I have been thinking for a very long time about how to write or even start this, should I make it funny? Because that’s the way I cope with anything. A brief example of how uncertain I am, is that this sentence is written two days after the one before it. This reflection is an emotional thing for me as it marks the end of truly one of the best classes I attended if not the best one overall, so this means there will be a lot of things said here that may resemble signs of grief as my definition of grief is basically love or passion that still wants to be given, however, it cannot be.
To get into the reflection, I will be talking about the three major aspects of any course separately then finishing up with the general reflection and how it personally impacted me and made me widen my view of how to use things and in life in general. The three aspects are as follows:
- The class; the students that made up the class.
- The Professor; Dr. Maha Bali, the class instructor.
- The Course; the material and the content itself.
Some of these aspects might appear to have redundant info, because as we said in class, most things happen to be intertwined as it is rare to find branches of the same tree independent from the others. Some info will be in the general reflection later on because I don’t really know where to put them. You can probably skip to the general reflection if the thing is too long.
The people in this class are just amazing. During the class, many discussions were had, ranging from hilarious to collective tragedy reactions. The classroom has witnessed amazing things happen in it throughout the semester, friendships were made like Zeina and I sharing music every now and then and talking about things that matter to us. In many discussions, the intellect of the people really kicked in, with Fahmy’s information about many topics, Khaled’s analytical way of thinking and these are just some of the many examples that were on top of my head. There were many times that we as a class were joking and talking about “Ma7shy” with Farah who is always hungry for some reason, talking about how kids nowadays are smarter than us in the technological aspects and many more. I am going to stop listing things that I like about the people I took the class with as because the list can extend beyond the wildest dreams, I will just say that these people really changed the dynamic and the structure of the course, from shifting conversations mid class, to friendly and fun interactions. It was like we were all friends before the class even started, where in fact most of us didn’t even know each other.
The content of the course is one of the most functional things I have ever studied, as most of my courses that I take with the university have no real value outside of an office or the classroom unlike this course. The course stepped into the topic of segregation and separation early on, I was wondering then what does that have to do with digital literacies, and then we stumbled into the programming bias and I was like oh that’s why, the idea of programmers controlling what the world sees and how the world functions with their biases being conscious or unconscious such as google, google can change the world’s opinion about a topic with tweaks to the search results about said topic. This topic, the programming bias, was in fact one of the most interesting to me because before this course I had no idea what was going on beyond the screens of my devices but now I have a picture, and I really think there should be more sessions with Sava and other readings about the subject for future classes. The empathy challenge was perhaps the most engaging part of the course, as we learned the difference between pity, sympathy and empathy we were instructed to create our own narrative game that raises awareness about a certain topic and it was loneliness in my case, a major cause to the start of depressive symptoms. Making the game was a good learning experience, first I researched a topic that interesting to me and is also important to life as we know it and I am pretty sure that everyone else researched a topic they fancied as well. Secondly, during the creation of the game a passion in me was reawakened as a person who wants to pursuit a carrier in game development which might seem unrelated to the course, however the versatility of the course offers that luxury to almost everyone as we have so many things to do that are fun and educational with an arsenal of tools to fulfil that thing in one of the many different methods, that being annotations, videos, podcasts and much more. Finally, the creation of my game gave me the lifelong lesson of how to think outside the box, using google slides in a way that makes you learn how to use the features that were meant to do A and switch it to a tool that you can use to do B,C…Z. I wont talk about the tools anymore as it was already covered in the tools reflection on my blog.
Speaking of the blog, the blog was a very nice way to deliver assignments and interact with the course as it conveys the idea of casual and writing that is only bound by the writer itself and not by the confines of the institute.
Another thing I loved about the course is the data DETOX kit where we learned so many things about the design patterns and how companies use the human brain against the users to make money, disregarding the effects it will have on the users. That also widened our perspective about online security and privacy and be more aware with the terms and conditions of the things we use.
The Professor (Don’t know why but I read it in Spanish, Casa De Papel much :p)
The cherry on top of the brownie Sunday, Dr Maha. Dr Maha is one of the most considerate and passionate people I have ever encountered, carrying genuine care and interest with her students. Dr Maha had very interesting things she liked doing during class, for example when people side talked the Dr did not tell them to stop talking but to lower their voice so the other people speaking don’t get disturbed. One of the most impactful thing that actually restored a bit of my faith in humanity, which was when we were having a conversation about a dark topic, suicide and the Dr texted me mid class if I am alright since she knows my history with dark thoughts, till this day I smile whenever I remember this incident. Caring about her students and giving them many options on how to do things unlike traditional professors and offering almost instant feedback that is both useful and eye opening. To be honest, If I talked about how amazing the Dr is the list will literally never end. The Dr. also used to gets us food almost every other class, like dates, chocs or even baked goods.
Now for the general reflection, I can’t believe I have reached this far in the reflection which really means it is all coming to an end, after three months of being together as an amazing class studying an amazing course under the instruction of an amazing Dr. Even missing one class, because I was ill or busy was a thing I regret doing and really wished that I have never missed even that one class.
In this class we had no exams or no quizzes, however, we had many mini assignments, even those felt like the workload was light as they were very fun and interesting, most of them being a soul search that makes one dig deeper into his essence and figure more about oneself. The classes normally felt like a group of friends having a fun and useful discussions in a classroom with wonderful activities like the privilege walk we had, which makes me suggest that for the next classes, there should be more classes outdoors.
A very personal opinion is that the course needs to be a tad bit more challenging as for me, the favorite thing I like about courses like this is to challenge my self to come up with good ideas and things like that.
One of the most things I loved about this class are the open flow discussions, in which we discussed stuff varying from educational like the course material, to the personal and sometimes hilarious arguments.
One final thing I would like to mention, is the slack conversations where we discussed many things and shared valuable thoughts as well as beloved music, where we got to know each other beyond the confides of just classmates.
Thank you all for giving me an amazing experience. Will sure as hell miss you all ❤