I finished the assigned reading tonight and I was about to start on the reaction paper, but I want to take a bit longer to let everything sink in before I do the formal assignment. Since this is my research blog, I’m going to babble at will. I’ll come up with some categories to make the “official” stuff for classes and the “polished” and “organized” posts easier to locate, but for now I’m more concerned with just generating some content and seeing how the patterns of posts turns out.
Initial reaction to the readings was something along the lines of “Damn, that’s a lot of reading to get done by Tuesday.” I took Alex’s warnings to heart when he said that we would have to learn how to adjust our reading habits to get the most out of our assigned readings for grad school.
Strategies for Understanding
I’ve been that guy who just kind of coasts and never does the work. Well, I used to be that guy: thirteen years in the corporate world cures you of that tendency very quickly in my experience. $20K for grad school also tends to make you sit up and pay attention more, too. So I figured out that off the bat I need to set up some decent study habits. After taking a gander at the Engelbart report, I’m glad I did.
Generally I just read along and took some notes, trying to find ways to sum up the major points and diagram out the major arguments. Along the way I found myself jotting down some noteworthy direct quotes for possible use later in class or in papers. I started skimming more and reading less, keeping an eye out for anywhere that I lost the thread of the argument so I would stop and back up then and pay more attention until I could skim again. It kind of worked. Going to have to refine the practice a bit, but it worked well enough.
I also found that about halfway through reading Engelbart (I read Bush first and Linklider last), my brain started to come up with some interesting trains of thought and reactions to the reading. I guess that’s what Alex wants us to get to. But it was more on the cognitive theory portions in Engelbart. I used my reading notes to jot down the trains of thought and inspiration too, only I blocked them off with a bracket and indented them for easier finding as I skim later.
I never used to have to take notes. Not on reading. I just read it and retained it, but this is a bit of a stretch. Especially Engelbart. If you’re in the ICM501 class and haven’t started the reading assignments yet, watch out for Engelbart. It’s the most conceptually complex and structurally confusing of the three articles so far. But also for me, one of the more inspiring ones because it provides a framework for considering and discussion of the other ideas.
This isn’t the official reaction. I want time to sleep on it and review my reading notes before I write that stuff. I’ve got some neat ideas and I have some direct experiences too, which tie in nicely with the readings to illustrate some points.
Developing an ICM Wiki
I’m also vaguely considering that in order for this blog to work well, I think it’s going to need a wiki attached. Time to look into free wiki-esque sites like Wet Paint. Anyone else from the ICM501 class that wants to jump in and make a collective wiki, let me know. I’ll be doing it anyway for my own notes, but I think that we could maybe create an ICM501-specific wiki that could help us all collect our knowedge and insights.
Any takers, let me know! (Also let me know if this particular wheel has already been invented yet or not.)