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CyberReader

I remember when I first started using the Internet - it was one of the most bizarre things I had ever seen! I could talk in chat rooms with people I had never met, instant message with my friends who were at their computers, and search for information. The proliferation of technology is great. As Rheingold notes in “Smart Mobs: The Power of the Mobile Many”. In 2001, the President of the Philippines lost power. 1 million people mobilized, coordinating a swarm through text messages. Little did I know, that was only the beginning of the capabilities technology and the Internet would offer the world. In "Cyberspace", Woolley notes that geography is irrelevant when it comes to communicating over the web. The "global village" image he creates becomes more fascinating and less far-fetched everyday. People participate in role-playing games, blog, discuss issues in on-line forums, and even create virtual identities.

In "Identity Crisis", Turkle says that creating an online persona allows people to get in touch with their self in real life. The whole idea may seem strange, but many people embrace the idea of creating a "home page" of virtual objects that represent their interests. While many people feel more comfortable being themselves in the virtual world, others use this technology to act as a completely different person. Although cyberspace presents people with an array of possibilities, the Internet is not a carefree world where everyone gets along and chitchats about the weather. Several of the articles we read focus on the negative ways in which people may use the Internet without regards to morals or values.  In “Stalking the UFO Meme”, Thieme highlights the uncertainty of information people place on the Internet. What can you believe?

Look, for example, at juicycampus.com. People can anonymously post anything they want, about whomever they choose, whether the gossip is true or false. People can post a lie about someone they do not get along with, and the following day everyone on campus may believe it is a valid statement. People often hide behind the computer in order do something they know is wrong in the actual world. From sending “hot” emails to someone other than your spouse, as in the Van Buren article, to committing crimes that Barlow and Kelley focus on, such as hacking into files and downloading music, there is much to say about what is right and what necessitates punishment.

Cyberpunks, as Leary calls them, “are all those who boldly package and steer ideas out there where no thoughts have gone before” (CyberReader 77). They introduce all of these high-tech capabilities that are shaping who we are and how we communicate. We are left to consider the extent to which we involve ourselves, and our values, in technology. What if I was to create a fake livejournal and document the life of someone who does not even exist? Would I feel guilty about lying to my on-line friends? What about hacking and file-sharing? If nothing prevents me from doing it, am I in the wrong? 

The Videos

We filmed some videos to visually demonstrate some of the topics discussed below, and uploaded them to YouTube to share with anyone who wants to watch :)


Game Addiction



Good and Bad Collaboration


Good and Bad Interviewing

Interviewing

Interviewing can be one of the most intimidating situations to be placed in as a young adult. Whether it is a high school interview, college interview, or a job interview, the process can be very stressful. If you are experiencing professional interviewing for the first time, then it is perfectly understandable to say that you're nervous. Several common fears emerge when anticipating an interview. Some of these fears may include...

- Not knowing what questions you will be asked
- Not knowing what questions to ask
- Worrying that you wont be able to think of responses quickly enough
- Worrying that you wont seem knowledgeable
- Having general fears that the interview may not go well

These are all common problems that someone might face when approaching an interview. Fortunately, all of these problems can be solved as long as you are confident and prepare yourself well. Interviewing is a necessary process if you wish to accomplish anything in life. Interview situations arise all the time, and are vitally important to many businesses and companies. When you think about it, interviews are actually extremely practical, giving a business a chance to really get to know you aside from your resume, and giving you the chance to get to know the business or company.

If you want go into your interview well prepared, and confident, then you should do a number of things in order to prepare yourself.

First, you must schedule an interview at a time that is convenient for both you as well as the interviewer. Be flexible and open to any free time that you have. (The interview is more important than sleeping in)

Second, you must figure out, from your own perspective, what it is that you wish to get from the interview. Taking time to sit down and think about what information you wish to exit the interview with is important. Also, remember that interviewing is not just about information, it is meant for mutual learning of information as well as creating a personalized environment in which you and the interviewer can learn about each other.

