My Self-directed Learning:
I would like to note 2 different categories that I felt most enlightened through in my studies.
Governments and Economies:
First of all, I learned about different types of governments and economies, their histories and the differences between them. I had heard about communism, capitalism and socialism before but I had never grasped their meanings or contexts before. Most of my learning about these came from Google and Wikipedia.
Secondly, I studied my assigned chapters from Boorstin. I absolutely loved learning about Galileo and the Enlightenment period. I found it incredibly interesting how the telescope and microscope were likely created by accident, and then improved upon by people who understood the science behind such things. Finally, I was interested to learn about all of the opposition that science encountered in the early Enlightenment period.
My Evolving Project:
My personal project went through many phases. First, I began by writing about Computer Security and how everyone everywhere should have a basic understanding of Computer Security so that they could protect themselves from at least the basic attacks. After a couple of posts, I noticed that I kept being drawn to Adrian Foongs' posts. After attempting to get some social proof from my wife, classmates and friends it became quite apparent that although I had a great presentation, and I was very passionate about my topic, I simply could not find a call to action that would excite the people who would be reading my posts. One day in class after talking with Jordan Argyle, Alec Hammond and Adrian Foong about our various and assorted topics, I decided that it was time to change directions. As I mentioned, I had found myself with contrasting opinions to Adrian on a couple of his posts about "Amateurs vs Experts" and so I decided to take the opposing viewpoint. Adrian, Dr. Burton and I all agreed that this could be a very promising idea. A week or two later, we were all put into groups, and Adrian and I found ourselves with a third member of our team, Katherine Baird. At first we had a lot of difficulty incorporating her ideas into our two-way argument, but eventually we changed out arguments again to what finally became our three pronged discussion about whether Power and Authority in our nation belongs to the People (Adrian), the Government (Katherine) or the Corporations (Me). This is how our project turned out, and we are very excited about it. Changing topics was really frustrating, but I'm glad that I did.
Communication and History:
Communication is central to history and society in that changes in communication have always brought about changes in society. For example, the ability to conduct instant international communication has not always been available. This made it very difficult to share scientific knowledge and research with others. When telegraphs and eventually telephones came into existence, this not only changed societies, but created new ones. An international scientific community sprang up. This scientific community is really incredible to me. I find it amazing that no matter what countries were at war, or at conflict with others, this international community of research and science continues strong. Studying history this semester has really opened my eyes. I have been able to better understand that all humans are created equally. Their situations are not always equal, but their rights as part of the human family should be. In this way I suppose you could say that history has changed my communications. I view people differently, and I treat people that I don't know differently. Finally, I would like to mention the explosion of social media and communications in the 21st century. I have personally noticed that the frequency of communications has skyrocketed in the last decade, but I believe that the quality of these communications has plummeted. I talk with more people, more often, but I get almost not satisfaction out of it anymore. I believe that our means of communication in the past lead towards strong interpersonal bonds, and our communications in the present seem to be leading towards weaker interpersonal bonds. As Karl Marx stated, "a society is the sum of all of its relations." I believe that relationships are degrading, and thus society is degrading as well.