ACQUIRING CYBERSPACE CITIZENSHIP:

Cyberspace: THE ASCENSION


The overall pattern What is the process of getting to know the web Challange The similarities and differences of my experience compare to other generations The similarities and differences of my experience compare to my classmates Conclusion

ANALISIS OF EXPERIENCES DURING THE LEARNING PROCESS

SRTESSFUL VS PLEASANT

Following the Instructions for the report 2, I started in the beginning of the semester to rate my computer sessions. If you are interested in seeing the data from the computer sessions, please, click on DATA . The first line of the rating scale gives one the choice of rating oneself from -3 to 0 for a stressful experience. At the beginning of the semester, I associated several experiences with the word stress; and each of these types of stresses taken separately could be rated differently. First, the stressful experiences resulted from the fact that I had often to wait a long time just to access a computer in the lab; this was a problem especially in the beginning of the semester (Stress: -1). Even when I had access to a computer, I sometime lost many hours through not being able to log on to the CSS server because it was down (Stress: -2). I also realized that for some computer sessions, the stress that I was experiencing was not reflecting the stress of the computer session itself, but rather a general feeling that resulted from the heavy of class load that I was carrying during this semester(Stress: -2).

Especially during the first 2 weeks of the semester, I had very strong assumptions about the amount of time I thought I was supposed to spend on the exercises. Of course, you can guess that this assumption did no match at all with the actual time I spent in the lab. As a result, these assumptions were an additional stress(Stress:-3) for me. Finally, the dominant aspect of the stress(Stress:-3) that I experienced was a result of the amount of energy that I had to spend to finish my assignment before the deadline.

The pleasant feelings that I experienced during my computer sessions were mostly associated with an occasional breakthrough, for example, when I suddenly understood one aspect of an exercise (pleasant: +3). I also experienced pleasant feelings when I read something in a newsgroup that was interesting or something that made me laugh. In those particular moments, though I was stressed, the stressful experience gradually shifted to a pleasant feelings (depending on the article or the jock, between +1 & +3). I have to point out that most of the computer sessions had moments of breakthrough and pleasant feelings, however, those pleasant moments were not representative of the overall feeling that I was experimenting at the end of each session. This is the reason why those positive moments seem completely non existent on the computer rating sessions in the beginning of the semester.

The turning point toward greater enjoyment of what I was doing was during the summary that I did on the 18 links of Dr Driving. Although I was still experiencing a lot of stress, I realized that I had Just published something on the Web. It is from that moment that the pleasant feeling became a dominant aspect of my computer sessions, however, this dominant period was shadowed by an interesting three-day period just before the deadline of report1. During that time, I experienced alternating dominant feelings within a single session; this is the reason why I marked the last three ratings with both Stress (-3) and Pleasant (+3). I think that the strong level of stress was connected to the report's deadline and the strong pleasant feeling resulted from seeing the great amount of work that I done taking a concrete form.

DISSATISFIED VS SATISFIED

On the rating scale, Dissatisfied or Satisfied has been a rating that was pretty easy to do. This was because I associated these two feelings throughout the entire computer rating sessions with the feeling that I experienced when the exercise was completed or not completed. This is why whenever I completed an exercise; I felt satisfied (+3) while the Item dissatisfaction (-3) was associated with the beginning of an exercise.

WASTED VS VALUABLE

The Wasted or Valuable rating scale was a very interesting part of these rating sessions. The main reason is that Dr. Leon James said in class one day that one never wasted one's time while doing an exercise. I thought a long time about that, and I have to admit that for a very long time I thought that all these exercises were a waste of time because I couldn't see their usefulness. For example, I could understand why we were learning how to use Pico or how to save an Icon. This was why in the beginning; I rated my computer sessions on the wasted (-3) pole. However, I gradually realized that those exercises were a means to develop certain types of skills that one needs to deal with the cyberworld, regardless of the type of program one is using. Though I did not want to accept that I had technophobia, I gradually realized that the "Wasted" feeling that I was experiencing was just a manifestation of technophobia. Lets not forget that technophobia is created by the lack of skills that one has in a particular area. Progressively I become aware of my technophobia and started grading my computer sessions in a different way by gradually shifting my rating towards the Valuable pole. The rating of the Valuable item was somehow very connected to the Hopeful Item and I think that the reason for that is that both were strongly related to the acquisition of new skills.

