Category Archives: Nelson

Ted Nelson at Midterm

“Computers offer us the first real chance to let the human mind grow to its full potential, as it cannot within the stifling and insulting setting of existing school systems. Yet most of the systems for computer-assisted instruction seem to me to be perpetuating and endorsing much that is wrong, even evil, in our present educational system.”

Nelson envisions learning within the school system to be extremely problematic. He believes it has nothing to do with the content however, it has everything to do with the way in which it is presented/taught to students and the way students are evaluated. The material that is taught is not made to seem interesting, students are graded in a condescending environment, students are forced to do work instead of motivated to do it, etc. He feels that incorporating the computer in the equation has not benefited students much because the computers were just added into an already flawed system. Students are still graded and tested on work that is done on the computer, and it is all taught the same way just on a different platform. However, he does believe that there is great potential in CAI if the school system is fixed. He believes that the computer can open doors to the imagination of students because so much information can be taken from it. But this idea has not been realized because it has been restricted by the current school system.

This is how I feel about most online class that I’ve taken at VCU. The material is not presented in an interesting format, in fact it may be even more boring than in a classroom setting because at least then I may feel more engaged since I am around other human beings. On top of that, the communication between me and the professor is always a bit off and I am being graded on work through a computer from a person that hardly knows me or understands the way that I learn. I do not feel that way about this class since there have been many assignments that have encouraged us to communicate with each other and express ourselves. However, I have taken four other online classes that express all of the horrible qualities of Computer-Assisted Instruction. I have been assessed on my knowledge through timed tests on material that I essentially taught to myself due to the fact that my online professor did not teach it to us directly. CAI is just as flawed as Teacher to Student instruction. But as a student, I am responsible for the way I respond to these flaws. I can either choose to do the work or rebel the system.


Ted Nelson at Mid-term

“At the last, it is to rescue the student from the inhuman teacher, and allow him to relate directly and personally to the intrinsically interesting subject matter, than we need to use computers in education.”

I found this quote interesting because I can relate to it. Many students including myself have had professors that are not easy to understand. In most cases it is because the professor is teaching in a way that we can’t comprehend or just simply find it boring the way they teach the class. I just think that with the use of computer and online classes you have the ability to learn your own way and where everything is instructed and written online. I believe that with computers and the internet and students making use of it to learn what they are assigned makes it more beneficial. I like how this class is organized and taught. All of the activities in this class help us learn and better understand everything we need to know.

Ted Nelson at Mid-term

“If everything we ate were kibbled into uniform dogfood, and the amount consumed at each feeding time tediously watched and tested, we would have little fondness for eating. But this is what the schools do to our food for thought, and this is what happens to people’s minds in primary school, secondary school and most colleges.”

I chose this nugget because I found myself nodding in agreement while reading it. I can remember situations from years ago where a teacher has told me I was wrong for having a certain opinion, or that I wasn’t being creative enough. In my mind, I had thought my idea was great. Does that mean I was wrong just because she disagreed? It’s true that students get discouraged. Not everyone thinks alike. We each have our own minds, and they are taught, trained and think differently. I had lost enthusiasm in that course afterwards. I didn’t even enjoy participating anymore because I felt I wasn’t smart enough. One thing I got from the article is that Nelson believes that education should remain unique. It should not be this bland “dogfood” that gets used over and over again. The best way to teach someone something is by keeping his or her interest.

Nelson goes on to say that “Education ought to be clear, inviting and enjoyable, without booby-traps, humiliations, condescension or boredom. It ought to teach and reward initiative, curiosity, the habit of self-motivation, intellectual involvement.” This reminded of this course. So far I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. Many of my previous online courses were extremely repetitive and the assignments were very bland. We did the same thing over and over again every week. Read the article and write a post about it. We are taught to question things in this course. We are pushed to be creative and research topics that we cannot find easy answers to. We are not punished for our opinions, rather rewarded for getting our creative juices flowing. One of my favorite assignments was the one where we had to search a question that we already knew the answer to. I had no idea that my question about the S on superman’s chest would lead to gender equality. It taught me to always take a deeper look. This course is the kind of course Nelson was talking about. It’s unique, and definitely meets his criteria.

Nugget Post: Ted Nelson at Mid-term

“The alternative is straightforward. Instead of devising elaborate systems permitting the computer or its instructional contents to control the situation, why not permit the student to control the system, show him how to do so intelligently, and make it easy for him to find his own way? Discard the sequences, items and conversation, and allow the student to move freely through materials which he may control. Never mind optimizing reinforcement or validating teaching sequences. Motivate the user and let him loose in a wonderful place”

I haven’t taken any online class before. This class is the first online class I’ve taken, so I don’t have that much experience about online learning. It’s totally new to me. I first thought online classes use Skype or Facetime to teach and communicate. I was wrong.  I think it’s hard for me to take UNIV online because sometimes i just got lost and don’t really know what the assignment required because reading a new language is much harder than just listening. I would understand more clearly if it’s a face to face class. It’s a challenge to me, but l’m start to get use to i.

