My Self-directed LearningI really enjoyed the flexibility to learn up on what I found to be interesting, and relied heavily on online resources to complement the textbook. When I did branch out from Wikipedia and History.com articles, I watched a documentary on the Battle at Stalingrad. I found myself enjoying the documentary, even though I was merely doing it for homework. However, my favorite period that we studied is the 21st century. There is something really intriguing about studying the time period that we are currently living in. The meta aspect of trying to understand the trends and cultures of our present has really prompted me to rethink the world as we know it, and wonder if we ever differ in our method of changing and moving forward as humankind. For example, I’ve found that the themes of the era of enlightenment have resurfaced over and over again throughout the course of time.
My Evolving ProjectMy personal project began as a message of motivation to people who are trying to achieve great things but feel incapable of doing so. This stems from similar feelings I have about trying to stand out in a crowd of intelligent and talented individuals in college. The project began by focusing on the collaborative opportunities brought about by new technologies and the internet. Slowly, it morphed into the matter of amateurs and experts working together, to the power of amateurs versus that of the experts, where I claimed that amateurs can do as well as, if not better than, the experts. Tommy has given me tremendously helpful feedback on this debate, and has offered his thoughts on the other side in his posts.
As we formed groups, my topic changed to the power of people, as opposed to that of corporations and the government. Michael gave our team a really good comment about making sure that our audience cares about the topic on power and authority. As a response to this, I’ve tried to strengthen the personal angle on my posts and relate to the audience why I think it is important to know that individuals can make a difference in significant ways.
Communication and HistoryWhenever I think about communication, I recall the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible. The grand scheme was foiled by the inability of the builders to communicate with each other. Where collaboration is required, communication is essential. In a team, team members communicate to relay information to other team members so that everyone working on the project are equally informed on their progress. With open communication, team members know what to work on, what roadblocks have to be removed and who to speak to for clarification on unclear information. While this is not obvious on a macro scale, societies work the same way. With information flowing freely, people know what progress is being made, what issues are at hand, and how to seek for more information if they need to. In fact, societies are built upon older societies. We have our ancestors to thank for recording the histories of peoples and nations using the media available to them, and now, to us.
Our study of history has opened my eyes to the importance of information, and how that information flows from one point to another. Had explorers like James Cook not record his mappings of his three voyages, seafarers would have had a much harder time navigating the seas. This communication – conveying of information – is crucial in the process of discovery and progress. Today, we hear a lot about the freedom of speech and censorship. This is a sensitive issue, but censorship is a form of obstructing the flow of information, and poses a threat to the progress of a society. This is perhaps closer to home if we observe communication within personal relationships and colleagues – when communication breaks down, the relationship breaks down as well. And so it is for a society.