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Personal Cyber-something-or-other

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Having watched the video of Gardner Campbell and read his essay, I think I mostly agree with him about integrating education and the internet.

In my British Victorian Literature class, Professor Foss uses UMW Wiki. And in my Creative Writing class with Professor Earnhardt, we have to have a UMW blog to post our poetry onto. At first, I was extremely frustrated that my ENGLISH classes were using the internet. What blasphemy was this? We English people are supposed to be against technology and Kindles and Nooks and computers. And it’s just another piece of work to add onto the HUNDREDS of pages of reading I am doing this semester and other essays and such for these classes and others. But once I got over myself and looked into it (as an aside, I considered this step one into becoming a cranky old person: refusal to use modern technology) I realized what a huge advantage it can be. For Foss, he has students take in-depth notes for the day so that we can post them online for everyone to read. This will make studying for exams or gathering information for essays really easy, creating less work than if we didn’t have access to this. For my Creative Writing class, we will be posting our poetry online so that our peers can critique it before we turn it in for drafts and such, allowing us to make necessary and prudent changes before getting a grade for it. Putting my writing online makes me nervous (there’s a difference between the entire world reading my rambling and reading poems about my dad), but I really think this will improve my grade.

The thing that makes me nervous with so much stuff being on the internet is reliability. Finding reliable sources can sometimes be the single most difficult part of a writing assignment now. I had an annotated bibliography for my English class last semester and one of the biggest obstacles I ran into was finding ten credited and reliable sources. He said that in order for us to really make sure it was valid was if it had been printed (either in a literary magazine, a collection of criticisms, something other than just a blogger and what he/she thought). I know it’s something professors always say “Just use .gov or .org sources because they are the most reliable” but when I was buying my domain, I had the option for a .org address. If I had added that, would it have instantly made me a reliable source for anything? No. Sometimes the internet can take away how special something is, I feel like. Everyone has an opinion and now everyone can express their opinion and feel like their opinion is right because they have now published it for all the world to see.

Overall, I think it is important for education to keep up with technology. I may be an English major, but some of the best jobs now are writing online articles for newspapers or magazines, so knowing how to do all of “this stuff” as I lovingly call it can and will affect my future job possibilities.

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