Despite the difficulty of the language. There is one thing i like about online learning is that we get to find out the best and suitable way for our own leaning manner. That’s why I picked that passage because it resonated with me. Instead of go to class, listen to lecture, write down notes and follow the instruction, we have more freedom and more choice when we learn online just like what we did on the wikipedia assignment. Teacher only told you what to do, but didn’t tell you how to do, so it was really depend on us and our interests. On the other hand, we are not only have freedom to choice how to do it, but also to choice when to do it. I believe everyone has that moment when we just don’t feel like to do anything. Online class allows you to do it. You don’t have to do it at certain time, you just need to do it before the deadline. When I feel like to do it, I will do it more efficient.  If internet is an ocean, then online class allows us to swim in the ocean freely. This is how i understand “Motivate the user and let him loose in a wonderful place”

Ted Nelson at Midterm

“Computers offer us the first real chance to let the human mind grow to its full potential, as it cannot within the stifling and insulting setting of existing school systems.”

This quote by Ted Nelson overall states what he thinks of online classes. He mostly thinks that regular classroom settings are not giving students an opportunity to thrive. As technology is growing it is important to keep up with it and online classes take a step forward in this.  With the use of technology, such as computers, the mind multi tasks all the time,thus enhancing our learning experience, we are almost always doing many things at once, whether it is researching some topic for English class while browsing flashcards for art history, you’re inevitably taking more than one topic and/or information.

Personally, I think my online experience has been okay, it’s been satisfactory to some degree but sometimes I am confused as to what is expected because that person to person (student to teacher) interaction doesn’t exist in an online setting. Although online classes provide commodity I can’t think that we will move away from classroom settings completely, and this is because for one, they are necessary to get that whole education experience of going to school and meeting with your teachers.

Ted Nelson believes in innovative, interacting and challenging education which is a very good outlook on what it should be. I think that education should also focus on real world and life experiences that children will someday face. Many of the times it feels as though we go to school, memorize notes just to take a test and after that, it all is forgotten, and that is not how it should be. So I agree that education should be more enjoyable.

Ted Nelson at Midterm

Education ought to be clear, inviting and enjoyable, without booby-traps, humiliations, condescension or boredom. It ought to teach and reward initiative, curiosity, and the habit of self-motivation, intellectual involvement. Students should develop, through practice, abilities to think, argue and disagree intelligently.

I chose this nugget because this is states my ideal form of education. I can’t recall a time where I was truly enthusiastic about my education. One should learn in an environment that is a challenge that they can overcome. Nelson makes points throughout out the excerpt that education has lost its uniqueness. Everything has become so standardized. He also mentions that tests are a trap because most the questions have questions that contain twists and tricks. He strongly advocates for an education that requires a lot of thinking and expression of opinion.

This nugget resonates with our online class because we aren’t just a normal class that writes essay and do readings, but we are a class that looks at multiple aspects of each presented topic in unique ways. In our class, all assignments are very thought provoking. One of my favorite assignments was the blog post of combining sentences from my own posts and my classmates’ post, to make one giant post. It was challenging to find flowing sentences but it was possible because I had to think each sentence through to make sure they relate. The other thing that this class does, is since we are online, I feel we are more inclined to be opinionated because there isn’t a sense of judgment that there would have been if this class were online. This is what Nelson wanted, an environment where students can all think and present their opinions with enthusiasm and the ability to debate

Concept Experience #6: Finding a Fantic Space

One of my favorite things to do when I am bored or in the mood to procrastinate is to go on this special corner of Google Maps and explore the new content that it’s periodically uploaded there. Right now on this branch of Google Street View there are several cities, countries and regions of the world you can experience as if you were physically there, but with an advantage to compensate for the fact you are not: each image offers a little history or trivia about the place you are currently “visiting”. This website reminds me of that video we watched in which the guy was wearing his “life enhancing glasses” that gave him all the information he wanted as he went by his day.

As I mentioned, there are several places you can explore in this website, and each panoramic picture will offer you some information and a link in case you are interested in learning more about each location. One of my favorite places to “visit” are the Galapagos Islands. I first learned about being able to visit there through Google last year in a Biology class. I think my professor wanted us to be able to experience the islands in a similar way that Darwin did, which was a great way to enhance our learning experience and make us more engaged in the class – very similar to what Nelson proposes in Dream Machines. I love the opportunity that Google provides for us to make boring paragraphs in a textbook real, in a dynamic way. There are videos about the labs and the animals Darwin studied, panoramic views of the islands, and you can even swim with the sea lions!

Concept Experience #6: Finding a Fantic Space

What attracts me the most about this website, and what I wish I could replicate in my own Inquiry Project (if only I had the skills, which I don’t), is that you could lose yourself for hours there without even noticing – and most importantly, while LEARNING. Sure, we can all blow several hours online no problem, but how much do you really learn when you get to the end of your ex’s Instagram feed? I also love how each page offers you just the right amount of information to 1) teach you something, 2) not bore you, and 3) give you room to research more if you so wish. After all, as Nelson writes,  what’s better than encouraging people to learn for and by themselves?

