Thursday, December 11, 2014

Go Big Read- Extra Credit

          The Go Big Read event I attended was a UW-Madison students speaking out event inspired by the book I am Malala.  I went to Vilas Hall last week on Wednesday, December 3, 2014. It was a forum led by students taking an honors Comm-A class. At the beginning of the event, the professor of the students taking the Comm-A class explained Malala’s story. He began by explaining how there is a lot of injustice done in the Middle East, and although it is dangerous for people to speak out against certain powerful groups in these areas, people like Malala and her father do anyway. He gave a quick summary of her story, including how she revealed herself to the Taliban and was then shot in the head.  After surviving and working to rebuild her strength, she came into contact with a girl who had to use tally marks to do business because she didn’t know how to count. At that moment, Malala realized what she wanted her mission to be, to educate the non-educated girls.  Then, the professor asked us to think of events that have happened in our lives that have led us to a new perspective and inspired us to find the war that we’re going to fight.  He then informed us that students taking his class would present their prepared speeches and would tell their stories and what causes they wanted to promote.
            The first speaker spoke about water scarcity and wanted to call attention to how we take water for granted here in the United States.  He explained how water scarcity is caused by growth, overpopulation, misuse, and pollution. He realized the importance of this issue when traveling in Costa Rica where people were very conscious of how much water they use.  The second speaker was a boy who wanted to discuss the effects of anti-bullying programs.  He became interested in this topic after finding out about the suicide of Tyler Clemency, a boy with a lot of potential who had committed suicide after a video of him having relations with another boy was released. There was another speaker that wanted to promote the railroad system and another speaker that wanted to teach people how to avoid sleep deprivation.
            There were a few more speakers, but my favorite speaker was the fifth speaker who talked about the “R word”.  She wants to diminish discrimination against developmental disorders, and she believes a good place to start is by making people aware of how offensive throwing around the word “retarded” can be.  She feels mental retardation is not a subject to be taken lightly and that people’s careless and offensive use of this word should not be taken lightly either.  She talks about how most people use the word ignorantly, claiming to mean no harm.  However, after it’s been used, she believes it’s too late and the damage has already been done.  A label once used to respectfully describe people with developmental disorders has evolved into a dehumanizing word.  I loved this speech because I have noticed with my own friends and peers that many people lack knowledge of how much the word hurts.  It seems that the word can catch on pretty easily and that it spreads through a chain reaction of ignorance.

            Overall I thought this was a really cool event that put a creative twist on a regular book discussion.

This is a photo of the boy that talked about sleep deprivation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hybrid Post- Sofia Corelli

I am in an online class here at UW Madison, but it has other components than just the online section. First off, we are allowed to meet with our TA or Professor in-person whenever we need, which is their attempt to make it similar to an in-person course. Also, we had an end of the year group project that we had to complete with several in-person meetings. This was interesting because it directly connected our online podcasts to in-person group collaboration, much like LIS 201 does by having both online blogs and in-person discussion meetings. LIS 201, in my opinion, offers much more than my online class does, because even though there is an online component to this class, I feel that everything is very connected and there is no clear separation between the online and in-person components. The only thing that I felt could have connected more to the online component of this class was the readings. Although the readings really did affect our discussion sections, they didn't really connect too much to our weekly blog posts. After this class, I definitely feel a lot more comfortable with Wikis and Blogs. Before this class, I had never had to use either before, and now I see the great benefits of using them. It makes me feel more connected with my classmates. I think it would be a great idea for instructors at UW to use these components more in their classes because of this. The course readings definitely connected to my own personal technological life. It opened my eyes to things going on around me in the information society and how I play a part in all of it. Theses course readings are so relevant to our lives' today that I could definitely see them being used in tons of courses offered here, but they are most relevant to a course on the topic of the information society, such as this one.

