Reflection- Gardner Campbell: Personal Cyberinfrastructure

I thoroughly enjoyed this talk! Campbell brought up numerous points relevant to the use, or lack thereof, of online spaces in the college environment by both faculty and students. Before hearing this talk, I personally never took into consideration the vast amount of opportunity and resources available via the Internet. Never before had a single person emphasized to me, in such a way as this, that taking advantage of my generations parallel growth with technologies was so important and vital to the continued advancement of our society.

In his presentation, Campbell discussed three recursive practices that he believed to be essential in the teaching process on the college level. Students should expect to enter their college classrooms and experiment with ideas and such through these practices: narrating, curating and sharing. I found this to be a direct reflection of the ways in which this class, ds106 is structured. As a student in this community, I am expected to thoroughly describe to my classmates the processes and steps I took to create various assignments. I then become a teacher of sorts, describing this process of learning and experimentation. The second practice mentioned by Campbell, curating, is reflected in our creation and organization of information an posts within our personal domains. Personally, I and other students within the ds106 community make decisions on how we arrange our discoveries for other people to view it which leads into Campbell’s final practice, sharing. Through sharing, we publish and contribute to the greater digital community. As Campbell stated in his presentation, we may not know who finds our learning to be valuable, and through sharing we can then make these valuable connections with others. I think this was the most important aspect of the article and presentation, being able to make the personal connections to our own class here at Mary Washington. It actually made me extremely excited to be a part of this innovative movement on our campus and in the worldwide digital community.

As I take this new-found perspective away, I am hopeful that it will make a profound difference in how I approach this class from here on out. This is not just busy work, it’s making a difference in my life and maybe for someone else as well. I realize that I’ve been given an opportunity to experiment and grow as a student. But importantly, I can be innovative in an atmosphere that allows for creation and discovery. It’s not like any other classroom where as a student I am only trying to fulfill the guidelines laid before me. I have options to formulate new ideas, and as Campbell put it I am my own “system administrator.” This personal domain allows for unique creations and innovations given the freedom to choose how one will express oneself in the digital world.

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