Fischer, G. (2002) Beyond 'Couch Potatoes':
From Consumers to Designers and Active Contributors, in FirstMonday (Peer-Reviewed
Journal on the Internet), at

Briefly discuss the following issues:

1. what do you consider the main argument of the article?

The main message
of the article is that it is important to emphasize being a designer and not
just a consumer. There are many times when it is appropriate to be a consumer,
but that the future needs to be created in such a way that new media allows
people to be contributors and learners in open systems. The article argues that
without taking advantage of the power new media has the potential to offer in
these fields, we will be a less creative and design-oriented society.

2. do you agree or disagree with the main argument? give a answer based on your
own experiences?

I agree with the
argument this paper presents. It is important for people to act as designers
or consumers based on their needs and demands at the current time. If we are
simply a culture based on consumption, real learning and experience can not
as effectively take place. For instance, you can learn all the rules and maybe
some strategies by watching lots of tennis on television, but even with all
the knowledge of the game in the world, you would still not be a good tennis
player until you were actually out on the court, in effect, designing your

3. enumerate in which situations

3.1. you acted as a designer/active contributor

I think a good example
of active contribution is the swiki for this class. The power of wikis in general
rely on active design and involvement from participators. By adding our own
content, and designing how that information flows through the site, we are actively
contribution to the class community.

3.2. you acted as a (passive) consumer

I would say that
watching professional sports is a good example of consumption. For instance,
I love watching hockey (or did before the strike this season), and enjoy everything
about the game. However, I can't recall the last time I put on a pair of ice
skates. My relationship with hockey is purely consumption-based, as I have no
real experience playing it.

3.3. situations in which you believe you should have acted differently

Looking back on my
college career, I think it would have been nice to have been a little more involved
in some of the projects happening around the college or to be more involved
in developing the CS curricula. That way, it would have been possible to design
how I was to learn during my degree program.

An exercise in learning for understanding — pick one of the following
problems and try to solve it1. Will the Flight Time Change?

1.1. An airplane is flying from Denver to Frankfurt and back (round trip) with
its own average speed of 500 miles/hour (for all trips). On its first trip,
there is a no wind in both directions. On its second trip, going from Denver
to Frankfurt, there is a tale wind of 100 miles/hour. Returning from Frankfurt
to Denver, there is a head wind of 100 miles/hour.

1.2. Question: will the flight time be the same or different (if different:
shorter or longer for the trip with wind)?

Longer for the trip
with wind, but I don't really know why :). just based on some trials.

3. How Old are the Children

3.1. A person visits a family with 3 children and would like to know the ages
of the children. The mother tells the visitor: “Their ages multiplied
with each other is 36. Their age added is equal to the number on the house.”
The visitor goes in front of the house and looks at the number (and she knows
now the number). She comes back and says: “I still do not know the age
of the children.” The mother then tells her: “The oldest son plays
the piano”. Now the visitor knew the age of the children.

3.2. Question: How old are the children? (note: the ages of all children are

The children are
9, 2, and 2.

answer briefly the following questions:

I will answer these
for #3.

1. describe your solution (if you found one) or why you were unable to find

I took the first
clue, that their ages multiplied is 36. So I wrote down all possible combinations:

36x1x1, 18x2x1, 12x3x1,
9x4x1, 6x6x1, 9x2x2, 6x3x2, 4x3x3

Then I took the next
clue, that their numbers added together equaled the house number:

38, 21, 16, 14, 13,
13, 11, 10 respectively

Because the visitor
still could not tell the ages, that means the house number has to be 13. And
since there exists a single oldest child, the answer has to be 9, 2,
and 2.

2. what did you learn solving (or thinking about) the problem?

At first I could
not figure out how to go from clue #2 to #3. #3 also seemed irrelevant at first.
I had to realize the important part was that he played piano, but that he was
the single oldest.

3. what kind of knowledge was most important for solving the problem?

Just thinking about
the problem logically.

4. are (or would be) computers helpful in solving these problems?

I don't think computers
would be that helpful in solving this problem, as it is more asking you to think

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