Report One: Beginning of Self-Witnessing

Emailing, WebCT, and Generational Curriculum

By: Jacquelyn Lim

Fall 2003--Generation 19

Instructor: Dr. Leon James

 

    At the beginning of the semester of Fall 2003, I found myself in a class about road rage and driving aggression.  That was the topic of the class, and one that we would discuss for the next 15 weeks or so to come.  Then we were told about our assignments.  These assignments, or "tasks" as they are called, is what this web page and report are about.  During the execution of these tasks, we were instructed to keep notes on ourselves; which tells us about how we were feeling before and after the task, how it affected it during the task, what we learned about ourselves that we might not have noticed before...etc.  Needless to say, it was a very trying ordeal...well at least for me it was.  I am not into keeping records of myself when I am trying to complete a task at hand.  I like to just do the job and go home, so this whole self witnessing thing, although interesting and helpful in the long run, seemed at first to be a hindrance.

    I slowly realized after the first task that this was not going to be as easy as it first seemed.  The tasks which looked pretty much innocuous actually turned out to be very detailed and somewhat repetitive.  It got to the point that I thought I knew what to do with what task, but then I would always mess up.  WHY? because the directions for the tasks were sooo detailed, that it got to be overwhelming after a while and the brain just shuts down and doesn't really care to read them anymore.  Funny thing the mind is.... but anyway, this is my report on my actions and responses to the tasks of Dr. Leon James, class 409a, generation 19, Fall 2003.  I hope you enjoy.

    This all began with the simple printing of the "task list" from the class homepage (find it here).  The first task, or Task One, was fairly straight forward and easy to understand...at least I thought so at first.

    This seemed like a fairly simple task to complete.  I was feeling very positive about being able to do the task successfully.  I had already gotten a user account at the computer alb at Saunders for a previous class, and was pretty sure that I could email Dr. James as instructed.

    I first had printed out the task schedule, and had decided that reading it would be a good idea.  Talk about tedious reading.  It seemed like the instructions often repeated themselves...which should have tipped me off that I should have read them more closely.  After all, the sub-task as assigned by Dr. James was to read the instructions carefully and closely so that there's no confusion in the future about the tasks instructions.  As I said, it was tedious reading, and I ended up learning from not reading carefully.

    After I read the instructions of task 1,  I finally sit down at my computer and log on to the website (webdata.soc.hawaii.edu/lab_user ) to register myself as a user.  This was fairly simple and straight forward.  Next, I had to wait for a confirmation and password from the UH Lab.  So far so good, I had completed 1/2 of task 1.

    Then I decided to send the email to Dr. James giving him my email address.  I created a new email via Outlook Express and typed his email address into the address line while following the form we were instructed to follow.  The form seemed simple enough.  I didn't find any of the instructions to be confusing or misleading.  After reviewing the format given to us, I typed up the email, and sent it off.

    BUT instead I messed up!  My first ERROR!  As he said in the beginning of class, people always mess up and make mistakes.  So he returned the email and told me to try it again.  By this time, I was feeling a little bit more than just irritated with the entire assignment.  What was wrong?!  What the hell am I missing?! Were just a few of the thoughts running through my head.  I walked away for 25 minutes because I just thought the whole assignment was dumb.  Yeah I said it, DUMB.  So after some bitching and moaning to myself,  I re-read the instructions, looked and compared at my new and old email tasks, and finally decided that I had done everything properly this time.  So I sent it!  and got an 'ok' in return. YEA! Task 1 is OVER!!!

    What I realized about doing this task was that it took more than just the simple steps of emailing Dr. James and saying "hi".  I had to slow down and read the instructions to finally realize what it was that I was doing wrong.  This task taught me to slow down (again) when I read directions.  That was always a problem for me as a child which is why I used to get math problems wrong, I didn't work slowly....therefore making "simple" mistakes.

 

    Then I moved on to TASK TWO, which I definitely thought was going to be easy.  I was actually looking forward to this task because I felt that I was familiar enough with what it was asking me to do.   Woo whoo! WEBCT, now this is what I didn't want to ever have to do again.  We meet again.  This task was by far the easiest so far.  I was feeling very confident about this task.  I had to do WEBCT before at HPU, so I wasn't concerned very much.  Even though I stumbled through the first one I was very positive about this task, though I should have seen ERROR 2 coming (see Attempt #1)    (see Attempt #2).  

    I used Google.com to find all of my information.  I found this internet browser to be very helpful and necessary for anyone to find anything on the web.  I also tried out ASK.COM and found that it was also a very helpful site, probably more so because they list related topics/searches in a separate link column.  I discovered that clicking on those often expanded the search thread, allowing me to find more information that relates to the main topic without having to do a separate search.  I wrote on what information literacy is exactly and how it is used, and I did my feedback post which took me about 30 minutes.

    And finally TASK THREE, which by far gave me the most problems.  At first, I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking for.  Ideas? Direction? Inspiration?!  I finally settled on the last one because after looking at the pages, I wasn't going to find much else.  It turns out after looking at their web pages, I didn't really get anything handy from them.  Other than what links I should have as the basics.

    I didn't have any problems looking at the previous generations web sites.  The only thing I really noted was that the actual homepage, e.g. G16, had a different layout, which made it more pleasing but a little confusing to look at.  Their page has icons and is formatted in amore creative way when compared to my class homepage.  The other generations also had a similar layout to ours.  I was actually expecting more from looking at their pages.  I thought I was going to get really great ideas from them, but alas, not so.  I think I am on my own for the web page. 

    I also spoke with some of my classmates about what they thought of the other generations web pages.  We all agreed that we thought there would be more to them, and that we would've gotten more out of them that we actually did.  Some people even told me that they were surprised to see incomplete pages up!  I didn't think that was unusual being that if the student doesn't take the time to finish the assignment, it would be incomplete.  I thought it was interesting that they were given different tasks than my class.  I figured that we would all be given the same tasks because maybe Dr. James wanted to see how many of us students made similar mistakes, or noticed that we even made mistakes.  Here are some suggestions I have to help creating a self-witnessing report and completing tasks:

  1.  Instructions are VERY IMPORTANT...READ THEM ALL VERY CLOSELY

  2.  Being creative is a good thing, but don't clutter your page too much, it takes away from the "main point" and can clutter navigation

  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help!  If you can not get any from your instructor, ask a classmate.

  4. Have fun with the class assignments.  Don't look at them like a chore...think of them as greater learning experiences for life.

    In conclusion, I feel that tasks one through three helped me slow down.  I have a habit of not taking the time to read slowly, and I often times speed read through important literature.  There's no excuse for being careless like that.  I also learned that I get irritated and often times blame or take my frustration out on some other issue instead of looking at myself to resolve the problem.  I learned that if I take my mind off the situation for as little as two minutes, I can calm down faster and refocus my attention to be productive.  If I were to constantly dwell on the failures of my ventures, I think I would never be able to cope with the situations.  What I learned about computers is that it is all about reading carefully and taking the time to understand what it's all about.  These exercises have helped me realized where my problems are when it comes to organizing myself to complete tasks successfully.

 

 

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