Online Education, Impersonal Meanings

By: Ignacio Perez, Andrew Win, Sydney Friedman

Online education is becoming an extremely popular means of obtaining an education. In reading The New York Times piece, “Revolution Hits the Universities”, various questions come into fruition that relate to the sociological analyses Fischer explores with regards to the telephone. The article points out that “last May, about 300,000 people were taking 38 courses taught by Stanford professors and a few other elite universities. Today, they have 2.4 million students, taking 214 courses from 33 universities, including eight international ones,” which makes us wonder if online education has the potential to reach the status of “commonplace” as described by Fischer.

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Call Me, Maybe … But Not on That Device

Call Me, Maybe … But Not on That Device
by: Deb Linton, Corey Hyllested, Lazar Stojkovic

Today, savvy consumers are aware of the symbiotic relationship between users, technology platforms, and their producers. This wasn’t always the case. In “America Calling,” the nascent Bell telephone network and its proprietors didn’t appreciate the emergent behaviors in its users until it understood how to monetize them. Bell saw its recommended use of the new technology as the only one valid to be supported and endorsed. While we may like to think of this problem as limited to early 20th century, we see divergent views of how to incorporate user behavior even today.

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An example of a piece that presents a concept/vision

As I mentioned in class – here’s the article by Mark Weiser where he coins the phrase “ubiquitous computing.” This is probably as pure an example of an article that “presents a concept/vision” as we will find, though there are elements of an “argumentative essay” in this piece as well.

The Computer for the 21st Century (1991), Mark Weiser, Scientific American

Readings for Thursday

All three readings for Thursday can be downloaded from the course website. Subsequent readings will only be available in the course reader which you can purchase at Copy Central on Bancroft.