Week 01 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Week 01-Lab Reflection + Reading Response

1a) Innovation + Society Lab

In the middle of the day around 3:00 pm, I went to observe a place that I usually find myself in. The first location is a basketball court that I love and am familiar with. It’s located on the side of my fraternity, and I use this space often to play basketball, hangout with some friends, or even have social events on. Many others use this area of the house for basketball as well, and sometimes it gets very competitive. Usually when the fraternity recruits new members, they bring them to the basketball court because it’s a great environment for a bunch of guys who like sports and want to have a good time. 

I was in this location during the day, right in front of the house to the left. It’s ideal that there is a bus stop walking distance from the front door, but sometimes it’s not a place I really like due to past experiences of the bus being late or not even showing up. The bus stop is used by many of the guys that live in the fraternity house, allowing us to get to the quad more quickly. Additionally, I often come to this spot very early in the morning, so I don’t usually look forward to going to it. The bus stop has helped me in situations where I could’ve been late for class, so the idea of putting one right in front of the house makes it beneficial for everyone who lives around it as well. The house is located on the border of Urbana and Champaign, so it’s not as close as the rest of the houses in Champaign. 

2a) Reading Response

Why is the idea of Land Grant important to President Henry and the comments he 
makes in his 1968 speech? What was innovative about Land Grant – what did it change? 

The Land Grant is key to understanding the important history of the University of Illinois. While the initial vision of the Land Grant was clear in its emphasis on education for the agricultural laborer, its interpretation in society remains important to the needs of the school and its students, facility, and staff. The Morrill Act indirectly pushed Land Grant Universities to find a way to incorporate mechanical arts (Geiger 307). This act helped to fulfill the industrial and mechanical needs that were demanded by the respective states. 

The Land Grant opened institutions and transformed access to education and innovation from then on. For many land-grant universities such as the University of Illinois, this meant hopefully lowering the barrier to access of universities and increasing its growth in order to meet demand, although there was still a long way to go (Henry). In this, we can see that President Henry outlines Illinois as a prestigious University, but it requires intellects such as him to guide the University into the next century. By understanding the Land Grant’s perspective of education for people across the world to better equip them for their futures, we can then understand why it didn’t always work. At the same time of President Henry’s speech, there was a backlash by students against the university for not listening to them. Students felt insecure about their education and it was not enough to simply teach students on agriculture and industry, or marketing and advertising as originally expected, but to equip them with the intellectual and high-level thinking to solve any problem that came toward them.  As the student Centennial Convocation speaker Paul Schroeder said, “Let us all work together not so much to liberalize the present order, as to gain our liberation from it” (Schroeder). It is not enough for students to be educated through required classes, but to develop their own innovation as they grow older and make use of things that other people haven’t thought of yet.  

Response (to Goose’s post): 

I believe that both of our reading response posts have a lot to do with education reform and that the Land Grant focused mainly on wide educational opportunities, comprehensive curricula, and diversity. 

Week 01 – Lab Reflection

1a) Innovation + Society Lab Reflection
I am currently doing this semester virtually from my home in India. It took me a while to find
something innovative in my immediate surrounding that I had never thought or appreciated
before. While thinking about it one of the things that came to my mind was how cables are
managed for my computer and the internet in my house.
Unlike America, in India internet cables are pulled up manually in buildings, there is no proper
cable management built into the buildings especially the ones that were constructed several
years ago. However, when we were renovating our house we knew how ugly cables look when
left unmanaged. In the first picture as you can see, that’s my setup. From the outside it looks
like a very minimal amount of cables for a complex computer setup. However, that’s all because
of the construction that went behind managing the abundance of cables that are used for the
wifi and the computer.
As you can see in the next few pictures, to manage the number of cables we had to cut a wedge
so that the cables could go through the drawers up to the router, monitor and the speakers. We
then punched a hole into the table top and covered it with a cable managing holder to get all the
cables above the table without it showing and making the space look cluttered and ugly.
Another interesting observation was that the internet cables from the cable provider come from
behind the furniture, and are hidden, that makes the space look beautiful as well as does a
great job hiding unnecessary cables.
Although cable management is an innovation we would not usually appreciate, however when
you think about it, you realise how complex and beautiful the construction really is.
As compared to my house, in America the buildings are made keeping cable and wire
management in mind. The internet providers have their cables already pulled in from within the
walls so that to connect to wifi all a person has to do is find a round outlet and connect his/her
router to it. That’s another brilliant way of managing cables and keeping them uncluttered.

Week 01 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Why is the idea of Land Grant important to President Henry and the comments he
makes in his 1968 speech? What was innovative about Land Grant – what did it change?

