Today’s podcast is about Weeks 3 and 4 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 today is Sunday,
February 9th, 2014. I'm speaking to you from my rented
condo in beautiful Naples, Florida. My wife was visiting
here this past week, and for her, being in Florida is a
vacation from work - so we went to Sanibel and Captiva, to
Miami Beach, to Marco Island, and of course, to the beach in
Naples. We dined at some nice restaurants, and enjoyed
the warm, sunny weather in south Florida. It was a
really good break for her - especially when they had another
big winter storm back in east-central Illinois this
week. As an aside, I saw that on-campus classes were
cancelled at UIS on Tuesday evening and all-day Wednesday - and that's one thing we
don't have to worry about here in our online class!
OK now, on with the podcast. This past week, in Week Three of our course, we discussed broadband, and how broadband is changing what we can do when we go online. I was amazed to find that so many of you -- in fact, almost all of you -- have broadband access in your homes, and that a number of you also have wireless routers in your homes. And how broadband access is something that you really can’t live without - that you never could go back to dial-up. I have to say, the widespread adoption of broadband really is one of the key reasons that podcasting has taken off, since the mp3 files that are podcast can be as large as one megabyte for every minute of audio. Not to mention streaming video over the Internet, where the bandwidth requirements are even greater than for audio.
However, we did see
that several students don't have very good connectivity in
their homes in rural parts of Illinois. We also learned
that there are still a number of people in our country who are
accessing the Internet through dial-up connections, or through
lower-bandwidth satellite service, in rural areas, and we
discussed the many reasons for this. And we looked at
the future of broadband into the home - 3G and 4G cellular
networks, WiMAX, and BPL - that is, broadband over power
lines. We also looked at initiatives to provide
city-wide wireless broadband access, and we discussed why
today's economic climate is limiting the actual deployment of
these networks. We also discussed the role of government
in the deployment of area-wide broadband networks. I
found it interesting to see that the state of Illinois is
funding a new test - deploying gigabit networks in selected
communities across Illinois, as a way to create smart
communities that will foster job creation.
We also looked at
Google's initiative to deploy ultra-fast gigabit networks in
selected cities across the nation. This network would
provide fiber-optic connections to every home and be 100-times
faster that what most Americans have access to today. We
looked at some of the new activities we could do with such
fast networks, including better-than DVD quality
videoconferencing, super-fast downloads of full-length digital
movies, 3-D television and holograms, and a fully-networked
home accessible from anywhere.
I was glad to see that many of you checked your bandwidth and posted the results to our discussion forum in Blackboard. We saw some very significant differences in access speed between those students who had various types of connections. But the bottom line is that almost everyone has a connection that is so much faster than dial-up. However, we can’t lose track of the fact that the ("quote-unquote") "broadband" access that we have in our homes in the United States is much slower than what is found in other countries, including Japan, France, and Sweden - countries that have invested into deploying fiber optic cables directly into homes, and this may be putting our citizens at a competitive disadvantage.
Well, moving on to Week Four now. This coming week, in Week Four, we'll be looking at several reports from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that deal with social networking sites - sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The first Pew report is
networking sites and our lives. Questions have
been raised about the social impact of widespread use of
social networking sites. Do these technologies isolate
people and truncate their relationships? Or, are there
benefits associated with being connected to others in this
way? This Pew Internet Project report examines people’s
overall use of social networking and how use of these
technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support,
and community and political engagement.
The second Pew report, which is entitled Why Americans use social media, expands on the first report, finding that
two-thirds of online adults use social media platforms. These
Internet users say that connections with family members and
friends (both new and old) are a primary consideration in their
adoption of social media tools. Other factors are also involved
- for example, connecting around a shared hobby or interest and
reading comments by public figures.
The third Pew report is entitled 72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users. This reports looks into greater detail on how adults use social networking sites. Although younger adults continue to be the most likely social media users, one of the more striking stories about the social networking population has been the growth among older Internet users, such as myself, in recent years. Those ages 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites in the last four years.
Three additional Pew reports on the topic of
social networking are also listed on the course syllabus - these
reports are completely optional, but they do contain some
additional information on this timely topic. Again, you
don't have to read these reports - they are completely optional,
but they are included on the syllabus for completeness.
With the extensive use of Facebook and other
social media by many of us, our Week Four topic of social
networking certainly is timely and relevant. I'm looking
forward to our discussion in the forum in Blackboard this coming
Finally, I want to say a few words to get you thinking about your first paper, which is due on Friday, March 14th. Only a few of you have selected your topics for this paper already, and I really hope that the rest of you will choose a topic sometime soon. If you want to brainstorm about possible topics, feel free to contact your fellow classmates in the Paper One discussion forum in Blackboard – or just get in touch with me directly. I would like to say one important thing about this assignment – I want to emphasize over and over again that this paper should be about YOU and how the Internet has impacted YOUR life. It isn’t to be a paper about how other people use the Internet. It shouldn't give instructions to the readers on how they could use the Internet. So if you are writing about how you have a business buying and selling things on eBay, it should be about YOUR business. It should NOT tell someone else what to look for when they make a bid on something, and it should NOT tell the readers how they can make payments with PayPal. It shouldn’t give instructions to the reader. It has to be about YOU and YOUR experiences. Very, very personal. And note that you can submit an audio recording – a podcast, if you will – instead of a paper – and I have a handout linked to the main course website that describes this audio alternative.
Well, I hope that you
all are enjoying the class so far. If you have any
questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact
me. [additional sentences here - VERY important to
listen to the audio...]
Well, that wraps up this podcast, so until next time, this is Burks, signing off.