Check out my final reflection on the course! Hope you like it!
When I was asked to write a reflection paper on the Soliya experience, I honestly had mixed feelings. On one hand, I remembered the discussion about gender equality, which I really liked, and on the other hand, I remembered some boring moments, too, unfortunately. Despite the fact that I was bored in the first two sessions, the last two were fun: we got to tackle some controversial topics such as gender equality.
Soliya dialogue in the Connect Program Compact was actually a very different experience than other types of online communication programs. It has a goal, which makes it different in a fairly good way. It’s also different because you are put in a room with people, supposedly, from around the world, and you have to start talking with them on different topics, which has its pros and cons. Its prose, in my opinion, is that it makes people around the world feel closer, opens the gates for brainstorming and exchanging ideas, and makes the world seem as if it is a small one because of the facility of the exchange of cultures and ideas. These points were really obvious in the Soliya experience. I made friends from the United States, Tunisia, and other parts of the world. We even still communicate until this moment. On the other hand, the cons of this platform, in my opinion, are similar to any other online communication platform. I think that people misuse these platforms in a way that easily connects them with people that live far away from them, but builds walls between them and people who they love and ruins their face-to-face, social life.
Some other experiences that I’ve learned from the Soliya experience, aside from knowing new people from all around the world as previously mentioned, is the fact that I’ve understood who I am more and what things I really like to engage in and what are things that bore me and make me feel uncomfortable when people are talking about to an extent that I would refrain from participating or sharing my opinion. I think I wouldn’t have understood who I really am if I didn’t go through this experience.
I think there are several ways that people can foster constructive communication both online and face-to-face interactions, one of which is exploring several platforms similar to Soliya where it is easier to interact with people of different backgrounds and opinions. But an important point is to make sure to balance between the digital and the face-to-face contact, not to fall into the trap of digital or literal isolation.
Finally, I believe that Soliya’s experience was a good one, yet needs some changes, for example, it needs to limit the part where people have to introduce themselves, which took four hours, and some changes similar to that. I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend, except if these changes were made.
One of the things that really interest me and push me to read more and more in the field that I love the most, which is human rights, is the United Nation’s actions towards people in general. I already know what the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are and I think that they are really important and people should put them in consideration. In my opinion, all seventeen goals are as important as one another. I mean these goals have to be met in order to get a country to flourish and develop. Identifying only three of them as the most important is a very difficult task that I certainly cannot do. For instance, many people would think that abolishing hunger, having clean water, and having a shelter are the three most important goals, but in my opinion, these goals alone won’t lead to development. They would definitely lead to the survival of a nation, but it will stay as it is. I believe that education, equality, good health and well-being, equal consumption and production, and environmental actions are very important factors that should never be disregarded.
Citizenship in my opinion is not a word that should be taken literally, instead, it should be felt by a person. All around us, we see people who have several nationalities and are declared as citizens in several countries, but feeling citizenship takes way much more than living in a country or holding a passport with a country’s name. I believe that everyone has a sense of citizenship since the day that they were born. A person feels as a citizen of a country when s/he feels that s/he is a part of it, when s/he feels safe and comfortable in it, when s/he knows that no matter what the country’s economic or social status is, s/he won’t be able to think of replacing it with another country. Citizenship saves a place in your heart for your country no matter how bad it may seem.
Digital confidence Profile:
- The digital confidence profile was actually pretty good. I thought it gave me an opportunity to know what I am really capable of. And shockingly, I didn’t think I was able to do so many digital stuff. I am a person who is not really into technologies and stuff, but after this quiz/exercise, I found out that I am capable of doing so much stuff that I thought everyone knew how to do. My school gave us digital training since first grade, so I’ve got a pretty good technological background. But as I just mentioned, I thought everyone around me knew what I knew. I thought that editing videos, using photoshop, and understanding firewalls were basics that everyone who uses a computer should know how to do these stuff. But when I started answering the test, I automatically started by choosing the lowest level of all the questions that were asked (I think you should take this test inn order to understand what exactly I am talking about). But as I read the explanation of each choice, I’ve realized that I was underestimating myself to a certain extent. The results were all the same in all categories (the diagram attached below will explain what I am saying better). I think I have equal feelings about my results, I mean I am ok with the results, confident about them, and I don’t feel the urge to change or improve some of my skills. Of course, I would to improve my digital skills, but I mean I don’t see that the skills that I am having now are some sort of an obstacle that prevents me from doing stuff online.