Now, as for an interesting writing voice I’d like to emulate, I had a hard time finding someone because I don’t read any blogs regularly. However, I like to read J.K. Rowling’s tweets because she has great sense of humor, but not in an obvious way. She’s one of those people who can probably tell a joke with a straight face and still make everyone laugh (at least that’s how I picture her saying what she tweets). I also love how sarcastic she is, without being crass or rude. Also, I love how she’s always able to get her point across in a single tweet. I guess what I admire the most about her voice is its ability to convey meaning and humor in just words, without emojis, gifs, pictures, etc. I would love to be able to write as well as her, but for now I am happy to read anything and everything she writes.


Ted Nelson at midterm

“Education ought to be clear, inviting and enjoyable, without booby-traps, humiliations, condescension or boredom. It ought to teach and reward initiative, curiosity, the habit of self-motivation, intellectual involvement. Students should develop, through practice, abilities to think, argue and disagree intelligently. ”

This quote does not specifically say anything about online learning, but I found this quote very interesting, because it is something similar to what I say everyday! I feel like some teachers go out of there way to take a simple topic and make it unbearably hard. For instance, my math teacher shows us this long complicated way to find a solution (it takes up an ENTIRE page), and leaves us all staring dumbfounded because we have no idea what she just did, but then she turns around and does the exact same problem with a “shortcut” which makes so much more sense and saves a whole lot of time, paper, and headaches.  I wrote about teaching in a different post awhile back, but what I said in that pertains to this too. Why must school be so boring? Especially college, if we are paying for this education can’t teachers try a little harder to take this horrible information and make it seem at least a little better?

I feel like online classes are the complete opposite of Nelson’s very first statement in this passage. For the most part, there is nothing too enjoyable or very clear about online classes. The only thing enjoyable about online classes is not having to physically go to a classroom. You do not have to get dressed or even get out of bed to complete the work, and you have some freedom on when you have to do the assignments… but is that really worth it? My UNIV teacher last year explained stuff so much and was so repetitive everyday about what we needed to be working on, so that has been a huge adjustment to taking an online class. This class is set up to be pretty straightforward on what we should be working on and when stuff is due, but sometimes I can get a little confused. When taking UNIV last year sometimes I got a little aggravated with the constant repetitiveness and stuff being over explained, but now I kind of miss it. This is the fourth online class I have taken ,and I have realized I would rather just wake up and sit in a classroom. I hate computers as it is, so having to solely rely on a computer for my classwork just isn’t for me.

I really like Nelson’s definition of what education should be! I feel like maybe if it was more enjoyable and inviting, and all the other stuff he stated maybe more people would be interested in continuing their education.

Nugget-Ted Nelson at Midterm

“Rather than seek to achieve in the way they are supposed to, students turn to churlishness, surliness, or intellectual sheepishness. A general human motivation is god-given at the beginning and warped or destroyed by the educational process as we know it; thus we internalize at last that most fundamental of grownup goals: just to get through another day. Because of this procedure our very notion of human ability has suffered. Adult mentality is cauterized, and we call it “normal.” Most people’s minds are mostly turned off most of the time. We know virtually nothing of human abilities except as they have been pickled and boxed in schools; we need to ignore all that and start fresh. To want students to be “normal” is criminal, when we are all so far below our potential.”

         Nelson is trying  re-innovate the student’s learning process and stray away  from institutional conforming education. Nelson feels that rigid lesson plans and stringent interpretation of intelligence mistakenly limits the students innate ability to acquire knowledge. Computer base education is  scrutinize because the computer is expressed as a “cold” inanimate object that sole purpose is to be commanded, while a living person can passionately articulate lessons and experiences to students. The misconception is that even before computers we have been using inanimate objects to learn without the “warm” guiding hand of an instructor. When you buy a vacuum, you open the box and you find an array of bubble wrapped components and accessories that is waiting for construction. You dig to the bottom of the box and find the assembly manual,  a coarse parchment that teaches(tools,parts,diagrams,drawings..etc) and guides you to the proper assemblage of the vacuum.  I don’t think Nelson is stating that all teachers are bad but that the teacher isn’t going compliment every students learning style. He’s stating that the computer system is a mechanism that can be manipulated NOT to restrict how the student learns, regardless of student’s individual learning style. That’s an important point, its easier to systematically design a computer(programs,applications, databases,algorithmic props) than restrict a “human” teacher with experiences,beliefs and bias. I remember when I was a sophomore and I was required to take University Physics II, my professor was foreign. The lecture was abysmal, he had a very harsh and thick accent that made interpretation nearly impossible. The course was difficult enough without trying to decipher what the professor is saying, coupled with an assertive personally made him unapproachable. Luckily, I had homework through a online homework database that cleared up discrepancies, gave examples and rewarded correct answers. Change is inevitable, utile to fight and ever-evolving, embrace it                         .