At this point, I look back through the activities and assignments that we have done throughout the semester and recall my perspective of this course in the beginning of the semester and my perspective of it now. When I first registered for this course, I could not expect neither the type material, nor the assignment or project because I actually did not understand the purpose of this course.
When I knew that we will be having a program that involves performing some activities with people who I did not know and will most probably be foreign, I felt an unexpected discomfort as I never fully acknowledged that I did not like working with people that I did not know. Quite unexpectedly, this course improved my overall communication skills because not only did it allow me to easily communicate with people from my class and actually enjoy it, but it also enabled me to comfortably communicate and excitingly work with foreign people who I don’t know too in an informal, interesting setting which I definitely expect that it will affect my social life, career and maybe even my academic life because I throughout the semester I noticed that I began to feel comfortable to ask my classmates more questions because I usually used to feel shy to reach out and ask for help.
Another thing that I personally consider to be life changing is May Imad’s talk about trauma informed pedagogy because when I look back at it I feel extremely amazed. In spite of the fact that this talk was one of the talks that I can really relate to, I feel super surprised every time I look back at it and recall how informative it was. In fact, I was amazed by the amount of beneficial information that I gained from talk such as the types of stress, its stages, when to expect that someone is suffering from a severe level of stress and in this case the talk provided some guidelines that can be followed to help the person suffering. Although I always thought that if someone is suffering from stress, then there is nobody that can offer help except for a specialist and I always used to view the issue from a medical perspective, this talk has successfully used the medical perspective through providing evidence that some normal acts can hugely help in improving someone’s state.
The third topic that shocked me the most was learning about how the internet affects our lives and how it is used against its users which was clearly explained in the Coded Bais documentary and the other three articles that I read under the theory path for my digital literacies assignment. Before watching the documentary, I only knew that the internet uses our history of searches in order to know our interests and match them with the products that will appeal to us so that the internet companies can serve other commercial companies to increase their profits. However, I would have never imagined that the extensive usage of internet and the digitalization of all the activities will cause the occurrence of this level of algorithmic bias and that people might lose jobs or get paid with a lower wage rate just because the system is organized on a specific criteria that would be oppressing to a certain segment.
If I got the chance to show someone what I learnt in this course, I would choose to first show them the digital narrative game that I created with my group partner because it was the most enjoyable thing that I created throughout the semester. Although we actually spent long hours working on it so that we could come up with reasonable scenarios that would make sense and work them out in the form of a game, it was super interesting for me because I never thought that I would have such a project in any of the university courses. Moreover, when we first played the six narrative games in the beginning of the semester, I thought that I would never be able to do something similar, however, I felt extremely proud of myself once my classmates played the draft of my game and told me that it was interesting and enjoyable.
Furthermore, I would definitely take the chance to introduce other people to watch the Coded Bias documentary due to the fact that it is exceedingly informative and it would be extremely crucial for other people as the majority of the people have no idea about how the internet is affecting their lives or how these companies use every single letter that we type on any platform even if we delete or do not complete our search for their benefit, in addition to using our data and maybe sharing it with other companies while seeking profit in return. Moreover, I would like to use my digital literacies pathway assignment to support the documentary in order to acknowledge the fact that the internet became dangerous to the extent that it would affect someone’s opportunities in life, living standards and how he/she is treated by some organizations.
One of the things that I would like to change most about this course is to include face to face classes that would give the students the chance to meet together on ground and maybe this would open the door for having more interactive and interesting activities in case of online learning. Furthermore, I think that changing the structure of some assignments and switching them to be group assignments instead of individual ones, would actually bridge the chasms between the students and improve their teamwork skills. The last thing that I really wish to change is the group setup for Soliya sessions. In other words, I believe that rotating the group members and shuffling them between different groups would help in being exposed to more people with different backgrounds and therefore, more interesting discussions.
From my personal point of view, I believe that this course will be extremely helpful and effective for someone who is seeking to improve his/her communication skills, social skills and digital skills.
Throughout the semester, I believe that this course was truly flexible as we, as students, were provided a wide variety of options for completing some of the assignments. From my opinion, I think that I effectively utilised my opportunities through focusing on completing every assignment using the material that was most interesting for me. For instance, I have never been the person who would choose to read articles and write a reflection about them, however, I chose the theory path for my digital literacies pathway assignment because I was very keen about learning more about the effects of digitalisation and how it is used against us. On the other hand, I would not value the topic that we chose for our digital narrative game because I felt at the end of the semester that there might have been other options that would be more fun.