Once you have declared to yourself what you wish to gain from your interview, it should be much easier to begin to formulate questions as well as topics you wish to discuss in the interview. If you are interviewing an investment banking firm, then try to think of practical questions that apply to both your life, and the investment banking world. Do not ask questions that are impractical or off subject just to fill the time. The interview is meant to be informative, and it is a waste of everyones time to have the mentality of merely "getting through" the interview.

Once the interview is set, and you feel well prepared, the next step is the interview itself. Before your interview, you should review your notes and questions, as it is not good to stare at a piece of paper the entire time. When you first meet your interviewer, it is important to thank them sincerely for their time, and let them know that you are happy to be there, and want to gain something from the interview. Start out the interview by telling them a little bit about yourself, and in return they should tell you about their self. If they neglect to, then ask them. Talk briefly about how they came into that business, or why they took an interest in that particular field. Once the interview has started, you should have a blank sheet of paper in addition to your questions so that you can write down things that pop into your head. While in the interview, make good eye contact, and avoid daydreaming. If you do not understand something they have said, don't be afraid to ask, and answer their questions sincerely.

Try to balance your interview. Instead of hammering the interviewer with question after question, allow the opportunity for them to ask questions of their own. Also, an interview is not meant to be an interrogation. If the interview is going well, then it should flow like a normal conversation. Ask the interviewer practical questions that apply to them, and vary your questions from broad to specific.

Don't worry about the questions that the interviewer will ask you, because its not important. They're asking you questions because they want to know your honest response, so that is what you should give them. However, this does not mean that you cant prepare for these questions. You know why your in the interview, and both of you know roughly what it is you'll be talking about. In this light, you should prepare accordingly. Go into your interview with a basic knowledge of their company, and try and educate yourself as much as you can on the topic. Remember, that the point of the interview is for you to learn, so don't stress over this too much.

It is important to know that once you have established your final list of questions and topics, prepared yourself for the topic, and brainstormed a general flow of the interview, this should not be your only source for the interview. As the interview progresses, you should write down anything that comes to mind, or any addition questions or topics that you think of. If the interview is going well, then you should almost count on this happening.

From here, I would say that if you have done all of these things, you are well on your way towards having a great interview. You should expect to come out of it knowledgeable, and with a good understanding of the business your examining. Of coarse, you should have taken good notes throughout the interview, and use those for what i like to think of as a, "post-game" cool-down.If you are giving a presentation on your interview, as our class was required to, then use your notes from the interview to guide your presentation. Also talk about the process that led up to the interview.

If you are worried about an interview, whether it be for high school, college, athletics, a job, or for an english class, remember this set of guidelines, and you should expect to perform well. Being well prepared leads to confidence, and confidence in an interview is the best thing possible.

The Guest Speakers of ENG276

President Duncan

Oh good old President Lewis Duncan... what kind of hair-brain scheme have you got us into now? Did you really just say that we are going to live forever? Thats the best news I've heard all day! Or maybe not...I'll have to decide when the time comes. After all, there are certain factors that would shape my decision. Is it painful to live forever? Is my skin going to fall off? How much will it cost? And then I wondered, do my reactions matter at all? Perhaps not. The man may seem to be a mad scientist of sorts, but he has amazing evidence to describe how the future will be drastically different than the measly year of 2008. He may have reminded you of Al Gore or Michael Moore because, like those men, he lectures his personal predictions towards whomever might listen. I would argue that President Duncan is much more than a documentary of the week, and in actuality is a person with prescient knowledge. He is no prophet, but then again anything is possible. Lets refresh our memories of his futuristic calculations.

His lecture began with a brief history of the universe, galaxy, solar system, and finally our little planet Earth. People say history repeats itself, but according to President Duncan, history only helps us make accurate predictions of what is to come. He asked us questions like, "Have you ever wondered what the world will be like when you are your parents’ age? Do you worry about technology or welcome it?" President Duncan presented us with a theory of the exponential. For example, computers don't only double in capacity but as time goes by their power triples, then quadruples and etc. If a computer's power grows exponentially then so does the rest of the technological world. Artificial Intelligence will soon be indistinguishable from reality. The exponential theory allows for materials to become exponentially smaller, leading to nanotechnology. President Duncan describes nanobots as the most important material since plastic. Not only will these tiny and smart machines make up many of our everyday products, but they will also fix themselves. They will be used in medicine, space travel, and perhaps some may journey to the center of the Earth and find dinosaur skeletons. The possibilities are endless! Let me just say that President Duncan would be a tough act to follow.


