Acquiring Cyberspace Citizenship

Contents:

1. Instructions: Report 2

Link to Instructions for Report 2 for G7, 409af97

2. Data Collection

My Interpretations of the Data Which I Collected On Myself

3. Trials and Tribulations of Learning The Internet

My Personal Process of Learning the Internet

Summaries of Former Generational Students' Reports

Similarities and Differences Between Former Students' and Myself

A Comparison of Experiences Between Classmates

4. Conclusion

What I attained from this experience

Some Suggestions

Data Collection

Interpretation of Data

At the onset of this semester, I have been collecting data regrading my experiences while sitting in front of my computer, attempting to complete assignments. I was instructed to rate my feelings and experiences with the following rating scale. The scale used was a numbered scale. At one end of the spectrum was a -3, at the other end was a +3. These are the contrasting word pairs that were used to identify the feelings that may have been encountered: stressful/pleasant, dissatisfied/satisfied, wasted/valuable, confusing/clarifying, and discouraging/ hopeful.

I entered this class feeling confident, for I have surf the net numerous times, for pleasure and for the purpose of research. Therefore I felt I had some knowledge of the Internet and I would be all right. Little did I know! It quickly become quit apparent to me, that I really did not have a clue as to how complicated the Internet is. What made everything seem worst was that I needed to learn how to successfully and intelligently post all the assignment on the Internet. It was as if I were learning a new language, or a difficult new concept that I have never encountered before. Therefore my computer techno phobia surfaced rather strongly. So it is not surprising to note that during the beginning month, most of my ratings were at the negative end of the scale. I spent countless hours trying to figure out how to do the things assigned. A wide range of emotions flowed through me. Feeling of frustration, stress, and even hopelessness. At the beginning they were mostly negative but as time went on they finally leveled off and went towards the positive end of the spectrum.

In all aspects of life, anything new brings a sense of wonder and excitement. Upon entering this class, I felt this excitement. But experiencing how difficult this was it soon lead to a feeling of frustration and incompetence. Nevertheless as more time was spent, my level of understanding and competence increased. I think that most people can relate to this. So I feel that it is necessary for anyone entering the cyberspace community to realize that it is all right that they too may encounter these negative feelings, but that they are fleeting. I feel, the key for staying sane while working on the Internet is perseverence, and a positive attitude. Also to keep your focus on the end result and your accomplishments, no matter how big or small they may be.

What follows is a small sample of my data. You will notice how I started off feeling confident, then my feelings of incompetence, then my last entry, I have finally reached the positive end of the scale.

Date: 8/31/97. Time: 1:00 PM. Place: My home computer. Task: Parts 1 thru 4

Stressful/Pleasant: +1

Dissatisfied/Satisfied: +2

Wasted/Valuable: +1

Confusing/Clarifying: +1

Discouraging/Hopeful: +2

As you can see I'm doing all right. Feeling confident and hopeful. While working on Pine, doing e-mail, and the class list, I did run into some obstacles, but they were easy to overcome. But little did I know as you will see in my next sample.

Date: 9/ 14/97. Time: 10:00 AM. Place: My home computer. Task: Part 8.

Stressful/Pleasant: -2

Dissatisfied/Satisfied: -3

Wasted/Valuable: -3

Confusing/Clarifying: -3

Discouraging/Hopeful: -3

I thought I hit bottom. Whatever I was doing, didn't seem to work. I couldn't figure out why I was not saving my work properly. And just being introduced to the FTP files was so confusing. I was lost.

Date: 9/20/97. Time: 11:00 AM. Place: My home computer. Task: Part 9 and 10

Stressful/Pleasant: -3

Dissatisfied/Satisfied: -3

Wasted/Valuable: -3

Confusing/Clarifying: -3

Discouraging/Hopeful: -3

Now I really hit bottom. All my scores are on the extreme negative end. Having the hardest time uploading my files. They didn't look right. Everything I was doing, seemed to be taking forever. I was so frustrated. I must have walked away from my computer numerous times within this one session. But I kept coming back for more punishment. That's what it felt like, that I was being punished for something. I woke up at 3:00 AM in a cold sweat, worrying that I would never get this. And I couldn't afford to fail this class. Extreme anxiety was being felt.

Date: 11/2/97. Time: 1:00 PM. Place: My home computer. Task: Report 2

Stressful/Pleasant: +1

Dissatisfied/Satisfied: +2

Wasted/Valuable: +2

Confusing/Clarifying: +2

Discouraging/Hopeful: +3

These are what my scores were looking like towards the end of my assignments. I had posted Report 1, with a lot of effort, but I felt good about it. I had accomplished a lot. Report 2 seemed much easier to post and I actually quite enjoyed it. I could now breath easier.