Over the Weekend- Hybrid Courses

I had never heard of “hybrid/blended” courses until taking this course.  When I Google searched hybrid courses, I was surprised to see how many universities have these types of classes. Although their heavy emphasis on web interaction didn’t immediately sound very appealing to me, after reading more about them, I could see how they would be great for certain people.  A lot of the hybrid classes I found varied in structure, but I believe they are generally pretty accommodating to working professionals and people with limiting schedules.  Without as much face-to-face class occurring a specific time and location, the educational classes allow for much more flexibility.  I would say the hybrid classes differ from our course in that there are online lectures and that more communication occurs online.  Both LIS 201 and the hybrid courses provide students the opportunity to build their online communication skills, which is very important in today’s society.  At the beginning of the semester, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of online assignments, but with experience, it became much easier to manage everything.  I’m happy I chose this class to fulfill my Comm-B requirement because it forced me to try new types of writing across various formats and to practice my speaking skills.  I thought there was a good balance between online and in person involvement required in the class.  I liked that we had a blog and the wiki for our discussion section so that we could look at our classmates’ work and leave comments on our own time.  Through the online medium, we had as much time as we wanted and could use whatever resources we wanted in order to write posts, peer edit, and comment on other people’s posts.  However, I also appreciated the in-person portions of class because every week, we came to lecture and discussion with a lot of questions.  It was much easier for the professor and TAs to explain concepts and projects in person than to answer many individual emails.  For me, it feels important to actually attend class because then it’s less likely for me to fall behind and get lost in the material.  Overall, I liked the structure and purpose of this class. I put a lot of work into it, and I think I got a lot out of it.  Most of my other classes don’t focus on integrating new technology and new programs into the material we are learning, and I think the articles and projects all worked together cohesively.  I’m glad I learned more about the “Information Society” because it plays a big role in my life as a student and looking to the future, it’s clear that technology and the Internet will continue to grow.

Hybrid courses

When I googled "hybrid courses" there were a lot of results for classes similar to LIS 201. Many other universities offered such classes, and in addition, UW Madison has similar courses. I have taken a few courses before LIS 201 that followed this blended structure as well. A few journalism, english and communication arts classes that I have taken have had a lecture, discussion and online portion to the class.
I think my experience with the online portion connected a little to the conversations and in-person portions. I don't think it had a significant effect on my education of the subject matter. Although I got to engage in the course material in a different medium, I think the physical is very different from the virtual world. I think that face-to-face interactions are still more beneficial. When you're expressing something online it can be tough to come off genuine and really get your message across.
I don't think that UW courses should greatly increase online components. As I said earlier, the face-to-face interactions is still the most efficient in getting to know your classmates and getting your point across.
As for the substantive material in this course, I think it did provide a nice supplement to the lecture topics. A lot of the readings (although long) were quite interesting and eye opening. It's intriguing to learn about what really is going on when you're searching the web or throwing out an old phone. However, I don't feel as though the online activities that went along with these readings really related to each other all that much.

Hybrid Courses

As I searched the web for other hybrid courses in higher education, I came across lots of schools that implement hybrid courses. Among those schools were UW Milwaukee and UC San Diego. The hybrid courses offered at UWM seemed interesting just by looking at the names of the courses and descriptions. At UCSD, there are 29 hybrid courses being offered now, they typically split face-to-face interaction and online interaction quite evenly. The hybrid style of classes at UCSD relates most to our class in the sense that the time we also split our class time quite evenly between face-to-face interaction and our online presence.
My experience with LIS 201 has been interesting because this has been the first course I take that greatly puts an emphasis on online communities while still having valuable face-to-face conversations. I think the material we learned in class went hand in hand with what we were to do online. Our discussion section also went hand in hand with he online component of our class. We would discuss whatever we did online in discussion and even went in deeper at times. However, I think I was a more effective student in the virtual world. I voiced my opinions and thoughts more online than I did in class. I think this occurred because the space online is infinite and there is no time limits, so I was able to really talk about things in depth. I think we would enjoy our courses more if professors here incorporated online components to their courses.
The material that we learned in this course brought a whole new perspective in both my online experiences and my personal life. I feel that now, I am more aware of what goes on in our information society. I tend to think about people's interaction with technology more and how a lot of them don't realize the process and impact their devices have on our society. Even while looking at a website I analyze the workings of it and end up relating it to information that we learned in this course.

