This course, Advanced theories of communication, was like none other that I had ever taken. Although my program is Communications, and I've taken many courses related to what I've learned in this one, I have never learned the subject matter in this way before. Using technology to learn was only slightly introduced in one of my classes, as we were asked to take quizzes online so that the professor could see what the students understood or did not understand. When I was first introduced to this, I did very much enjoy it. I am not usually one to ask questions in class, so this gave me the opportunity to share what I did not understand with the professor, but without lifting up my hand in class. I found that the way were were told to use Twitter in this class was very similar because it gave me the opportunity to share my ideas and ask questions somewhat passively. Using Twitter also came with the added bonus of being able to communicate, not only with the professor, but with the other students, as well.
I very much enjoyed this because it allowed me to gather new perspectives on the class material, and interact with the other students in the class by "favouriting", replying, or "retweeting" their tweets. I found that this made learning the material more fun and, in a way, personalized. I felt that I was able to ask questions on twitter and steer the lecture in a certain direction based on a question I had, because it would spark dialogue between the other students and the professor. I enjoyed that we had the opportunity to debate certain subjects and hear different perspectives, which was thanks to the professor. It could have been easy to simply say "tweet your questions and ideas", which would have resulted in no real class discussion outside of Twitter. However, he merged the two by having the tweets projected onto the blackboard and by reading some of the tweets out loud. I feel as though that created a perfect balance to the way the class was taught.
I also found it interesting that although much of the lecture subjects were pretty theoretical, we were always able to tie in a current-day situation in order to better comprehend what we were learning. For example, during the election, we spoke a lot about the power of persuasion and how Donald Trump was basically a master persuader, because he uses the perfect words that will speak to the audience he wants to attract. We also spoke about the media and how it spins everything in order to appeal to certain people, companies, etc. based on who is a sponsor for that media outlet and/or the readership it has. I enjoyed this topic because I am currently taking Research Methods in Communications and we have read a lot about how depending on who/what company is sponsoring a study, the results could be vastly different. For example, there was a study done that showed how driving while dehydrated was just as bad as driving while drunk. This study was funded by the European Hydration Institute, and has received over 7 million dollars from Coca-Cola, who basically sells re-hydration. This is why it's important, as we've learned in Advanced Theories of Communication, to not only form an opinion based off of one source, or to interpret that one source as being factual. You must conduct real research, find opposing opinions, and then, when you have the full story, form your opinion. We talked, in class, about how it is also important to remember that all the people you follow on social media and the people who follow you are most likely all of the same opinions, so anything that you may see on your social media pages, will most likely be something that appeals to you or that you agree with. This really does not allow for you to be exposed to varying opinions, or perspectives.
I think that overall, this course has given me an added perspective to learning and how easy it is to incorporate technology into a classroom. I really enjoyed how interactive the course was and how we were taught not to simply memorize information in order to write a test, but how to manipulate what we learned and formulate Storifys and Twitter Moments, as well as this blog post. I think that this course demonstrated such a better way to approach learning because, while I've taken many "regular" exams, I cannot say that I really took much information away from the course, because I was taught to simply memorize everything in order to get a good grade on the final. This, however, did not allow for me to retain much of the information in order to apply it to my career and my life once I graduate. I very much appreciate what this course has offered me and I would recommend anyone who is in communications to take this course.