Onwards and upwards
Thank you for your effort this semester. Here are a few thoughts to wrap up.
Unlike as with some courses, your goal here wasn't to become trained. I had no intention of filling you up with static knowledge like you were some empty vessel needing to be moulded. Your goal was, chiefly, to stop and think about this crazy time we're living through, about the traditions you're inheriting, and about powerful the role that technology, information, and communication plays in reshaping our lives, both personally and professionally, or if you prefer, socially and commercially. By stopping to think we give ourselves an opportunity to assess the opportunities and threats of this incredible, still emerging era.
I hope that by now some of what we talked about in the earlier part of the semester is making more sense. You'll recall me speaking about how working with software and understanding communication technologies requires a great deal of imagination. These concepts aren't physical in nature. And yet when executed they are extraordinarily powerful. If you look around you'll notice that an increasing part of our economy and our way of life is being turned over to these technologies. We all need to acquire, in varying degrees, the ability to visualize the complex workings of software so that we may organize, design, and discuss its inherent power and purpose. And we need to understand the role that technology plays in shaping the forces of business and of all facets of society.
You'll also recall me stressing the iterative and non-linear nature or methodology of this course, how through the semester we would visit and revisit topics penciling in detail as we went to give more and more context and life to the important concepts. No sursprise...learning about Information Technology is as recursive and rhizomatic as the Web itself! In this sense each new concept we focused upon and each subsequent post made here sheds more light on the collection of previous ideas we shared. If you'd like to get more out of this course you should look now at the older posts with your new eyes.
As insufficient as it may be we can still look back upon the semester as it unfolded chronologically. We spent the early part of the semester introducing Information Technology, stressing its growing importance, and preparing you to use tools like this weblog and those which you created for yourself at Weblogs@UPEI. We talked of how our understanding of ebusiness, and information technology in general, required us to think in the abstract using conceptual models. We then went to work, so to speak, filling you with terms and their significance, stressing the role of architecture, and arming you with tools which you could apply to ebusiness scenarios to uncover their inner workings and break down their constituent parts for close examination. In the process we explored some specific examples and we spoke of greater societal issues relating to information technology. We also reinforced these ideas by using the web to collaborate and create a makeshift interactive hypertext learning network.
Why is it necessary to study Information Technology in this a business program? The right answer to this might be this: becoming IT-literate will be as vital to your success in the 21st-century as reading and writing was in the last century. A narrow, but for some, a more intriguing answer is also: because taming technology has proven to be very much the "holy grail" of business! As many of you noted after hearing the stories of several successful software pioneers, success in eBusiness can make you extraordinarily wealthy.
As impressive as are the stories of great commercial successes in ebusinesses I hope you realize that the advent of the Networking age is about so much more than a few entrepreneur's striking it rich. We are in the early phases of a very profound and very rapid technological revolution. Ask yourself what the face of society will look like in twenty years. Imagine a world where our applications, our devices, and content coverge; where we can express ourselves and create with ease; where the whole of our collective consciousnous is at our individual behest and untold power is at our every beckon call. Sound futuristic? Well you tell me! The power of computers continues to accelerate while costs drop off dramatically. Micro and mobile technologies are aggressively redefining their role and image. Internet Infrastructure continues to grow more robust and more extended. The decentralized vision of internetworking continues to materialize whereby computing power and connectivity is growing pervasive and with no need for any stifling central authority. New software techniques continue to advance at an incredible pace. We express ourselves increasingly in rich media and we represent ourselves increasingly through cyberspace. Though it's hard to see at first, a new networked world order is emerging out of the centralized, hierarchical one that still dominates. New attitudes toward intercreativity and person-to-person communication have dawned with the rise of you our younger generation. The product of these advances and their collective and universal appeal give us major upgrades in productivity and a new economic system where the long term cost of communication, of information, is virtually nil. They will allow us to grow in a new network society unfettered by centralized hiearchical systems to address our problems and each other more directly and with more accountably. And yet this merely scratches the surface! Again, at this pace, where might we be in another twenty years? Are there great business opportunities? Absolutely! But this networking age is new and it requires a fresh understanding of the needs and wants, not of a corporate system, but of each newly empowered individual.
Let me take this time to wish every one of you a great future! I enjoyed studying with each of you. If you have any constructive criticism or would like to add some parting words of your own please comment here.
Finally, allow me to point you to these parting thoughts.
Posted by Mark Hemphill on December 4, 2005 | Permalink
I think we all had an idea of how big the IT feild has got but you put it in a business context that we will probably see later on.
Posted by: amy coles | Dec 5, 2005 10:39:47 AM
Enjoyed the course Mark, good use of the tools on the Web to make a very dynamic course yet at the same time introduce students to some of the conceptual models and processes used in application development.
As someone who spends full time developing applications for various clients I could not agree more that Business students who understand these principles and can apply technology to help manage information will be very successful in their careers.
Good luck on your trip Mark have a good time.
A special thanks to my team mates on route 66 and best wishes to all of you - Geezer
Posted by: geezer | Dec 5, 2005 11:17:33 AM
This was a really good course Mark, and I was glad to have taken it. I was interested in the BEAT program that I heard you were a part of, please e-mail me about this if true, I would like to get involved. Also, even though this course ended quickly it is nice to finally hear a teacher say that the information given throughout this class can be improved and actually used in everyday life, and as IT continues to grow, so will our knowlegde of it as well.
Thanks again Mark.
See you soon.
Posted by: Bryce Elsley | Dec 5, 2005 3:16:38 PM
I also enjoyed the course Mark. Though I do have to admit my eyes glazed over at times when it got too abstract. I think its one of those courses where you don't realize what you've learned till the end. This was brought home to me during the presentations.
I agree with Bryce what we learned in this class is actually used in everyday life. I know I use it every day in my job, and its nice to know the processes behind the technology I use.
Have a Great Trip & Thanks to my Team Members
Posted by: Harry Ryan | Dec 6, 2005 3:57:53 PM
Mark, you gave the class a real personal touch and you could tell you really enjoy teaching the subject. Best wishes on your trip.
Posted by: Cheryl Jeffery | Dec 7, 2005 7:35:41 AM
Congratulations Mark on a job well done. Being the type of person who used to use computers and networks without really understanding the architecture, I really took a lot away from this course. After a semester of MIS, I feel that I have a much deeper appreciation of the technology and complexity of these areas, and the course has sparked my interest in learning more. Thanks again!
Posted by: Aaron Carmichael | Dec 7, 2005 12:24:58 PM
Wow, these comments mean a lot to me folks. As I said, my door is always open. And for sure I hope to see you all lots in the online world.
Posted by: Mark | Dec 12, 2005 1:24:24 PM
Great class Mark. I enjoyed the freedom we had to explore so many different aspects of computers, e-learning, e-business and so many other things. Have a great trip.
Posted by: Alex Key | Dec 14, 2005 12:06:18 AM
This course showed be how big of a field the It sector of business and how impotant it is becoming in the way we live our lives with the main example being E business. This class helped me as I am now more aware of some of these It situations that i had very little of a background in before taking the course.
Posted by: Brent Campbell | Dec 6, 2007 7:07:42 PM
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