Hybrid courses

Through this weekend's blog assignment, I realized that LIS 201 is the first hybrid/blended class I have ever taken before. I researched about other hybrid classes other than this class, and I found other blended classes in both University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Texas. I think their hybrid classes are very similar to our class but the proportion and timing of online vs. face-to-face time looks significantly varies based on the goals and work requirements of the program. The class I took, "Information Society" I think has relatively have the same proportion for each: in-person lecture, in-person discussion section, and online activity and writing.
In this class, I think the online portions successfully were connected with the in-person lecture and discussion section because students' online writings were all about materials that we learned from the lecture and we discussed with the same material in the discussion section. Personally for me, I was a more effective student in the virtual world because I am used to express myself in English with enough preparation not just impetuously. I was in a great hesitation when I discussed face-to-face but I felt very comfortable when I could write my thoughts on the blog. However, for other fellow students, I could get to know them through both online and physical world because I could see the different aspects of them. They were not exactly the same person in online and the discussion class. For example, some poeple were more active in discussion section, and some people were more logical online. Online resources are always very useful and easy to access not only for this class but also for other classes; classes using online are increasing. Some people might be cautious about this phenomenon, but I am glad with this because I am alreay so familiar with using online resources and aware that how this system makes me convenient.
Since I have possessed my own computer and cell phone, I did not abstein from uncontrollably using those devices, but after undergoing assignments from this class, I learned that this convenience is not somthing that I was naturally given and there must be some control for imposing those technologies.

Hybrid Coursework Over the weekend

When i first searched hybrid course on google, the first couple hits that came up were the numerous hybrid courses they offer at UW-Milwaukee. I was extremely surprised by this, and slightly confused on whether it was more extensive program and they were one of the only schools that offered them frequently, or that google recognized that i went to a UW school and lead me to that page. After skimming a couple of the UW-Milwaukee pages, i recognized the focus they were putting on the importance of integrating the advantages of online learning in addition to face-to-face. After, i noticed a UW-Madison link a couple hits down, leading me to the engineering schools approach at hybrid learning, which focused more on the importance of have computer and technology software knowledge, rather than the advantages of hybrid learning to supplement classwork. I feel that LIS 201 is in most ways more similar to that of the engineering school rather than the hybrid classes of UWM, because our online work teaches us to use the technologies we have access to, rather than forcing us to learn much of our coursework on our own, outside of class. Generally, our online portions of class connected to the lectures, but instead of forcing us to do our learning online, we were able to gain a deeper understand of how we use the capabilities of our networks and use it to connect to our classmates.
Going into this class, i had very little understanding of what type of blogger i would be, and to be honest i was a little uncomfortable with the idea of posting blogs weekly for my classmates to read them. However, over the course of the semester, blogging allowed me to learn more about myself not only as a "writer" but as a networker with classmates. While i enjoyed writing my thoughts out, and being able to think through them more carefully before allowing anyone to read them, i think there was a much deeper connection with my classmates through face to face discussions. Commenting on others blog posts forced me to read them, which was extremely insightful, i never remembered who's post i read each week, and i never went back and read through the comments people left me. There was a large gap in connections between classmates online.
While i agree much of online coursework is extremely beneficial in classes such as LIS 201, there also also many classes where an increase in online work would degrade the ability of information to be learned. Yet overall,  I throughly enjoyed blogging and the benefits of the hybrid coursework for this class, and i wish some other english classes adopted these ideas for certain interpretations and sharing of connection between classmates.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hybrid Course Reaction

When I searched on Google, “Hybrid/blended courses,” I was surprised to find how many different listings there were. Most of the results were from educational organizations ( .edu), but there were some other sites pages that were made to explain the point of hybrid courses. My very first result was from The University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. The link led me to a page that was explaining hybrid courses at UW-Milwaukee and offers student resources. I navigated my way to come across an example class called “Cross-Cultural Study of Religion” from the department of anthropology. They also had a graduate class called “Advanced Nursing Practice Interventions” in the College of Nursing. Both of these classes say in the course description that two-thirds of the classes will meet in person, while one-third occur online. This is different to LIS 201 because we have no online lectures. Although we spend lots of time communicating online through our blogs and writings, we are never required to be attending online classes. I think that the way LIS 201 is taught is much better than having a setup like UW- Milwaukee’s hybrid course. I really liked how we would blog online and comment on each other’s posts, but then when we had class we would reflect on the work. I think the in-person reflection called for more constructive criticism because I felt that the comments were all very similar saying, “I agree with that point because…” “I really like this post, Great Job.” But when we got to sit down and meet face to face, it lead to deeper analysis and feedback on our writing. Therefore, I think I got to know more about my peers in the face-to-face parts of our class. Since I took LIS 202 last spring and there were a lot of similar blog and wiki skills to be learned, this class reinforced my knowledge of these skills and made it so I will remember them for a much longer time. I believe doing all these tasks for a second time made me very proficient with the tools. I think that blogs and wikis are great tools for education use, but only for the right type of class. For English and Journalism classes, I think incorporating these tools would be very beneficial. However, it would be a nightmare to have my Business and math classes on blogs. I believe that for the most part the readings were hit or miss. Sometimes after reading I would be going back over my notes to make sure I understood the important parts and other times I would be thinking, “Why did I just have to read that?” For example, I think the social structure Van Dijk reading was full of material that was all very relevant to our curriculum. Often times it would be the shorter or news articles we had to read that would be slightly related, that left me thinking it was a waste of time.

