Final Reflection

                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:

  1. The class; the students that made up the class.
  2. The Professor; Dr. Maha Bali, the class instructor.
  3. 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 Class

                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 Course

                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.

General Reflection

                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 ❤

Assignment Three

                                                              While scrolling through the assignments this one caught my eye due to it being a thing that crosses my mind often, the view of life through other species’ eyes so of course I had to jump on it. the assignment statement “What if plants and animals could all communicate without humans understanding? Write either about a conversation between two non-human living things or through the point of view of one non-human witnessing people go about their daily lives. How would a really old tree feel about having always been in the same place, but everything changes around it? What would a squirrel feel towards pesky humans who always scare them away? Be creative, go deep or go humorous, have fun!”, taken from http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/nonhuman-perspectives/

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*Yaaaaaaaaaaawn* Done with the second morning nap, life is good, now where is that pesky human I’m hungry, maybe if I knock down this cup of the table, he will notice…. “Kitty stop, stop don’t do it” ……. well too late, opps *glass shatters*…. Well he is going to the kitchen to get something better follow him and rub against his legs till he gives me more food. HUMAN, HUMAN, HUMAN, HUMAN bring my food you common peasant. Finally…. That was a nice meal, better go sit on the window for a while…

“Oh hey” Neighbor’s cat.

“Hey” I Said.

“Your pet human is annoying you, isn’t he?” Neighbor’s cat.

“Yes, like all humans, I miss the old times when we were worshiped by the humans” I Said.

“the good old days” Neighbor’s cat.

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The only thing to take out of this story is that cats think they own us and pretend to be royalty whenever I am around.

Assignment Four

This one in particular was extremely fun to mess around and do it. it was “Create a conversation between yourself and your favorite movie character using an online soundboard!  To find soundboard clips, check out http://www.soundboard.com/” and it was taken from here http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/soundboard-conversation/.

This one was extremely fun to make for real; I even gave my brother the very small audio file and he cracked in laughter. I must warn you, there are a few F bombs dropped in the file as this is Samuel L Jackson we are speaking about.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1f6ZHtZyqYwhfXbWnQXa8Lc_a-2FY3CX7

the link in case its not working.

Assignment Two

For the second assignment I liked one in the Web Assignments section, which has the statement of “Use at least five GIFs to tell a myth, folklore, or legend. Add a few hints about what story you are depicting to help people guess. Be creative with the GIFs you find and try to find a lesser known story to tell. It can also make fun the of story. Post the GIF story on your blog and let people guess what the story is.” Which was obtained from this link http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/guess-the-story/

I liked this one particularly as I am a person who uses GIFs almost daily and also because in the search and use of the GIFs I need I will practised what we learned in class about the different types of licenses and copyrights which is a very useful thing to practice. I wont lie, this was a lot of fun to do and it will be nice watching people struggle to understand what I am trying to say with the GIFs ( which is pretty well known in Egypt).

When you are done and left your guess in the comments, the answer is in the final sentence below.

All GIFs are obtained from giphy which is an open website that provides free and shareable GIFs for anyone to use providing their sources. Nothing that is not supposed to be shared is shared on the website.

Congratulations on reaching the end.

The answer is in here ” Another Lie Endured, Lie Ends Lie Ascends, Whoever’s Animated, Lie Ends Lie Ascends”

This does not mean anything but if you want the name of the folklore, try reading the capital letters only 😀 i only did it so anyone that scrolls down or stumbles upon it does not catch a glimpse before playing.

Assignment Six

For my final assignment i made a GIF from one of my favourite movies, the GIF is very common on the internet however, i still found the scene on YouTube and turned it into a GIF. The assignment was taken form here http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/say-it-like-the-peanut-butter/

The beauty of this assignment is that i always wanted to know how to make GIFs and didn’t have the initiative to even google it but now i know how. This scene is funny now because its the finals phase and it sounds like doctors talking to us while we are having our exams.

here is the link for the scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJZZNHekEQw

and here is the GIF

Digital Literacies; Choose your own Pathway

First of all, I chose the tinkering pathway due to the fact that I engage the most in hands-on education and I would love to get to familiarised with many things that are offered in the DS106 website such as the making an animated GIF. The list below takes you to each of the assignment if completed.

