In this course, my initial learning goal was to learn more about how popular media has an influence in our society. Especially with the emerging trends that involve young adults being more involved using the internet and e-sources, I wanted to learn more about it in an academic point of view. In addition to that, I also wanted to improve my writing skills and reading, as well as being able to apply and analyze things using the course texts we were expected to read on a weekly basis. Some of my strengths I saw were to learn how to pace myself and set certain dates to help me be on top of my schedule since this is an online class and there is no one to help manage my time. Another strength was I saw in myself was being able to learn how to apply different pieces of media, analyze what we were reading, and apply them into the prompts. Some challenges that I have encountered throughout the term was to come up with well thought out posts and replies. Replying to someone’s post is easy, but making it a post that elaborates and relates to what another classmate has posted has been a bit more difficult that what I thought it would be. Instead of just replying that you agree to something, our replies have more depth in them as we have progressed in this term. For example, this student replied to the prompt about intellectual property laws: “I agree with you. I too think that the intellectual property laws are important but many times they do go too far I think. Sometimes it seems that you can’t use anything anyone has ever said or made without citing it, but then you think to yourself, didn’t just about everything that you know or learned come from someone else or a different source? Where do you draw the line for what is ok to use without giving credit or what you have to cite. For example, if you write that the earth is round in an essay, would you cite the person that discovered that?” That reply not only agrees with the original person who posts it, but he also brings up more follow-up questions, and asks questions that pushes us to continue to think further than what we were asked to do. Replies such as these have make me think beyond what we read, and it constantly reminds us that we should think further than what we are asked when instructors in the future ask us to do things.
The role that I thought I have improved on is being a listener. By reading all the different posts that my classmates have posted, seeing how the authors in course texts have explained things in their perspective, and watching videos and analyze what they are trying to convince us, viewers, I have learned and seen things in a different perspective compared to what I am use to. Because there are so many of us on the blogging platform, there are more opinions to a single prompt than just my own opinion. Because most of us are replying to the same questions, I have learned a lot by seeing people have different variations to their answers, writing styles, what they have summarized and analyzed, and much more. One example of this would be during Week 4, The Influence of Advertising, we all talked about gender stereotypes. In those ads, many of us wrote about how females are being objectified and how men can be seen as the doltish guys. Many of us had similar thoughts, but I also remember another classmate posting about how some of the sayings in society are ridiculous, like how the saying “boys will be boys” is stupid because it becomes an excuse for boys to do whatever they want. Besides that, we also had students who talk about things that weren’t directly related to the course readings, but it propels us to think about all the connections and ties there is between what they are saying and what we are reading. One example was the post about the advertisements and how some of them are positive. “Politics are imaginary. The value of money is imaginary. Capitalism is an imaginary system. These are all abstract concepts that we’ve imagined into existence and have imposed on the world as a means to try and control it. However, it’s like living in the Matrix; you have to play by the rules or you won’t survive. In our capitalistic society, everything revolves around money, capital gain, and perpetuation of wealth. However, some companies try to use their powers to help other people and change society for the better.” This doesn’t relate to how the ads are affecting us, but it does provoke our minds to think further to how this relates to our world besides it being from a cultural perspective.
Another example that shows how diverse our answers and perspectives are are the Mirror Blog Post where we wrote about an identity that we associate ourselves with. In each post, we have found different ways of showing the connection between the blog post and about ourselves. While reading it, I have learned more about the different ways one can express themselves and how people see their world compared to how I see my world despite living on the same planet. One student stated in her Mirror Blog post that “popular culture can look at all us hybrids out there and reevaluate the way they label and put people into tiny, uncomfortable boxes.” I have never thought about how we can be labeled into these boxes, but after have read these posts, it had really changed the way I look at things.
Before I had taken this class, I did not know how we were going to be taught about popular culture from an academic standpoint. But after taking this class, I think I have walked away learning a lot more than what I was expecting. I think one of the biggest skills that I have learned is to be able to pinpoint how media manipulates the way we think, which makes me now more aware of the different stereotypes I see on commercials. Even something as simple as watching a TV show, I now think about how it influences us and how certain identities are portrayed. Not only did I learn things that can be applied to what we see in the media, I have found ways to apply what I have learned to everyday situations and things I have heard. For example, when I hear people talk about how guys shouldn’t do this and girls shouldn’t do that and so on, I would then think to myself, “why is it that they perceive those norms like that?” I would then try to analyze the different points they are making, and think about what sort of media had caused them to think like this. Another skill that I have learned is to use the available resources from our library and other websites that we have used to help me write a stronger essay, thesis statement, and other writing pieces I will encounter in the future. This class has helped me a lot with learning how to find reliable sources, and I will definitely be applying those skills in the future, as well as the “moves” from the videos we have learned about (and have applied to the Adidas commercial in Week 6). Those questions help outline what to look for, and it will be something I will print out so I can use it as reference in future classes.
In the end, I have learned a lot more than what I have been expecting. From thinking this class would only just be a fun class, this course has changed the ways I now view things, and have taught me not to be as naive as I once was. It has taught me to think deeper than what is being shown, and how producers and creators may manipulate things in order to attract attention from young adults like me.