Matt Rothschild

The guy will make you laugh. There I said it. That's the truth. Whether you read or not, if you like ginger jokes, and if you need a good laugh for a class period of English class, then Matt Rothschild is the guest speaker to turn to. Lets just take a look at the cover of his book that gives his definition of the word "dumbfounded" that just so happens to be the title of his critically acclaimed memoir.

dumbfounded (adj.)
1. It’s what happens when you’re in your bedroom wearing your maid’s dress, posing at the mirror, and your grandmother walks in and says, “Matthew, if you’re going to wear a dress, couldn’t you find a better one than that?”

Matt's grandmother, he described, was a cross between Auntie Mame and someone else I don't remember. If you don't know who Auntie Mame is then you are missing out of good amount of American comedy.  And if you didn't chuckle during Matt's talk then you just might be missing your soul. The antics of his grandmother and her ability to scare any human being in submission tell me that he must have had an interesting upbringing. When Matt told the story of his grandmother showing his school principal who was boss reminds me of one of my family members that will go unsaid. I am sure that some of my classmates could relate to his stories even though they were outlandish and eccentric. Ahhh outlandish and eccentric, just how a good guest speaker should be. 

learning teaching

The first learning teaching teams were about the live journal, which we are using right now, and twitter.  Both good and new ways to communicate with other people.  Most people just know about facebook and myspace as ways of meeting and comminicating with friends.  But livejournal and twitter give us two new ways of doing just that.  With livejournal you can use it kind of like a blog were u post something and then people post comments and responses to it.  Twitter is a good way to alert friends of what you are doing and what is going on throughout your day.

The second learning teaching team, which i was a part of, was about role playimg games and youtube.  We talked about the dangers of role playimg games and how they affect so many people and their lives.  They can take over someones life and completly isolate them from the real world.  This can have major consequences on a persons behavior and social life.  Youtube is a great place to share videos.  We can even create our own profile which many people had no idea existed.  Youtube is a good place to share information or just keep yourself entertained.  However there have been problems with violations of copyright laws and peoples private life.  there are also many inapropriate videos that younger kids shouldnt be watcing but how is it possible to censor all of it? doesnt look very likely that that will happen anytime soon.

The last learning teaching team was Kaboodle and fantasy basketball.  Kaboodle was an online shopping site that you could basically create a wish list.  Its a good way for people who dont know what to get you for the holidays to go on and look at your interests to get an idea.  The fantasy basketball league was one of my favorite.  Ive participated in many fantasy sport leauges before and it a fun thing to do with your friends.  Alot of times there would be a cash prize for the winner of the league.  Whether or not this is an ethical dilemma is the opinion of the individual.
 

Thought Pieces/Values/Ethical Dilemmas

As Dr. Duncan explained to the class, some of the most important issues in the future will rely heavily on ethical decision making.  Many of the questions regarding the future cannot be predicted, but it is important to understand the process of using your personal values to make ethical decisions in both the present and the future. 

Let's start back to square one: What is an ethical dilemma?  As a class we broke down both words to help with our definition.  Ethical implies that something "having to do with ethics or morality; of or conforming to moral standards"  the dilemma comes from "an argument necessitating a choice between equally unfavorable or disagreeable alternatives.  This definition implies that in an ethical dilemma, there is no clear right or wrong answer, but several choices that rely on our own values to make our decision.  Using this definition and acknowledging current or potential ethical dilemmas, the class used our Thought Piece assignments to examine how our values can impact our decisions.
Some Phrases About Ethical Dilemmas:
 
 
 
"On the horns of a dilemma". "Between a rock and a hard place", "Damned if you do, damned if you don't", etc.
Any Other Suggestions for phrases about ethical dilemmas? Leave them in the comments section!