Digital Literacies for Online Learning:
- The second part of the task was to explore parts of the course Digital Literacies for Online Learning. In order to Finnish this part of the task, I had to finish two subtasks. The first one was to search for definitions and research some terms in order to understand the differences between some very important terms in the digital literacies field. This helped me develop my own definition of digital literacies, digital skills, and made me understand what were the most important digital skills that were demanded by the market nowadays. The second part of this task was to read and annotate Professor Maha Bali’s article entitled Knowing the Difference Between Digital Skills and Digital Literacies. I think that both tasks depend on one another because in order to fully comprehend professor Bali’s article, a person should have some sort of background on digital literacies and skills. On the other hand, the article explains what was asked in the first part of the exercise in a more practical way. She refers to how she teaches the subject, which I see very useful.
- I think the most important elements of digital literacies, depending on the definitions of digital literacies that I read, would be the ability of a person to communicate effectively with others and being aware of the myriad of traps that he or she can fall in. Another important element of digital literacies is evaluating the sources of your information. This is a very important point that many people disregard, unfortunately. If I was asked to relate digital literacies in general to the Egyptian context I would say that a big percentage of the Egyptian population now is being more digitally literate compared to the past years. Since the rise of the Arab spring and until now, people somehow knew how social media and technologies in general can literally change a country’s fate. Even myself as a well educated individual, I think that I owe a lot of my digital knowledge to the circumstances I was put in as an Egyptian.
- The third and final task in this assessment was to explore two quick (around 25 minutes) online lessons.
- The first lesson that I chose was a lesson about blogging. Although I had a background on blogging, I actually learned a lot of new information in a very little amount of time. One of the most important things that I’ve learned was the difference between journals and blogs, VLR and normal blogs, and public and premium blogging websites. I really loved the idea of the lesson because it was so simple, yet super informative!
- The second lesson that I chose was about digital identities or in other words Managing your online identity and reputation. We have discussed digital footprints in class before, but I also thought that this was a very informative lesson and not at all redundant. This lesson, along with other exercises that I did in this assessment, made me aware of how we are sometime (if not all the times) we (or our information to be more specific) are used by corporations in order to trap us in advertisements that may interest us in some way. The lesson mainly talks about the different prints that we leave on the web that facilitates the process of manipulation that corporations tend to do. The lesson also talks about the risks that social media can sometimes put us in risks and forces us to lose the sense of real life communication. So, we can conclude that when we access social media, which is the thing that most of us do first thing in the morning, we are actually manipulated by both the advertisements that corporations post on our feeds and by the specific social media corporation itself (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.) This lesson made me think more about protection when using social media more than I actually had in mind, because honestly, as an ordinary person in some sense, I didn’t really care what websites do I access or what passwords do I use. I always thought of myself as useless for a hacker, but what I found out is that threats are not only from hackers, normal, well-known corporations can actually be a bigger threat.
- I think that the idea of the short lessons were actually great. As mentioned before, they were very concise, yet very informative, straight to the point and not confusing. I loved the badges thing although it may sound stupid, though. I thought that the badges thing encouraged me to try answering all the questions in the test at the end correctly for some reason.
All in all, I thought that this assignment was really a good one. Despite how long and time consuming it was, (and how I had to reflect on it using more than 1000 words) I really learned some new stuff that I think wouldn’t have learned without it. The task was long, but I thought it was clear and the steps were simple. It really changed my view on technology and made me understand my technological capabilities more. It also affirmed and rapped up what we had in class since the beginning of the semester. In the same time, it worked as a summary for a big chunk of the material that we had in the Global Literacies class.
Below, I’ll include some links that I used while doing this assignment, a link of the assignment if you’re not familiar with it, a graph of the first task of the assessment (as mentioned above), and some information (they are mainly answers to the questions of one of the assessments) that I found that I think would be interesting and beneficial for you if you continued reading this article…
Definitions of Digital literacy
- Wikipedia definition of digital literacy: Digital literacy refers to an individual’s ability to communicate, search for information, and use applications on various digital platforms like social media, email servers and search engine.
- Cornell University defines digital literacy as ‘the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet’
- Are any skills related to being digitally literate. Anything from the ability to find out your high-score on Minesweeper to coding a website counts as a digital skill.
- How much digital literacy do I need to have in the work place is a question that can’t be answered because of the fact that it is subjective from one job to the other. So you can’t actually specify how much skills you need. Inn fact, digital literacy was described by some people as a language, the more skills you have, the better you can fluently speak this language.
- All jobs will require some level of digital skills
- Digital skills maybe as simple as replying to e-mails or as complex as programming a complex platform that is used my multinational firms.
- Digital skills can change the workplace drastically. It can make it a freer and simpler place to navigate.
- List of Digital skills that companies are looking for.
