Week 05 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Week 05 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

2 Questions

1. How has the use of technology and ed tech platforms changed the way education is imparted at the University of Illinois?

2. What new methods of education have been introduced with the use of Technology since the non-internet days?

I believe technology has played a pivotal role, and has been among the biggest markers of change in the recent times. Searching through the University of Illinois digital archives can give us several ways in which technology changed the way students study at the University. With the introduction of ed tech platforms like Moodle, Compass and other internet based solutions, I believe we can find several resources for how education took place prior to the invention of such applications.

#1 This screenshot talks about PLATO, the first ever intranet for education at the University of Illinois. PLATO was not only the first ever intranet at the University but also the world. It was a historic achievement that pre-shadowed the internet. This is an important landmark in the use of tech in education. PLATO came into existence in the 1960s

Source: https://distributedmuseum.illinois.edu/exhibit/plato/

#2 This screenshot talks about the timeline of the use of technology at the Undergraduate Library at the university. This timeline is important because it gives us a sense of how tech aided education during the early 1960s. This screenshot is especially interesting because it gives us an exact timeline of what kind of tech was used during that time.

Soruce: https://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/history/tech/history/

#3 The DELTA program was founded to research Digital Environments for Learning at the University of Illinois. This includes technology-enhanced classrooms, mobile devices, and immersive simulations across a range of disciplines, including science, engineering, math, literacy, language, and history. This program was pivotal in introducing several types of technology services at the University.

Source: https://publish.illinois.edu/deltaprogram/

#4 This is an excerpt from the digital archives of a research paper called ‘EXAMINING TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS ON E-LEARNING ACCEPTANCE AND LEARNING TRANSFER’. This article talks in detail about the implication of e-learning and how it has played a role in education at the University. This particular screenshot gives us a lot of information about how technology acceptance in education has increased over time. This data is important in understanding our target size for our research.

Source: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/108160/WONG-DISSERTATION-2020.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=n

Reading Response

The author Andrew Yang in his book – The War on Normal People. Talks about the people of United States of America. Yang discusses job displacement and the shrinking of local economies, terming it the “Great Displacement”, which has been “the product of financialization, globalization, and technologization”. He talks about how money, education and privelege has created two different groups of people within the United States of America. One, the rich, educated and privileged which is the minority of people and then the Other, the poor, uneducated class which in his own terms are the ‘Normal’ people of America, the median.

In Chapter three of the book – Who is normal in America. Yang uses personal anecdotes to talk about his realisation about how what he used to think are the normal people of America, i.e people from his circle actually are the privileged class of America. He uses data, statistics, and graphs to show what ‘Normal’ in America truly is. How the ‘Normal’ american is much poor and uneducated than what we might think.

In Chapter four – What we do for a living. Andrew sheds great light through stats and facts about what jobs in America look like, what are the average jobs and the amount a median american makes working those jobs. It was an interesting fact sheet into what kind of work is the Normal American Involved with. A thought provoking line from the book, that made me think about the job market at hand was “Clerical jobs, retail jobs, and food service jobs are the most common jobs in the country. Each category is in grave danger and set to shrink dramatically. Yet they’re not even the ones to worry about most. The single most defining job in the automation story—the one that scares even the most hard-nosed observer—is the number four job category: materials transport, also known as truck driving.”

The last chapter for the reading delved deeply into the lives of Truck Drivers and Factory Workers, one of the biggest jobs that a lot of the Americans work in. It gave facts about how much they earn, what their lifestyle is like and what kind of a life they can afford.

Yang argues that “as technology continues to make many jobs obsolete, the government must take concrete steps to ensure economic stability for residents of the United States,” – Overall statements like these make this an intriguing and eye opening read.

Week 05 – Lab + Reading Reflection


Are there any modern/more recent archives or resources that cover student activism at the University of Illinois?

How might I go about finding more recent information about student activism?

I would want to look at any sections covering the history of student life, especially as it pertains to “political,” “social,” “activism,” “police,” “anti-Black,” and “civil unrest.” For a topic like mine which covers modern student activism, the terminology of “defund the police” may be more recent, but the idea of discontent with an authority like the police has been around for decades. It just may be more difficult to find records covering it.


Chronology of Campus Protests is useful in understanding the campus and community events from 1948 through 1972 in a wide array of student activism causes such as free speech, political protests, civil rights and anti Vietnam war demonstrations, and community, union, and voting initiatives. 

Looking at a document like this highlights the anti-Black backlash by fellow students on campus in more recent years.

Along with the last example, a Facebook group such as this is targeted against Blacks, Muslims, and Mexicans in an inflammatory way.

Discourse about the university and their values in a progressive and critical manner, as targeted to people of color, showcases the activism and higher philosophy of students in regard to race, class accessibility, and transformation.

Reading Response

In Andrew Yang’s book, The War on Normal People, he illustrates the dichotomy between the privileges of the many well-educated and affluent individuals who may be reading his book and the “normal people,” or statistically-typical person of the United States. He does this to highlight the conclusion that many statistics out there do little to cover the massive effect that automation is and will be bringing to the job economy, and while many Americans will be affected by it, it will especially affect the less-skilled and less-educated masses. 