CONFUSING VS CLARIFYING

For me, the item Confusing vs Clarifying was strongly associated with the instruction. The confusing aspect was connected to the fact that I have a very hard time following the instructions. I guess that it was because at the beginning of the semester I knew nothing about computers. I was trying to follow the instructions, however nothing that I did worked. This sometimes gave me the impression that I was reading some sort of Chinese instructions with absolutely no clue on how to understand them and It was only after great effort that I gradually started making sense of it. It was during that process of clarification that I gradually proceeded forward in the assignment and as a result, the pattern of rating could be summarizes as follows. Usually, I started any exercise with a rating of confusing (-3) then gradually made sense of it and gradually shifted my rating toward the positive pole to finally reach on the day before the due date the item clarifying (+3).

DISCURAGING VS HOPEFUL

I like to view the world in a positive way, so I really did not liked the item "Discouraging" and that was why I chose to only use the item "Hopeful", however, I have to admit that there were few periods of great discouragement. One of the reasons I did not want to use the item discouraging was because I felt that it would just reinforce the negative feeling of discouragement that I was experiencing at the time. The main period of great discouragement was when I had to spend at least seven hours per day in the lab just to be able to meet the dead line for each exercise. The Hopeful item was also associated with the period in which I felt that I was acquiring new skills. In the Item Hopeful, +1 could be interpreted more as a neutral feeling where I was not really aware of the skill that I was acquiring; that period lasted until the middle of September. The item +2 & +3 represent a much clearer awareness of the skills that I was gaining along with a greater periods of enjoyment.

THE OVERALL PATTERN


It is very clear that there is an overall pattern when I look at the computer rating sessions. All the items that I had to rate were rating at the beginning of the semester in the most negative numbers. It was only after two to three weeks of rating that I gradually started to rate my sessions in a much more positive way, and this trend kept going until all my sessions were quite positive. However, the rating Stressful was the Item that took the longest to move toward a positive rating (the Pleasant pole). Besides the other exterior factors that were creating stress during those computer sessions; I think that the stress level took a long time to be reduced because of this total lack of computing skills. I was very surprised to notice that the stress level was reducing in relation to the amount of new skills that I was acquiring.

The implications for my future cyberspace citizenship are tremendous. First, it means that no matter how much the world of the computer will develop, I will now have the skills to learn the new technology and be able to participate to the huge exchange of information that will take place on the net. This means that I will not just take information, but I will be also able to give information as well. Secondly, it means that even though I have had a hard time in the beginning learning this new technology, I will gradually be able to enjoy my cyberspace citizenship. The third main thing I see now is that it is that very citizenship that contributed to developing the skill I needed in the cyberworld and this means that I am much more willing today to participate in an exchange of information within the cyber community. The implications that my experiences have for an Internet learner are actually very positive. This shows that if one puts all one's energy and mind to the process of learning, one will be able to transform all one's negative experience into positive and totally enjoy the use of the Internet.

THE PROCESS OF GETTING TO KNOW THE WEB

Today, many people get to know the Web and eventually become lifelong cyberspace citizens. The process of getting to know the cyberworld is like a traveler who decides to climb to the summit of a mountain in a distant country. First, the location where the traveler starts his journey varies greatly from one traveler to the next. In the same way, the knowledge that people have about computers and programs varies greatly from one individual to the next. As a result, from the beginning, their learning experience will differ greatly because of the difference in distances that they will have to travel to reach the mountain.

