A personal Cyberinfrastructure

Being a University student in a digital age. It is a hard topic to tackle, mostly because I have known nothing different. I even remember in the third grade when the teacher was explaining that when you open a program you click twice on the mouse. How do we know these things and rules? Habit, you only know them from using them. The older I am getting the less interested I am in having a Cyber existence. Sad as it may be, but I have more interest in the real living world, where relationships are hard, and you have to talk things over, and revision takes conversation. It may be because I am falling behind the curve so to speak of digital expansion, and I may sound like a traditional person, or an stubborn old person, but what does it matter if i Tweet a ton a day? Or post pictures on Flicker? While I know the information is there, it is exhausitng to keep up.

University, or Higher Education is a traditional, old fashioned thing. Education is a old thing, in order to be truly educated you need to be old, have had the time to gather all this information. I think that schools struggle with the fast change and pace of the internet, because it is an institution, and often a large one. Large institutions are stable, and steady, unlike the internet, and are very hard to integrate together. Maybe in the future when my generation (who habitually understands the computer) will be able to master the upkeep on internet lessons and assignments, but that will detract from school as a whole.

University is so much more than learning things. Memorization, and learning people who made an impact, be it on science, or history, and the dates that they lived is only a fraction of the nature of University. Learning to talk to other students, to argue, and  to reason. Also to gain a full knowledge about how you as an individual feel about things, to gain definition to your own character. To learn how to work with a teacher, to bargain, and to reason and to please someone who outranks you. University is also a rare chance to meet many people, to gain confidence and knowledge but also connections. Meet the love of you life, at University, a common story. Or to meet your boss, or maybe all of your employees, at University. University is so much more important than just the lessons, and the memorization and the tests, it is a human-contact thing that will diminish with too much influence of the internet. In general people are struggling more than they ever have with relationships, and I think that it is because we have an easy way out, the internet, but it is not giving humans the contact with each-other that they need. Therefore there are many cases of people searching for connection on the internet, who end up harming themselves.

My hope from University, is to gain myself. I want to become a better person, a person who is capable of anything that I want, but not only that I want to be a person that wants things. Someone with strong goals and strong drive to achieve those goals. I think that with these skills I will be someone who can find happiness for myself. That is my ultimate goal in life, as should be everyones, to find what makes me happy. University is just one way of pushing myself, challenging myself, to find what makes me happy.

Gardener Campbell’s ideas do resonate with me, I agree that higher education can use internet to a higher capabilty that it is now, and that it will be a very helpful tool in learning and in teaching. On the other hand thought I can very easily see how badly and impersonal teaching and learning will become if that is the case. Therefore I think that Universities are doing the best they can with what they have, while change for technology is exponential, change in people is slower and therefore it is having too high of an expectation to believe that it is possible to instate and have an immediate good result. It can also be argued, that students maybe don’t need the technical skills. Out in the real world, the opinion of the internet is that it is run by teenagers, and in part they are right. Most of the instantly wealthy people from the internet are incredibly young. Sure it happens, but it wont happen to everyone so to create that expectation is unreasonable.

I think that this article was written with excitement and with good wishes for the future. I on the other hand have different goals for learning and therefore discourage too much use of the internet. I think that University is something that needs human contact and therefore I think the pace of improvement is just fine. Do you agree with me? Let me know what you think~


2 thoughts on “A personal Cyberinfrastructure

  1. I think you make a persuasive case for your view about the value and purpose of education. The ideas of self-discovery, making sense of the world, developing a work ethic and social are all of great importance to living a rich life.

    But can these things only be gained through four or more expensive years at an institution of higher learning? I don’t raise the question to be contrarian. Rather, I’m coming to wonder why it is that families must make such a huge investment to insure that their children have access to opportunities.

    I feel I’m straying a bit from the points raised by Dr. Campbell and I apologize for the digression. I like the way you described university education as an old-fashioned endeavor. I think that for a long period of time sending young adults off to study with experts was the most efficient way to pass on the necessary skills and knowledge to produce productive and responsible citizens.

    I’m not so sure that this will be a viable option by the time my current students’ children approach university age.

    I also believe, based on very limited understanding of McLuhan, that the effects of the latest develops in electronic media – the interent connected personal computer – has transformed civilization in ways very few of us can even begin to comprehend. I don’t pretend to know what those changes are but I firmly believe that they are real.

    So I’m certainly not trying to use my “authority” to get anyone to believe anything about the urgency to develop mastery of the current technologies. But I am moved by excitement and good wish you attribute to Dr. Campbell in his essay. He knows far more than I ever will about these matters. And I think he would concur fully with the description you’ve provided for the value of the traditional university education.

    All I can say is I don’t really know. But I do know that I am grateful for the chance to read thoughtful response put forward by you and many of your classmates to this issue. This certainly could have been done in the more traditional format of a paper essay. But the fact that such a discussion as this can persist for others to read (or not), strikes me as valuable and worthwhile.

    Thank you for sparking my thinking.

    • I am glad my thoughts were intriguing and thought-prevoking. All I really know for sure is that as time moves forward so do people. i think that “expensive universities” are the only way that people know how to have that next step in life, and the expectation and the investment is just that. No one can invest in something that doesn’t exist yet.
      I also don’t think we should dizzy ourselves in trying to fully “comprehend” the changes and the effects, because that will come with time. I also don’t think that there is any urgency in the technology, it will be created when it is, no need to rush. As it is we are in a technology revolution and the change is so fast, people don’t realize it just yet. I am glad you gave such a thoughtful response.
      Also I think that this format is much better than an essay, to write and to read.

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