Throughout the few chapters we read, Yang used data and statistics to back up his arguments concerning the dichotomy between those would likely be reading his book and the actual normal American. He points out that “what feels normal to each of us is based on our context,” and he further illuminates that if you had five best friends, “The odds of them all being college graduates if you took a random sampling of Americans would be about one-third of 1 percent, or 0.0036.” Through a very strong and illuminating statistic such as this, he showcases to his likely college-educated population that going to college and being surrounded by only those who have gone to college is a very atypical experience in the grand scheme of America. However, this data is likely manipulated in that those who have gone to college, which he states is about a third of Americans, are likely to be surrounded mostly be those who have gone to college — thus, choosing a random American and then giving them five random Americans to be their best friends skews in showing how atypical that experience is.

Another thing that Yang does throughout his book is bring up common rhetoric and rebuttals to the idea that automation is negatively affecting jobs. He responds to this one op-ed that highlights alternatives for those who have had their job displaced by saying that the options highlighted — Etsy and Upwork — largely are unsustainable for those who have those jobs and may not cater to the skills of the displaced workers. He points out that for platforms such as Etsy, it on average “contributes only 13 percent to household income and is intended as a supplement to traditional work” (Yang Chapter 4). This statistic is not specifically rigorous in showcasing how many Etsy sellers do it full-time — or would want to do it full-time but can’t due to its low profits — and the income that generates, and instead it disregards the relatively low statistic of 13% to be indicative of its unsustainability as a career. In this case as well, his point is likely valid, but he intentionally skews his data to more strongly favor his idea.

Additionally, Yang is careful to point out flaws in current statistics or common measures of success. For example, he brings up how the unemployment metric “does not consider people who drop out of the workforce for any reason, including disability or simply giving up trying to find a job” (Yang Chapter 8). In doing so, he can showcase how metrics and statistics, such as his own, can be deceiving. There needs to be more rigorous surveying and compartmentalization when it comes to making statistics more useful.

Week 05 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Lab – University Archive Visit Report:

2 Questions:

  • How have the means of communication between undergraduate students at UofI changed over time through the innovation of technology?
  • What social impact has technology had since the 19th century?

This question is not answerable with a simple yes or no, but rather requires synthesis and analysis of ideas and sources prior to the composition of an answer. Using the University of Illinois digital collections, I will be able to understand how different technologies have impacted students positively and negatively. My search terms will be “technology”, “innovation”, and “communication”.

Lab Assignment + Reflection

4 Screenshots that can help provide answers to my research question:

#1: This picture provides the abstract of an analysis of the use of the Internet with observation and interviewing. It also displays how data and numbers were also used by different methods and approaches. These materials are relevant to students because it provides research and statistics. This will help me further determine how the use of different technologies affected communication. Source:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/79612

#2: These two pictures demonstrate data taken from the digital collections that show the purpose of students’ use of technology through email and factors that drive students not to use this kind of technology. I can support my question with this kind of evidence because it provides a bias from a student’s perspective. Furthermore, this can be relevant to students as they can see data that shows certain factors that drive a student to use a certain technology. Source:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/79612

#3: This image provides results to questions that can relate to or even support my own question. The page numbers provided after each question will allow me to briefly find specific answers to my question and also raise other questions that I didn’t think of previously. A concern that may arise is determining how one communication impacted students one way, versus how another did not impact students at all. Source:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/79612

#4: This picture explains the focus and purpose of the use of Internet-based communication. It shows that different communication methods were used as part of the research to determine how often they are used and their effectiveness. The only concerns that I would have for these results are inaccurate data or misinformation, but with enough evidence, this source will provide answers to my inquiry. Source:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/79612

Developing Line of Inquiry:

Through interview data, survey data, and library-archive materials provided in my source, I will be able to answer and even build off of my questions. As I read through my source, I found that much of the research involved interviews with students which then gathered data to prove which technologies anticipate efficiency.

Reading Response:

I liked how Andrew Yang incorporated the quote “The future is already here—it’s just unevenly distributed” by William Gibson at the beginning of chapter three. It demonstrates the first point Yang makes about families with different incomes and how people question their normality. He makes a note that “What feels normal to each of us is based on our context” and uses college students or graduates education as examples (Yang Chapter 3). He displayed a chart of different genders and races and the percentages of how high they get to their education on average. This data allowed me to understand where I stand from an educational point of view and where being normal is on the spectrum. Yang also helps me connect to my friends’ context and how “the odds of them all being college graduates if you took a random sampling of Americans would be about one-third of 1 percent, or 0.0036. The likelihood of four or more of them being college graduates would be only about 4 percent,” (Yang Chapter 3). This further addresses how Yang uses numbers and percentages to clarify his point.

