Debate, Communication, and Technology

Debate is the one activity in my life that I can contribute to many of my successes. Debate has taught me a multitude of skills including research, communication, persuasion, traveling, writing, and even more. I have participated in debate for the past 10 years of my life and over that decade, I have seen very many changes. When I first started debate as a freshman in high school, all of our material was printed. I am talking like literal tubs of information. This is because I did a style of debate called policy that was heavily researched and had a single topic throughout an entire year. There is a vivid memory that I have when I first saw technology in a debate round. It was my junior year of high school at a national tournament in Dallas. The opening rounds of the tournament were in a very large hotel, which made navigating my tubs of paper information pretty difficult. Then the other team showed up and all they had was two laptops and I was thrown for a loop. Now though this is a very normal practice in many debate leagues around America. To be honest I still use paper and will probably never be comfortable with using technology in a debate round, but for many people it has made debate more accessible. So even though I may not use it technology in the debate world has been a great addition to an already great activity. I hope that in the future debate incorporates even more technology all throughout its competitions.

Here is a link about this topic!

Rural Broadband and Wireless

I come from a rural community right here in Indiana. The small town of Columbia City is where I grew up and learned the ails of rural broadband even before I knew it was a problem around the country. For starters, I never had more than dial up until early in high school. I experienced the internet at school but at home, it was a no go. For me this was not necessarily a problem, but in the age of information that exist today, internet access can make or break a student’s high school career. Alas my story continues, once we got broadband there was still trouble to deal with. At the time, there were only two internet providers to choose from and both had their flaws. I have many vivid memories of doing homework on internet that either was cutting in and out or seemed to be the same speed as the dial up that we used to have. The worst part about this is that whenever I go home the internet is still subpar. From what I understand, access to internet is still a plague across rural America. There are a couple of different reasons for this. The first is that the infrastructure to give nationwide broadband is simply nonexistent. The second problem is that supplying internet to rural areas is not a profitable endeavor. There are two solutions to this problem. The first is the creation of regulations that force utility companies to provide to everyone. The second comes to us from wireless environments, such as 5G, that could provide broadband in mass.

Here are some articles about rural broadband:

The Information Renaissance

Information is all around us. The fact that you are viewing this blog means that you are on the internet, which is one of the largest conglomerates of information in existence. Information is very important because of the way that it influences our understanding of reality. This leads to the importance of the ability to access information. Over time, information has become more and more available, because of the information renaissance. As a brief definition, the information renaissance is a period of time in which there was exponential growth in information technologies that began in the early 2000’s. Arguably, this is a renaissance that is still ongoing. It is not so much to do with new technologies now it is more to do with how many people can access available information. This is especially important in parts of the world that are still developing. They have the chance to create a more advanced set of utilities than we have. One of the more interesting parts of the information renaissance has to do with the integration of new ideas. Take Google Fiber for example. Recently when I was traveling over the summer, I went through Chattanooga Tennessee. All throughout Chattanooga there were billboards that advertised there installation of fiber to the home. This service gives Chattanooga some of the fastest and most reliable service in the nation. This test service is just the beginning if successful we may see Google Fiber introduced to other parts of the nation. This among other things is a perfect example of what’s happening in the information renaissance.

Here is some more information about the information renaissance.

Plagiarism Now and Then

Throughout my academic career, I have constantly heard about the dangers of plagiarism, but have never experienced them. As we all already know, plagiarism is a serious offense that affects many people within a community where it occurs. In the age of technology, we are lucky enough to have the means to combat plagiarism. For example, one of my assignments for my assistantship is to teach the basic communications course here at Ball State. As an instructor for this course, I have to have my students turn in their work using a program called SafeAssign. This program has the ability to compare students assignments to a wealth of literature along with every assignment ever submitted to SafeAssign. The program then gives a percentage-based readout of how much of the students assignment is original content. This tool has been very helpful and reassuring for me as an instructor. I have to wonder how plagiarism was checked before the advent of programs such as SafeAssign. It would have been pretty simple for experts, such as professors, to see when students had copied material that already existed in the field, but it may have been much more difficult to catch students who copied each other. When a student decides to plagiarize off of their own work or others they hurt themselves the most. This is because the student may pass the course without learning the material, which will lead them to a very difficult future. This discussion should show how dangerous plagiarism can be and that it can be more easily caught now making it both dangerous and difficult to accomplish.

Here are some famous cases of plagiarism.

Ball State, CICS, and the Rest of the World

This may seem like a lot of content to tackle in my very first post, but I would like to use this post to quantify my Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS) experience thus far and explain why the program is important to me. Let’s just say that my graduate school experience has been a little nontraditional. I am a double major in both CICS and Communication Studies, and I am in my second year of study, which will conclude this upcoming May. This gives me a unique perspective on the program since I have been part of the center for two cycles now. Over the past year and a half, I have been challenged to learn and grow more than in any other part of my life thus far. It is this growth that has taught me to become the professional I am today. Throughout my time at CICS I have worked on many group and personal projects that have pushed me to learn more about how technology works and how that information can be communicated to others with non-technical backgrounds. The skills I have gained from these projects are marketable in almost any professional situation. In the United States, these skills are marketable across a multitude of technology-based jobs. Tech is also one of the more arguably stable industries within the United States. As for the rest of the world, CICS has also taught me to understand and work in diverse situations. Not only do I understand these situations I also personally appreciate diversity. This makes it so that I can be a globally conscious professional who would be able and willing to work wherever the opportunity takes me. In the end, my graduate school experience has helped to prepare me for my life after academia in more ways than I can express in words.

Here are some helpful links!