Go Big Read Extra Credit - Matthew Reich

For my extra credit opportunity, I decided to attend a go big read event. I went to Vilas Hall on Wednesday December 3rd from 6-7:30. The event consisted of honors public speaking class students speaking out about experiences and stories that have left an impact on them. Why? The event was based on the kindness and impact Malala has made on the world. Malala has various inspiring stories that portray her bravery and poise. The students that were presenting tried to emulate the type of impactful actions that Malala has done throughout her life. There was six to seven speakers and the one that was most impactful on me was the first one about bullying. Not that the other speeches didn't leave an impression on me, but I think bullying relates to me the most. I have personally never been bullied excessively but I've watched my brother grow up getting bullied. It's a problem through
out the world that needs to come to an end. The student speaking made very interesting points on how to further prevent bullying. He emphasized that the reason bullying keeps persisting is due to harshness of their punishment. He was very adamant that the harsher we punish kids, the stronger urge they will have to repeat their actions. Having a zero tolerance policy on bullying makes sense, but he believes that it has come back to haunt our society. He believes that instead of paying more attention to the one getting bullied, in order to further prevent bullying we need to try and help the bully. They are the root of all of this, and if we ever want to fix this issue we need to get these kids help and get to the root of their emotional issues that urge them to inflict pain on fellow students. I actually agree with what he presented as he provided stellar evidence, with the most compelling evidence being that bullying throughout the world has only worsened with the no tolerance policy.

Hybrid Courses

After searching for Hybrid courses at different universities, the first link that came up was a hybrid english class at the University of Colorado, Denver. Their hybrid course was actually very similar to our course. There is a lecture, discussion, and online portion. The class is an honors course that involves creating a powerpoint presentation weekly on class material. The lecture consists of 200 people and discussions are broken up into 15-20 people which include presenting the power point presentations during the weekly discussion. There is also a weekly quiz at the end of every class. This class is similar to ours except, instead of weekly blogs it consists of a weekly powerpoint.

I think that the online component of this class was very beneficial for me.  Even though blogging isn't too difficult, it is something that you need to learn. The best way to learn how to effectively blog is through experience. This class definitely provided that for me, as a weekly blog or assignment was a requirement every week. I think i learned a lot about other classmates from the online portions of the class and I believe that more classes in UW-Madison should consider implementing online portions to the course.

In conclusion, I believe that course readings and lectures did help my online experience, but to be honest I think it only helped in relation to this course. The course focused on the information society, and my main communication technology is the internet. So the information I learned in this course did help with my online activity on a day-to-day basis but I don't know how effective it would be for a class that doesn't require an online component.

Go Big Read Extra Credit

  On Wednesday, December 3rd, I went to the Go Big Read lecture. The presentation started with a summary of the “I Am Malala” book and her experience. We were then asked what experienced we have had that left impressions on us and how can we turn these stories into speeches and advocacy. We then listened to students give speeches on experiences they had that left an impression on them, such as water scarcity, bullying, and trains. 
I found the speech on bullying to be very powerful. The student explained how he used to get bullied in high school, where they had a zero tolerance policy for bullies. However, as the one being bullied, this student did not favor this policy because it just made the bullies more angry at him for getting them in trouble. He promoted the idea of defending yourself, rather than hiding behind administration. I found this to be an interesting approach to the idea of bullying and it really made me think about how someone who was a victim of bullies felt. 
Here is a picture of me and Matt at the lecture. 

