My Self-directed Learning: Applying the Course to MeIn the first half of the semester I was able to do a lot of learning on my own and tie the class topics to topics that I was personally interested in. I read Machiavelli's "The Prince" to learn from a primary document from the Renaissance era. Reading this document helped me to understand more about the Renaissance and how people in that era sought learning for themselves and to be able to influence their communities and politics. I also read "A Very Short Introduction to Capitalism." This was enlightening because it talked about the European industrialization and how that era changed the world, and started many of the things we now know. One aspect that was of particular interest to me was the formation of organized recreation in this era due to capitalism and people having both money and the desire to take a break from the hard labor they were performing.
Most of my learning time was spent on the internet, researching the era and then finding an area of personal interest within the scope of the historical era. I realized that I knew very little about the historical eras we studied, so it took some general research on my part to find out the basics of the era. Then I was able to dive deeper into something that I was interested in. This was a really good experience for me, because i was able to learn how to find reliable sources online and learned how to manage my time in researching and making sure that I was actually learning something.
My Evolving Project: From Recreation to Collaboration
When the class project was first introduced I was not sure where to go with my ideas, so I started with my passion. I love everything about the outdoors and I am a psychology major. These two areas collide in the effect of recreation on our lives. I took what I learned from the industrial revolution era on the beginning of commercialized recreation and ran with it. As we got closer to making groups of topics for our project, I received feedback from the professor that my topic did not fit into the areas he wanted. So I went back to the drawing board. I wanted to continue with a passion as well as fitting into the topic groups. With some feedback from Katherine I went with me new idea of collaborating through online tools to make a real difference in our society. As I got in my new topic group, my idea grew even more. As we finished our group project, I knew where I wanted to go with my personal topic: Using Online Tools to Save Lives. Part of the inspiration for my focused topic was from Amanda, who was arguing that social media is destroying lives and relationships. This argument fueled my desire to show the positive impact that social media and online tools is having on society.
Communication and History
Communication has always been central to history and society because it is the way that ideas are disseminated. Without communication I believe that we would still be very primitive as a human race. Communication is the essence of our historical records. Through communication we can learn from the past and help each other prepare for the future. Studying history has helped me to understand why we have some of the patterns we do in our contemporary society, as well as things that may or may not work in improving those patterns. I have also seen throughout history how our means of communication have changed society.
There have been large movements in gaining personal knowledge after majority communication overhauls such as the printing press and the internet. these movements of gaining personal knowledge have led to sharing that knowledge and learning from each other. This is where my topic of collaboration has truly progressed through means of communication. I was recently in a lecture from a woman who climbed Mount Everest at age 61. She did this in part by the help of trainer from New Zealand, who to this day she has never met. They communicated solely through phone calls and the internet. Progress in means of communication such as the printing press led to the political as well as religious reformations. Indeed, means of communication have shaped progress throughout our history and will continue to shape the present and future.