubitable backdrop will play a role in the learning that actually takes place in many classrooms. How much do the real world concerns of the day become an opportunity to help students become critical thinkers who learn to listen to others? Research and school time devoted to civic issues that engage student interest and ignite student passion can certainly represent powerful learning experiences. But, we often fall short of this opportunity in
Thursday, September 22, 2016
I am pleased to report that the upcoming Digital Media and Learning Conference (to be held at the University of California, Irvine on Oct. 5-7) is slated as rich ground for Virtually Connecting! Virtually Connecting is a connected learning community that is reshaping the ways we think about professional collegiality. In a traditional model of professional development, conferences have always been the key location to build conversations and connections. In the era of the conference hashtag and the meeting back channel, claims have been made that it is easier to keep up with conference conversations,
Thursday, May 26, 2016
As the candidates and the media concentrate on issues that matter to voters in this election season, how can young people engage and have a voice? Young people should have a say on the issues that matter to them, their communities, and our country. How can we support our youth to participate as productive and active citizens? This post is an invitation to support youth voice and civic participation through “Letters to the Next President,” an initiative that empowers young people to voice their opinions and ideas on issues that impact them. Join teachers and mentors
Monday, April 18, 2016
Is your real life anything like your online version of it? How have open networks and social media shaped our perceptions of both ourselves and others? The politics of representation in the digital age continue to shed provocative light on the divide between what is real and what is represented. In my current New Media Studies class, my students and I have found it useful to consider this question by investigating the idea of “filtering” — a concept that Jill Walker Rettberg writes about extensively in Seeing Ourselves Through Technology. Filters may refer to both the
Thursday, March 24, 2016
It’s commonly acknowledged that writing is a social act. What does it mean to write online? When we write in the digital age, we are writing to share and to connect. But, what about the act of reading? I open this reflection by quoting myself from a prior DML post: These days, the role of the reader is much like the role of the learner (in a 21st century digitized context). I see a kind of inherent transformation in both of these roles. Reading used to be a more solitary act, bound to a private and
Monday, December 14, 2015
As we close out 2015, I would like to engage the notion of “connection” for a moment. What does this word mean to all of us in the Connected Learning community? Exactly why do we pair the word “connected” with learning? What essential role does “connecting” play in expanding what is possible in learning, and how does connecting open the gateway for all of us to envision a better world? This blog post is dedicated to the transformative aspiration of connecting that buttresses the Connected Learning movement. And that aspiration is indeed spiritual at its core.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
We have been reflecting lately on the significance of our network in helping us learn and grow as scholars, as teachers, and as co-learners. Often, people associate the term network with the infrastructure of computer systems. But, what has this important term come to mean for learning in the context of digital pedagogy and the social web? Who do we connect with and how do we share on the web? How do networks facilitate and expand the scope of our own learning? We have met and worked with many new colleagues from around the globe, thanks
Monday, November 16, 2015
If #connectedlearning is an educational approach designed for our ever-changing world, then Virtually Connecting is a #connectedlearning community that is reshaping the ways we think about professional collegiality. In a traditional model of professional development, conferences have always been the key location to build conversations and connections. Conferences enrich our growth as educators and scholars in countless ways. That said, some conferences are simply more friendly than others (read accessible/open vs. elite/prestigious). Either way, it has always been the case that there are more wonderful conferences on the annual calendar than one could ever possibly
Thursday, October 29, 2015
In my current “Writing Theory & Practice” course, we have been discussing the elusive notion of “voice” in writing. What makes a writerly voice distinct, audible, sincere, authentic? What makes a voice compelling? We have recognized that voice is connected to both embodiment and subjectivity. We have talked about the important link between voice and empowerment. We have acknowledged how hard it is to hone one’s writerly voice, as we reach for a kind of agility that allows us to shift our voices depending on audience or context. All of this to say that finding
Monday, July 27, 2015
I continue to think a great deal about how new media has grown the possibilities of our collective academic work. As the director of a Masters in Writing Studies Program at Kean University, I often reckon with how our traditional forms of scholarship are merely one reference point when considering how to produce and create new knowledge. As a result, I have for some time been a proponent of a more expansive sense of what writing might entail in the 21st century, and I have often spoken about “Writing-as-Making.” The digitized and computational environments of our
Thursday, June 11, 2015
As I look in the rear view mirror at this past semester, I marvel at the grand experiment of my #WritingRace class at Kean University that I blogged about as we embarked on our journey. I decided to take co-learning one step further. When I first met my fantastic group of graduate and undergraduate students for this course, I announced that they were in charge of their own learning outcomes. I also mentioned that there was no prescribed syllabus for the course. Rather, they would design their own syllabus as they considered their collective goals. Along with
Thursday, February 05, 2015
In my previous DML blog, “Striving for New Ways to Learn How to Learn,” I wrote about co-learning as the heart of the connected learning experience. We have heard quite a bit about the limits of the “sage on the stage” approach and the dawning of new affordances in teaching with the “guide on the side” model. It goes without saying that a changing relationship to authority and hierarchy in the classroom is no small feat. It can certainly induce anxiety for all involved — the teacher must relinquish familiar control, the student must claim learning
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Much hope, promise, and cash has been invested in technology for the classroom, yet this hype has often set the stage for nothing more than technologically-powered traditional content delivery paradigms masquerading as innovation. The course of magical thinking that continues to celebrate “ed tech” often ends up replicating the same systemic problems that existed before the advent of new tools. Can technology serve as a transformative force for equity and justice? Many of us in the classroom know well that technology is by no means a quick fix for the shortcomings of education today. I have
Thursday, October 02, 2014
I am currently teaching “Writing Electronic Literature” and I admit it is one of my favorite classes to teach these days. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps the first is that I have discovered a new found passion for works of literature that originate within digital environments and require digital computation to be read. In the world of electronic literature, the consideration of what might be “literary” is pushed to new frontiers. This is due to both the affordances and constraints of a dynamic computational environment which is harnessed to shape narrative in innovative ways.
Monday, August 18, 2014
There has been a great deal of buzz lately about “making” and production-centered learning. As a professor of literature and writing, I have been enthusiastic about the role “making” might play in the classroom. (Even those classrooms or courses that don’t inherently seem to lend themselves to making in the most obvious sense.) But the truth is, this new found enthusiasm is sometimes an uphill march. Should we relinquish our valuable classroom time to such endeavors that seem at best a crafty indulgence, or at worst, a waste of precious instructional time? This summer, I have