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

There seem to be two main points that people took away from the article. Firstly, new media often falls into the roll of existing media, which treats users simply as consumers, and discourages active participation. Secondly, as a mechanism out of this pitfall, the article proposes ways in which the users can be encouraged to be active paricipants in the system, contributing not only to the data stored in the system, but to the way the system itself functions. Thus, they migrate from being consumers, into being designers. It's about engaging people to care, and to learn.

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

Everyone seemed to agree with the main arguement wholeheartedly

Adam makes an arguement that in a commericial environemnt, it may be better to have passive consumers, so that the company can cater to a specific set of static needs (I'm not quite sure what he meant by this).

People gave several cetegories of examples about how this relates to their lives. Many people felt that they can be much more effective when they are allowed to customize the software they have to use regularly in a way that supports their work. Another group of people felt that through doing things, and designing things themselves, they not only learned more, but felt more invested and were more satisfied by the finished product. This ranged from woodworking, to musicmaking, to teaching.

It seems to me there are two components to this. The first is about doing what is necessary to get work done as efficiently as possible. The second is about what longterm personal benefit the user gets from using the system, in terms of satisfaction with the experience, and learning.

3. enumerate in which situations

3.1. you acted as a designer/active contributor

People for the most part felt that they had acted as a designer or active ccontributer on projects they had worked on, either as part of classes, research, or on their own time. These ranged from senior projects, to building a bookcase, to customizing a car. However, people also felt that the class swiki was a system in which they felt like an active contributor.

Personally, I feel like a contributor whenever I'm writing software, or taking photographs, or even planning or going on a trip.

3.2. you acted as a (passive) consumer

The vast majority of people gave television as a prime example of when they are passive. Speaking personally, I wasn't raised with a television, nor do I own one (though I occaisonally watch movies). But, like some people mentioned, browsing the web is also a passive activity, albeit slightly less passive than watching television. Another good example some people mentioned was watching professional sports.

3.3. situations in which you believe you should have acted differently
wished engaged more in class

I was quite surprised by the responses. With a few exceptions, everyone mentioned college classes as an environment in which they felt like they should be more active participants than they are. People cited possible explainations including trying to juggle life outside of classes with the demands of classes, as well as poor group dynamics in the class, such that they felt uncomfortable participanting. Many people also wished they had engaged in research while they were at CU.

I have quite strong feelings about this topic. I took a break in the middle of my college career, working in the IT industry and travelling, over 4 years or so. When I came back to school, I found that not only was it much easier for me to focus on my schoolwork (I was no longer 19, and distracted by everything that comes with being 19), but I also knew what I wanted to get out of my education, and could take steps in that direction.

One person wished that they could have had an opportunity to design what they were going to learn during their degree. I totally agree. I came to CU with a very specific list of things I wanted to learn to do. No one I talked to seemed to be able to tell me what I needed to do to learn those things, and eventually, I just gave up, and started taking the classes I need to get my degree.

To me, this identifies a serious shortcoming, not only of traditional education in general, but also the state of the CS department at CU.

An exercise in learning for understanding ? pick one of the following problems and try to solve it

answer briefly the following questions:

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

It seems people only chose the cat problem, and the ages of the kids problem, though most chose the cat problem. Many people were able to successfully solve the cat problem (the answer seems to be that there is about half a foot for the cat to slide under the rope). Most of the people who tried the ages of the kids problem were not able to solve it, except for one person.

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

Most people didn't learn that much.

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

For those people that worked on the cat problem, there were two different kinds of important knowledge. The first was general knowledg of problem solving and geometry. The second was specific factual knowledge, specifically the circumference of the earth.

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

Most people seemed to think that computers would have minimal, if any, value in solving their problem. Some people used google to find the circumfrence or radius of the earth, and some used it to perform simple calculations. However, these problems were largely about framing the problem, something computers are notoriously bad at. Once their were able to properly frame the problem, most people were able to solve it rather quickly, with minimal effort.

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