For this assignment, you will write a diary entry about an occasion when you tried to learn to do something related to communication technology for the first time.
Part I. Choose a Learning Experience. Identify a personal experience when you tried to learn something new related to or using a communication technology. This might be learning to use a new piece of computer software, learning to operate a new device that you purchased, learning to play a new video game, learning to communicate in a new way using technology, or something similar. Describe the situation you have chosen to write about in a few sentences. For instance, "In my senior year in high school I tried to teach myself how to edit sound files with XF-Edit..." or "For my job at the Daily Illini I had to learn to use QuarkXPress..." or "When I was 16 I received my first cell phone..."
HINT: This assignment is easier if you choose an example where you had some difficulty learning, but you know that other people do successfully use the software/device/technology. Choosing a technology that nobody can use because it is poorly designed will not work for this assignment.
Part II. My Capital Inventory. One dictionary definition of the word "capital" is "something used to increase one's power or influence" (Webster's New Dictionary). The Seiter reading discusses three kinds of capital that are often analyzed in social science:
Given the learning experience you described in Part I, list four examples of each of the three kinds of capital that are relevant to your learning experience; this will add up to a total of twelve different examples of capital (4 examples for each of the 3 different kinds of capital). Be sure to state how each example relates to your particular learning experience. It is OK to write them as a list. A very obvious example would be: "(a.) (1.) One form of economic capital is the money to buy a tuba. Since I made only $200/month from my paper route and the tuba I wanted cost $5600, I had to rent one for $100/month."
There are easily dozens of possible examples for each kind of capital in almost any situation. If you get stuck, refer to the Seiter reading for examples.
HINT: Unlike some of our earlier assignments, this assignment is NOT directly asking you about design of the technology. All examples of capital should refer in some way to you. Stating that a particular interface or feature is "hard to use" or "hard to learn" is not an example related to capital.
Part III. Evaluating My Capital. Go back and state whether or not each of your 12 examples are ADVANTAGES or DISADVANTAGES to you; write this word after each item. In some cases, they may be both advantageous and disadvantageous. Finally, answer and discuss the questions: Did this learning experience show you to be particularly strong or weak in one type of capital? What type of capital was most critical (whether an advantage or a disadvantage) to your learning experience? Why? Use at least one quotation from the Seiter reading to justify your answer.
Post an answer of at least 300 words to your blog. DEADLINE: Thurs. 10/29/09 at 12 noon.