Hybrid Courses

When I did a google search for hybrid courses, I found out that many universities are using this teaching style. I clicked on the first link that popped up, which was one from Oregon State University. This website was acting sort of as a guidance tool for future instructors of blended courses to learn how to properly teach and help students with this style of learning. This site also had a PowerPoint to help display this. It describes how a course such as this has at least 50% of online coursework, which can be compared to our course.
As for LIS 201, I believe that this class did a good job of combining the online and in-person portions into a cohesive course. Most of the online assignments were interesting and added to my understanding of the course material. I didn't fully like the in-person portions of the class in comparison to the online portion. Even though I feel like having people physically together in the same room cannot be replicated by online environments, I just felt that students became too focused on making sure that all their work was published correctly online that they didn't try to engage themselves in person as much. I do feel as if I have become more comfortable working with blogs and wikis; before, I thought that I would never understand how to create my own webpage, but now, I realize that it is not as hard as it seems, and as mentioned before, they are spaces to express one's creativity and opinions.
In general I thought that this course was interesting, engaging, and relevant. The course covered interesting topics that raised questions about my person online and technological activity as well as society's integration of technology.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Over the Weekend Hybrid Courses - Connor Klosterman

            Some blended/hybrid courses I found extremely interesting are the ones offered by Webster University in Missouri through their Walker Global Hybrid Courses program.  These programs are unique in the sense they do not have formal in class time with the professor.  The course involves eight weeks of material that is purely online and then after that there is a one week travel aspect of the course that gives the student the opportunity to observe and explore business practices of other nations.  The different courses are meant to prepare students for life in the business world and the opportunity to go abroad and learning ideas from a different culture really helps to open up students’ eyes to the different practices around the world.  This is extremely different from our hybrid course as nearly all of our interactions are in person with other students, the T.A. and/or the professor.  We don’t have the opportunity to go to other nations and explore how the change in the information era has affected their way of life either.  Our course did have some neat ideas though that helped us to learn in completely different ways. 
            I have never had a course that has encouraged, or rather needed the use of the computer and the internet to complete many of the required assignments.  More often than not, my courses are discouraging the use of the internet as they want us to work on our own to come up with solutions to problems we are presented.  With that being said, I feel the online portions of the course were significant and helped me look at and learn things from a new angle I otherwise would not have thought of.  However, I did not feel they were significantly attached to what we were trying to accomplish in class; they seemed to drift a bit from what was being discussed in class.  This idea could have been the purpose of these exercises though as to get us to think about the concept we were talking about in class in a completely different perspective/light.  This gave us the opportunity to explore the idea on our own without having to use class time to accomplish the task.  If it was made with that intent, I would say the online activities serve their purpose in a very successful manner.  I felt though that I was more of an effective student in the physical world.  Actually being with someone allowed you to express your ideas and have immediate responses from many different students right away.  It was not like the blog where you often had to wait for a response, if you even got one at all.  Having the physical contact with the other students really allowed me to have a nice discussion that I otherwise would not have been able to have online as we were not encouraged to be extremely active on the web, not to the point where a fluid discussion was occurring.  If a portion of a course is going to be online, the instructor should/needs to encourage more participation amongst the students; they cannot just post their idea, make a comment and move on from the idea.  There needs to be more discussion in the online world if the idea is going to pan out in the most successful possible manor. 

            The lecture aspect of the course is what I felt was lacking in the course the most.  More often than not, I gained the most from the readings and the discussion sections.  A majority of the information from lecture I found to be interesting but it was nothing that really helped me to learn in this course.  All the substantive material I gained from this course was from the readings and my discussion section, where we were able to comment back and forth with each other about the different topics we were learning about.  Once again though, I feel as if this was the intended purpose of the course.  Too often big lectures are seen as not being efficient in the way they present information to students so in order to move around the problem a majority of the information being presented was done in a smaller atmosphere where it could be absorbed at a stronger rate.  Overall, the concept of the course taught me material in new ways that, as I look back on them, make more sense than when they were happening.     