The idea of the Morrill Land Grant of 1862 is fundamentally necessary to understand the monumental history of the University of Illinois and to see where it may grow from there. During the centennial anniversary of the Land Grant, the University of Illinois President Henry clearly illustrates how far the University has gone in increasing access and admission to higher education, contributing to academic research across a variety of disciplines, and preparing thousands of students for careers. However, he does not stop there and is quick to point out the areas and fields that the University needs work on. While the initial vision of the Land Grant was static in its emphasis on education for the agricultural laborer, its interpretation and propagation in society remains dynamic and ever-changing to the needs of the institution and its people.

Innately, the Morrill Land Grant set aside the means for the University of Illinois—Illinois Industrial University originally—to grow and to educate Illinoisans on agriculture and best labor practices. Outside of Davenport Hall even, we can read: “Industrial education prepares the way for a millennium of labor.” The ever reaches of such an act sought out to “institutionalize  practical  fields  of study, meld them with liberal education, open them to a new class of students, and charge the states with finding the means to accomplish it all” (Geiger 281). The Land Grant opened up publicly-funded institutions of higher education in a plethora of states and transformed the access to education and innovation from then on. From there, we can see how each state and people had their own autonomy to determine what this meant, but for many land-grant universities such as the University of Illinois, this meant hopefully lowering the socioeconomic barrier to access of universities and increasing its growth in order to meet demand—although there was still a long way to go (Henry 2). In this, we can see that President Henry outlines Illinois as the next beacon into the future, but in order to be that, the University necessitates growth and visionaries such as him to guide the University into the next century. Regardless, the principle remains that the Morrill Land Grant’s rationale of preparation for the common man remains but has grown to be far more than that.

By extrapolating the Land Grant’s original idea of education for the masses as a means to better equip citizens to participate in society, we can then understand its criticisms. At the same time of President Henry’s speech, there was backlash by students against the university for failing to push forth critical thought and listen to the qualms of the next generation of change-makers. Students felt simply unprepared, and as though a university education no longer had merit—it was no longer enough to simply educate students on agriculture and industry as originally poised but to equip them with the intellectual and critical thinking to solve whatever problems came toward them.  Thus, the Morrill Land Grant and its effects prove dynamic and open to interpretation. As the student Centennial Convocation speaker Paul Schroeder said, “Let us all work together not so much to liberalize the present order, as to gain our liberation from it” (1968). It is not enough for the students to be educated but for faculty and students alike to pioneer the vision of the future, be it through industry or academia.

Innovation + Space Lab

8/28/20 10:15 pm

During quarantine, I have designated this space as a location to separate myself from my home life and enter my academic and professional life. In order to fully put myself in my working mindset, there are several key elements that make up this space. First and foremost, the object that I believe best represents this space is the post-it on the entryway. I prefer to work in this space because it is relatively secluded from the rest of the house which puts a buffer between me and my family, who will often talk to me or ask favors of me, in order to make sure I can attend meetings and online classes without interruptions. I have taken to placing a post-it note on the wall to indicate to others who are sharing space with me that I cannot be interrupted at the moment. Instead of a door, this room is connected to the rest of my house via an open archway, which I did not initially register as an innovation, but it has proven to be the perfect boundary to mediate between myself and the rest of my household when I am working at home. Unlike a closed door, my family members feel like they are able to enter the space and talk to me, however in combination with the post-it note, they are able to tell when I am working on something that cannot be interrupted. 

One of the key issues during quarantine has been establishing boundaries. This includes boundaries between myself and my family and also boundaries between my workday and my downtime. This area is not particularly well lit during the evening and night time which at first I found an inconvenience, because it made it more frustrating to work late into the night. But over time I’ve started to register the change in daylight as an indication of the end of my workday and been more mindful of setting a clear end time to my workday.  The change in daylight in a way also represents a change in ownership of this space. During the day I use this space, specifically the desktop computer, to attend virtual meetings and do schoolwork, however later at night, my brother uses the desktop computer to play video games and video call with his friends.

Simply speaking, the innovations in the space are uncountable. We could simply be talking about the double-walled glass acting as insulator to the cold outdoors to the Mac desktop computer that communicates to anywhere in the world to the fluorescent lightbulb that brighten the room with a flick of a switch. While the room may seem cluttered and not specifically “modern,” the innovations it relies on are definitely modern. Even looking at something so simple as the curtains that block out light, each function and item of the room could be dissected as having had hundreds to thousands of years of science and thought put into it.




