Week 07 – Lab + Reading Response


Since my topic primarily focuses on student activism in more recent years, I garnered several emails from different archive staff members directing me to other more recent, online sources. Some of those sources were secondary sources, but I have some of the primary sources listed here below.

This source covers the ideas proposed by students, faculty, and staff to address systemic racism within the Grainger College of Engineering, as spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement in mid 2020. The task force came together to better inform the dean with specific implementations and goals.

“Report by the Anti-Racism Task Force to Dean Rashid Bashir, Grainger College of Engineering.” The Anti-Racist Task Force of the IDEA Institute, 14 Aug 2020, https://ws.engr.illinois.edu/sitemanager/getfile.asp?id=1594. Accessed 12 Oct 2020.

The University of Illinois System will be creating a system-wide Chicago-based academic center focused on racism, as well as providing grants, funding, lecture series, and education to address racism.

Clotter, Haydee. “U of I to launch academic center focused on racism.” Fox Illinois, 24 July 2020, https://foxillinois.com/news/local/u-of-i-to-launch-academic-center-focused-on-racism. Accessed 12 Oct 2020.

In this meeting, the Board of Trustees acknowledged that addressing systemic racism and social injustice was a priority of the University with ideas to address it including supporting faculty research in those fields as well as a series of working groups.

“Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois July 23, 2020.” The Board of Trustees, 23 July 2020, http://www.trustees.uillinois.edu/trustees/minutes/2020/July-23-2020-BOT.pdf. Accessed 12 Oct 2020.

In this report, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion highlights the departmental and institutional efforts to be more diverse in the 2017-2018 academic year.

“Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Report 2017-2018.” The Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, 15 Nov 2018, http://www.trustees.uillinois.edu/trustees/agenda/November-15-2018/r-nov-2017-2018-Diversity-Equity-and-Inclusion-Report.pdf. Accessed 12 Oct 2020.


Describe your background and history at the University.

While at the University, what have (or did) you observe in terms of student activism?

What issues or challenges do student activists face?

How does the University react to such demands?

How do you think UIUC compares to its peer institutions in terms of social justice-based activism?

How effective do you think those methods of activism were and why?

What do you think should be changed or implemented?

What is your view of the future in terms of meaningful change by the University?

1d Identify Interviewees & Survey Distribution Leads

Interview: Obiamaka Onwuta, former #BeingBlackatIllinois member

Ronald Bailey, professor in African American Studies

Kendall Hester, Blacks and African Americans in Computing member

Anisha Narain, student activist

Ross Wantland, director of diversity and social justice education at the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations

Dr. Yun Shi, director of International Education

Reading Response

PLATO was instrumental in distance learning applications as well as beyond as a two-communication system. Using PLATO in order to conduct research via survey distribution was very highly well-received with over 90% of survey respondents saying that they wanted to see more issues discussed on PLATO (Lamont 21). It was also outlined for usage as part of Delphi-like conferences or to develop strategies based on information from the community (Lamont 32). The Notes section of PLATO became message forums that anyone could post to, with its public, collaborative, group messaging environment that pathed the path for email later on (Dear). Communication-wise, PLATO had had emoticons since 1976, which was several years before ASCII emoticons were even developed (Dear). As well, PLATO was instrumental in pioneering education for blind students by acting as an instructor, tool for instructors, or tool to print instruction materials (Weber 20).

There a multitude of differences between PLATO and current distance-based learning platforms like Khan Academy, Coursera, and YouTube. For the former two, their value is prided on showing examples to users and letting users apply their skills to new problems. In that way, it also caters question sets and points to their user base so that they can focus their efforts on learning their weaker skills. This generally is a more recent invention I’d say due to the rise of technology and consolidated efforts into the user experience. As well, the hardware + software aspect of PLATO made it difficult to use and inaccessible for many. While arguably still inaccessible to the majority of the global population, online-based learning formats nowadays can be used by anyone with a phone, tablet, or computer with an internet connection, which now applies to vastly more people.

2 thoughts on “Week 07 – Lab + Reading Response”

  1. Hi Tiffany, I enjoyed reading your post and observed great interview questions for your lab reflection! I found your question comparing UIUC to its peer institutions in terms of social justice-based activism very interesting. I also found it insightful that you referenced pioneering education for blind students in your response and how PLATO brings forth an instructor’s reputation.

  2. Hi! I enjoyed your reading, There was quite a few interesting points that you recalled about PLATO. I believe another big difference between current distance learning solutions and PLATO was that PLATO was much more inaccessible because of its cost as well as heavy infrastructure.

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