All posts by kessingerrg

Texting My Dream

As stated in my previous post, I found the most interesting topic to be cyberbullying. It developed in the early 2000s along with the expansion of the worldwide web through means of online social networking. Facebook and Twitter have been the primary platforms for such negative behavior. But those sites have managed to regulate most of their security and safety issues through monitoring and expanding privacy controls. Facebook and Twitter are also already well-known and commonly used in today’s society. Thus, for purposes of this assignment I wanted to explore something not as common and contrive new ideas based upon my discoveries.

Through research on the internet, I came across a mobile app called “After School”, which was originally released in November of 2014. It provides a private space for interacting online within a defined network based on high schools. Teenagers are able to connect with peers through common interests and classes they are taking. After School has already soared to such high membership including hundreds of thousands of high school students. I worry about the negative impact of the anonymous message board. Cyberbullying had finally begun declining during the early 2010s. But with the expanding of anonymous interaction, the privacy and safety concerns are numerous. Cultural norms, including the typical hierarchal organization of most high schools, are mirrored and further extended through this online sphere of influence.

Week 1 Reflection Post

Based on what we have discussed throughout the first week, I am interested in exploring cyberbullying. The expansion of the world wide web has led to the development of many online social networks, which have brought people together in various ways. People have become more connected with their family, friends, and colleagues now more than ever before. But what is the backlash from this technological takeover? Are people actually making genuine connections with others?

Many folks could be hiding behind their online identity. For some, online interaction could be the only way they are able to break out of their shell throughout adolescence. But is this a healthy form of communication with peers? For others, growing up in a generation with more of a technological presence in their lives has only brought about negative physical, mental and emotional impacts. It is never easy to deal with bullying in person. However, verbal abuse can often hurt much more than physical abuse. And it seems much easier for kids nowadays to get away with taunting and harassing others through online means.

My digital primary text right now could be Twitter. This phenomenon has been around for several years now, but with more recent updates the expanding horizon has given way to both positive and negative impacts. From my own personal experience, Twitter seems to be the most common platform for cyberbullying in today’s society. But I want to see if I can discover a more recent development in the days to come.


Hi there, my name is Rachel Kessinger, 22 years old and a junior here at VCU. This is my third year living in Richmond and I love the university and the city. I have a double major in political science and history. My mom is a lawyer and my dad is a political activist, both with strong political opinions. So I have developed strong interests in law, politics and social issues. Additionally, history was always my favorite subject in school growing up. I have always enjoyed following chains of events and  connecting the dots when it comes to when, where, why and how things happen the way they do.

After college, I have many career goals that I want to pursue. First, I want to do paralegal work. It’s basically the same work that lawyers do, but without representing people in court or having to attend grad school for an additional 4 years. It will give me an even greater understanding of law as well. Secondly, I want to teach at the middle or high school level because teenagers are old enough to understand most real issues, but still young enough that they’ve got a lot to learn about the world. Lastly, I want to work behind the scenes in politics, whether it be as a legislative assistant, lobbyist or campaign manager. I don’t quite have enough courage or confidence to be in the national spotlight as a senator or governor, but I have enough knowledge and passion to pursue a supportive role.

There are a couple reasons for taking this particular UNIV 200 course online. I have actually never taken an online class in college before so I saw this opportunity as being a great, new challenge and learning experience.  I also work so much that being able to do the assignments for this class around my own schedule really helps. Despite my parents earning reasonable incomes, they have always felt that I should earn my way through college. So, I work and pay for school entirely on my own with no financial aid or loans. I genuinely want to be here at this university in this city.  Reading and writing have always been my strong suits along with my love for learning. I hope to get the most out of this class as possible, while also hopefully obtaining the highest possible grade as well.

Computer Lib/Dream Machine

“It is imperative for many reasons that the appalling gap between public and computer insider be closed. As the saying goes, war is too important to be left to the generals. Guardianship of the computer can no longer be left to a priesthood. I see this as just one example of the creeping evil of Professionalism, the control of aspects of society by cliques of insiders. There may be some chance, though, that Professionalism can be turned around. Doctors, for example, are being told that they no longer own people’s bodies.”

Ted Nelson expresses his ideas about computers through the use of metaphors and this is just one example of such. Throughout his writing, he criticizes the way people approached the use of computer technology during that time. He effectively anticipated and put into perspective how necessary computer-assisted technology would become. It would become incredibly useful for the improvement of our educational system here in the United States. Machines were establishing new forms of teaching and learning methods, which were crucial during that time. Nelson stated that one’s mental capacity would not only change drastically in the “near future” but also improve greatly. This implication is powerful because of how much we now depend on computers in our present-day society, It is also baffling to me that what is now used for work, school, social media and just about every possible task was only used within a “priesthood” for several decades because of its powerful ambiance. This particular quote from Nelson’s writing made me stop and wonder what society would be like today if people hadn’t stepped out of their comfort zone. What if computers hadn’t become such a worldwide phenomenon? How far behind would our education system still be?

Texting My Dream

Navdy is a heads-up display device for use while operating your automotive vehicle. It was designed by optical engineers, who were seeking to create the most natural driving experience possible. It includes a wide range of core features, including turn-by-turn navigation and car diagnostics as well as presentation for playing music, texting, initiating and accepting calls, etc. The potential for easy and efficient access to mobile apps and communicative means is made possible without drawing one’s attention from the road ahead. The combination of touchless gesture controls and voice recognition creates a truly extraordinary experience like no other.

