All of you have heard people talk about things that they want to do. “Someday, I want to buy a car…go to the Bahamas… be my own boss and own a business.” Aspirations are everywhere. People print photographs of the bright red, shiny convertible to put on the fridge, vacation destinations are used for computer wallpaper, and anyone with a smart phone can fill out a business plan in a template online.
Many of us dream, but few of us take the necessary steps to make those dreams come alive. By deciding to return to school, and to attend college online, you’ve made steps toward a different future. You are actively pursuing an aspiration by taking that necessary first step toward completing a degree.
Every person who has ever walked across a stage and received a diploma started where you are today. Take a moment to recognize how brave just starting out can be. Excuses have ended; the time is now, and here you are! Later, you will discuss the time before you graduated and after you graduated in very different ways. You are embarking on an adventure that will expose you to powerful new ideas and tools for sifting and sorting conflicting information.
For adults, learning is inherently enjoyable when it can be quickly applied. Walden will provide you with professionally useful tools nearly immediately, and you will find that our resources are abundant, because we have years of experience supporting busy adult students. If you have a question about where to go for what service, do not be afraid to ask. If your Instructor doesn’t know about a set of resources, she or he can certainly help you locate them.
All of us seek an education in order to create a change. We might say, “I want a better job,” or we might say, “I want to be a good example to my children,” or “I want to impress my boss.” All of these phrases express the desire to make a change in our life. Education is transformational because it provides us with opportunities to display skills we didn’t know we had, and it helps us become better at expressing our ideas
Can you imagine a world where you wake up in the morning, and you go to your doctor’s office without ever leaving your house? Instead, you plug your blood pressure cuff into your computer and you insert your saliva sample into an analytical drive. The analysis is sent to a virtual physician who lives a thousand miles away. He diagnoses an illness that requires surgery. Lucky for you, the surgeon drone is not terribly busy that morning, and you are able to have your gallbladder removed early in the afternoon. The drone arrives, gives you anesthesia, and by employing ultrasound technology, your doctor can operate by remote control. Without interacting with a human at any point in the process, you have an organ removed in your own home.
For many people, the idea that a university could appear in your living room was equally hard to imagine. Yet, Walden can provide you with a world class education without physically sharing a space with fellow students and teachers. Today online learning is a more common experience, and you are bravely doing what was only a dream 20 years ago.
What wonderful uses of technology! Yet there can be a dark side to technology and the virtual world. Texting while driving isn’t the only thing that can cause an injury. Many people get news of an end to a relationship via a text message, cry about an ex’s post on Facebook, or find out about an affair by cyber sleuthing. We must learn to navigate the positive aspects of technology (1 in 3 marriage licenses in New York City were to couples who met online) while dealing with the perversion rampant online.
In this week’s Discussion you will use the Week 1 Notes and Readings to explore what it means to be human in a virtual world. Reference the resources in your post and response. You do not have to formally cite a source, but if you are relating an idea or building upon the readings, poems, or videos, please identify the source.
Post a paragraph response (about 200–300 words in length) to the following questions:
Do you behave and communicate differently online than you do face-to-face? How so? Give specific examples.
What does it mean to be “fully human”? In light of your definition, do you think we can be “fully human” while interacting with others in a virtual space? Why or why not?
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