There are multiple paths that the traveler can chose to follow in order to reach the base of the mountain. In a similar way, one has the choice today between dozens of methods to make one familiar with cyberspace. The traveler, depending on the path he chooses, will have to develop different types of skills. Nevertheless, the most valuable of these skills are the basic skills that can be used no matter which path he chooses. In this class, we received general directions about how to arrive at the specific place we were suppose to go to (knowing enough of HTML to be able to publish our ideas on the Net and be able to acquire information from it). I think that the skills that we develop by trying to use general information toward unknown information, but also having to find out by ourselves how things work are the types of skill that will be useful no matter what kind of new technology we will have to acquire in the future.

When the traveler is actually climbing the mountain, he usually has to put in quite a lot of effort before he reaches the summit, and it is the same process that Internet learners go through. It is only through self-effort that the learner will become knowledgeable; of course, the amount of effort that needs to be experienced will be closely related to each individual computering background. However, effort is required, no matter what level you are at. The final step is when the traveler reaches the top of the mountain. It is usually at this moment that he starts to forget the effort of the climbing and really enjoys the scenery because of having the complete surrounding picture. In a similar way, it is when one has finished publishing all one's reports and has acquire one's cyberspace citizenship that the magical moment comes. The moment appears when one accomplishes that very last step of the ascension and finally can say, " I did it". In that very magical moment, all the difficulties of the ascension disappear to be replaced by the good moment and the satisfaction of having acquired so many new skills. It is in those kind of moments that you can say "Party time"

THE CHALLANGE

HERE IS THE SUMMARY OF FOUR EXPERIENCES THAT PRIOR GENERATIONS HAD IN THE CYBERWORLD. To read their reports, just click on their name.

Diane gives some tips on how to fight pessimism of the Internet learner. Diane's favorite way to combat Internet stress was to take a break at Manoa Garden with a vegetarian taco salad. She described week after week the experience that she had while she was engaged in the process of getting to know the Web. Diane pointed out how the class discussions were so helpful to her. Diane's report is written in a rather direct style and is fun to read, for example, check the section on fun things to do in an elevator.

Ross' report will also transport you step by step through all the experiences that she had during her session of Internet learning . She found that reading other student's work taught her many things, however Ross thought that it was extremely time consuming. Ross shares how difficult it was for her catch up when she felt behind with her work. She attributes the cause of that difficulty to the large amount information and new skills that one had to learn in this class. She talked about how helpful it was during that learning process to keep her hard drive and all her files very well organized. This organization helped her in the process of learning and saved her a lot of time. She finally gives a couple of suggestions to the teacher such as allowing more freedom in the homework.

Lori started the class of Leon James with absolutely no knowledge of the Internet, and Like Rose and Diane, she will share with you all the experiences that she had during the Internet learning process. She will take you week after week into her journey of learning when she experienced many frustrations and negative emotions during the process. Many of those emotions came from sitting in the lab for many hours straight and not being able to solve some of the problems that she encountered with her assignments. Nevertheless, she also described some of her positive experiences and the fun she had in some of the assignments. For example, she loved to play with the different buttons and like to see the screen as a labyrinth where she could explore all the different possibilities. She also mentions the fact that she get a great deal of satisfaction from the Internet during the process of learning.

Adams gave his vision of learning the Internet through four reports. He demonstrates that the learning process can be divided into three aspects of human behavior, the affective domain, the cognitive domain, and the sensory-motor domain. He gave advice and words of encouragement for future students. Adams pointed out the great potential that he sees in cybespace, and he also shared his experiences by the different search engines that he used for his research. While surfing on the Net, Adams discovered various links and documents that made his learning experience even richer. As a result, he gives to the reader the possibility of linking to the documents that enriched his learning experiences in some way.

THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES OF MY EXPERIENCES COMPARED TO OTHER GENERATIONS

Though it was extremely time consuming, I have to admit that reading all the different reports of the generational students was not such a bad idea. Those reports showed me that I was not the only one who had such a hard time completing the assignments, and that most of the students had a hard time in the beginning of the semester. For example, when I started the semester, I used to get so mad with the assignment because I had such a hard time with it. In the same way, Ross wrote in a report: " when I started this venture, I would get very upset" or "I started to feel very frustrated because things weren't linking Well. I remember that in the beginning of the semester, I used to experience such strong negative emotions against the computer that it got really scary one day; I felt I was going to break the damn computer in million pieces. In the same way, I can see that other people experienced the same type of strong emotions. For Example, Lori wrote in her report: " the negative emotions were very strong" or " emotions turned to hostility towards the computer, the other people in the CLIC Lab, and the CLIC Lab staff in general".