Trials and Tribulations of Learning the Internet

My Personal Process

As stated before I have surfed the net hundreds of times. Through my experiences in this class I have come to understand that surfing the net and understanding the net is two different concepts. I now realize that I was not an active participant. I would download, e-mail, search topics, and view newsgroups, but until this class I didn't know that the Internet had so much more to offer. I think the process of getting to know the web and becoming a lifelong cyberspace citizen, is the continuous usage of the web. The more one experiences and actively encounters the web, the more they can internalize and feel comfortable on the web. I have found that knowing how to create a web page, and knowing what each click of the mouse does, really increased my knowledge and understanding of the web. I now have greater respect of the Internet, and I can say that I am an active participant.

Summaries of Former Generational Students

Diane Beauchemin

On this site Diane expresses her interpretations of her Internet experience. Besides giving a general overview on what was expected, she was very open and honest about her whole experience. She believes observing one's thoughts and feelings while working on the web was important. That being honest was essential, and that maybe one should leave their ego outside of the whole Internet experience. She feels this was essential part of the class, so that future generations may learn and get a better understanding of the processes and experiences that are commonly shared. By reading her report, I also noted that having a sense of humor is extremely important. Some of Diane's comments were rather amusing.

Rebecca Ross

Rebecca also gives an overview of her experiences during the time spent on her assignments. She comments on how time consuming each assignment was, and how it is best not to procrastinate. During the semester she got sick, therefore she fell behind. Playing catch up was very difficult and frustrating. She also noted that through reading other students reports, they too felt and thought the same way about a lot of things. That they too were experiencing the same emotions she was having. This was a comfort to her and she used this as a guiding force to complete her work.

Lori Morita

On this site you are connected to Lori's home page which links you to her weeks of participation on the net. Her weeks reports are a systematic and in depth view on her experiences while working on her assignments. While reading her weekly reports I really got a sense of who she was. She expressed her negative and positive reactions that she was encountering. By reading all of her efforts, it appeared she was a very positive person. Even when she stated the negative reactions, she seemed to turn it around, and expressed how much she had learn. Her reports were easy to follow and understand, and I could see from week to week how much she had progressed and grown.

Shane Cobb-Adams

Here Shane describes that all learning takes place through three domains of human behavior. The affective domain which is the feelings and emotions one has, the cognitive domain which is the thought processes we have, and the sensory-motor domain which is one's actions, the doing domain. He connects these domains to the learning process of the Internet. He also states that while learning the Internet he applied these three domains to his own learning style. He briefly describes his feelings on reading other students reports, and at the close of his report leaves the reader with hope. That he is a survivor of Dr. James class, and that it can be done.

Similarities and Differences

After reading the four students' reports that have just been summarized, I came away from that experience feeling so much better. I was left feeling relieved and hopeful. It was as if I had been freed from the anxiety that I have been feeling by this class. The students expressed their feeling candidly and honestly. But with each report that I read, common themes and emotions were present. These themes and emotions I have also experienced. Therefore I felt a strong bond with these students. I was not alone in my quest for a better understanding of the Internet. I was not the only one feeling anxious and confused.

The apparent emotions and thoughts while first learning the Internet seemed to be negative ones. The students all discussed their feelings of frustrations, confusion, and incompetency. They also mentioned how time consuming the assignments were and the need to keep up. But as the weeks went by you could see how each one of them settled down, and found that it got easier with perseverance and hard work. Towards the end I got a sense that were now enjoying what they did. They were feeling a pride in their accomplishments. Therefore more positive emotions were stressed. I can say the same for myself. I now sit at my computer with the feeling of hope, that I too will accomplish something wonderful. The dread and fear that I felt at the beginning of this semester has dissipated. (Thank God!)

In these reports I also found common behaviors that were presented to help the students deal with the stress that they experience. A lot of humor was used in these reports. This mechanisms truly helped the students cope. Also the fact that they knew and saw that their classmates and prior students where experiencing the same things, seemed to be a guiding force, for all. Just to know that your classmates are in the same boat, has definitely helped me. Another common behavior that I noted was the growth of the students. By reviewing each week from start to finish I could see that attitudes and emotions changed as time went by. It was as if the students has reshaped their thought processes. I know I have experienced this. I started this course completely phobic, but not anymore. Therefore I had to change some of my perceptions, thought processes, and also a lot of my attitudes.

