Hey guys. So this is our last blog post for the summer 2013 Intro to Information Technology online course. This blog post will sum up my experience with the course and what information and impressions i’ve taken away from it.
Each successive section of the course had us looking at a different aspect of technological culture and industry. Each section started with the basics of the topic like going over the Von Neumann model and exploring the basic syntax of HTML. This part was presented in several different ways. One would be a comic book style overview of the subject. Then a typed out lecture containing maybe a few more details or additional information for the section. Alongside these were links and references to other ideas and complementary information for the subject. Even after all that Dr. Brown would provide additional resources and invite us to learn as much as we pleased on each subject. This course could hypothetically fill up all of your time simply roaming around learning endless points on the various subjects. The course managed to guide us students in the right path towards all this information and I’m very appreciative of that because without it some of this stuff seems kind of daunting.
The course manages to cover most of the issues and ideas in technology today. We spent time on understanding the personal computer and the brands and overall market of computer parts in our computer build. We learned how not only to have the appropriate parts to build a computer but that the different brands and designs for the parts lead to different performances. We discovered that depending on what kind of computer you want to build, there are specific parts for the job. Alongside some of this we were learning the fundamentals of the binary number system and how it relates to the transistor setup on microchips. We found out about how the hardware uses these transistor switches to digitize and store information.
Later on in the course we went over the fundamentals of HTML syntax, how browsers interpret it by the http protocol, and also about networking topology in general. We learned that certain protocols must be developed in order to allow nodes of a network to send/receive information and communicate together. We also learned how to utilize CSS to style the presentation of webpages.
After that we were taught that databasing went from being somewhat unmanageable paradigm to the standards of designs like SQL which manages to be much neater and well structured. It allows data to be stored and saved formatted for later use. Categories are associated together through rows and columns which can be expanded to include relationships to other classes and categories. All in all this system makes it possible to store vast amounts of information and still keep it accessible and easy to understand the relationships between all the data in the form of meta-data.
Towards the last part we learned about programming languages through several generations that became abstracted from the assembly language and the hardware that uses it. We learned that there are all kinds of programming languages designed for all different kinds of uses. Through scratch we learned some hands on flow of control for animations. At the same time, we learned the history of hacking and some of the ingenious techniques used to access peoples information(and also about some techniques that seem much easier to execute then they should be!).
And with this last week we have discovered some of the technology behind Virtual Reality and how the programming languages relate to the 3d environments that are created. Alongside this we were taught about some of the issues, both ethical and political, that surround the world of technology and how it is sure to advance and affect the structure and values of society.
I really enjoyed the course because it was a great starting point and springboard from which to investigate further all these subjects that play a large role in society today. I feel like i am coming away from the course much more informed about the world i live in.