Another semester comes to a close
I want to thank you all for your effort, and patience, this semester. I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors and a wonderful holiday. Before we completely unplug...here are a few thoughts to wrap up.
If things haven't quite been clicking....you really owe it to yourself to really absorb this post.
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.
Posted by Mark Hemphill on December 7, 2006 | Permalink
How about i seize this opportunity to say a very big thank you to you Mark, for a funfilled/blogfill/wikifill semester, i sure enjoyed my time, and i leanrt a lot of new things that is shaping the world we live in today, and this knowledge acquired in MIS will go a long way with me in life.
Have a super holiday y'all and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance.:D:D
Posted by: Bola | Dec 9, 2006 4:06:37 PM
Thanks man! You two, everyone, really have a great holiday. Don't party too much (what am I saying of course you will).
Posted by: Mark | Dec 9, 2006 9:29:41 PM
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