Distance Learning Essay #2

I'm still frustrated by the formality of discussion required by the hardware, Members of the class are forced to interact through the moderator. While this helps to keep the class discussions centered on the topic which the moderator wishes to pursue, it makes it very difficult for members of the class to spontaneously explore an idea introduced by one of their fellows if the moderator doesn't recognize the idea. This formality goes further by limiting the amount of impromptu conversation in the Berkeley classroom while the link is active. I have the feeling that I shouldn't respond directly to something that one of my fellow Berkeley students has said since to do so would effectively by pass half the class if I speak in low tones and will disrupt the audio if I speak louder. I think this functions to curtail the type of fluid interaction that I find necessary in a classroom. I've thought hard about how this limitation might be overcome and the only solution that I can imagine is something along the lines of each student having their own dedicated camera, one which remains trained on them, coupled with a personalized sensing controller that allows each student to individually control who and what they see and hear in their own monitor.

On another note, I really enjoy the direction that the class readings and discussion are taking. I'm very interested in the relationship between what we think and feel and modern commercial marketing techniques. Sometimes I think that what we are discussing is so obvious it doesn't bear further scrutiny. But I know this attitude is closed and reactionary, so I try to keep an open mind when I find myself confronted with another's attitude that I find distressing, since I'm sure that with my frequent utopian, iconoclastic outbursts, there are bound to be others in the class who are frustrated with my contributions. However, I do think it is worth noting that there seems to be a relationship between the philosophical direction the class discussions have taken recently and the exodus of the of the Berkeley business majors....Yay! Score one for the Socialists.


timbbass@server.berkeley.edu