Author Archives: yjdoe

After Finishing My Final Paper…

Roles of parents, teachers have merged, education must be founded on  compassion | The Indian Express
Image retrieved from The Indian Express

Since I worked on the Final Paper Proposal and Annotated Bibliographies early on with the guidance of Dr. Daisy, it became so much easier to write my final paper. I knew what I wanted to write about related to our course objectives, and I already got literature pieces that I wanted to draw upon for my paper. It was very helpful to have a video conference with Dr. Daisy where she provided insightful advice unsparingly and guided me to see the overall blueprint of my final paper from a wider perspective. At the same time, it was a good chance to write my Final Paper in that I can ponder over the current condition of our online education where I am also taking courses for MSTPC and where I am teaching my ESL/EFL students during the era of the pandemic instead of our usual face-to-face classes.   

Here’s the abstract of my Final Paper.

Learning beyond the Borders: Especially in the Era of Covid-19

As an instructor in the ESL/EFL environment, I teach reading, writing, and discussing various types of text (literature, biography, articles about current issues, etc.) written in English. Before the pandemic, taking advantage of emerging media and digital technologies, I have already been using media sources as a subsidiary tool in my class such as Youtube and Google, which promptly provides a great amount of useful graphic data. However, since the pandemic, Covid-19, strongly stroke the whole world, my students and I have been fully depending on digital technologies in order to continue our classes online instead of taking a break from our usual face-to-face classes.

In the beginning of the pandemic period, I had to take a long break from most of my classes without getting paid for months. However, with the support of digital technology as well as S. Korea’s nationwide passion for education, it was decided to resume classes online at language institutes and schools. Since most of the online classes including the ones at our institute are synchronous, reliable internet access and laptop or tablet and the like became not an option but indispensable tools both for my work and the learning environment for my students. Through the phase affected by Covid-19, I realized how significantly digital literacy can evolve/keep evolving based on the benefits of emerging media and digital technologies. The video conferencing platforms, Zoom and Gooroomee (a Korean platform similar to Zoom) definitely provide a stable connection for the classes I teach. Youtube is still a great source of videos we need for online classes. It is also amazing that I can share my screen on Zoom and Gooroomee so that my students can read what shows up on the virtual board instead of a usual whiteboard in their offline classroom. Google Docs is another great tool that can replace an actual white board in the offline classroom, letting both instructor and students write on the virtual sheet synchronously, which we are joyfully using in many of our classes during this pandemic era.

Teaching online from home, my commuting time has decreased, and I can spend more time preparing materials for my students by making a deeper level of reading comprehension questions, vocabulary list with more ample examples, quizzes with various types of questions, etc. Beside these benefits of having online classes, I contend that there are several aspects that need improving in terms of more effective communication for better online teaching and learning based on my teaching experiences. Hurley and Hea note that it is important to prepare students for technical communication in the era of emerging media and that it is necessary to enable students to critically use social media in the aspect of technical communication skills. Also, beyond using social media platforms merely for research, the authors argue that students also need to learn how to share the content and distribute it through various social media platforms. In a similar vein, Stein demonstrates how to prepare students for a virtual class, focusing on how to prepare learners for online classrooms, considering students’ concerns about the contact with their instructor and peers, technological failure, and so on. In order for students to share their concerns with their instructor while having communication with their peers, it is necessary for students to build a relationship with their instructor and classmates. Regarding this, the author argues that based on the theory of “Community of Inquiry,” students need to develop “social presence.”  

According to Knowlton’s theory, students better collaborate with each other in a reciprocal and dynamic atmosphere because “There is a social dimension to the teaching and learning process – students are not ‘alone’ in their efforts to learn” (Knowlton, 2000, p.9). As reciprocal collaboration helps students to actively participate in learning, it naturally forms student-centered classroom atmosphere. In “Online University Teaching during and after the Covid-19 Crisis: Refocusing Teacher Presence and Learning Activity” (2020), Rapanta et al. (2020) present practical methods for effective online classes from a variety of real-world cases based on the interviews with experts in the field of online education – to introduce a few: “Open up extra communication channels” for students. Allow “flexible time.” Make prompts to stimulate “probing, interrogating, critiquing and relating to content and other learners.”

In conclusion, I agree with Rapanta et al. (2020) that we can make the period of Covid-19 a chance to focus on the need for a change to the field of education. Due to emerging media and developing technologies, the world is changing rapidly, and so is the education field. By designing feasible and effective online learning environments based on digital technologies, both instructors and students will be able to adapt to the changing classroom environment and new patterns of communication. It is also essential for instructors and students to be ready for unpredictable forthcoming environments that could be caused by the pandemic. At the same time, the academia needs to be aware that it is necessary to invest in training instructors to develop their technical and professional communication skills using emerging media and to keep instructors updated on new, effective pedagogies (Rapanta et al., 2020, p.945).

