Once a week for two and a half hours, I sat in the same seat, next to the same person (Ben), and listened to lectures and presentations about the pros, cons, and possibilities of using new media. I had known Ben before the start of the semester, but everyone else was an unfamiliar face. Over the course of fifteen weeks I learned different reasonable outlooks on technology, I learned that I was surrounded by a classroom full of passionate and interesting peers, but most importantly I learned about the way a communications course, or any course for that matter, should be run.
Many of the readings from the syllabus, such as “Is Google Making us Stupid” or “To Catch a Predator? The Myspace Moral Panic” originally lead me to believe that the tone of the course was anti-new media. But the diversity of students in the class made it possible for open ended discussions, many of which lead to heavy criticism of the articles. I really appreciated the level of comfort I felt in voicing my opinion, without feeling like I could be wrong. Every class should have that same level of respect from student to teacher, teacher to student, and students to one another.
Another aspect of the class that I appreciated was the extensive opportunity for group work. The article presentation and the new media artifact required each group member to heavily trust and rely on each other for a good grade. Ben and I randomly recruited Rianne to work as a group of three, unaware at the time that she would become a hard worker, hilarious team member, and great friend. We actually had fun working on our presentation about the syllabus readings, and I’m not just saying that to win grade points on this blog post. We put in equal work and respected each other, so much so that we decided to work together again on the new media artifact. The video we created, Sh*t New Media Users Say, was so much fun to create and promote. I really enjoyed getting to know Rianne along with the other people in this section. Everyone has their own interesting story once you finally get to learn about them.
As I move on from this class, I definitely plan to change the way I use new media. I’ve made this decision based on my experience with the New Media Fast, class discussions, syllabus readings, and blog postings. This change won’t be to become less dependent on technology. Quite the opposite actually; I plan to utilize new media and the internet to its fullest potential. Many of the readings from the syllabus show an obvious resistance to the growing popularity of new media usage. But the fact remains: we are in the age of technology, and new media prevalence is going to keep increasing regardless of how we feel about it. As an advertising/public relations major, I’ve decided to use these facts to my advantage and get my name out there on the internet in attempts to brand myself for future employees while showing a thorough understanding of different types of new media. The idea started with this blog, which I’ve already sent to people as a portfolio of my writing. I recently expanded my brand to Google+, LinkedIn, About.me, and twitter. I’ve included links to those sites below. My group presented on Clay Shirky’s article “Ontology is Overrated.” In this article, he points out that the internet is one big mess of information, but it is designed to work efficiently under that condition. I’m excited to incorporate new media further into my life in the future, crediting part of any success to COMM200.
For the last two and a half hour class period of the semester I sat in the same seat, but this time I was surrounded by familiar and friendly classmates, listening to confident presenters give their honest opinions and experiences about our final Digital Artifact Project. If this isn’t a sign of a successful communications course, then I don’t know what is.