Today's podcast is about Weeks 11 and 12 in CSC 442 Section B at the University of Illinois at Springfield. For more information, visit the blog at csc442b.blogspot.com.
back! This is Burks Oakley, and I'm speaking to you from
my home office in Champaign, IL. Today is Sunday, April
13th, 2014. It was a busy week for me this past week -
I'm the chair of the Fellows Selection Committee for the Sloan
Consortium, and this committee is in the midst of evaluating
eight people who have been nominated for Fellow
recognition. In case you don't know, Fellows of
professional societies are individuals who are recognized for
sustained contributions to the field - in this case, to the
field of online education. There currently are 31
Fellows of the Sloan Consortium, and three of them are on the
faculty at UIS - something that we all take a lot of pride
in. It is interesting to read the nominations and learn
more about the accomplishments of the nominees. Well,
enough about my activities - so on with the podcast now.
This past week, in Week
11, we looked at a number of topics related to the use of the
Internet in seeking health and wellness information. I
was quite gratified to see how much everyone already knew
about this topic, and how active most all students were in the
discussions in Blackboard. It seems that a number of you
already go to sites like WebMD to find healthcare information
– to find information to assist in diagnosis, to check out
treatments, and to learn about the side effects of various
prescription drugs. In every class, it seems that there
is someone who was able to check out certain symptoms on the
web, and identify a certain illness that they had, or that
someone in their family had, and then inform their physician
about this potential diagnosis – which then lead to subsequent
confirmation by their physician. Just another way that
the Internet is having a positive impact on all our
lives! Although, I have to say that I was surprised to
see that a number of you don't seek out healthcare information
online - and, in fact, some of you seem to avoid this
completely - a number of you commented that looking at sites
like WebMD would turn you all into hypochondriacs.
One of the new things I
learned about this week was related to all of the apps that
you can have on your smartphones that are related in some way
to health and wellness - ranging from counting calories to
tracking exercise. It really was interesting for me to
see all these recent developments in this area.
I actually was
surprised to see that a number of the students in the class
don't have health insurance, and try to avoid the expense of
going to see a doctor. I've had health insurance through
my work at the University of Illinois since 1980, so I guess
I'm not fully aware of how many people don't have this type of
coverage. As an aside, hopefully the Affordable Care Act
will help everyone in the class to get health insurance at a
Lastly, I want to thank a number of you for bringing new health-related websites to our attention - such as the Aetna mobile app – I've bookmarked several of them for future use. [And we certainly had a really interesting discussion about the MonthlyInfo.com website - what an amazing free service this is!]
Well, this coming week in Week 12, we'll be looking at the Digital Divide - which Wikipedia defines as:
"... the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. It includes the imbalances in physical access to technology as well as the imbalances in resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen. In other words, it is the unequal access by some members of society to information and communication technology, and the unequal acquisition of related skills. The digital divide may be classified based on gender, income, and race groups, and by locations."
We'll be reading four reports from the Pew
Internet and American Life Project, and these reports are
entitled Use of the Internet in
Higher-Income Households, For
Minorities - New Digital Divide Seen, Digital
Divide is Matter of Income, and Digital
Differences. Well, the third report is actually an
article from the NY Times that was based on one of the Pew
The Pew report about the use of the Internet in higher-income households found that people living in these households are more likely to use the Internet on any given day, more likely to own multiple Internet-ready devices, more likely to do things online involving money, and more likely to get news online. Quite frankly, none of this surprises me. But I wonder, does any of this give people living in these households an advantage over people of more modest means? Hopefully we can address this issue in the Week Twelve discussions.The NY Times article entitled Digital Divide is Matter of Income emphasized that in both their access to and use of the Internet and a suite of other technological devices and applications, households earning more than $75,000 a year significantly outpace lower-earning households, particularly those making less than $30,000 a year. Not surprisingly, the wealthy engage in online commerce and search for health information more often. And the richest households are more than twice as likely as the poorest to read online news.
Finally, let me remind everyone once again that the second paper in our class is due on May 9th, which is just over three weeks away now. A number of you have yet to select your topic for this paper -- and you all certainly need to get started participating in the “Phase One” discussions. For those of you who have selected your topic, I hope that you have begun your research, and that you are finding references about laws and public policies to include when writing your papers. Also, remember that you need to assist others with their papers in the Phase One discussions - for example, by finding additional references that are relevant to their paper topics. If you have any questions at all about this assignment, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Well, that wraps up this podcast, so until next time, this is Burks, signing off.