I had a great semester with you all! Have a nice winter break!

Keeping up with Media

Keeping up with teen social media | Learning Potential
Image obtained from http://www.learningpotential.gov.au

While I was reading Spilka (2010), I was reminded of the course I took last semester, User-centered Research, a lot. I found that many parts from the UX and User-centered field overlap with this week’s reading pertaining to “emergent communicative practices” (Ferro & Zachry, 2014) and “social media’s role” (Pigg, 2014). Accordingly, I have once again realized that technical communicators need to understand the most popular contemporary communication method, social media’s role and that they also need to prepare for the change to the next emergent communicative method.  Above all this, communicators should analyze the type of their audience and the needs of their audience in accordance with the communicative environments where they interact with their audience.

As Spilka (2010) notes that due to the advent of digital technology and social media platforms, technical communicators need to re-define who their/our audience is and what product the audience uses or is interested in. I totally agree with this idea. As Krug (2014) mentions in his book, “Don’t Make Me Think!” I believe that there are “average users,” however, the standard of the “average” can change based on the communicative environment and method for the audience and communicators. In my perspective, for example, the audience these days can read content online very fast. They have been accustomed to the monitor environment, and they know how to skim in order to gain the information they need. They also don’t stay on the same page that long – I assume that it is because there are numerous contents they can/want to search on the web. Most importantly, the audience prefers the content with visual factors. They want eye-catching and graphic sources that can help them to better understand the content they engage in.

In conclusion, as Pigg (2014) presents, I as well believe that social media and digital content environments are deeply related to each other, unlike traditional communicative methods (p.70). Therefore, technical and professional communicators need to keep up with the change to emergent communicative methods and their audience’s needs in those new environments.

Coman (Computer + Human) Friends

As Longo (2014) mentions, “Technical communicators traditionally had authority to produce knowledge about technologies for users… but now… how can technical communicators use these new devices and the social media…?” (p.22) To answer this question, Spilka (201) presents “Content Management” and “Developing Content Strategy.” Both of them sound like really nice methods, but then my question here is “How can technical communicators manage content better and develop a timely content strategy?”

As I teach students from K1 to G12 as well as businessmen in the ESL environment, I hear many things from them related to their studying, interests, and work. Young male students talk about computer games they like, and they make examples out of those games in the class. Teenage students keep bringing up pop singing groups while business men like to talk about how a new project is going at work or what their plans are for the weekend or vacation. While I correct their grammatical mistakes or teach them new vocabulary and expressions, I also get plenty of information from what they know, and I, especially, feel very excited if the information is something I never knew or something I would never try to know if it were not for my students. In addition to the communication with my students in the classroom, I talk to them via email or virtual room such as a chatting space online. While chatting online, we have a conversation about our class and assignment. In the chatting space, students can ask questions anytime they want, and most of the time, my students are told to upload their homework in that cyber chatting space.

To some, it might be more likely to make sense if I say I might be letting my students say what they want to say in the class, however, I see all of the process as communication as well as a type of method for knowledge-making. When I gather some new information or knowledge from the communication with my students, I look up some of the information if I consider it important or relevant to my work or studying. Needless to mention, the communication helps me to build rapport with my students, and sometimes I make friends with my students especially when the students are grown-ups on top of collecting knowledge.

In conclusion, I found a very similar idea when Spilka (2010) quotes Longo: “… in a virtual environment, together we will form some kind of community and culture based on those relationships and communication” (p.147). After all, for the sake of relationships and knowledge-making, we – especially technical communicators – need to swiftly adapt to the digital culture that is computer-mediated and “comprised of human + machine (Spilka, 2010, p.147)” as it is said, “Inhabiting virtual worlds is another aspect of postmodern life” by Longo (Spilka, 2010, p.155).           

Video Conference. Woman At Home Chatting With Friends On Computer Screen,  Online Communication With Coworkers, Video Stock Vector - Illustration of  cyberspace, conversation: 194210126
Image from Dreamstime.com

Digital Flux: Just Nice?

While reading Spilka (2010), I was once again able to read through how digital technology developed and in what ways it affected the job market. This compact content is very useful for me to understand the crucial historical part of the digital technology and to see the changes brought to our work from a wider point of view. As Spilka (2010) mentions, due to the development of digital technology, the skills and titles for the job as technical communicator have changed: writer, editor, illustrator (p.22), spelling/grammar checker (p.47), or information developer (p.26); also in my perspective, user-centered researcher. On top of this, “[N]ot only did the volume of content expand, but so did its reach” (Spilka, 2010, p.41). Due to the expansion of the reach supported by digital technology, people as well as technical communicators can be interactive with one another beyond physical borders, and I believe this also worked as catalyst for globalization in a way.  