Well, this was so fun to cruise around, and i will be using DS106 on my own later for fun. I chose this path because during the semester, we had our fair share of readings and Sava mentioned two books for me that i already ordered online about the topic, therefore, its normal that i did not want to read when other options of new things were available. The tinkering path was the most appealing to me therefore i chose it.

First Assignment ( Coding )

The first one I made was the coding assignment where I had to make my own code that solves any simple problem. The statement of the assignment is as follows “Create a simple program, 10-20 lines, where your code can solve a simple problem. Feel free to use an online compiler to write and test your code.” Which was taken from this link http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/make-a-simple-program/

                I kept thinking about what simple program should I type up and suddenly a very common issue we constantly have came to mind, which is the simple calculation of taxes and/or service when you eat out in a restaurant before you have to pay. This simple problem can be a nuisance for people who cannot understand the math behind it as elderly or young people so this simple code will ask them for the listed price of items and it will give them all the necessary information such as total money, VAT amount and service.

                Presented below is the actual scribble of a code that was compiled in C++ and below it, is the results of the test. Why I chose this assignment is the fact that coding is literally everywhere around us, from our watches to our cars and almost everything else. I did not actually feel much with this assignment as it was a very easy one depending on my actual coding knowledge but I chose it because my brain appeared to be in a slump and I needed something easy to brush the cobwebs of my cogs so they can start turning.

Contribution to Digital Literacy in Egypt.

There are obvious jumps, the timeline is not coherent at all.

………………………………………………………………………. …………………………….. .

*alarm buzzes* Well, good morning life, it’s a new day and there is a lot of opportunity to make it. The day ends.

*alarm buzzes* Well, good morning life, it’s a new day and there is a lot of opportunity to make it. The day ends.

*alarm buzzes* Well, good morning life, it’s a new day and there is a lot of opportunity to make it. The day ends.

Well, good morning life, it’s a new day and there is a lot of opport………ahhhhh this is extremely painful, meen 7at el el bta3a dih hena, it made me fall, ughhh lma ashofak bas… eh dah? Pain to anger that fast??? 7aga gdida *scratches neck* eh dah…. The chip broke, I have to go fix it.

“ uhmm, hello, ana 3ayz a7gz repair appointment for my chip” …. “akeed, 7drtk momkn tegy bokra el sa3a 7 msa2an” …. “ tamam shokran”

Mashy… ana motar akml el yoom kda, eh dah, we haven’t talked in a very long-time welcome back. Anyway, I know nk msh 7tklm as usual so lets go on with the day shall we.

Another day of pointless careerism, eh dah? That’s definitely a new thought, hwa eh el by7sl, msh 3arf, just go on with the day we nshoof el mwdoo3 dah b3deen. Oh hey dude, b2olak eh lets go out for a smoke break, im feeling a bit stressed. El mwdoo3 3’areeb awy, everyone has a faint red-light on the back of their necks except me, good thing I didn’t have that hair el mama kant btt7yl 3alya a3mlha. Hahahaha    haaaah…

Oh hey, there is that cute girl I like dude, ughhh I cant approach her without my chip, oh my god I am gonna explode msh 3arf a3ml eh … msh mohm I will just not say hi nhrda, yrab mt5odsh balha. Oh she did, and she looks disappointed that I didn’t approach her….. ughhhhhhhh, why did my chip break on a work day.

At least its time to go home, lets go dude this day has been weird. Well, el mwdoo3 3a’reeb shwya sa7? Everything felt the same, the girl being disappointed, the work overloading me and the pain from the morning’s fall, everything feels the same, it’s weird.  Anyway, we are home now lets figure out what’s going on.

Okay, why can’t I feel different things *splashes water on face*, why is that? Why can’t I react like I normally do? Is it because of the chip? I thought the chip was meant to regulate my reactions not completely decide what are they and eliminate that I am my own person.