Over the Weekend: Hybrid Course

            The “hybrid” approach to learning is definitely a style that is new to my academic experience. This course definitely seemed to have connected my home realm and work realm more than any other course I’ve taken. The implementation of our class blog and wiki has made me feel that I can be “connected” to this class wherever and whenever I want to be. Other classes like this at UW Madison are language courses and Vampires in Literature. For example, my Spanish class last year met four times a week, and we also interacted on a blog. However, the course lacked a “lecture.” It was more like a daily discussion. Vampires in Literature is a class my friend is taking, and she says they have an in-person lecture, discussion, and Facebook page that they are required to post/comment on weekly.
            Overall, I felt that the online portions of this class were connected to the in-person portions. There were a few “Over the Weekend” assignments that I felt were a little irrelevant and random, but for the most part they were relevant. In terms of my personal effectiveness, I felt that I was a more effective student in my offline interactions. I therefore think that I was able to learn more about my fellow students from offline. This is because interactions in discussion were a lot more meaningful and genuine than online interactions. This is because being forced to comment on other people’s work can hold some ambiguity on how genuine the comments are. You don’t know if the comment you received was thoughtful and posted with effort, or if it was a rushed, “let’s-just-get-this-done” attempt.
            Through the use of online platforms, I do feel more comfortable using blogs and wikis. I feel they are a beneficial additional resource to a class and that UW instructors should increase their use of online components. I have found online work to be very convenient because when I go to the library, I have the majority of my resources on one device—my laptop. 

            This class is definitely one of my favorite classes I have taken in my life. It is very relevant and interesting and I have told so many of my friends and family about things I’ve learned through it. The great thing is that the material and content can be applied to almost everybody, because so many of us are technology users today. This course definitely gave me some insight on everything having to do with ICTs and I like that I am more confident in a subject field that is so relevant to my life.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hybrid Classes

Initially doing my research of hybrid classes, I noticed many of them had similar approaches to this class.  The classes I looked at were through UW-Milwaukee and they had a approach to decrease the work in the classroom, but increase the activity online outside the classroom.  I believe that's similar to this class because I feel as if I don't do anything in the class.  Aside from weekly quizzes, all the work in the class is outside of the actual classroom and online mostly too.
After being in the class, I've learned a lot about blogs and such through this class.  Although it was a different and new way to experience a class, I didn't really like the setup.  I like the physical interaction with other students and teachers.  I like learning in the classroom because I always forgot about things when they're online.  Also, I didn't really get the chance to meet anyone new with the class being mainly online.  I think teachers should decrease the online content in classes because it takes away the importance of actually going to class and being present.
Even though I didn't really like the class setup, I did like the material within the class.  It gave me a new perspective on technology and how they truly are taking over our lives.  I've become less attached to my phone and computer, even social medias, because I want to incorporate more person-to-person interaction in my life instead of the less personal communications in ways of social media or texting.

Extra Credit - Go Big Read

On Wednesday, December 3, I went to a Go Big Read event held at Vilas Communications building.  The event was held for students who had specific topics that they wanted to express to an audience, which they held important to them.  A couple of the topics introduced were of reusing water, bullying, and trains.  The speakers brought up many key points about their research that I never would have thought of on my own.  One of the main things that had me thinking was the speech about trains.  The girl giving the speech was very passionate about trains and their role in transportation.  She believed that trains would be a much more efficient way for transportation if there weren't so many regulations against them and more railroads to access.  This is something that I've actually thought about in the past, but never thought other people believed it too.  I thought the if there were more railroads that they would be a much more used asset for transportation in our society.  In Europe, people use trains all the time for long distance travel, but that may have to do with the fact that many people don't have cars?  All in all, I believe the event was very informative and gave me perspective on topics that I hadn't had before going.  Here is a picture of one of the students speaking at the event.

Hybrid Course

This course was my first “hybrid” course I’ve taken here at UW, but I have taken a few fully online courses. Through my experiences with both types of online classes, I favored my hybrid class more. Sometimes classes that are fully online are hard to keep up with the material, and the communication between the teachers and students is limited. Many times, I did not realize I had an assignment due when I did. With this hybrid course, I liked how clear the instructions were for each assignment and how we were able to ask questions and discuss the online activities with our TA, while still having the convenience to work on our assignments on our computer. 
I definitely think I benefited from the hybrid style of the course. I felt like the online portions did connect with the in-person portions and even expanded further on what we were discussing in class that week. This helped me understand each framework more in depth. I also become much more familiar with wikis and blogspot, which I think will definitely be useful in the future. 
This course as a whole was very relatable to real life and how much I personally use and experience the information society. I am much more aware of how I use technology and the effects that this has on society. 

