A guest blog entry by Amy Shaw (student, world citizen)
The experience of taking an online course creates both a feeling of independence and dependence at the same time.
As a person taking an online course must be responsible to teach themself material, they must form a sense of independence and a plan to get all of their work done in a timely fashion. Although this is true, the person taking the course also finds themself dependent on technology to get through the course. This is somewhat frightening in a world full of growing artificial intelligence.
Participating in an online course brings to light the quick advancement of technology.
In the last half century, people have turned from paper banking, going out to shop, and sending letters to doing all of these tasks online. Taking a course online seems like a brilliant addition to the long list of things that people are now able to do online. The pace of this transition seems alarmingly quick, but only about a sixth of humankind is really using this technology (Mills 2000), so these advancements may not be as rapid as they appear.
Further, whether all world citizens are on the Internet or not, the amount of information available to all is astounding; with a click of a button, it is effortless to find out almost any fact needed. The age of information makes shifting perspectives and understanding others very possible. This makes taking an online course and applying the sociological imagination that Mills (2000) speaks of fairly easy. Any question about another culture or a viewpoint from another culture in now available in a matter of milliseconds. This makes looking at concepts from another culture’s perspective and understanding their history much easier than it would have been in the past. This ability to use information is the quality of creating lucid summations of events in the world that Mills (2000) mentions.
The use of the internet creates instant connections between one’s life and many other people in the world.
As these connections continue, Mills (2000) would argue that more structural changes will occur. Perhaps the connection between societies will soon bring new ideas to the conflicts of same-sex marriage, divorce, or the system of classes. Even through an online class itself, people can be exposed to new ideas on these topics, as well as other.
Exposure to new ideas is what is needed to inspire social change no matter what the societal arena.
As society becomes more centered on technology, the impact of taking a self-directed online course becomes clearer – lifelong learning skills are being created. For years to come, information will be all over the media, the internet, and whatever technology comes next; knowing how to direct oneself in this learning method will prove helpful with regard to connecting with other people and cultures.
After all, it is just one small world.
Mills, C. Wright. 1959 (2000). The Sociological Imagination, 40th Anniversary Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.