I remember speaking to Professor Alperin briefly in the fall semester about how much the Technology syllabus looked difficult. I was nervous going into the course because of the lack of knowledge I thought I had. The grading system, which I have now come to understand, was initially a big shock. With all of that in mind, now that I am at the end of the semester with the help of hindsight, I can finally say that I am confident to have conversations about technology and its evolving forms. I know what Big Data is, I know what the different business models on the internet are. I can talk during the “eBooks vs print” debate and give a nuanced opinion. The ability to articulate my stance clearly is something I have learnt from the class discussions but especially the Hypothes.is annotations. Never have I been more engaged with academic readings (seriously I actually looked forward to reading them). I set aside entire mornings and afternoons to leave my comments and reread articles because I knew that my opinion would be valued.
A week that made me realise that we cannot live in an opinion vacuum was the week on Copyright Law. The issue of copyright restrictions in relation to the publishing industry is contentious. The class discussion on it, which happened quite early on in the semester, set the precedent for how I handled subsequent discussions. I am generally a leftist person, a liberal, I would say. However, when it comes to copyright law in the creative sector, I take more of a conservative stance: one that states that the laws should be extended for the benefit of the author and subsequently the publisher. This is a stance different to the majority of the class but I at least felt that my reasoning and opinion as much as it was contested, was listened to. And on that note, I stand by it.
I would have preferred more classes or mini-lessons from Professor Alperin. The student-led system of teaching is interesting but I sometimes missed an overriding voice of experience. That being said, I was happy to lead the class with my colleague, Octavio. The reactions and feedback from our peers was a confidence boost and if ever we have the opportunity to lead discussions or classes again, we have learnt how to engage an audience (for three hours straight). A few recommendations for the future based on my personal experience in the class: When assigning blog prompts, the students leading the class should discuss the topic with peers beforehand. This is something I wish Octavio and I had done and I feel like other weeks could have benefitted from this too. The language in the syllabus could be changed to be more inclusive – this was mentioned earlier during the semester but “Incomplete and Complete” ring better than “Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory”. More guests from the publishing industry, working with evolving technological forms could be invited to add dimension to the range of opinions we have access to (kind of like when Jamie Broadhurst came in week 8).
In conclusion, I believe that my biggest takeaway was the perspective I gained on audio books and audio production. This has shaped my thinking regarding where I want to go in my career from here on out. I am grateful that this class gave me a chance to explore this further, with thoughts on how to incorporate it into my business plan.
I will miss annotating the same articles with my peers but be sure to find my opinions in public forums. (Daunting no more).