Andrew Yang further demonstrates data and statistics when he talked about the net worth of Americans with a certain degree in education. I noticed a trend that net worth goes up with age, but other factors like gender and race cause uneven distribution. According to the U.S Census, for average Americans with high school diplomas or some college, the median net worth hovers around $36,000, including home equity. Normally it would go up with more education, but with the data provided on the median net worth and assets of people with different backgrounds, “the racial disparities are dramatic, with black and Latino households holding dramatically lower assets across the board and whites and Asians literally having 8 to 12 times higher levels of assets on average” (Yang Chapter 3). The evidence to this is presented from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and led me to interpret the message that Yang is anticipating to the audience.

Yang’s evidence also relates to and even questions our humanity. He talks about how most people don’t even like their jobs, especially right after they graduate. Additionally, he uses numbers and percentages to explain his point, and “According to Gallup, only 13 percent of workers worldwide report being engaged with their jobs. The numbers are a little better in America, with 32 percent saying they were engaged with their work in 2015” (Yang Chapter 7). This changed my perspective on the rarity that you’ll meet someone who actually likes their job. Normally I wouldn’t think that I’d struggle to find work that I am excited about, unless if I have financial goals and pressures to meet. Even though I haven’t graduated college yet, I am already thinking of careers that I’d like to pursue, but now I’m also thinking about the position I’m in versus the position that the rest of the nation is in. Yang also states that “the relationship between humanity and work involves money, but in something of a negative correlation,” and how the jobs and roles that are the most human tend to pay lower than other jobs (Yang Chapter 7). By using statistics and data, Yang is not only able to display a message to the reader, but also changed my own perspective on the bigger things in life.

Week 05 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Lab Reflection

1a.) Questions:

  • How has the United States military influenced the lifestyle of undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?
  • What impact has the United States federal government made on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

In order to answer these questions, I will use the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign digital library. The digital library will allow me to access important documents related to my question while maintaining the social distancing recommended by the CDC. I will use terms such as “war”, “military”, “military service”, and “World War I” to collect this data.

1b.) 4 Screenshots:

This page of the document is important to my question because it exemplifies the existing relationship the military had with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This document was published in 1893. The one concern I have using this source would be its late publication. The year of the publication could make it irrelevant to the question. Overall, one concern that could be brought up from this picture is the reason for the military building pre World War I.

Source: https://digital.library.illinois.edu/items/b7892ff0-7ee5-0135-017e-0050569601ca-d

This picture shows an example of undergraduate students that participated in the first World War. They are seen wearing military uniforms and badges on their left side. This photo was taken to promote the war effort, show support for the United States military, and encourage undergraduates to join.

Source: https://archon.library.illinois.edu/index.php?p=digitallibrary/digitalcontent&id=11064

This source explains that the armory was the building where male students would performed their required two year training at the University of Illinois. This emphasizes the impact the military had on students during World War I and campus layout. The military was important to the campus.

Source: https://archon.library.illinois.edu/index.php?p=digitallibrary/digitalcontent&id=6064

This image shows the previous armory in 1872. This armory was on the second floor of Machinery Hall. This space was also used as a gymnasium for undergraduates. Since this floor was gymnasium as well it could’ve been used to encourage students to join in the military training.

Source: https://archon.library.illinois.edu/index.php?p=digitallibrary/digitalcontent&id=993

1c.) Line of Inquiry

To answer this question, I will continue to research through these databases. I will also look into interviewing my fellow undergraduates who are currently in ROTC and other military programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I could also collect data from undergraduates at ROTC.

Reading Response

Andrew Yang discusses the term “normal” in these chapters as the average. However, this term could be interpreted differently depending on the person. He felt embarrassed about his struggles and setbacks when he heard about the struggles of his Uber driver. For the first example of data, Andrew Yang uses information about the educational attainment of people in the United States. The source of this information was provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. He organizes the data by gender and race. This creates a divide in averages in men and women. There is also a divide in education among Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics. Andrew continues the divisions in education by organizing the incomes by education attainment. These education attainments show a divide in income among Americans.

The next set of data and statistics that Andrew Yang discusses is the largest occupational groups in the United States. The total number of workers in the United States is around 140 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He uses another source from the government which promotes the credibility of the data that he is presenting. Andrew Yang assumes that retail workers don’t have degrees. There is some truth to this claim, however, there is no direct statistic regarding the actual educational attainment. Another problem with this retail section is his manipulation of data. Mr. Yang uses the average salary of retail workers which is $22,900. He then uses the median age of the workers which is 39 years old. I do not have the average age of retail workers but the data would not be as alarming to readers if the average had a lower age then the median. He used the median data to emphasize the divide among working-class Americans.

The third piece of data and statistics discusses truck drivers in the United States. Mr. Yang states that truck driving is the most popular job in 29 of the 50 states. He then discusses the growing automatization of trucks. Andrew Yang that labor costs and fewer accidents would destroy this job market. He also explains that Elon Musk’s Teslas are self-driving. From my experience riding in a Tesla, the self-driving is not complete by itself. Sometimes the automation could turn off and require the driver to take control of the car. This could create the argument that self-driving trucks and cars are more dangerous than the current vehicles we drive today. However, the trial and error that comes with automation could make self-driving cars inevitable. Overall, Andrew Yang sums up the potential decline of truck drivers in the United States.