My time in History of the Information Age was great and highly informative. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a part of this class, and I learned a great deal about how information technology developed across the years and how it affected people and the public. Overall, the assignments were fun and helped provide a tangible way to research further into the topics presented and show what we had learned, but there were some things that could be improved regarding the specifics of them.
The readings that we did were of varying qualities due to the fact that individual groups selected the readings that we were to do. While I am aware that these readings were reviewed and pre-approved by Professor McClurken, some of the readings were easier and more digestible for reading and interpretation than others. In particular, the infographics that some groups presented were of varied quality, with some being clean and easily interpreted and one in particular being excessively long and hard to follow. I would have also liked to see more readings provided from Professor McClurken. While the rest of the class was able to provide enough good readings for the class to discuss, I would have loved to see what Dr. McClurken could have found regarding the topics we covered. The discussions were also generally good, but could be slow on occasion when the presenters were stuck with awkward questions or were not ready to continue. I did like the trend of doing in-class activities that was started, though I did empathize with the sentiment that people were growing tired with Canva by the end of the semester that Professor McClurken brought up. These in-class activities did allow me to grow more familiar with things like Canva and Paint, which I am sure that I will be able to take advantage of in the future.
The out-of-class assignments were interesting to work with. The idea that the class was to create the assignments that we did was an interesting and engaging one, and led to some very creative projects like the Silent Films, but at the same time, there was a lack of guidance regarding how the projects were to be graded which tripped me up in regards to the Memes Infographic project. We rarely had a good idea as to what we needed to do well in order to get a good grade, which I found somewhat confusing, particularly when I was trying to figure out how to work with new systems such as Canva and TimelineJS (TimelineJS in particular proved to be a difficult system to use, as the Google Sheets system that it required us to use did not lend itself well to the longer descriptions that we needed to write for our events). I would have very much appreciated some more guidance when it came to figuring out how our projects were to be graded.
Of all the topics that we covered, I particularly enjoyed the topics regarding the modern internet and how people interact and use it. These topics were ones that I was looking forward to, as they are and continue to be highly relevant to how we use the internet and how the internet affects people today. These topics, including the Fake News and misinformation topics and the advertisement and corporate influence topics in particular, were highly fascinating to me, and I learned a good deal about how to identify fake news and advertising in my daily internet usage. I was also pleasantly surprised by the depth of the discussion that we had on memes, particularly surrounding the Darwinist perspective on memetics.
Overall, History of the Information Age was an engaging and fun class, though it was a class that shot all over the place due to the focus on students and how we were to shape the curriculum. It is certainly a class that I would take again if I could do it over again.