Thought piece number one had the class examine issues of cyberspace and future writing raised in professional essays.  After explaining the dilemma addressed in the essay, we explained the moral and ethical principles the author uses to resolve the particular ethical dilemma that was raised.  The class then used our own values to determine alternate possibilities for addressing the dilemma that may or may not have been different than the author.  What were some of the dilemmas raised by the authors in your first thought piece? Leave it in the comments section!

Our second thought piece helped the class use a culmination of what we learned about ethical dilemmas, values and decision making to examine a major ethical dilemma that technology poses for each students personal or future life.  The next step was to consider our values and evaluate each ethical decision we faced,. along with the results of our decisions.  What were some of the problems addressed in thought piece two?  Head to the comments section!

Collaboration

At first, collaborating in a group sounds like an easy task. After all, seven people working together is a lot easier than one person doing everything on their own, right?

It didn't take us long to realize these assumptions were wrong.

Collaboration is a lot harder than we originally anticipated. Before we even began thinking about how to approach the assignment we were faced with a problem - finding a time for all seven of us to meet. Our class schedules are all different, making it hard for us to find time during the day. Then there were extracurricular activities--some of us play baseball, others have jobs, Greek life events, and other various commitments. Planning was hard, but after a few failed attempts to meet at a time that worked for us all, we eventually got it right. However, dealing with problems wasn't over. Once we finally met as a group, some people contributed more than others. Fixing this problem wasn't hard once we put our minds to it, and by working together, we organized a way for everyone to contribute equally.

We learned from our mistakes, fixed what we were doing wrong, and now understand why certain techniques work and why others don't.


Bad collaboration:
  • Not being flexible with your schedule.
  • Showing up late or not showing up at all.
  • Not communicating with members of your group if you're going to be late or need to change the time.
  • Taking over the entire project and not letting anyone else contribute.
  • Expecting everyone else to do the work for you.
  • Not being prepared with ideas for the project.
Good collaboration:
  • Allowing flexibility in your schedule. If you have an open spot of time but it isn't ideal, make it work anyway. It probably won't be as bad as you think!
  • Doing your best to show up on time.
  • If you're going to be late, email, call or text the members of the group to let them know. If you need to change the time, message the other members to make sure the changed time works for everyone.
  • Allow everyone to contribute equally. Don't get in the mindset that you're the only one who will do the project right, because it isn't true. Listen to other people's ideas--they probably have interesting contributions.
  • Contribute to the discussion. Even if you think your ideas are bad, say them anyway. Your ideas might not be as bad as you think, and other group members can always give suggestions to improve them.
  • Think about the project before the meeting so you have ideas to present.


Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Discuss them here! :) 

Time Management

How do you figure out how much time is in your day and how do you manage your time so you get all your work done and still have time for fun?

In our class, we all made schedules to see how much time we have in a week and how much time is devoted to certain things we need to get done. I found I had too much to do in my week, which left little time for fun and sleep. With my many classes and other extra curricular activities, I had only enough time to get my work done. Being able to see my whole week written down on paper helped me decide what activities were more important than others and what time would be sacrificed away from free time to studying or the other way around.  I also was able to see where I wasted time and took that time away to do other more productive things.  

All in all, taking the time to write down and see my whole schedule was really helpful to figuring out what needed to be done and what time needed to be taken out to do certain things.  I suggest it to everyone! 

Writing for the Future

As we looked to the future through interviews and learning different techniques on the internet, we also looked at what the future will be like through our own writing.  Our first paper looked at how technology is a part of each of our own lives, while our second paper looked at how technology will change our values and outlooks of the future.  The last paper was a fun, creative piece, which let us become apart of the futures we saw through our other two papers. 

Now, it might seem easy to just write three papers over the course of a semester, but it took many drafts and a lot of hard work to complete each assignment.  Apart of our writing process, we had to meet with various people to ensure our papers were the best they could be by meeting for content to grammar.  Though the drafting process was really frustrating, it really helped us become better writers through getting lots of feedback and revision. 

As we all wrote our papers, we wondered whether in 50 years writing would still be used or not.  With the increase of blog posts like these, will grammar really matter?  And with the ease of creating blogs for so many people to view, will we worry about how good the content is or just write and see what kind of responses we will get?