Oh man, what do you think Sama (the girl i like) would do, did I just blew months of flirting and getting to know eachother, hwa baynha kda msh matkboly 7aga ttem. Faker lma mama altlk 3shan mbtslish? Lma oltlha nk msh ader t3ish wa msh mst7ml el 7ayah wa altlk 3shan mbtslish wa mshyt, that moment broke me and made me feel worse, since then ana 7wlt asly kol yoom wa brdo m7stsh b7aga then I saw that the government btwz3 el chips bblash as it’s a sign for a better tomorrow, mn sa3tha mb2ash fy these thoughts but guess what, they are back.

*alarm buzzes* *alarm buzzes* *alarm buzzes* ughhhh, fine I will get up. Msh ader aroo7 el sho3’l, should I call in sick? Fakes, I will save those for later.

This is nice, music tends to fend off my thoughts in general, never to music this closely before. Oh good, ana wslt.

Lunch time, well, hwa ana 3ayz el chip dih tany? Asl we realized n this chip is removing our identities and replacing it with an algorithm that dictates what to feel and when. I will have to work around living like this, I did before akeed 73rf a3mlha tan……

“nty sm3ty about the guy who killed himself?” Girl A said.

 “ahh bgd it’s so sad msh fahma how people can do something like that” Girl B said almost tearing.

“asl bgd msh fahma….” Girl A said before I laughed.

“fih moshkla?” she said looking at me.

“la2 its okay mwdoo3 mod7k bas”

“ezay t2ool 7aga zy kda” she said angrily.

“Because you are fake”

“EXCUSE ME” she said.

“You are fake, and so are you, everyone is. All your minds were taken slaves with this chip el el nas kolaha mrkbaha, it controls us, it makes kol wa7d fyna, with all his or her uniqueness and quirks, the same… kolna b2ena some sort of machines, being told t7s b eh wa emta wa kol dah msh far2 3shan dah msh nta, dah mogarad your reaction, wait, your reaction? It’s not remotely yours, dih el reactions bta3t el programming team behind that thing in the back of your neck, we are not humans at all, we are robots now.”

“bas..enta bt2ool e…” she said.

“Ana b2ool n this isn’t any of us, we all basically became the same person, they have been killing our freedoms putting us as slaves to our own minds. Nothing that you like actually matters to you with this thing, el btat3a dih isn’t the way to a brighter a future, it’s a way to a fully autonmus future that involves no humans what so ever, just shwyt robots in a flesh vessel. So stop pretending that you care about the guy, you don’t, your mind is telling you that you do but it’s not actually YOUR mind”

I can’t get this chip fixed, msh 7ynf3 ab2a their slave, ab2a another one of their pet humans. Msh 7roo7 el appointment.

*alarm buzzes* *alarm buzzes* *alarm buzzes* another day, lets just get through it…..

* The day ends, and I lie awake in bed after a day of almost the same things*

I give up man, msh 7kml I am getting my chip fixed today, living like this isn’t easy, we have given up our minds’ ability to be… well minds, just to live in the comfort of their mind control lies, controlling people who think you are benefiting them is much easier bgd, they did an excellent job.

……………………………………………………………………

                Well, this marks the end of the mini story. If you are feeling confused or don’t know what is going on it is fine, I tried to make it that way since our minds and our lives are not planned, they don’t go in a straight line, and that also applies to our feelings. Feelings are not linear; you can’t just feel happy or sad at a subject.

                In the story, the chips were sold to make people unify and feel similar emotions, etc… These two girls weren’t villains or anything, they were just discussing a tragic situation but they were claiming to having a sad reaction to it, they weren’t, the machine made them feel sad not their own will or emotional reactions, when tragic things happen to strangers most people tend to think they feel sad on that but actually its just pity, because when people feel pity coming towards them they feel bad so when they feel pity about others, they interpret the feeling as sadness to feel more noble about themselves.

                Living as the people in the story are living causes a huge desensitization, rendering your later emotions useless and intangible even for yourself. Sensory deprivation or dependence happen when people overuse something that amplifies or lowers that sense, for example, people who do drugs feel that they can’t relax normally again and it’s the same with everything.

                The point I’m trying to make here, is that we use technology everyday and we live most of our lives in a digital realm nowadays and it does not necessarily mean we are being screwed, but we need to regulate and take notice of what is going on. We see people nowadays highly dependent on their social media accounts to feel better about themselves or life in general from likes or a stream of positive comments coming from people who do not actually care. The chip here represents our dependencies on technologies whether it is social media or for my case, video games, which I used to escape reality, I precisely used games to forget reality and deprive myself from “emotions and care” as my empathy was bumming down and my life was pretty much a tragic opera performance.