However, Spilka (2010) also points out that “the movement from blue collar work to knowledge work (Druker, 1993)” that requires “education and expertise” caused unemployment in our society (p.53). Although Spilka (2010) is expecting a rosy future, saying, “advances in technology continue to shape our work” (p.48), I argue that the unemployment problem caused by the labor replacement of robots will be very/more serious and should be resolved both for current and future generation. Otherwise, there will be serious extra labor force issue and unemployment problem in the near future. Both of these problems can be a threat to the economy – both domestically and internationally, initiating problems in each community. Therefore, I contend that we should not only take advantage of digital literacy but we need to be prepared for the side effects of digital technology.

*Image from Google

Do IT!

As in almost all cases – as far as I know – both benefits and shortcomings/side effects coexist. As the side effects, such as teenagers’ reach to illegal items or lack of conversation among family members, resulted from the advent of social media and digital technology have been discussed in many ways from various perspectives, I intend to focus on the benefits of those two this week.

As Chayko (2018) mentions, the internet and social media can bring people who could have separated for good back together, providing a place for gathering. This place has a limit to neither space nor time. Rather, the up-to-date versions of media allow people to enjoy “transmedia entertainment,” Chayko (2018) calls this function “constant availability and continuous connectedness.” I especially agree that we are living in the world of almost-24/7 availability. We can control our kitchen and home appliances on our smartphones or tablets. Moreover, it is possible to control cars on smart devices without opening a car door or starting the engine nowadays.

I believe that one of the biggest changes in this era of technology and media is a paradigm shift in ads. It is common to see people put ads on social media – probably more than on blogs – these days. Even one of my close friends is planning to move his ad to Youtube since he has already uploaded ads on social media. For that kind of (ad) videos on Youtube, there is not that much you need. As long as you have a smartphone, you can make a video of yourself and edit it on your smartphone. Only if you desire to make yourself look a little bit better, you might want to put on some makeup or buy some lighting – I’ve seen so many types of cheap lighting system online these days. One day I was recommended to make a video for Youtube in order to promote my English class, however, my question is, “How would I make myself accustomed to this social media ad?” Or “Am I ever going to use it at all?” “What can we do for those who are kind of outside of the boundary of the use of social media in our community?”

Sharing Entailing Many Issues

As Chayko (2018) notes, people these days share lots of information online and that kind of information accumulates a lot and spreads in public, which Chayko  (2018) refers to “crowdsourcing” (p.73). Sharing useful information for free of charge with unlimited access can benefit a number of members in the community of social media. However, as Chayko (2018) points out, it has emerged as an issue that people do not acknowledge how much of their personal information is exposed or illegally used for the matters they are not even aware of (p.67). As Chayko (2018) touches the very sensitive part, so called, surveillance, I believe that it becomes a more sensitive issue to discuss when it comes to considering if surveillance is “asymmetrical” or “vertical” (p.84). Although there would be many side effects such as data mining and hacking, I argue that there should be a certain type of system or organization to protect the personal information of online civils.         

The issue that I desire to focus on is the one about “fake news” (Chayko, 2018, p.82). As the content of the post is up to those who post it, it is actually true that posters can upload whichever content they want as long as it is not directly against the posting rule (eg. In S. Korea, direct swearing can be deleted without any notice to the poster who posted it). To take an example of fake news that caused a huge turmoil in S. Korea, there was a positing on the biggest portal web site, called Naver, in S. Korea a few years ago. Some person posted that N. Korea is preparing a new type of arms so that they can suddenly attack S. Korea any time soon. This post became so influential that people started to get food and necessities from grocery stores. Soon there formed lines in front of grocery stores, and people buying instant noodles and canned food were broadcast on TV. Looking back, I am so glad this fake news was proved untrue before long and moreover, that there was no riot or violent crowds due to the chaos from public worries about war. However, what if there were? What if this little piece of fake news became so big that it affected so many people and provoked crowds’ violence inside. My questions are: “Who would catch this kind of fake news makers which I consider a cybercrime?” “Who would punish them and how?”        

Reality vs. (Virtual) Reality

Chayko’s book “SuperConnected” helped me to see the beginning of the digital era and its process more in detail and also from a different perspective. Chayko (2018) explained how technology and internet we have now such as internet, computer, smartphone, social media, etc. have developed in a well-organized way with numerical data. It is also interesting that Chayko sees technology as part of social systems. This issue also leads me to think about “To whom will the technology give greater power and freedom?” as Chayko (2018) quotes Postman (1993). Regarding this, I would always thought that whoever can develop new technology and up-to-date gadgets might be able to grab the power and freedom in modern society depending on the level of technology, where Chayko (2018) explains, “individuals in technology-rich communities and societies tend to live techno-social lives.”

