In this blog-post I will be summing up and puzzling together my learning outcomes in this past semester. My view of the digital world has changed over the past few months after doing a series of activities that straightened up and corrected the uses and values of the digital world. In my opinion, not only students but all people of different personalities, genders and needs should take this course as it offers many learning outcomes that will strengthen their knowledge of the digital world, also because we live in a world where we have to interact with the digital side of it in our lives, so might as well be knowledgeable of what to do and what not to do.
At first I thought that the internet is only a place that is full of information about all types of topics used for academic, entertainment and business related purposes. My use of the digital world was limited to my phone and my laptop if I ever needed it to do any academic related work. I used my phone to communicate with others, play games and search for any interesting topics. My main use of my laptop was to research and write academic papers and study for any exams by searching the topic on google or by watching a video on YouTube.
During the course I realized that people use digital grounds for completely different reasons other than the ones I had. Some used it to express their issues in the sense of warning people from a specific issue or raising awareness (War In Translation: Giving Voice To The Women Of Syria (1)). Others might have the idea of trying to find out any information about a specific person for whatever reason. I learnt that many of the beliefs I had about the digital world were correct but were never used to ‘correctly’ understand what the digital world is, what benefits I would get and what to be aware of.
Now I understand that the digital world is somewhat very useful but very cruel at the same time. It depends on which side you are looking from. On the good side, The digital world is an easy ticket to do the things you wanted to do in the real world but on virtual grounds. You could travel, laugh, express your issues anonymously in public, be connected to the farthest point from where you stand on Earth and even find a stable source of income for example Bitcoin (2). On the dark side, the digital world can used as a tool to spread shocking discords, for stereotyping a certain social group in society (Othering and Belonging (3)) and invasion of privacy.
In my academic life I will be using some of the tools we have used in the course. For example, Hypothes.is (4) is a very useful tool when brainstorming with a group of people about an article or academic research paper for example. Reading the ideas of others may give rise to an new idea merging together many ideas at the same time, or a scientific reason even. Another important tool I have been using and was astonished, in this course, by the diverse uses it has was Google Slides. It offers a wide range of different uses such as making a presentation or making a game for example. Another use I thought of was to make a survey. The way it will work is by moving to the next slide depending on what answer was picked in the current slide.
In my social life, I learnt to not talk about something without being sure of the information I am giving to the person. I learnt this when we were discuss the Cairo Tower tragedy where some said the boy was from AUC and some said he was from Ain Shams University and some said he was from Helwan University. It was confirmed in the end that he was from Helwan (5). This made me realize that I should not believe any information I read off a certain article or post, but extend how confident I am about the information by doing further research about the topic.
In my career, I am planning on making good use of the digital world, as it makes most of the real-life issues we have much easier. For example the family business is an engineering contracting and project management business. Making use of the digital world would be for example installing security cameras and alarms in the project site, and linking the cameras with the nearest police station, to ensure the safety of the workers and the materials located on the site and preventing any acts of theft or violence.
I would recommend the following to all heavy users of the digital world:-
- The podcast I made about ‘Shifting Your Settings’ (6), for ensuring the safety of your identity and preventing any information, regarding yourself or any other person, from falling into the wrong hands. I would find this useful because we have all seen the scene where our friends open another friend’s phone and finding out secrets about the person that they would prefer to keep private. Those voice-notes will help guide a person to completely securing their digital identity and information.
- The ‘Social Justice And Equity In Practice’ blog post (7), to understand and make a decision on whether or not the information you are about to upload could be used in a positive or negative sense. Also to understand and be aware of whether it is acceptable or not to find an article regarding a certain topic (written in its way).
- The ‘UNEXPECTED SADNESS’ game I made (8), to raise awareness about what it is like to feel depressed or experience a series of anxiety episodes in your life. The aim is to empathize with those who are suffering from such traumatic events.
I was given an opportunity to take a certain digital pathway during the course, where I chose to look at things from a theoretical point of interest. I chose to read 3 main articles:
- An article about the privacy and security of the digital world (23 Reasons Not To Reveal Your DNA (9). This article made me realize that not only can I firmly secure certain aspects of my private information, but also I will be protecting my friends, family relatives and even co-workers. This raised my awareness to how private my digital accounts and devices are, where I went back to my ‘Data Detox Kit’ voice-notes and started applying all I have learnt from that assignment to my online social and academic accounts and devices.
- An article about the openness of the digital world (Taxing Social Media In Africa (10)). This article opened my mind to a question I did not expect to ask, is it worth it to tax or even close social media services? Since I am a person who does not use the digital world heavily, I would not be afraid of the flawed and dangerous aspects of the digital world. I answered the question to myself by thinking of the ratio between the benefits I would get to the number of issues I would face. I think deleting the digital world from our lives will backfire into everything in all directions, and instead of evolving, we will be repeating all the mistakes we ever made in the past. Yes the digital world is overexposed, but if I protect myself from the dangers it has to offer, I will benefit more than run into problems.
- The article about digital inclusion called ‘Understanding The Issue’ (11) was not as helpful as the other two. I could apply the discussed issue to Egypt in many ways. It could be applied in a way where any Egyptian military worker is an enemy, because of the many articles and channels that are trying to help citizens picture that the we live in a stratocratic country. Let us assume that what they are trying to say is true. A military engineer only takes orders from his head manager. He only does the work or makes a decision based on what his superiors ordered him to do. Therefore, it would be unethical to make assumptions or blame people who are ‘just doing their job’. I would blame those who gave him that specific order.
I would not change a lot in the course, because everything is straight to the point and clear. I would change the way look at the assignments, specifically in a course like this. Like for example, you are assigned this….. This assignment will benefit you in ways like….. The topics of the assignments can given in a way that suits the interests of the person. I like cars for example, an assignment like, linking your personal interests and hobbies to the digital world, like how it is presented and valued in the digital world.
Another idea is, instead of using a blog, we could us Padlet (12) for example. It can be used as a blogging interface and at the same time I could link different posts together in the sense of brainstorming and sort of arranging the ideas behind every assignment. Also it will be very helpful when talking about everything I learnt in this course such as this final reflection assignment or any other assignment where I am asked to link different texts or ideas together.
(2) – https://bitcoin.org/en/
(4) – https://web.hypothes.is/
(12) – https://padlet.com/