Final Posting/Course Thoughts

Though I think this course was well intended and I did gain some knowledge in the end, I think that it needs some work if it is to remain a colloquium for the honors college. The most beneficial things I learned were how to use wordpress and SL well, which is great, but I have always considered the purpose of a colloquium is to circulate knowledge among other serious students  and learn from each others thoughts. Learning how to use computer programs did not accomplish this. I also think the online barrier was just too much for this purpose to come across for myself. Though I did read others thoughts through their blogs, it felt very impersonal and the eagerness I should have felt in responding to others thoughts quickly turned to a burden.

I must say that the Thursday meetings most likely did a lot to break this “online barrier”. However, as I could not attend them, I never got the chance to find out. Since it was an online class I was not expecting a defined meeting time, so I would suggest that the organizer of the next class set up several meeting times and make it mandatory to attend once a week.

Another aspect of the course worth mentioning is the project. Though it was also well intended, it was a huge amount of work for a 2 credit colloquium class. The goal was not in how well we actually made our cause public but in the work that we put into boosting it, which takes a bit of the load off. But we are honors students, of course we want to make our project as big a success as we could. That proved to be an unrealistic goal and was very frustrating from the very start. Most notably because every cause we could come up with already had the proper voices in social media to get it to a level of worldwide importance. Adding to that, we were also tasked with working with people across time zones, with different daylight savings times which I considered a very unnecessary challenge. If I were to change something about this course it would be to create a more realistic project if we are to be working with people hours off of our schedule.

My final comments are for the teacher, Mr. Turner. I’d like to thank you for putting this whole class together.  He was also always very prompt with returning any questions I had through email (which were a lot) and was always willing to meet in second life if need be. I learned a lot about online communication and now have the skills to create my own blog in the future which would be a great outlet for the thoughts/ideas/stresses I’m bound to have. Thanks again.

To the rest of the class: I hope everyone has a great rest of the semester. If you’re graduating as I am, congratulations on all you have accomplished over the past however many years. Have a wonderful summer!

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Group Project: BE AWARE (Progress Update)

This project has been fairly difficult for my teammates and myself thus far. We have been focusing on finding a mental health cause that we could promote. The only problem has been that every charity we found was already pretty well known nation and worldwide. Instead of trying to build on others ideas’ we decided to completely start from scratch and try to actually create awareness of mental health  through clips, tips, articles, stories, and anything else we found interesting and relevant to the topic. We have been posting to the “Mental Health Awareness” facebook page that we created (found here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mental-Health-Awareness/629234913873223 ) and have also set up a web page where all of the information we are gathering may be found (https://mhawarenessnow.wordpress.com/).  It is probably not what most groups thought of to do, but I like the fact that we are starting something completely from scratch that I hope to keep up with even after this class is over. Please follow our wordpress and like our facebook page! Also feel free to share any links or mental health info that could be useful to us.

Group Project: Time Zones

I think it is safe to say that our group had a hard time interacting in the last couple of weeks. With two daylight savings times happening back to back followed by two different spring breaks, our meetings were put on hold for a bit. The prompt for this blog questions collaborating across time zones which was difficult in the beginning, but the more difficult challenge is working across time zones when big events are happening. This week I hope to get in touch with my group members to see about a new time to schedule our weekly meeting. It’s been hard but its comforting to know that many groups are finding the time change a challenge.

Reflections on: Marshal McLuhan’s Philosophy

“The Medium is the Message” is a good way to inform the thinking behind this class because this class is not simply about blogging and playing around with SL. I have come to discover that it is to examine the results of these technologies on ourselves and our social lives. We have all done projects during school before that have required us to meet with new people and reach out to strangers through social media. But this project is much different because it is strictly online.

That has allowed for me to see how I am different in social settings when I am not forced to be present for meetings and such. So the medium is the message really sums up for this class how our social skills online become a true part of us when the only medium that we have is our SL personality. For some people, they may see no changes in their social behavior, but I can admit and I would assume many others would as well, that I become a bit different when the medium is not interacting with students in a classroom or library.

If anything, the purpose of a SL should be to live in a way that is more comfortable for you since you are not faced with always knowing who you are interacting with so I’m glad that this class embraces that the medium is the message.

Cate’s Travels: Spring Break

Today I took a trip to see Myrtle Beach, where I am visiting for spring break. I could only find a group titled Myrtle Beach so I went to the East coast beach Flotsam instead. It was funny to see similar things like the tacky beach stores and vendors trying to get you to give them your money. The only thing I was disappointed in again is the lack of visitors that I’ve seen everywhere. I wish I could interact with more people while in a cool area instead of sitting in a random bar or room. I’m not sure if anyone knows a cool area to chat but let me know if you do!

