To me this course has been a lot like training for a marathon or one of those “couch to 5K” programs. We started very small, with a post that was just commentary on another #thoughtvectors blogger. Very similar to running, where you are supposed to start by walking. Slowly we amped up the speed as the assignments got more and more thorough, just as a runner begins to run more and walk less. But we got breaks from all the cardio too, as the nuggets allowed us to take a breath and work a little less than other days. Kinda like stretching after a long run. Relaxing, but still part of the workout.
Runners also need to do some lifting to gain muscles, and I think the heavy part of our course have been the readings. To build up our strength (cognitively, that is), we had to read a lot of texts that were somewhat difficult, at least for me. Engelbart’s was particularly complicated for me, as well Vannevar Bush’s. Which makes sense to me, because just as one cannot lift only 2lbs forever and hope to get “jacked”, as students we also cannot hope to become better readers and writers if we keep reading only our Facebook feeds.
The several milestones a runner needs to reach in order to prepare for a marathon were all the research-related posts we did. Dividing our bigger goal (the IP) into smaller goals made this task (seem) easier, and I appreciate how much time we’ve been allowed to fully explore our topics. In the end, all this preparation only made the finish line even more cathartic.
I must confess I was scared at first about having a blog where I was supposed to write my school work in. I’m a nervous writer and I’m not fond of criticism, so obviously I was not thrilled about the format of this class in the beginning. But with time I came to love the idea of blogging, and it was great to be able to receive and give feedback to other students and interact with those in other classes through the #thoughtvectors hashtag on Twitter. Somehow blogging took a bit of the pressure off from oh-so-terrifying academic writing. Runners too sometimes start on this task to lose weight, initially dreading it – but then end up loving it. It’s been a great experience! But for now I am looking forward to getting back to my couch (at least for Winter break).