1) Programming and Web Development
2) App development
3) Digital Design
4) Project Management
5) Product management
6) Digital Marketing
7) Social Media
8) Data Analytics
9) International Team Working Experience
- is the ability to find, evaluate and use digital information effectively, efficiently and ethically.
- Digital fluency is the aptitude to effectively and ethically interpret information, discover meaning, design content, construct knowledge, and communicate ideas in a digitally connected world.
Link of the assignment: https://diglit.creativitycourse.org/class-resources/exploring-digital-literacies-activity/
When we were first assigned to participate in Soliya, I thought that I will really enjoy it and wait for it every week, but unfortunately, I felt the total opposite. Due to some tech difficulties in the first, I lost nearly three-quarters of the session and couldn’t engage properly. Once got over all the tech issues, I understood what they were doing. The activity was that everyone should say seven aspects that shape his or her identity. I loved this activity at first and I thought it would be interesting to see what people believe shapes their identities, but once we started the exercise, people started literally coying each other and saying the same things over and over again, which I thought was a total waste of time. After that, we wrapped up our session with a survey and agreed on a topic to discuss next session. The topic wasn’t really of my interest, but I was ok with it.
The next session, I was a little late due to some issues (my fault not tech…), but I didn’t miss anything. They were sharing this seven aspect thing again and I listed mine. Surprisingly, we stayed the WHOLE session doing the same exercise and we didn’t even finish!!! I was so mad honestly because I literally learned nothing and it was a waste of time.
The sessions, in general, are too long and I think the facilitator should assign everyone to a maximum amount of time (like 2-3 minutes or so) not to stay two sessions (which are four whole hours) discussing the same topic and repeating what we say over and over again. I also think the sessions were too long in general, I think that they should be shorter.
I really wish next sessions would be better and more fun. I’ll also try my best to find understand what the goals of the exercises are. I don’t mean that this was a total waste of time, I actually learned a little bit about people of different places in the world. But the problem is that many people in my group are Egyptians. I learned, for example, a little bit about rights of Tunisian women (it’s a topic that I read about a couple of months ago). But I don’t think that what I learned is worth learning in four hours.
I think the article was a great one especially because I’ve always been interested in women rights. Although I am interested in women’s rights, I never thought of the obstacles that women of color face. Maybe because of the fact that race/color issues are not prevailing in our country and culture. But this article got me thinking of women of color in places like Saudia Arabia. Saudia Arabian government deprives women of many rights by claiming that they are doing so in order to fulfill their religious duties. Also, I’ve visited Saudia Arabia several times and I saw how people there treat people of color (knowing that a big part of the population is black). No matter how good a person is, if he or she is black, he or she is automatically treated as if he or she is of a lower class. Some of the individuals believe that people of color there are descendants of slaves because of the history of slavery that the country had. Which makes the society hierarchal in a sense.
From my understanding of the article, intersectionality is the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. For example women of color, disabled gays, etc.
The article made me think that some people are really having a hard time just living, and the simplest of actions requires great courage and energy for them to do. After reading this article, I think I’ll have to think of people and stand in their shoes more to try to understand what they really feel like and try to make their lives easier. And as always I remembered Oprah Winfrey’s quote “anything you can imagine, you can create.” This really inspires and I think should inspire every single woman out there!
I heard this podcast while doing some work that had to be done emergently, but I really loved it! It showed me how words and actions are so powerful and that sometimes people can get manipulated by others so easily. It also showed me how people can be so dangerous when in the first place they’re not; only the circumstances that they were put in changed them and made them act that way.
I was trying to get a catchy example, but I couldn’t unfortunately… What popped up in my mind was how my parents treated my siblings and me since we were kids. I can observe this right now because I have a younger brother who is a troublemaker and I see how he gets affected by how my parents express their opinions on him or the way they talk to him. To make it clearer and simpler, as a teenager, my younger brother doesn’t accept any kind of blame and thinks that he’s always rights, which is apparently incorrect. When he does something wrong and my parents decide to punish him, they have to talk to him in a certain way to make him feel that he is wrong but at the same time not targeted or not bullied. I hope this makes any sense.. haha.
Also, the same thing happens in school sometimes the way teachers talk to students really affect their performance and behavior. For instance, if a student is not academically perfect, the teacher has the power to show him that he or she is capable of doing better without hurting him and by encouraging him to do better, but at the same time and by a little bit of change in words, the teacher can ruin the kid’s self-esteem and confidence and cause him to fail.
This really made me think that our psychology and personality is a really complicated thing, but can simply be affected by the slightest of changes.
Link to the Podcast: https://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/485603559/flip-the-script