Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Final Reflections: Jolene Kirk

Hi, My name is Jolene. These are my thoughts and experiences with my Rhetoric and Civilizations class. Below you will read about my self-directed learning, my project, and my thoughts on the importance of communication. 

My Self-directed Learning

The first half of the semester we studied each major historical time period on a self-directed learning track. We were required to log our time and main ideas in a "Learning Log" found online in a google doc. I knew this way of learning was giving me a unique chance to study what I found interesting to me. I always began my research as a broad overview, looking up definitions and and major historical characters and ended with me focusing on one or two major topics of study. This tactic helped me gain a full picture of the main events of each time period.

Screen shot of my own personal Learning Log 
Some specific examples of what I found that helped me understand the Enlightenment/Renaissance time period was from researching the definition of “Humanism”. Humanism is when the focus of thought and study centered around the importance of humans rather than supernatural or supreme beings. Humanism is something that we still practice today. The statement in the Declaration of Independence states we all are endowed "with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Clearly still feel that we should focus on humans and their potential for good. 

Another insight that struck me was Darwin's theory of evolution. I grew up in a religion where we believe that God created all things upon the Earth. During his time, Darwin's theory of evolution was a hot topic of debate for many churches, disrupting many people's faith on God. I took this research even further and asked around my coworkers about their feeling regarding the theory of evolution. What I did find out was how things from the past carry into the future, helping one understand the "why" and "how" these ideas came about. 

Overall I enjoyed my experience as a self-directed learner. Learning about the historical topics helped each of us to form an argument because we could use examples from the past to strengthen it. Some good examples of using history can be found in Nathan Lambert's post "The other Lost Generation" as well as Jonah Hainsworth "Society Never Advances".

My Evolving Project

My project began with a claim concerning American Interventionism and whether it was the ethical choice or not. Although I got a lot of positive feedback I did not see how it could tie into the class topic of “Communication in our Digital Society”. (To read my first blog post please click here.)

Dr. Burton, my class professor, was attempting to create a final draft of all of our projects linking together. With this new idea in mind I was unsure how to go about do what he wanted us to do. While my project began weak at first, as I read other's blog posts I became inspired on how to improve my own. A great example of a personal story fueling the argument was the post by Alec Hammond. (Read about "Tolerating Today's Tolerance" by Alec Hammond)  So I decided to write about the experience I had while I learned about information security in the Information Systems class. I was shocked at how much of my personal information was floating online for anyone to use and realized that I could write about our own online security in being an important part in our digital society. (Read my final post on "Securing our Identities")

With a better personal angle Lacyee Liston mentioned by just even that little anecdote I shared helped her become more inspired to becoming more digitally secure. With a strong personal angle I still lacked connection with my group and the overall class theme. My group member, Kotahi Tarawhiti, mentioned how I would be able to improve my argument by focusing on securing our identity online, not just Cyber Security. (Read Kotahi's post on "Identity and the Social Media Barrier") This piece of advice started me down the right track as our group successfully worked together to tie each of our topics together and to the class theme. When we finally submitted our finished project, we all felt that sense of accomplishment and a job well done. 

What I learned is that to create a finished project that meets all of the criteria can not just be made in an "all-nighter" as we typically do as college students. With a little bit of effort each week to create iteration after iteration, you learn from your mistakes and from others to create a polished project. (Watch our video below or  Read our final post on "Who Are You in the Digital Age?")

Communication and History

I would like to echo what Mitchell Cottrell said in his Final Reflections post. “The value of communication in the history of the world should never be underestimated”. Communication is central to society because it brings change and growth for the society. Throughout history we have been improving our communication means which in turn brings about quicker change and growth. During the Enlightenment time period, Martin Luther had an eye opening experience where he witnessed the corruption of the catholic leadership. Because of the recent invention of the printing press, Martin Luther could quickly spread the new found knowledge to promote a quicker change.

As I have studied more about communication in history, the more I began to see that history was cyclical. With each new technological invention that improved communication, growth and change accelerated. From Martin Luther and the printing press, to when the telegraph was introduced in the 19th century that helped send stock prices from city to city, and all the way to the adoption of the railroad during the Industrial Revolution and the explosion of growth of our civilization.

I predict that this cyclic pattern will continue into the future to bring about change and growth. I used to believe that social media was something to be resisted and that we should preserve the old ways of communicating. While the “old ways” of communicating have their value, I now know that it is important to embrace the changes and grow with them.

Watch here how a man embraced the change and sent his own aircraft into space!
Watch here of how through online collaboration, a conductor created a masterpiece!

1 comment:

  1. Very thoughtful and a good overview of your activities. I was glad to see the screenshot of your learning log and to hear how your ideas progressed.