8/31/20 11:00 am

The latter post covered my home-life due to a quick visit back home, but this post will cover my new bedroom/apartment in Champaign. I have since settled in somewhat to Champaign, but the boxes and open luggage on the ground do not clearly illustrate that fact. I have had all the time in the world, and even as I spend the vast majority of the day in my room, I somehow find myself content with its clutter. The fact being that no one ever has to interface with my room except for myself, so I do not feel specifically inclined to make it presentable. Hey, if it works for me, it works, right? I sleep, work, shower, eat, etc. here.

What most annoys me though and why this space is noted alongside my quarantine home is this hole in the wall I have above my toilet. It was here when I moved in, and due to my room still remaining a mess, I have yet to call up maintenance to address it, even though the fact it exists rather bothers me. To be fair, a “hole” is not an object in a traditional sense, but its existence best represents my outlook in life, depending on how you frame it. It could be said that I am immensely lazy for allowing it to continue bother me and haunt my mind (e.g. what if the pipes burst? What if I’m breathing in asbestos? What if a spider comes out?), or it could be said that I do not shy away from adversity and am unhindered by first-world expectations. This is still a world away from the home-life and cleanliness that I observe when I visit my family in Vietnam.

What’s clear in my photos is that I let boxes and luggage pile up in my room. To be fair, I was trying to fold up those boxes, but I could find no adequate space for them. Either way, we can remark on the innovation of the modern microwave and instant pot. The microwave likely came through from research in academia on the effects of different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation–luckily, do to the Faraday cage of microwaves, we are largely unhindered by the exposure to radiation to cook our food. Likewise, the innovation and popularity of the Instant Pot pressurized cooker is quite recent, and I can recall that it was started by an engineer who invested his life’s savings into its creation. Since then, it has been the beloved household cooker of many meals. Each of these innovations ultimately save time in the kitchen. No longer does one have to wait for dozens of minutes to reheat a frozen meal or for hours to create delicious bone broth. As well, they save space and are efficient somewhat as they can be reused thousands of times.

01 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

1.) Innovation + Society Lab

I visited both of these locations around noon. The first photo is the ramp between the sidewalk and the street. My neighbors and I use these ramps to help safely and smoothly reach the sidewalk from the street. Wheelchairs, bicycles, wagons, and strollers benefit from these ramps because it creates a bridge for the sidewalk which is higher than the street. The bushes, flowers, and other plants help to make the space pleasant and peaceful. This creates value for people walking by this neighborhood.  These ramps look like they were made out of newer concrete which means this was built recently. I believe that policies were implemented to help people with disabilities independently reach the sidewalk. The ramps help them achieve this goal because wheels have a hard time going through bumpy surfaces. A lot of people interact with this space when they walk their dogs, push their strollers, or pull their wagons. Overall these innovations benefit a lot of people in this neighborhood by improving the transition between the street and sidewalk.

The second photo is the ramp to my garage. It’s meant for vehicles to smoothly enter the building. This building is meant for the storage of vehicles and yard equipment. There’s a ramp that helps the car smoothly reach the sidewalk but there’s a leveling difference between the building and the sidewalk which creates a bump when moving your vehicle into the garage. The end of the sidewalk doesn’t have a ramp that would connect it to the alley. The foundation of the garage looks newer than the sidewalk. This means that the garage is newer than the driveway and sidewalk. Overall the garage fulfills its purpose by providing vehicles protection from weather and storage for tools and other equipment. The interactions I see are usually the cars going into the garage. However, I do see cyclists struggle to get on to the sidewalk from the alley. Adding ramps between the sidewalk and the foundation of the garage would create a smooth transition for the car to enter the garage.

2.) Reading Response + Annotated Bibliography

The idea of the Land Grant is important to President Henry because he knew about the benefits of opening a Land Grant University. The Morill Act indirectly pushed Land Grant Universities to find a way to incorporate mechanical arts (Geiger 307). This act helped to fulfill the industrial and mechanical needs that were demanded by the respective states. According to President Henry, “The complex needs of society have placed new demands upon the University at the advanced levels of education” (“Congressional Record: University of Illinois Centennial” 74). This quote explains that because of the advances in society, the University of Illinois and other Land Grant Universities are obligated to fulfill these needs. The idea of the Land Grant is important to President Henry because he sees the University of Illinois as a place for serving the people.

The Land Grant focused on three intentions placed in the Morrill Act. Wide educational opportunities, comprehensive curricula, and diversification of education services were innovative ideas that Land Grants provided (“Congressional Record: University of Illinois Centennial” 75). Another innovation was its ability to serve the working-class students. According to Roger Geiger, “the institute served Morrell’s industrial classes or, as one Harvadian put it, ‘a class of students who rarely find their way to Cambridge’” (313). Land Grant Universities focused on the education of the industrial and working classes.