Weeks 12 and 13 in CSC442 Section B at UIS – Transcript


Today’s podcast is about Weeks 12 and 13 in CSC 442 Section B at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  For more information, visit the blog at csc442b.blogspot.com.


Well, welcome back!  This is Burks Oakley, and today is Sunday, April 20th, 2014 - Easter Sunday!  I'm speaking to you from my home office in Champaign, Illinois.  I can't believe that we had snow here in Champaign on Monday evening - even though it is now mid-April.  I was able to get some good photographs of the lunar eclipse at 2:30 am on Tuesday morning, even though it was really cold and windy at the time.  And our older daughter and her family came to visit for the long Easter weekend, so I've really enjoyed being "Grandpa Burks" to our grandkids the past few days.  I sure hope I can survive until they leave tomorrow afternoon!

OK now, on with the podcast.  This past week in Week 12 of our course, we looked at various aspects of the Digital Divide in America.  We looked at mobile access to the Internet, Wi-Fi, the broadband divide, issues of disability, race and socioeconomic status -- among other topics.  We had some good discussions about the need for a national strategy to address the digital divide.

Regarding the broadband divide, a number of students addressed how socioeconomic status, and not race, really is responsible for this divide.  A recent report from the US Commerce Department shows that broadband adoption in the United States has risen, but a digital divide persists that runs along demographic lines. Moreover, socio-economic status does not explain this entire gap.  I posted a few new articles about this in a new thread in the Week Twelve discussion forum.

We also discussed the need to make Internet technologies accessible to people with disabilities.  I also posted a link to great YouTube video of just how accessible the iPhone is to people who are blind - this is really amazing, and I'm surprised at how little discussion that posting generated.  There really is a need for the ADA to include the web, and everyone should be aware of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.

Finally, I was amazed by the mobile technologies that many of the students in this class use regularly - ranging from the iPhone to a Blackberry.  And how useful it can be to access the web from anywhere.  Of course, we also discussed the flip side of this - how some people are constantly on their portable devices, updating their Facebook status when they should be interacting in person.

Well, this coming week in Week 13, we'll be looking at how Americans use the Internet to get their news – we will be reading papers that are entitled:

    * Understanding the Participatory News Consumer
    * Internet Gains on Television as Public's Main News Source
    * More People Get News via Google News than CNN
    * How people get local news and information in different communities
I know that I personally am using blogs and podcasts much more now for getting news, and also for learning about new things.  And the Internet, well, of course, the Internet has been my main source of news for the past few years.  I would be lost without Internet news.  I start my day by reading the NY Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune online, as well as headlines from Inside Higher Education.  I also skim through Google News, where I have customized it to display articles on subjects that I am interested in.  And I regularly check back to several of these sites throughout the day for news updates (and, I guess, to check the stock markets).  I also get e-mail alerts sent to me by a number of news sources, which then direct me to their websites for additional information.  Again, I have customized some of the news topics for Google News, and I visit that site multiple times each day.  And finally, I also access news on my iPad, where I have apps for a number of the news sources I mentioned previously in this podcast.  As you might expect, I'm looking forward to our upcoming discussions of these topics. 

Remember that your second paper is due on May 9th, which is now less than 3 weeks away.  I think that most all of you now have selected your topic for this paper and have started participating in the “Phase One” discussions - and I'm sure that we'll see additional activity in the Phase One discussion forum in the next week or so.  I hope that your research is going well, and that you are finding good references about laws and public policies to use when writing your papers, and also that you are finding good references for other students in the class to use in their papers.  Hopefully many of you already have a good start on the first draft of your paper.  Note that I posted an announcement about the Paper Two Quiz a while back.  Remember that you have to answer all three questions correctly on this true/false quiz before submitting your second paper.  As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions related to this assignment.


Well, that wraps up this podcast, so until next time, this is Burks, signing off.