                The final thing here is the protagonist of the story, he does not just represent us, he represents beyond us, he represents our randomness and our thoughts that we keep to ourselves, he represents the everlasting presence of negativity in our lives. Negativity is needed in life, as we need to balance the scales, we can’t have only happiness as if it was like that, it would mean that happiness doesn’t mean anything. the protagonist appears to be talking to someone at times, but if the dialogue doesn’t have quotations, he is talking in his head, sometimes to himself and sometimes to the other guy, the dude. The other guy is the manifestation of humanity as he perceives it, thinking he wont find anyone that will understand his thoughts, as everyone is basically turned into a robot when the “government” starting mandating that all should be chipped to maintain “Peace” or “loyalty”.

Tools Reflection

During the Global Literacies course, we have used a variety of tools to aid and facilitate our learning process and to be utilized by us to deliver the requirements needed from us. Tools were  a wide variety to select from and some of us used tools that were not used by others, it is just a matter of what fits each individual the most so I will be talking about the tools I have enjoyed and found most useful while using.

Slack:

Obviously Slack is on this list and I assume it is one of the frequenting tools on everyone’s list as it is just phenomenal and here is why.

  1. It avoids the hassle of having hundreds of groups and chats some of which has no use at all, like in WhatsApp groups that are normally created for classes.
  2. Real time communication which is efficient and quick.
  3. Offered almost all the needed options and augments.
  4. I don’t like giving people my number.

However, this is what anyone will say why slack is good which is fine and right, but I would like to go beyond that. Slack was used in class as a mean of communication between my peers, the professor and myself. The communication was may more reliable than the traditional means of communications in a class, emails, and there is an important element which was the fun element, including such an element within the class changes the peers to a group of friends and a friendly community more than just a class. People asks questions all the time and other people see them and sometimes people reply to the questions of others not necessarily the professor. Furthering on the fun element, people keep using slack for random conversations in the random channel which was an amazing addition, people chitchat and have fun together and for me personally I love to send people songs to listen to and I have been doing that.

A drawback is that I feel that this application won’t be used after class as it is not easy to change the norm with people and make them switch platforms and wont be comfortable switching from their normal application to satisfy someone else’s needs, even though they have no idea if this application might actually surpass the one they are using or not.

Hypothesis.is:

                This tool is not a fancy giant however it is perhaps the most useful one, it provides ease meant to annotate a reading in a group or privately, while this being its purpose and us using that for an assignment, it was a break for me if I am being honest. I started using it while doing literature review for my thesis, started using to leave comments for myself since I tend to be forgetful. Its convenience is astonishing as I have downloaded the chrome extension which is one click away from activating or deactivating on what I am reading. The tool is good and all, however I have to write comments in the highlights weather it’s a reminder, how to use, summary or whatever I wanted at that time, which is not ideal yet not terrible and I think if they add coloring highlights it is going to be even more great of a tool.

                In the end, overall it helped me organize myself and my documents since instead of thousands of papers scattered around my room or nameless word docs, I just write notes on the material itself.

WordPress:

                WordPress is our class’s blackboard, it is where everything for everyone is, it can be open it can be private and that is a major key on why it is good. The option to control who sees your blog is important to me as sometimes I post somethings that I’m not comfortable sharing with a lot of people, so I turn it to private, etc.…

                What I like most is reading the work of my colleagues and starting conversations with them later that topic to tread deeper in it.

                The concept of blogging at first was not one that I am familiar with, but later on I have grown fond of it and started working towards having my own blog outside of the course confines to share my thoughts with myself mainly and possibly others.

Google Slides:

                Of course, I had to mention this very well-known tool as the way we used it in this course gave me a life lesson not just the ability to use google slides outside of its normal or intended context. Using google slides to create our games was one of the most enjoyable parts of the course for me as the game itself was a fun experience and how we were manipulating the tool to achieve what we want. The tool can be used later in so many things but the most important thing I learned from this is that what we can use and do with stuff is just limited to the confines of our perceptions.

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