Archive for November, 2011

Reflection on Documentary Creation

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary project. It was a nice break from writing papers. Also, I feel that I learned some valuable skills working with iMovie and other digital media software. I can foresee using the skills gained in other projects, other classes, and in other vocational applications. I also found the topic of our documentary to be very interesting. Being a student within higher education, I do not remember a time before the CommonApp or before having a laptop in every single class, but there was a time when these were not in existence or thought to even be possible. This documentary forced me to reevaluate the past, present, and future of higher education. Throughout the interviews, one question continued to come to mind, “What will higher education be like in 30 years?” Will there even be brick and mortar institutions or will everything be available online? I hope there will be, because I have thoroughly enjoyed my four years at the University of Mary Washington. I cannot imagine not actually attending classes, interacting with other students, or knowing my professor personally. It is a more comfortable learning environment to feel accepted and welcome inside of a supportive, academic community. How will students even be motivated to stay taking courses if they just log on every now and then and listen in on a Youtube video for class? They won’t be. In some cases, completely online courses work better for students, adult learners, or casual class takers, but the current model of higher education should satisfy a large majority of students for the coming 30 years. What do you think?

Are students less intelligent than they were 20 years ago?

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

While working on our documentary(“The Affects of Technology on Higher Education”), a question was raised in an interview, “Are students less intelligent now than they were 20 years ago?” Media and news outlets continue to pick up stories about technology making people stupid. Is this true?

The Atlantic ran an article in 2008 titled, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The author raises some valid points, but he is a little dramatic at times. According to the author, Nicholas Carr, deep thought or concentration no longer comes easily to him. His beliefs are supported by our interview with Dr. Ernest Ackerman of the UMW Computer Science department. Dr. Ackerman believes that focus is difficult to come by as well. Dr. Ackerman also believes that people no longer consume information and then think on it or dwell on it. Has the Information Age caused remapping of our neurons? Has the Information Age created a dearth of knowledge creation? People are no longer just thinking about topics or becoming experts in a through concentrated readings of books. This change from knowledge to information is false.

With the internet and increased availability of information,  people are able to find out more about any topic than ever before. The internet allows for a liberal arts education. No longer do we have experts in very narrow fields, but we have people that are knowledgeable in many subject areas. With this change, people can think critically about content and solve problems critically. A key principle of this problem solving is the ability to think “outside of the box.” If this is the case, then the internet, nor Google, are ruining our brains, remapping the neurons and causing us to become thoughtless parasites. Rather, these online services and resources are tools for us further our knowledge farther than ever before.

Jeff McClurken

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Jeffrey McClurken was born on a rainy day in 1972. His mother, a stay at home mother, and his father, a cooper, chose to have a child for tax benefits. Little did they know that he would grow up to be a Civil War-ish historian. His credibility is yet to be determined by peer-review.  His high school years were plagued by D and D. His college years at Mary Washington College resulted in a BA in History. He almost completed his BA in Physics. His mentor, Luke Skywalker, taught him the ways of the force, while at Mary Washington College. Dr. McClurken's metachlorian count was much higher than even Dr. Bill Crawley. It was soon discovered that Dr. McClurken had chosen the dark side. He was banished to the Johnny Hopkins College for Challenged Youth, where he finished his education. When he returned to the University, he had reformed back to the good side. He exchanged his light saber for a green one, and moved on with his life. He now helps youth better understand 19th century history.

Outline and Sources for Documentary

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Here are some websites I found from The Chronicle of Higher Education that might be useful:

Option A: Narrative from a Student’s start to end of the college career
I. Introduction
A. Technology has affected Higher Education drastically
B. Positives
1. Efficiency?
2. Greater engagement
3. Academic Flipped Classroom
C. Negatives
1. Distraction
2. Learning curve for staff and faculty
3. IT Issues
II. Admissions
A. Common App
B. College search easier
C Ability to communicate with counselors, staff, and current students
III. Academics
A. Engagement
B. Projects
C. New Disciplines
IV. Library
A. Research
B. Resources
C. Library itself
V. Student Affairs
A. Greater engagement
B. Student Club communication
C. Resources avaiable to students

Documentary Update

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

My group and I decided to create a documentary that explores the impact of technology on Higher Education. We are specifically looking at the question with a lens on the University of Mary Washington. We have set up interviews with a faculty member in Computer Science( He has been with the University since 1980), a faculty member in Education, a Assistant Dean of Admissions, the Dean of Students( He has been with the University over 25 years and was student at the University before that), and one of the lead librarians. We are hoping to get a broad overview of the changes to Higher Education and where technology can take Higher Education. We have only conducted one interview so far, and it was intriguing to get their ideas and opinions about Technology. As a student who has grown up in a computer society and never remmebers a time not having the internet, colleges have had to change and evolve with the technology, but our interviewee does not believe that technology has dictated teaching in Higher Education, rather technology has facilitated and provided new tools for engagement. At the end of the interview, I asked if students were any different than they were 30 years ago at Mary Washington. I got an answer that I should have expected, but I didn’t. The faculty member stated that students are distracted now and have access to all of the information in the world, but they do not ponder on it. His answer seemed to be accidental, but may prove to be a profound way to understand the Information Age in this Modern Era. He also touched on the difference between knowledge and information. I doubt that our documentary will solve this issue completely or even anywhere close. Hopefully with all of the class documentaries, we can get a better understanding of the modern Information Age.