My Impressions of ILS 609: The Impact Of Emerging Technologies, Thus Far

It seems to me that this course has several problems wich are all related to the distance learning aspect of the course. The major problem is that it is difficult, at least for me to converse with 35 other students none of whom I have any previous knowledge or background information about. For instance, last week, I think someone from Berkeley mad a coment aobut how information on the Net is not being organized ina any form and no one seems to have taken that task upon themselves. If they were at all familiar with what is going on in Library Studies today, especially at the U of Illinois and at the U of Michigan, they would know that that is exactly the niche which library students are trying to create for themselves. I guess in talking to a group of persons 2,000 miles away, I find it difficult to decide who I want to talk with after class, who I would like to participate in a group with, or who I would like to send e-mail to. Of course only those persons who spoke, would be considered, because they are the only ones whom I have even a peripherial knowledge of.

Sometimes the flow of the class is interupted by the distance learning technology. Often, one person is trying to interupt another or correct a misinterprtetation of their words, but the time delay caused by the telephone lines interrupts that natural flow of the conversation and by the time their voice is transmitted, the point is lost. I think that there are some conversation ettiquite ground-rules which should be established for this class regarding who speaks, how long the free discussion should be continued on each article or discussion topic before moving on to another, so that individuals are not required to have their hands raised for long periods of time without ever being given the opportunity to ask their burning questions, and a longer pause should be allowed students at the end of their comments before they are responded to by those on the other side to avoide the break of the transmission and the time-delay. I feel that implementing some type of organization or rules would help in the transmission of ideas between the classrooms.

I find the discussions interesting, especially the different regional perspectives. But more than that, I find how little the actual physical location influences ideas fascinating. Because we are all bombarded with the same information, brought to us in relatively similar forms, by the same newspersons and television/radio talkshow hosts, our impressions of the news, not necessarily our views about what should happen, etc. are all pretty consistent. I find this to be especially true with what seems to becoming a reccurent springboard for discussion in this class...the O.J. Hearings. We all have aobut the same amount of information, the same type of impressions, and similar attitudes about its treatment, eventhough we are 2,000 miles apart. So what is that, the comercialization and generality of a media which tries desperately to appeal to all without offending any?

Anyway, the technology seems to be getting a bit better, with everyone beginning to ignore it and simply get down to class disussion. For me I am not as intimidated by it as I once was, and it seems that is true for most of the class--at least most everyone is speaking now which seems to be a step in the right direction.