Hybrid Course

Before LIS 201 I had taken one hybrid online class before.  In high school, my AP Psychology class was hybrid, with homework and reading materials being posted online and discussions occurring in class, which was only twice a week.  Both of my experiences with hybrid classes have been very positive, as I feel the online aspect of the classes have enhanced the material and my learning process

In LIS 201 particularly, I feel like the in person meetings and the online discussions mirrored each other very well.  The online blog posts that we had to do every week, mostly always helped me to better interact with the material learned that week.  I do feel, however, that my interaction with my classmates was more meaningful in discussion every week, then on the comments on the blog posts.  Personally, when commenting on others blogposts I was mostly doing it just to get it done and wasn't really engaging in any meaningful conversation.  That meaningful conversation came about in person on wednesdays when I feel like I was able to connect with the material better, because I was able to see how other people we connecting with it.  I could tell someone's understanding and passion behind that understanding a whole lot better in person, then online.

Overall, I feel that this class blended online and in person learning very well, in a way that enhanced and allowed us to interact with the material we were working with.  Although, I believe that this would not have been successful without that importance of meeting for discussion every week.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Photoshop Software Training

     Today I attended a software training class that was taught by STS students. The class was focused on Photoshop and the effects and filters the application offers. I chose to attend this specific course because I know the basics of Photoshop, but wanted to know more. This 2 hour lecture allowed the teachers to really delve into the nuts and bolts of Photoshop.
     Before arriving to the training, we were told to print off a manual that was congruent with our laptop brand. We went through the entire manual and took notes on the filter and effect comments they made. Sometimes the teachers went too fast which made it hard to follow. You would think that with two hours, you would be able to cover everything without a problem. However, there were so many more buttons, scrolls, and toolboxes than I thought. Once I got lost with one thing, it was hard to catch back up because they kept going. However, every 20 minutes or so they would pause and let people take a moment to catch up.
     Some of the specific things I learned at the training was how to add and remove objects using Content Aware Fill. I found this interesting because I was never aware that Photoshop offered this feature. Another feature I was unaware of was the diverse array of smart objects that are available on the application. One last thing I found remarkable was the advanced color techniques and HDR toning that can be used when photoshopping images.
Overall, I would recommend attending one of these trainings because they are free and provide an in-depth instruction on applications that we may be required to know about for our future careers.

Hybrid Courses

Currently, I am taking three online classes. Two classes, including LIS 201, have in person lectures, but online activities, while the last is strictly online. With this experience, I would say I support the learning process of the hybrid approach to the strictly online medium. Like many of my peers have previously stated, having quizzes, lectures and discussions all online makes it incredibly easy to fall behind. I’m a very organized person so this didn’t phase me and I completed every assignment on time. My major problem with online classes is that I feel like I don’t really retain the material, I kind of strictly learn the material just to take the tests. There’s a “crisis in the ability to talk” here. I’m so fixated on getting the “right” answer and finishing my assignment than actually learning the material. Due to this, I believe the hybrid approach utilizes modern technology, but also emphasizes the importance of face-to-face discussion. The physical conversations make topics more informal because you don’t have a backspace button or a plethora of websites you can search to back up your claim. Everything stated in class was off the top of our heads and seemed more real to me. I enjoyed the online forums we created with our blogs and wikis because it offered another space for us to communicate that we could almost juxtapose against that of the physical conversation in discussion class.
A hybrid class also provides the opportunity to get to know your peers. I love the point Anjail brought up about actually knowing whom you are talking to online. In my online class, HFDS 362, I know people based on a small picture and their thoughts. I just found out the other day that a girl I had responded to for an assignment, was in a previous class with me. In a hybrid class, I would never get the feeling of ambiguity from my classmates. I enjoy talking about projects and studying for tests with my peers and on an online class it’s much more difficult to find the peers in your class.
I think the strength of this class lies in its ability to integrate the online world with that of the physical and present. If it were all online I think the student would lose a key part of what I learned in this class: public speaking and the ability to freely voice my opinion. I love talking and being at a large state school, it’s much more difficult to voice your opinion in a huge lecture hall, I never do. When I’m provided the opportunity however, like in a small discussion class like we had for LIS 201, I was able to voice my opinion and not feel embarrassed of it.

Overall, I really enjoyed how I could relate much of the information learned in this class into my life. The best part of learning is actually applying it to your life and LIS enabled me to do so.