When I first registered for this course, I had zero knowledge of its content and what I would be required to do, the only thing I knew was that it was included in the core curriculum under global studies. I had the conception that this course would be another unexciting core requirement that I would most probably not learn anything from. Yet, it turned out to be exactly the opposite of that. I gained a lot of knowledge and skills about digital literacy that I would have not gotten in any other course, which would definitely help me beyond my academic life.
Each assignment helped me learn something new about myself and contributed in improving one aspect of my personality. However, these three were the most impactful ones.
Soliya: By nature, I am a very quiet person and I don’t usually open up and talk with people that I barely know. However, as this was a graded assignment and I had to do it anyways, I took it as a chance to improve this aspect and work on my communication skills. It definitely paid off, seeing that I was able to keep a conversation with people I didn’t know for two hours, made me realize that it is not as stressful as I thought it would be and that it was fun talking to people about different topics and sharing our different opinions. This experience gave me push to start participating more in class and get to know people outside my circle of friends.
Game: The idea of creating a game from scratch, was very challenging for me. Yet, I learned that as long as I am interested in and dedicated to a certain topic, I would give it my all to create the best version of it, this showed that it can be applied to anything in life as long as I put my mind into something I would be able to excel at it. The final version of this game exceeded my own expectations and I don’t think that I would have gotten the opportunity to do something so meaningful in any other course.
Different platforms we used: the usage of different/ new platforms, such as WordPress, Slack and twitter, also made me gain new skills. I got to understand, which content fits which media platform best and applied this throughout the course, by doing the twitter scavenger hunt and writing all of our assignment in the form of blogs on word press. This expanded our expertise in many digital platforms and made the assignments even more interesting.
Regarding the things that I’ll use for my academic life, I would definitely use pixabay to search for uncopyrighted images for any university projects onward. I would also follow the different steps of finding whether the information on a specific website is true or not, when writing a paper, to deliver the most reliable outcome.
I’ve learned a lot of things throughout this course that I would use in my personal and social life as well. I will use my knowledge on how to distinguish between a fake or a real news, in order to correct anyone, especially my mother, whenever they share a false one on Facebook or WhatsApp. I will also show the video, regarding the school experiment on discrimination between the students with blue eyes and students with brown eyes, to my scout team as they are at the age where they start judging people and forming cliques based on appearance and their judgment. I already started avoiding websites that are not encrypted and altered my personal information on my social platforms. I even showed my sister the do not track episode, “Breaking Ad”, as she was wondering, how all the ads on her social media platforms are always similar to the things she searches for on her browser.
I’m planning to work in a multinational company, hence, we will be dealing with people from around the world. Therefore, I would definitely use the videos of stereotyping and microaggression to ensure that the work environment is free of any biases. I will also explain to my co-workers the importance of using uncopyrighted images, in order to avoid any misunderstandings with our clients abroad.
If I were to show someone my learning in this course, I would use these three things that I created:
My digital literacy: This assignment is the most important one in my opinion, as by doing it, I got to understand the main purpose of the course and what digital literacy really means. Prior to this assignment, my understanding of digital literacy was completely wrong, the same as most of the people (or at least the ones I know). Therefore, I would use this assignment and show it to the people, who don’t really understand the meaning of digital literacy, as the sources used were very informative and explained the concept really well and to the point.
My games reflection: I personally enjoyed doing this assignment the most. Each game I’ve played opened my eyes to something that I wasn’t really aware of, it helped me understand the realness of the situations by putting us into the intended character. So, I would use this assignment to show others that a simple game with a purpose, can raise awareness, convey messages and add to our knowledge in many different ways.
My game about bullying: I already made my family and friends try my game and got feedback on it. I would definitely use it in the future, whenever the topic of bullying is brought up. Creating this game was one of the highlights of the course. I was able to use my academic knowledge to do my secondary research, but I also used my personal knowledge and judgment to choose the topic that I care about and do the different scenarios accordingly. It was definitely an unconventional way of learning, yet the outcome was very beneficial.
If I could change few things about the course to improve it, I would change these things.
Add the twitter scavenger hunt as a main assignment: this exercise combined almost everything we learned in the course together. We got to use a new platform, “Twitter”, interacted with people abroad using the hashtag #netnarr, we posted photos, wrote a poem, identified fake news and proved them wrong. All of these were topics covered during the semester, hence I believe that this would be a very enjoyable and informative assignment.
Use more videos, class activities: I really enjoyed the class activities we did, like the privilege walk and the time we had to build pyramids using magnets and sticks. Both activities broke the class routine and made us all interact with each other while learning something at the same time. I also believe that all the videos we watched in class with no exception were very interesting and informative, especially the one with the school experiment and the one discussing how the same algorithms companies as Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get us to click on ads are also used to organize our access to political and social information. So, I recommend replacing the readings done in class with videos covering the same topics or assign the readings before class as it took us a lot of time to read and we don’t all read at the same pace.
Soliya timings/ an alternative for it: Soliya was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, yet its strict timings and no make-up rule took away from the whole experience. Therefore, I suggest doing a similar assignment, where students can attend only 2 sessions on Soliya and do 2 personal interviews with international students on campus for example, or if they know someone off campus who is not Egyptian, they can interview him/her as well.
I think anyone can take this course. We were 25 students, with totally different personalities ranging from the very quiet ones (Like myself) and the very talkative ones (like Salma and Ramez) and I believe that we all learned and benefited from all the discussions and assignments without any exception. So, I think anyone who is willing to exert some effort and time will definitely enjoy and learn a lot from this course.
Finally, the instructor made sure to use all digital platforms and teaching techniques in order to fit most of the students learning methods and give them the best out of the course. Also, the flexible assignment instructions gave us the chance to be as creative as possible. I would definitely recommend anyone to take this course with Dr. Maha Bali.