I didn't really find much differences with these students. The obvious ones where on how the material was presented. The styles and emphasis put on the subject matter may have been different. But there was a common attitude and emotional content presented in each.

I think one reason why there was a commonality about the emotions and attitudes expressed was because most of the students entered the class with no idea on how difficult it would be. To most it was all new and seemed so foreign. I know when I am learning something so foreign like this, I feel a wide range of negative emotions. When I was enrolled in my two years of Hawaiian Language, I felt that was the hardest thing I ever learned. I thought I would never make it. But I did, and it was a great learning experience. As the other students have expressed, they have gained so much from this class, I too know that I will leave with a sense of great accomplishment and knowledge. I feel all the really hard classes do this.

Comparison of Experiences Between Classmates

After viewing the reports of two other classmates, I was again reminded of the similarities of attitudes and emotions that were expressed. By viewing their files it was not surprising to note that we had expressed common views. Moya stressed the importance of understanding and how it affects one's perceptions and attitudes. She stated that the less she understood the more negative her reactions became. Reactions such as, discouraging, confusing, and a feeling that time had been wasted, were noted. I found this to be so true. When I left class knowing that I didn't understand, I just knew that when I got home and did my assignments, my frustration level was going to go through the roof.

Philippe also pointed out that when he did not understand the instructions, he too felt confused and dissatisfied with his experiences on the computer. He also expressed, as I did, that it was as if he were learning a whole new language. His impression was that he felt as if he were reading the instructions in Chinese. I certainly could relate to that. During the first month I felt as if I were learning a new foreign language, that I would never grasp. Better yet that I was to old to grasp.

In each of these reports we all started out on the negative side of the scale. But I am happy to say that through hard work and the drive to succeed, we all ended up at the positive end of the scale. We will have left this class, I feel, with a strong conviction that we have learned something great. And we will be better people because of it.

Conclusion

After all the experiences and emotions that this report and this class has elicited, I must confess that it has been a great learning experience. One that will not be forgotten easily. By being forced to monitor and collect data on our experiences while working at our computers, it has open up a window of understanding. Not only the understanding of intricate workings of the Internet, but most importantly learning the complexities of ourselves. I now have a better understanding of the ways in which I learn. I am now more aware of the things that motivated me, what my frustration level is, and now how to deal with it. Before starting these assignments, I would take a moment to clear my head. I knew that what I would be doing would not be easy, therefore I would try to collect myself and clear myself of any other stressors that I was feeling. I knew I had to attach these assignments with a positive attitude. So I would take a few minutes, to pray for patience and endurance. I would convince myself that I could do this. When I knew I couldn't deal with my frustration levels, I simply walked away from the computer for a break, and came back later to start the process fresh. I now know that it is extremely important to know one's limits. It's better to walk away for something that you have no power over or feel that you cannot control. When I did not walk away and by frustration built, I notice that my kids would fell my anger, for they were the closest ones that I would displace my anger on. To prevent this I simply had to walk away from my computer.

By doing all of this, this class has reconfirmed that anything is possible with perseverence and diligent hard work. In the beginning I really thought that I wasn't going to make it through this course, but my experiences have proved to me that nothing is impossible, and that I can endure more than I dreamed possible. I really needed to validate these feelings. These reports have made that possible.

The best possible advice I can give to any future generation student would be simply, Don't Give Up. When entering Cyberpsychology, one should be warned that a lot of time and tremendous effort needs to be put forth to complete this course. But the benefits that can be reaped makes all the difference. Simply by not giving up, one can learn so much. One will leave with a vast amount of information regrading the Internet. They will acquire skills that can be extremely useful in the future. But to me, I feel more importantly they will learn a lot about themselves. And they will leave this course feeling a great sense of accomplishment and pride. What a great way to boost one's self-confidence. I would also like to advise future students to do what works best for them. Being a Christian, I am not ashamed to say that praying really got me through this course. Through my strong conviction that nothing is impossible in God, I wouldn't have made it. I feel it is important for future students to really examine themselves while going through this course. Doing the assignments is not enough. They can learn so much about themselves and what they are capable of. Find strategies that will help themselves through this class, for me it was the power of prayer. For others, meditation or relaxation techniques may be useful. But whatever works for these future students, I say go for it, and most importantly Don't Give Up.



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My Exploration of the Generational Curriculum Labyrinth | My Home Page | My Report 1 on: Identifying Attitudes Through Newsgroups Messages | My Report 2 on: Acquiring Cyberspace Citizenship| My Newsgroups Report | Our G7 Class Home Page | Dr. Leon James Home Page



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