Weeks Nine and Ten in CSC 442 Section B at UIS – Transcript


Today’s podcast is about Weeks 9 and 10 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 Saturday, March 29th, 2014.  I'm speaking to you from my home office in Champaign, Illinois.  I'll be leaving very early tomorrow morning to drive to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with my friend Rich - and since I'll be leaving early, I decided to produce this podcast a little earlier than I normally do.  Rich and I will be staying at the Litchfield Resort in Pawleys Island - where we will be playing a lot of golf and hopefully eating some good seafood. Gosh, I sure hope that the weather will be OK - it certainly will be better than it was earlier this week when I was in suburban Minneapolis, visiting our older daughter and her family.

OK, now, on with the podcast.  This past week, in Week Nine, we looked at a number of topics related to the use of the Internet by teens.

One of the main topics we discussed was sexting - that is, the sending of sexually explicit photos, messages, or videos, from a cellphone or over the Internet.  We discussed appropriate punishment, pending legislation, and the role of parents and schools in educating teens about this relatively-new phenomenon.  In preparing last week's podcast, I went to Google News and searched on the single word sexting - and gosh, I sure found a large number of current articles - it seems that sexting certainly is a current topic on the national scene.  I'm not sure that there is agreement on how this activity should be dealt with - but I'm sure that we will hear a lot more about it in the future.

One of the other topics discussed in Week Nine was cyberbullying, and we examined what schools are doing to address this issue.  We discussed some of the specific laws addressed at preventing cyberbullying, and we compared cyberbullying with face-to-face bullying that occurs in the schoolyard and elsewhere.

In Week Nine, we also discussed cell phone use by teens - gender issues, peer pressure, and approaches to limit the number of calls and texts made by teens.  The emphasis in these discussions seemed to be on texting, which is what many teens actually do the most on their cell phones.

Finally, we also looked at social networking sites, such as Facebook, and all the myriad topics relevant to teens' use of these sites - privacy, cyberbullying, gender issues, what age is old enough, and so on.

Throughout all our discussions, various students emphasized the role of parents in guiding the activities of their teenagers - parents' roles in education, in discipline, and in "tough love".  Many of the parents in the class shared their own personal experiences and gave some great advice to some of the younger students - many of whom have younger siblings at home who are dealing with these same issues.  I really enjoyed reading some of the thoughtful postings on sensitive topics that the students made this week.

Overall, there were a number of really good discussion threads in Week Nine -- teens' use of the Internet is clearly a topic of interest to our class.

This next week, in Week Ten of our course, we’ll be looking at five reports from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that deal with the general topic of online shopping and banking, and these reports are:  Online ShoppingOnline Classifieds, The Future of Money in a Mobile Age, In-store Mobile Commerce, and 51% of U.S. Adults Bank Online The first two of these reports are somewhat dated - it's a shame that the Pew folks haven't updated these reports, since recent advances in these areas are having an impact on all of our lives today.

We’ll be looking specifically at online shopping, and how consumers use the Internet to make informed purchases.   I know that many of you go shopping online and certainly check out the ratings of the various sellers who are online -- for example, on eBay, and that you look at some of the recommendations when you login to the Amazon.com website.  Having said that, I’ll bet for some of you this will be new territory.

The Pew report about online classifieds found that the number of online adults who use classified ads websites, such as Craigslist, has more than doubled since 2005.  On any given day, about a tenth of Internet users visit online classified sites - and that is an incredible number - and certainly a boon to those people placing the ads and those people looking to make purchases.  And, of course, this is having a devastating effect on newspapers, which have depended on classified ad revenue to be profitable.

The Pew report about the future of money in the mobile age is really fascinating reading.  According to a new survey of technology experts and stakeholders, within the next decade, smart-device swiping will have gained mainstream acceptance as a method of payment and could largely replace cash and credit cards for most online and in-store purchases by smartphone and tablet owners.  Many of the people surveyed said that the security, convenience and other benefits of “mobile wallet” systems will lead to widespread adoption of these technologies for everyday purchases by 2020.  However, others expect this process to unfold relatively slowly due to a combination of privacy fears, a desire for anonymous payments, a lack of infrastructure to support widespread adoption, and resistance from those with a financial stake in the existing payment structure.

The Pew report about in-store mobile commerce found that more than half of adult cell phone owners used their cell phones while they were in a store to seek help with purchasing decisions. For example, they used their phone to call a friend for advice about a purchase, they looked up reviews of a product online while they were in a store, and they used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else.  Amazing to see this new aspect of mobile commerce!

Finally, the Pew report on online banking found, not surprisingly, that online banking is on the rise, with more than half of all adults in the US banking online, and one-third of all adults banking using their cell phones.

Well, needless to say, I’m looking forward to the Week Ten discussions in our course.

Finally, remember that your second paper is due on May 9th.  If you haven't selected your topic for this paper, you should certainly do so shortly.  In fact, I'm actually surprised that so few of the students in the class have selected a topic for this assignment - a research paper like this isn't something you can write in just a few days.  Everyone should begin to participate in the “Phase One” discussions, and start finding some good references for their own papers and for the other students' papers.


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