In today’s society, it is often tempting and inevitable for allowing yourself to become distracted while driving. Focus can be shifted to texting and phone calls without much thought as to the resulting consequences. Navdy is now available for providing a collaboration of these efforts in order to provide the safest and most efficient driving experience.

Through this inquiry project, I hope to obtain an extensive understanding and share knowledge about this web-object. The virtual world that has developed throughout recent decades is being further extended with this digital device. I have no personal experience with Navdy. However, from a first glance at it’s website, I will be considering whether or not to purchase this item for myself. Having said that, I do hope to determine the various pros and cons presented. Therefore, this web-object brings much excitement and eagerness for the coming weeks.


Integrated Domain Concept Experience

During class on Monday 09/14, we got into groups of 3 and discussed our blog posts regarding Engelbart’s article. We collaborated quotes and statements from our individual posts through a thought process involving a thorough conceptual analysis. This allowed for us to developed many new thoughts and ideas:

How significantly have machines affected society throughout the past few decades?  Where would we be without them?

How extreme is the dependency level on machines today? More specifically, younger generations are experiencing a drastically different upbringing. On the other hand, different does not necessarily infer good or bad.

Life in the United States has been constantly progressing since the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. However, since the turn of the twenty-first century in particular, many extensions of “machines” have taken place. For example, automotive vehicles have taken more precedence in hybrid forms. Secondly, wireless communication has soared through the means of mobile phone technology. Thirdly, music has moved past the old-fashioned style of pen and paper. Synthesizers and macbooks are now commonly utilized for developing the technical and expressive aspects of sound production. Each of these changes has transformed our ways of thinking and functioning on a daily basis.

It was interesting to see how creatively and effectively our group developed new thoughts based on our blog posts about the same article. Simple and basic ideas were expanded into complex discussions with new conclusions and open-ended statements.


Augmenting Human Intellect

There were many quotes throughout this article which stood out to me. “The writing machine and its flexible copying capability would occupy you for a long time if you tried to exhaust the reverberating chain of associated possibilities for making useful innovations within your capability hierarchy” (Chapter II Part A). Engelbart made numerous implications throughout this article. Over 50 years ago, he was able to accurately anticipate the inevitable technological advancements to come. This progress has captivated our curiosity and creativity for several decades since then.

More specifically, printers have become a necessary means for success within most educational and professional settings. They are useful for printing, copying, scanning and faxing. This quote resonates strongly with me because of how innovative our society has become through means of technology. We have become more successful and efficient. Engelbart was brilliant for making these predictions!

Progress Report/Reflection

I have experienced minimal struggle with this class other than keeping up with the due dates sometimes. Since I have not previously participated in online blogging, I was not as accustomed to daily blog posting until beginning this class. Having said that, it has allowed me to improve my skills with such activities.

I have enjoyed our class discussions on various topics because they have helped me improve my critical thinking and communication abilities. Forming new thoughts and ideas is a significant life skill and this class is beginning to broaden my horizons for embracing new ways of thinking.

Thus far, there are two blogs which have stood out to me in particular: jroth and minky. Each of them have demonstrated great understanding of the articles we have read and discussed by composing blog posts with profound statements that flow with ease.

Formulated vs. Formulative

During our last class meeting, we all did a critical thinking activity, which required each of us to get together with another classmate. Upon collaborating with my partner, we had to evaluate something most would assume to be vague and/or obvious. However, our statement – “machines function” – was easily expanded upon, leading to numerous realizations.

Online research led to an NYU article entitled: “Can machines think?” By skimming through this article, we were able to begin a further extension of our thought process. “What role does artificial intelligence play in society? Will artificial and human intelligence evolve together or will our natural way of thinking be left behind? How much can we trust machines? How much are robots capable of? What if robots take over our mainstream career fields? What are humans left to do? How much control will humans sustain over artificial intelligence?” Our discussion led to a conclusive apprehension that machines have potential for causing disaster and chaos in society.

It is astounding to me how much one simple statement can be expanded. Our opening statement was vague enough to give way for other topics to be discussed. Thus, we were able to gain a greater understanding for performing research in a quick and efficient way, especially with the assistance of computer technology.

Man-Computer Symbiosis

“Man-computer symbiosis is probably not the ultimate paradigm for complex technological systems. It seems entirely possible that, in due course, electronic or chemical “machines” will outdo the human brain in most of the functions we now consider exclusively within its province.” – Linklider

The author seems as though he is directing his writing toward exactly what has become the present day with technology. He made accurate predictions which have quickly transformed into reality throughout the past few decades. His profound thought process about machines and how they operate is informing and almost baffling.

Machines have begun to take over our lives through means of computers and smart phones. This extension of technology has given way to a great deal of automation for completing tasks that used to be done by paid employees. Sure, there is a new economy with various jobs for those building machines, robots, computers, etc. However, it begs the question of how much artificial intelligence already has and will become an overwhelming presence throughout today’s society. Will humans simply lose career opportunities because of this movement or will our natural way of thinking be left behind and forgotten entirely? The extraordinary functioning processes, which machines are becoming capable of performing, are more than likely going to bring about chaos and destruction of society as we know it. The thought of artificial intelligence eventually taking precedence is just terrifying.