CORE 2096 Spring 2021
Taking the core 2096 class with Dr. Maha Bali this semester was a great learning experience for me. The course introduces a new theme for me (Digital Literacies) and it definitely added a lot to my learning experience. I managed to learn a lot of important concepts that helped me discover more angles about myself and see life from a different stance. For me, I got to know that I am capable of adding some new skills to my life. For example, I am now capable of handling such important skills like writing, how to create and share digital content and learning more about internet safety like using strong and different passwords for each platform for example. Having the chance to gain more knowledge about digital literacy acts as gaining recognition and I personally think that this is the most valuable tool for lifelong learning. I found myself using my critical thinking skills to assess the quality of all the digital sourcesI am using and all the information presented to me, which in turn helped improve my communication skills. I think that communication is crucial for someone studying integrated marketing communication and psychology like me, because it will definitely help me make better progress in my academic life and career. When it comes to my social life, communication is the key here. I remember when my professor started talking about how Twitter is important for her and how she posts important topics on this platform and people from all around the world start engaging with her tweets. At this time, she brought a very important message to my mind. I started thinking about my twitter account and how to use it efficiently and post attention grabbing topics on it and communicate with others and see things from their perspective especially for these confusing issues that the world is facing nowadays like Palestine’s story for example.
If I were to show someone my learning in this course, I would use three things that I created: the digital game that my friend and I created together, my blog post about the documentary “Coded Bias”, and my Digital literacies pathway. I see that the digital game “Live with my Anxiety for a Day” that we created was the most important thing because I got to learn a lot of things from creating it. It is the first time for me to create such game and me and my friend chose a psychological topic because we thought that we want people to start focusing their attention on such topics related to anxiety and learn how people suffer from it, so they start living a day with an anxious person in this game and they put themselves in his/her shoes. This raised awareness even in our classroom as I remember when my classmates started giving us great comments on choosing this topic and they said that they saw how organized the events taking place in the game are. My blog post about the documentary “Coded Bias” was truly important because I was surprised and shocked by the fact that even within those facial recognition programs using AI, there’s bias that exists against those who are not white just like those who originally created such technology in particular.
Last but not least, my post about the digital literacies pathway, it allowed me to know that I have a good level of confidence in using technology in general. Reading the article written by Dr. Maha called “Knowing the Difference Between Digital Skills and Digital Literacies, and Teaching Both” opened my eyes on such an important topic, for example,I got to know that digital skills are mainly about how to use a platform but digital literacies are about more in-deep questions like why do we use a specific website? for whom? And why not using another platform instead? Also, I chose the taught path and opened the blogging and podcasting modules. I managed to learn more about creating blogs like a professional and my writing experience is better now after creating a couple of posts on my blog especially after this module. I also knew more about the history of creating podcasts from different companies, it added to my knowledge about podcasts and how they were used in the past. So, showing these three things to others would let them know more about how efficient this course was for me and how it helped me create new things that I had no idea about before.
If I could change 2-3 things about the course to improve it, I would change these things: some things about Soliya, one thing about creating our game, and also one thing about what we do in the class. First, the Soliya experience was very interesting and I got to deal with people from different backgrounds and I spent great time with them. The thing is that i wished that we could talk about more important topics that we can use our critical thinking in, we used to talk about ourselves, our dream jobs, our favorite dishes, and these are great topics of course to know each other but spending 4 sessions talking about ourselves was a little bit boring to be honest. So, maybe if we could have grabbed some valuable topics to our table like how communication in your own country or your field is like or anything that feels more informative, I could have enjoyed it more. For creating our game, I think we needed more time to create it, we had about 4 drafts and each draft required a lot of work. For example, we were racing against time in order to create meaningful events and scenarios, so maybe we should have started these drafts from the beginning of the semester in order not to get stressed about not having enough time. Then, the last thing would be to play more informative games during our class time besides spending great time playing, maybe this would also help us better understand the goal behind each digital narrative game and it will lead us to create better games in the future.
The kind of person that should take this course should be someone who is into digital things and wants to know more about using all platforms in a great way, and also wants to know how to be safe on the internet, to conclude, someone who wants to know more about different things related to digital literacies that will help him in his social and academic life.
In this course, we were given opportunities to make choices over what we focused on, and how we presented our learning experience. I think that is a thing that made me fall in love with this course even more. For example, the professor was giving us a survey to fill at the beginning of the semester and the same one at the end in order to get to know us better and know what we expect from this course. This made me feel that the professor cares about her students a lot and wanted us to have a great outcome from this course, not to consider it just a core course but to truly enjoy it and find something helpful and meaningful behind the theme of the course. Also, choosing our own digital literacy pathway was something that I appreciated a lot because I was not obliged to choose a specific thing to learn or read about. The last session that we attended “Black Mirror Madlibs: Interrogating Technology through Dystopian Storytelling” was different and i liked the idea of discussing different companies’ slogans but honestly, I did not enjoy it that much when we were separated into different rooms as I thought it took the form of a classroom at this moment and made me lose the desire to engage in the room a lot. Other than that, I think I value everything about this course, because even if some opportunities were not the best for me, at least I came out with something important and informative. I am truly grateful for taking this course with Dr. Maha Bali because she is a great professor who is really knowledgeable about “Digital Literacies” and she managed to shed light on some important topics each class like even discussing the most recent events like the problem of Palestine, it is not a new event but when it took over the social media the last few weeks, Dr. Maha asked us if we wanted to talk about it and it was one of the most informative and interesting classes when we opened the discussion about it. I enjoyed reading the articles that my professor wrote about palestine and shared them with my friends in order to let them know about the plaestinian issue in a very unique way. I loved this course and would definitely recommend it to my friends at university.
Links to everything mentioned here:
Reflecting on my digital literacies pathway: https://rawanmohannad.wordpress.com/2021/05/06/my-digital-literacies-pathway/
Reflecting on coded bias:
Dr. Maha’s articles about Palestine: