So far, the only class I can say I’ve completely uploaded is the Communications class I completed at UNC-Chapel Hill during the Spring 2006 semester. The class analyzed the role technology had on improving modern communications and vice versa. The class starts by discussing the telegraph and how it kick-started the modern communications era by enabling global communication. The fact that this class was being offered online to students across the world was in itself proof of the powerful combination technology and communication create. I was able to dig up all five essays I wrote for this class; I’ll post the first paragraph of each essay below and if your curiosity gets piqued click the title to read the full essay (also available by clicking the Education tab at the top of this page).
“So far, we have analyzed the texts of Modern Times and Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph to understand what our ancestors foresaw as the impact of technology on our culture, society, and ideology. Although these texts discuss different technologies, as they were produced in different eras, they both still carry a similar message warning us about the dangers of engulfing ourselves in technology. From Carey’s perspective, the decrease in communication barriers will produce information over load with the danger of burying important information underneath layers of gossip and religious proclamations. Although Chaplin warns us about the dehumanizing nature of machines, his message compares to Carey’s in that they both are skeptical of technology making us lose contact of what is truly important, people.”
How the Government Excelled at Producing and Fueling the Digital Age While Failing at Utilizing It to Improve Intra-government and Government to Citizen Communication
“I’d like to tackle the issue of whether technology, and the increase in communication potential (and thus shrinking of time and space) has been, is, and will be a positive or negative part of our culture and society. I believe the communication revolution of the past couple of decades, leading to our current time, has opened up our society to more democracy, in other words, I believe the Internet has allowed minority groups to finally have their public sphere and allow for others with similar opinions all over the world to be able to congregate in one space, giving them more power. I fore-see that this will continue and will eventually lead to a falling apart of the majority rules system we currently live under as the communications technologies we’ve developed and continue to explore will better show how different and individual we all are and how attempting to categorize us all into a large group will fail in the future as each individual gains enough power to rival majority groups.”
“In the modern period of the early twentieth century the human body was used to control and run machines which could out-produce a human. In our postmodern digital age, technology is used to augment and in some cases even replace the human body. In ever increasing tendency machines are now being used to control humans, whereas in the era of Modern Times humans were used to exert control on machines. From automated voice systems (such as what you hear when you call your credit card company) to computers that give us directions, capability to communicate globally, and myriads of other purposes, to the traffic lights that tell us when we can move, machines are a much more penetrating force in today’s world compared to earlier times.”
“In the twelve years since Who Owns Information? From Privacy to Public Access was first published, the world has changed significantly and many of the issues Anne Branscomb discusses have either been resolved, evolved, or forgotten. The debate over who owns video entertainment is one such field, as Anne wrote of the concerns of the satellite industry over pirates stealing their signals and now, although satellite pirates surely still exist, the priority1 in this debate has shifted to access rights to digital video found on computer networks. As the music industry before it, the video entertainment industry is now battling against its customers over whether they are allowed to share copyrighted video over the internet. This debate is simply a new version of the satellite industry events of the late 80’s, the medium has simply changed.”
“A device will one day be available that makes the internet mobile, that reduces the clunky, inconvenient computer into an elegant, intuitive, all encompassing, communications tool. Since we can forecast this next communications invention, why wasn’t it more apparent that the internet would follow radio, television, and the telephone as a popular medium. Since, the goal of communications is to connect more humans with more humans, shouldn’t an internet have been what the communications industry was aiming for?
With the popularity of television, it seems obvious that a television like device that would allow for user input along with the broadcast capabilities of television would be developed and would flourish; however, Howard Rheingold tells us the people capable of providing funding were reluctant to believe interactive computers and an internet would be useful and popular devices, as the internet creators struggled to get someone to listen to their ideas. Even though I have the advantage of living in today’s age and first-hand experiencing the benefits of inter-connected and interactive computer networks, I struggle to understand how the benefits of this new communication medium were not apparent back then.”
OK, I know I said I’d only put up the first paragraph of each, but that second paragraph really makes the first one more understandable. All that would be much more intuitive with some Ajax magic thrown in, eh?
As always, comments are appreciated…hope someone finds these essays resourceful.