The striking similarities of the experiences are due to several basic steps through which everybody needs to go. Each of the steps contains a potential amount of negative and positive experiences. I think that the amount of negativity or positive energy that is released by each step will be strongly correlated with the types of computer skills one has for each of those steps, and I noticed that the pattern of experience was globally very similar for most of the students. The students that started with absolutely no knowledge about computering and the Internet had much more frustration and negative emotions compared to students who had some computer skill at the beginning of the semester. As a result, the only difference of experience that I saw was the rate at which people were switching from a negative experience to a positive one. In that rate, the people that had some types of computer skill were usually able to appreciate and enjoye the learning process much earlier than the other students.

THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES OF MY EXPERIENCES COMPARE TO MY CLASSMATES

Reading the reports of the adventures that my classmates had during this semester is a unique opportunity to see aspects of the learning experiences of others during our journey. Besides the fact that we were classmates, we also all followed the same instructions for our report; for this reason, learning that other people in the class experienced the same types of issues concerning the learning process is conforting in a way. It sort of validates my own experience in the cyberreality and confirms that we were all in the same boat. Moya points out in her report that the time factor was really important in this class, and she agreed that there were many skills that needed to be acquired in a short time. I can completely relate to that because I also a totally felt that this factor was a crucial aspect of our class. For me, the time variable was a very important factor in my learning process and particularly in the stress that I experienced during all my assignments.
It seems that most of us had difficult times in the beginning of the semester; for example lrapoza said" In the beginning, I really thought that I wasn't going to make it through the course." It is interesting to note that for most of us, the computer rating sessions started in the negative pole then gradually shifted towards the positive pole. I think that this is what makes life so beautiful because it shows that we all have the power to transform negative feelings into positive ones.

CONCLUSION

To be able to complete this report, I asked myself many questions about what I had actually experienced during the process through which I became a cyberspace citizen. I had to revisualize the different states of mind in which I found myself during this semester. I had to rethink the entire learning process from the first day I sat in front of the computer. I beneficiated from that thinking process in several ways. First it made me aware of new aspects of the learning process that I was not aware of previously. This new awareness helped me to put into perspective all the different things that I gained during this semester. I know now that no mater how hard a class is; if I focus all my energy on the problems that I encounter, I will be able to get through it no matter what.

Through this report I also gained a new awareness of the learning process in general and the state of mind that can arise from that process. Being more aware of the impermanent nature of the state of mind that arises in the process of acquiring new skills; compared with the beginning of the semester,I feel more able today to learn new things. By spending so many hours in front of the computer, I developed a quality that will be extremely useful when I work on my masters, this very useful quality is called endurance. Part of the report was to read and summarize the work of previous generations, and I have to point out that this aspect of the report helped greatly to enhance my understanding and help me develope a more comprehensive view of cyberspace and cyberpsychology in general.

I have three major pieces of advice to give to the future generation. The first advice is for students who generally take a heavy class load each semester. Knowing the amount of time students has to spend to complete the assignments; it might be a good idea to not take too many classes the semester you register for Cyberpsychology. This advice is specially directed to the students who have absolutely no knowledge on how to publish on the Net or how to create a web page. I notice that most of the students during the first half of the semester were experiencing great amounts of stress coupled with many frustrations and negative feelings. For this reason, I would advise all the students to learn and practice any form of relaxation or meditation techniques during the semester; these practices will make the process of learning smoother. The last advice I can give to anyone taking a cyberpsychology class is to hold on tight until the end and don't give up because the kinds of skill that you will acquire will be very useful for you future.
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