Week 06 – Lab + Reading Response

1b) Lab Assignment: Project Development

In order to explore the question of the effect of student activism on the University, I need to also cover the effect that activism had on non-University departments. This resource helps highlight the effect that it had on pressuring large entities like Facebook to take down hurtful pages.

In order to answer my question of the effect of student activism on the University, I need to learn more about what student activists have been doing. This resource helps explore the public pressures and demands of these student groups.

Housing Is An Epicenter For Change: A Narrative of Students and Staff Championing Campus Social Change Movements by Kimberly Otchere, Tekita Bankhead, Ayanna Williams.

In order to answer the question of the results of student activism in changing UIUC, I need to find out more about large-scale student activist efforts and their effects on specific aspects of the University. This resource helps explore the relationship between Black students on campus in the mid 2010s and the results of their activism on housing at UIUC.

Catching the Spark: Student Activism and Student Data as a Catalyst for Systemic Transformation by Debra Bragg, Heather McCambly, Brian Durham.

In order to answer the question of the results of student activism in changing UIUC, I need to find out more about student activism and its relationships with other entities. This resource helps explore the role of student activism and data as catalysts for change.

In one more paragraph, begin to sketch out what other resources, documents, or interviews with
living or past individuals would help you to flesh out the research you hope to complete.
Consider the “so what” question: why would your research findings be relevant to campus or
community leaders today?

I want to look into other resources covering the anti-Black rhetoric and backlash online and in person, perhaps in response to their protests and demands. There seems to be an increase in the usage of technology, so I think that could be an interesting aspect to consider. As well, I would want to talk to individuals involved with these efforts (e.g. townhalls, protests) and talk to them about how successful they believe these efforts are. In terms of interviewing or surveying current University students, I would be curious to find out if current students know about these movements or even acknowledge its effects which have since changed their University experience. These findings would be relevant to campus leaders today, because some of the changes that were brought about due to student activism can still be adjusted, reformed, or improved — especially if they are not accomplishing their intended purpose.


1c) Drafting Interview & Survey Questions

What percentage of undergrad students at UIUC do you think are Black?

Do you remember I-Connect? What’s your opinion on it?

All University students are required to take both a Non-Western Cultural Studies gen-ed as well as a US Minorities gen-ed. What are your opinions on this? Why do you think they are both required?

Have you taken a U.S. Minorities gen-ed? How useful or interesting of a class was it for you?

Reading Response

In order to develop cybernetics practice, Heinz von Foerster and other members of the Biological Computing Lab got talented at accruing military funding for their research; however, that ultimate backfired on them during the anti-war movement of the ’70s. As part of cybernetics heuristics, von Foerster also emphasized the drastic need for looking at things from the eyes of the organism, not the observer. This went hand-in-hand with the idea of cybernetics being a more alternative take to view biological systems with the acknowledgement of the system of the system. Another strategy that von Foerster used was to teach several LAS 199 interdisciplinary seminars. Through classes such as these, von Foerster was able to to establish cybernetics as a field in many student’s minds as opportunities to explore.

Though the female-sounding name of Valerie Lamont was mentioned, what percentage of those affiliated with BCL at the student and then the staff/faculty levels were there (Prutzer)?

Since the BCL was quite influential yet largely lacks recognition nowadays, in terms of scope and impact on undergraduate students, what’s the modern equivalent to BCL today (Hutchinson)?

As a German/non-American, did Heinz von Foerster ever face any tension or difficulty as a researcher/director of the BCL due to his background (Anderson)?

Though funding for cybernetics eventually dissolved and got funneled into fields like Computer Science, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence, would there be modern-day value in investing back into cybernetics (Anderson)?

1 thought on “Week 06 – Lab + Reading Response”

  1. Hey! I enjoyed your reading response and lab reflection. Some of the interesting points that I found particularly insightful were that von Foerster used was to teach several LAS 199 interdisciplinary seminars. Through classes such as these, von Foerster was able to to establish cybernetics as a field in many student’s minds as opportunities to explore. I also believe you can further research on Daily Illini for more info on student activism in the university.

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