It’s hard to believe that my amazing journey in the global studies class is coming to an end. The journey has been so much more enjoyable than I initially expected. I enjoyed the class materials as doctor Maha and all my colleagues did a very good job in making a unique atmosphere for the class that we felt like we all connected to each other and that made an easier conversations between us which does not usually happen in any other class. I also felt that this made the information and learning come much easier. This course taught me a lot of beneficial things about myself, things that I will use in my academic life and career, and things that I will use in my social life. I gained knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Starting with the things that I have learned about myself and the things I will be use in my social life, was that I am able to communicate with different people from different cultures, being able to discuss things with others and being able to accept and respect the differences. What helped me learn that was being part of soliya connect program as it is an online full academic curriculum, and it is such a cross cultural program that provides online dialogue sessions. It was very fruitful to discuss and share ideas with people from different communities with different cultures and different point of views. I have learned how to be accepting, tolerant and open to new things. Even though I am not usually an active person during discussions and I feel more comfortable in face to face discussions, I challenged myself and it was a very useful and interesting experience for me. Also, I know that this experience will benefit me a lot in my future and in finding more about our changing world. And this is the link of my Soliya reflection blog post: https://mayarwaleed.wordpress.com/2019/12/01/soliya-reflection/.
We have used many different tools and technologies in this class that I will be using a lot in my academic life and my career, like Blackboard and Google docs which are the familiar ones, and Slack, Twitter, Hypothes.is, WordPress, and Soliya’s platform which were somehow new to us. We have also tried to use Google slides and Google forms which are familiar tools but in a new and creative way that helped us in creating our digital narrative games, and this is the link of our “Thinking Of The Unthinkable” game using Google slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1MksQiGA1zFBDNS1kcpsvbWkJQW9-wGZUZPohjjLTgHc/edit#slide=id.p. Using all these different tools have helped us knowing how to use many different platforms, what platform to use to support our needs, when to choose a certain platform, and why we choose that platform. We have learned digital literacy in a progressive way that made sense to us and helps us understand better and in a clear way. I have already written another reflection about tools and this is the link to my tools reflection: https://mayarwaleed.wordpress.com/2019/12/05/tools-reflection/.
I truly believe that readings and videos also helped me in being a critical thinker and a good listener to be able to reflect on them by writing a blog post or by discussing the ideas with the class. I realized after reading the article “Knowing the difference between digital skills and digital literacies, and teaching both”, how important it is to know the meaning of digital literacy, and how it differs from digital skills and I have never thought of it before. I found that digital skills are just about knowing what tools to use and how to use certain tools or technologies, while digital literacy focuses on learning to harness these tools to enhance your learning and your success as a student, and know when to use these tools, and for whom. I think if anyone had asked me what the difference between these words before reading this article I would have probably assumed that they all meant the same thing. I have also reflected on that reading, and this is the reflection link: https://mayarwaleed.wordpress.com/2019/10/14/reflection-onknowing-the-difference-between-digital-skills-and-digital-literacies-and-teaching-both/.
Moving to the in class and slack discussions, I gained a lot of knowledge from our class discussions which were the best thing in this class. Through in class and slack discussions, I have improved my analytical skills. Discussions allowed me to think of many different aspects of the same topic as each one of my colleagues was contributing on the same topic differently and looking at everything from different perspectives. That helped me a lot in gaining knowledge, having a deeper analysis, and opening my horizons. We were also communicating outside the class using Slack. Our doctor created a random channel on slack for us to talk about things unrelated to class which was very interesting. Although I was not that active in discussions, I used to read everything written and that helped me in getting a lot of information as we were talking about many different things not just what it is related to the class, and fortunately these discussions were very fruitful. I have learned how to communicate ideas in a creative way. I have learned how to engage in constructive conversations where I learn about different cultures and contexts. I think that communication and debating skills are very important because when you learn how to communicate and negotiate in a peaceful way , you will become a more tolerant person when it comes to learning about differences. These things were useful as they do not end with the course, but I believe that these discussions will always be beneficial and I will always be using these attitudes and skills I gained in my social life.
Being safe and secure online is just as critical as being able to communicate and collaborate. Because if we are not safe while doing so, then I believe that we could cause more harm than good. And that what I have learned from the Online security lesson course that I chose in my “digital literacies choose your own pathway” assignment. This lesson course was about learning how to manage and maintain a safe and secure online presence. I have learned in this course how to choose strong passwords, understanding and avoiding malware and phishing attacks and some simple strategies to stay secure online. This will always help me in my social life. I have also written a reflection about it, and this is the link: https://mayarwaleed.wordpress.com/2019/12/14/digital-literacies-choose-your-own-pathway/. We should also be able to know how to protect our identity, accounts, data and to what extent we want our digital footprints grow. Another important aspect of digital literacy is to educate others to not just accept information, especially with the increase of fake news, biased reports and journals, one must have the skill to think critically about whether or not a certain claim is true instead of just accepting whatever information is presented simply because it was founded on the internet.
If I were to show someone my learning in this course, I would use my blog posts to show people how I have learned from this course as it contains the whole assignments and reflections I have done throughout the semester. This was very beneficial and comfortable to be able to see all your work in one place and to go back and check everything you have learned from the course.
Our class was more than amazing as we were all passionate and I have learned a lot not only from doctor maha but also from each one of my colleagues in this class and that what made this class a unique one. I DON’T think that this course needs anything to change to be better. But I can say that the in class discussions were the best and the most beneficial thing in that class, so I think if there are more in class discussions and debates about many different topics that would be perfect. What actually was a bit confusing in this course was the lots of deadlines, so putting all the assignments in a table like what the doctor has done with the last four assignments would be more helpful and more organizing. So, you don’t have to go and check the date of each assignment on blackboard as you know you will find it in one organized place. This will help students not to be stressed out. slack also made us more connected so I think that having a random channel on slack will help to always have that unique atmosphere we had in the upcoming classes.
I think any kind of person would find this course beneficial and interesting. However, I think it will be more interesting to the sociable person, to the one who knows how to contribute and gain information from discussion, and to the one who wants to be open to other cultures and to communicate with people across the world through different platforms.
I like how doctor Maha encourage everyone to work on the things he/she loves as a part of the assignment as we were given opportunities to make choices over what we focused on, and how we presented our learning and we all appreciated that. She allowed us to present what we have learned through whatever way we are comfortable with and that was amazing. We were able to write about it, to create a video that illustrates what you want to say, or even record what you want to say which made everything way easier to all of us. And I believe that it is not important how you are gonna present the thing but how you are able to clarify what you have learned and to illustrate your main points of view.
It is very essential for people to realize that because of the increase of people using the internet and with all of the technological advancements the world is facing everyday, we have to constantly deal with people from other cultures and as a result, we must learn how to be tolerant, accepting and open to new things. This course was not a typical or a normal course, it taught me in a creative way about using the digital world that relates greatly to our generation’s interests.