Reflections on: Prosumers

This presentation was well put together, though some of the images throughout didn’t really feel necessary, the author defines some things that up until now did seem pretty hazy in my mind. I have definitely taken for granted my ability to be a “prosumer”. In thinking about it, I’ve realized that there are some negatives side affects of being able to influence the production of the things we purchase.

For me I would have to say that college was the first time in my life that I really became an active prosumer. For the first time in my life, I had access to high speed internet all of the time, and I had no one to answer to about my finances and purchases other than myself. It was a pretty great feeling to get on amazon and order a bunch of stuff without having to even leave my dorm room, so the convenience factor is definitely a positive. Another great thing is that “prosuming” has made goods much more customizable, which in turn makes them much more useful and a much better purchase altogether.

The biggest negative however is that it’s become so easy that it’s taken a huge toll on our bank accounts. Several of my friends freshman year spent all of there scholarship money in the first 4 months and were living paycheck to paycheck and to them that was just the way things were. I will never be a person okay with having $15.00 to my name and its become the norm for way too many in our generation. I’m glad that people have given these concepts names  because the first step to fixing a problem is defining what it really is, and the ease of prosuming is quite a problem in my mind.

Group Project: My Contribution

My group and I have had regular meetings each week on Facebook to start putting together our project. We have decided the cause we are going to be promoting is care for individuals suffering from mental diseases. So far we have all been pretty much doing an equal part to decide on the best way to make our cause world known. Individually, I have done a lot of research on small charities that support our cause. The most challenging thing thus far has been to find a charity that is small enough but also has goals similar to ours regarding mental health. The website http://www.smallcharitydirectory.co.uk/ has really helped when I got started. It reassured me that there were plenty to choose from.

Cate’s Travels 3

Today I checked out Paris in SL after a suggestion by a fellow I met last week. He had mentioned there may be some movie theater like venues that I may be interested in. I didn’t find what he was trying to suggest to me but I realized something pretty awesome when I was there.

It wasn’t the Eiffel tower that was so amazing, as it would be in RL. It was the tiny details that I loved. Since I have never gotten the chance to go to Paris before it was like I could really see what the experience would look like. There were vendors and gardens and alleyways and a million other little things that made it clear someone worked very hard on its building. Maybe I’m wrong but I would be willing to bet that someone designed it based on the RL city and made everything exactly the same. That amazes me because I can search Paris on google and find a million pictures of the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre but I’d never see the cute little garden across the street or the real view of the whole city in detail. It really made me appreciate what having a SL can really mean. You can really do things that you’d never be able to in real life.

I then discovered that you could travel to 1920’s Paris and many other time periods in history. It’s so amazing that I never realized the true potential of the SL world. When I would ask a stranger in chat what they liked to do in SL they were always talking about big exciting actions like riding roller coasters, which I tried to be intrigued with, but I really couldn’t make my self get excited about a simulated amusement park ride. Now that I’ve found an entirely different form of entertainment on SL I’m happy to say that I am intrigued and excited to explore the SL world. If anyone has any suggestions let me know!

Reflections on: Humans of New York

Humans of NY

I LOVE this blog. In all honesty. It’s bright and happy and enlightening and wonderful. I found it to be sort of the anti “People of Walmart”. I could spend hours looking at the pictures, but I love the captions. It really makes you realize that everyone has a unique story and that even the most seemingly unimportant and random person can capture someones heart.

Unfortunately, one of the main things that social networking and the media taught me as I have grown up with them is how small I am and how no matter what I can’t matter much in the world. I don’t know if anyone else is familiar with Monty Python, but they have a really funny song about how endless the universe is, and how unimportant we are as individuals. (It doesn’t sound humorous, but it’s all sarcasm). This blog doesn’t change the truth to the song of course, but it makes us appreciate our individuality. I try to think of what I would like to see quoted under my photo and it makes me want to achieve awesome things!

Cate’s Friends 2

Today I met Robby Paule in a new user chat room. I asked him what he liked to do and he gave me quite a lengthy list of his favorite things to do in the RL. I was a bit skeptical that he spent all of his free time surfing, skiing, bunji jumping and driving race cars, but I appreciated the large scope of interests he had even if they weren’t exactly hobbies. I told him that I was interested in movies and if there was anywhere in SL that I could chat with other movie buffs or do something movie related. He took me to a drive in theater in Hawaii which ended up not really working but the beach was beautiful thing to see with all this crap weather we’ve been having. I left Cate lounging on the beach, so hopefully my RL self will wake up with a tan tomorrow. If anyone does have any thoughts on movie enthusiast hangouts or is one them-self let me know I’d love to check it out with you!

Check out Cate soaking up the Oahu sun!