Final Reflection

This class continuously surprised me with just how intertwined history has been with communication. With the focus of this course being on the information age, it was really interesting to see how the ways in which we communicate now are not really all that different than how generations before us communicated and diffused information. I think the funniest parallel that we were able to draw was when we looked at the ways in which memes also had their roots in political cartoons. It was so interesting learning about the ways in which something that was satirical and posted in newspapers has since spread like wildfire with the rise of the internet.

With my main area of study being in gendered communication, I found the weeks that we discussed women and their impact on coding and computing especially in wartime was fascinating. It still amazes me just how little we still know about their impact years after the fact. Similarly, when discussing the algorithms of oppression we primarily focused on race but I definitely feel as thought it could translate to the ways we talk about women in the information age as well.

I really enjoyed the flexibility that this class provided. While we all were learning the same content, the ways in which we interpreted the material could vary drastically. This was exceptionally apparent when doing activities during class discussion or when we broke into groups for each of the assignments. I was surprised to be using Canva so frequently in a history course, who would have thought?! Being able to choose the weeks that we were most interested in leading was an additional bonus. I always find discussions more engaging when you can tell that those leading them are engaged as well.

Of the assignments that we worked on, I think my favorite would have to be the documentaries that we created. Not only did I love seeing all of the different ways my classmates interpreted the assignment, but I had so much fun working with my group! Our topic really let us get a glimpse into what life at UMW (or MWC) was like. It was also really practical in the sense that it allowed for us to gain experience with shooting videos and editing them. I really enjoyed seeing the silent film that some of our classmates made as well. With that being such a different style of movie than what we are used to seeing, it was both refreshing and comical to see how we started out.

My biggest takeaway after this course would have to be thinking of the information age outside of the confines I had previously given to it. This was most apparent when we were one trying to define what the information age entailed, and two, when we were trying to come up with a name for the next age that we might enter. From typewriters and radio to memes and tweets, our information age has been so expansive. When McClurken talked about the ways in which communication was additive, that really resonated with me. This was not only because the topics we would discuss in class would reappear in my communication courses that followed, but also because it was so easy to connect the dots between one invention to the next. Now when thinking of the information age, I think not only of the information that we have both learned and discovered, but also in the way that that information spreads from one individual to the next.

With part our last class discussion focusing on the technology that we think will go away in the next few years, I am curious to see just how correct we were. Who knows, maybe robots will become just as powerful as we hypothesized. I am constantly amazed at just how much humans are capable of imagining and creating. I really enjoyed this course and I hope that it is something students will continue to have as an option moving forward, who knows what topics they will choose to focus on!



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