This class has stretched and pulled on me more than anything else I have experienced in college. I need to be very careful with that statement because other classes have been very difficult and have required a lot of time. The difference is that I had assignments and knew what to do with my time. Although Digital Civilization had a basic idea and direction for the whole semester, much more liberty accompanied each student in their choosing what to do with their time. MUCH has been learned that revolves around that kind of thing, but the following paragraphs will focus precisely on the learning outcomes of the class and how I have reached them.
With history, I was very focused on learning all I could with the knowledge that I had -- the knowledge to research via digital medium. I met with Ariel early in the semester to talk about topics worth considering and to find the best way to go about my "self-directed" learning. I also me with Dr. Burton to try and improve my ability to sort information and quickly find what I'm looking for. Before this class, I had never heard of Google Reader or any other type of RSS feeds. It was a whole new world and I was scrambling to figure it out. Much improvement happened and I was pleased. It is funny to look back at some of the very first few posts that I did and see how my content improved as the weeks went by because I was working through the learning curve. Ultimately, I was interested in Business. I was counseled by Ariel and Dr. Burton to find anything in history to connect with my interests; therefore, you will find that most of the people or events I learned about usually are connected with some aspect of business. I, particularly, loved learning about attributes in individuals' lives that made them successful at whatever they did.
I was assigned to the 16th Century. Here is a documentation of my learning of the 16th Century:
16th Century: Fiddle like Ferdinand
16th Century: The Power of Freedom
Religious reformation: 16th century
New Major for Business Students??? Renaissance Parallel
Other History (Self-Directed)
Atomic Age in the 20th Century
How old is old?
How to Change the World: From James Watt to Steve Jobs
18th Century: "Dare to Know"
2. Core Concepts
The core concepts were so completely abstract to me that I had no idea where to start. I had never heard about any of the concepts before this class--ever! I started reading my novel that I was assigned, Utopia, and did what little I could with the small amount of knowledge I had. One truth about learning that I have learned recently in my life--even before this class--is that the more you already know about a certain topic, the more you will be able to learn about that particular topic. This proved true as I attempted to do self-directed learning about the core concepts.
One of the concepts that I could understand the most was "information." Particularly, the aspect of disruptive innovation. As part of our "Business" group, we came up with a lot of content about disruptive innovation and technology in business. I was very involved with the editing and compiling of the content and read through that content multiple times. From that reading and learning from all the thoughts of our group members, along with my own research, I learned a lot about disruptive technology and how it affects the world today. Read the business chapter--that is essentially the documentation of that learning!
Another concept I could understand a little more was "participation." I loved all of the conversation had on Google+ about gamification. I was taught all through my life, by my dad, to make tasks FUN. While doing any type of work (yard work is what my dad and I did a lot), I would focus on making it more fun. I loved this principle of participation and could relate well with it.
"Openness" and "control" were much more difficult for me. I didn't, particularly, have much interest in those concepts at all. We were constantly told in class to self direct our learning about things we are interested in and so it was hard for me to dive into those concepts. Nevertheless, I was very involved in the conversation about those topics on Google+ and read any articles I came across that had to do with those concepts to try and get a grasp. In the end, I posted a few thoughts about my learning of, specifically, "control," as that was the topic I was assigned to and payed more attention to:
3. Digital Literacy
CONSUME: As mentioned before in this post, I really struggle at first in being able to work through information and spend meaningful, productive time to help me learn the things I wanted or needed to learn. I decided early on that I was going to keep at it, no matter how many hours I put in. I knew, that despite my ability to get the information quickly and posted/documented, that I would benefit from learning through personal experience--trial and error--and grow through the process. And that, certainly, did happen. I used Google; I used the list of websites and other sources suggested by Dr. Burton; I used Google Reader; and, I even used the Library! Haha--Yes, I searched through scholarly articles through online data bases from the Library and Google Scholar.
CREATE: What a new idea this was for me! I tackled it head on; the reason it was so hard is because of my innate perfectionism. My first few blog posts were very painful for me because I was not used to it--had never used "blogger" and had to spend time searching and asking others how to make a word a different color that, if clicked on, would link you immediately to another web page! As evident in THIS post, I figured it out! :) I improved my ability to use different sources to create posts and also presentations (was introduced to and learned Prezi for the first time). I feel a lot more confident now in my ability to create any type of content or presentation. I also felt like the skills learned throughout the course assisted me in being able to take all of the content from our Business group and edit, cut, crop, and do all sorts of things to create a more professional-looking chapter.
CONNECT: I became a Google+ mad man. I checked every day, multiple times, and made a goal to comment as much as I could on every class mate's posts and read and form opinions on as much as I could as time would allow. Social proofing was a new idea to me. I learned to love it. My eyes were opened to the possibilities from being able to connect with professionals in what ever field of interest you might have. And that is what I did. I had a neat experience with professionals in the field of e-commerce and business, such as Marsha Collier. I also worked really hard with my group in developing our content about the "new economy" and the world of business in the digital age. We worked with all types of social media to help connect with each other, such as Google+, email, facebook, and Google Docs.
4. Self-Directed Learning
Here is a documentation of my self-directed learning. At times it was very distracting and time consuming, nonetheless, very enjoyable :)
New Times, New Technology, and the Digitized Economy
Tradition in Business is Like... Pumpkins!?
Increase in E-commerce
The Law of Attraction
And, of course, all of the other concepts--history and digital--were learning through self-directed efforts.
I learned how to collaborate far beyond what my abilities were before the class. When I got home from my mission about two years ago, I had zero interest in online things, such as social media. Facebook was deserted. I didn't ever participate in any event creating or organizing. Surprisingly, a few weeks ago, I found myself on Facebook making comments on some of my friend's photos and keeping up a little more with them--I realized that my attitude towards social media/internet was changing! By the end of this class, I even had my own twitter account and learned how to use it for the first time. My collaboration was huge with my Business group members. As one of the leaders of the group, I kept them updated weekly, almost daily, about things that needed to get done next and was very involved in all of the collaboration efforts to get our content all put together.
And here we are . . . at the end. What a great semester--thank you for teaching me how to be a digital citizen, to understand core concepts more that I had never, previously heard of, and to bring History alive by relating it to modern issues of today.