This did make me laugh, Jake, though I suspect some of your classmates would say the same and believe it.
Just kidding. This course covered such a vast array of topics and perspectives; it really surpassed my expectations for an English course. In fact, this course served as an auxiliary for my other studies throughout the semester because, again, it covered such a broad range of topics.More to the point though, I thought the classroom discussion section of this course was really beneficial to my learning. Through this, I was able to learn of my classmates' perspectives on a lot of issues (the implications of public discourse, digital media, television/digital culture, etc.), which oftentimes enticed me to reevaluate my own perspectives. Other than that, I learned that Neil Postman is a crotchety old man that needs to calm down and watch episodes of Jersey Shore like the rest of us.
The most important thing that I took away from this course is that it gave me a better insight into our culture. I’m not a rhetoric major so I have not spent as much time analyzing the crucial role that rhetoric and discourse play in shaping society. By taking a course that focused solely on these issues I was better able to understand why so much misunderstanding exists in our culture. I loved our group projects because they specifically discussed the misrepresentation of subjects like feminism, religion, and education. I guess now, the next step would be to figure out how to improve the discourse around these issues so that we can be a more informed society.
It's funny you should ask this, because I wrote about it in my course evaluation! This course, though it does have a topic focus: how discourse functions and affects us (even more specifically, discourse on television), it has taught me more about how to think critically than about the topic itself (though I've learned a lot about that too). The fact of the matter is, I'd never questioned before (just like Postman accuses us of) how the format of television affects the way that I think, or thought about its motives.That being said, this course has taught me to question motives and formats of all things presented to me, to look deeper than the message to the way the source communicates and why it communicates that way: a lesson that I think is one of the most valuable I have so far attained.
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It's taught me to think completely different about all forms of discourse. Obviously, everyone will say this. And I'm inclined to believe that's what this course is based on. Before, I kind of let media and all its forms take me to where ever it lead. Now, I step back and question what it is I'm taking in. I look at how jargon has affected my ability to understand news. I take a little bit more of a pessimistic view (not that it's a bad thing). It gives me the chance to question things before I simply take them for what they are. It's a perspective-changing class.
I've been exposed to new way of approaching the media's information. My favorite part was learning about the impotence, the irrelevance, and the incoherence of information. Technology is to blame for most of this. Also, learning about one-way communication, and learning about how pictures are only relative, and not actual. I hope to further explain in a later post.
I've learned the effects that media has on its viewers. I was once a consumer, unconscious of how accepting I was of all new media forms. Now I am critical of all media (especially television thanks to Postman). I have most of all learned to think for myself instead of letting media do the thinking for me. I am very thankful for being introduced to Neil Postman and his viewpoints. I feel like I have a fresh perspective on digital literacies.
It's scarey to think how desensitized we are to all the media around us. I believe that you aren't the only person unconsciously accepting the media's word. I, too, think that this class has made me critical of the media. Although I won't say it's possible to be critical and mindful of everything we come across, it is possible to shuffle through what's important, and what is trivial, junk, and/or unimportant.
What I've learned is how easily we soak information that is greedily and excessively all around us. We have Facebook which now displays the strong political opinion of people who really didn't seem to care in the first place, but now plaster their sensible thoughts all over others' pages. We are inevitable exposed to TV shows that have good storytelling but do they really depict real crime like Law and Order or is all drama? We are mindless in that we can't seem to figure out how to analyze "truth" from garbage. We have to be skeptical of what information is out there. We have to figure out how to use what is available in an appropriate manner.
I've learned to be much more critical about the way something is presented. I am entirely too accepting of information in general and I want to change that a little bit. Sometimes I do find myself slipping back in to the passive observer role, but I think this class has taught me that I really can't do that anymore.
Although it is impossible to be aware of everything, passively accepting some forms of the media is okay as long as we, as the consumer of the media, can distinguish what's relevant to us from the useless information. Innovative information is what we want to look for. It is also important to understand what we can do with this new information when we create new and original ideas.
I think the biggest thing that I've learned in this course is to slow down and take in what is being presented to you via media. To think in a more critical way about what the person (whether that person be an anchorman, a politician or a celebrity) is saying and what point they are trying to get across. Before I just sort of watched whatever was on and if someone said something on television that I didn't agree with I would possibly make a remark to a friend but wouldn't think anything else of it. I was shocked by the movie we watched in class Misrepresented, and with being apart of a group that did a presentation I would say I learned a lot about feminism too.
Misrepresentation was a very informative video; and that feminism presentation our group did was fun, wasn't it? I think I learned more from you guys compared to what I presented for that project. My only regret is that we didn't get to talk about Disney during our class discussion, because I think that would've made a very interesting conversation. Sadly, we didn't get enough time.
It's been interesting to learn about pros and cons that the developments of typography, photography, telegraphy, television, and the Internet share. With each new 'advancement of technology (if you wanna call them advancements) information is becoming easier to obtain. However, with so much information, the meaning behind those words have become incoherent, impotent, and irrelevant. The photograph, television, and the internet have allowed users to share images across the world. However, these images are only relative to what the viewer interpenetrates, and only allows abstract interpretations. Also, the amount of Junk produced continues to expand and spread. However, these aspects aren't necessarily bad, but they aren't good either. As Postman argues in his book,“Anyone who is even slightly familiar with the history of communications knows that every new technology for thinking involves a tradeoff. […] Media change does not necessarily result in equilibrium” (29).