Also, the sociomental spaces that Chayko (2018) introduces are interesting that people have a collective, shared conscience there and that the space behind the monitors has been enlarged and had an intersection with the physical space as Chayko mentions. As neighbors living in the nearby area get together often and feel a sense of belonging with one another, people develop a shared identity, culture, purpose, and fate, as well as feelings of togetherness and belonging in the same online communities. Likewise, space – whether it is online or offline – is an important factor in the era of technology. Chayko even explains that this space can be shaped and reshaped and that people enter and exit different spaces. The author also mentions that digital environments are directly related to reality and that they are eventually reality.

I especially want to focus on how deeply digital world is connected with the physical world/reality. Chayko (2018) says, “Digital environments are so fully enmeshed with the physical world… [O]ne need not even be online to feel the impact.” If this phenomenon happens in a positive way, that can be helpful to both those who are online and offline. However, if that affects in a negative way, like what happened in S. Korea a few years ago, that can cause serious social issues. A teenage boy killed his friend because his friend annoyed him. This teenage boy said that he felt like he had to kill him just like he killed his enemies in computer games he had been playing. This tragedy happened because the boy couldn’t distinguish reality from the virtual reality. Hope people who spend time in virtual reality can be educated to distinguish these two realms so that there would be no more tragedies like this in reality.  

Critical Thinking in the Deep Ocean of Information

Nicolas Proferes’s perspective on the limits of individual and collective power resonates with me, and it helped me to think about the issue of collective power and mob mentality that forms online. I’ve been always worried that these two ideas can bring about negative effects that could lead to producing scapegoat due to the diminished critical thinking skills as Michael Zimmer and Anna Lauren Hoffmann mention in “Preface: A decade of Web 2.0 – Reflections, critical perspectives, and beyond.”

Ever since the advent of Web 2.0, netizens have been actively participating in generating context based on their own private points of view and experiences. This also has been serving as foundation for the growth of social media. Users started indulge themselves into using the abundant information online and freely exchanging each other’s opinions. Hereby, my concerns are: Who will confirm if the information online is correct or not? Can younger generation avoid blindly accepting the information online, trusting the effect of collective power?

As I see that many social media influencers actively present their ideas and sometimes products, I worry that they can hinder (especially but not necessarily) younger users from developing critical thinking skills. This can lead to a serious issue in the future, highly possibly causing the side effect of mob mentality (meaning not thinking neutrally) by naturally accepting the information online without filtering. Users might trust a certain type of information just because many other users like it or because other users think that sounds correct or useful as Rheingold (2014, p.201) notes, “[N]etworks of activists are reconstructing civil society at local and global levels… [S]mart mobs are redefining socially.”

In conclusion, it is essential for users to acknowledge that there is a limit to their power in the Internet world and to prevent users from unconditionally accepting undiscerned information online. In order to do so, it is crucial that older generations need to pay more attention to younger ones so that the young users can obtain how to discern the right knowledge and how to critically think when they are faced with inundated information online. Therefore, I believe that this is the assignment left to all of us, not just to those who use the web contemporarily.

Week 3

How can changes in the entertainment and media industries predict digital adaptations in education?

(I couldn’t find the instruction for this week on Canvas, so I got the question on the top from Rebecca’s blog. I had no time to ask anybody before the deadline. If it is not this week’s prompt, please understand that I didn’t mean to copy her question.)

Last week, I asked my junior high school students when they started using a Smartphone. Most of them said ever since they were in the kindergarten. I felt like I was literally old and began to think how to explain to them about iPod and Walkman stuff while we were reading about Steve Jobs. I felt as if I was explaining about old relics to my students and finally realized that I needed a certain type of new adaptive education method.

As Rheingold (2014) mentions, media has attentional effects, and this eventually wakens our attention’s attention so that we can be mindful digital citizens (p.75).It is also interesting to see Rheingold (2014) deploys the idea about crap-detecting, which is how we find what we need to know and how we decide if it’s true (p.77). In this sense, Rheingold (2014) continuously mentions that “there is nothing more important than for kids to learn how to identify fake communication” (p.89). I believe that this is important not only for kids but also for adults. Regarding this, Anderson (2004) introduces the idea about “unlimited selection” (p.4). “Unlimited selection” is about “how [consumers] want to get it in service after service” (p.4), and I believe that this is an alarm for those who unconsciously take in the information online.

In conclusion, Rheingold (2014) presents that it is “the act of participation” to link “paying attention to attention,” and “practicing crap detection and infotention” with “participation” and that the participation “connects” the individual mind to the web of digital culture” (p.109). Through this type of digital literacy education, students can learn how to adapt to the digital world as digital citizens.         

YJD’s